The Ascension of the Lord, First reading: Acts of the Apostles 1:1-11
In my earlier work, Theophilus, I dealt with everything Jesus had done and taught from the beginning until the day he gave his instructions to the apostles he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven.
He had shown himself alive to them after his Passion by many demonstrations: for forty days he had continued to appear to them and tell them about the kingdom of God.
When he had been at table with them, he had told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for what the Father had promised. ‘It is’ he had said ‘what you have heard me speak about: John baptised with water but you, not many days from now, will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’
Now having met together, they asked him, ‘Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has decided by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth.’
As he said this he was lifted up while they looked on, and a cloud took him from their sight.
They were still staring into the sky when suddenly two men in white were standing near them and they said, ‘Why are you men from Galilee standing here looking into the sky? Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen him go there.’
The Ascension of the Lord, Responsorial: Psalm 47:2-3,6-9
God goes up with shouts of joy; the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.
All peoples, clap your hands, cry to God with shouts of joy!
For the Lord, the Most High, we must fear, great king over all the earth.
God goes up with shouts of joy; the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.
Sing praise for God, sing praise, sing praise to our king, sing praise.
God is king of all the earth, sing praise with all your skill.
God is king over the nations; God reigns on his holy throne.
The Ascension of the Lord, Second Reading: letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians 1:17-23
May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of him.
May he enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit and how infinitely great is the power that he has exercised for us believers.
This you can tell from the strength of his power at work in Christ, when he used it to raise him from the dead and to make him sit at his right hand, in heaven, far above every Sovereignty, Authority, Power, or Domination, or any other name that can be named not only in this age but also in the age to come.
He has put all things under his feet and made him, as the ruler of everything, the head of the Church; which is his body, the fullness of him who fills the whole creation.
Matthew 28: 19,20
Go, make disciples of all the nations.
I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.
The Ascension of the Lord, Gospel Reading: holy Gospel according to Matthew 28:16-20
The eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated.
Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.’
The Universal Church celebrated the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord on 29 May 2014.
The Readings that were read in the Eucharistic Celebrations all over the world on the same day are shown above:
First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 1:1-11,
Responsorial: Psalm 47:2-3,6-9 ,
Second Reading: Ephesians 1:17-23 &
Gospel Reading: Matthew 28:16-20 .
We have extracted the Homilies of Pope Saint John Paul II & Pope Benedict XVI based on the aforesaid Readings to share with you, so that you could similarly be encouraged:
JOHN PAUL II
Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. In many countries, including Italy, the Solemnity of Christ's Ascension has been moved back to Sunday. With this feast we remember that after his Resurrection, Jesus presented himself alive to the disciples for 40 days (Acts 1:3), at the end of which, having led them to the Mount of Olives, "he was lifted up before their eyes and a cloud took him from their sight" (Acts 1:9). Risen and ascended into heaven, our Redeemer is the anchor of salvation and support for believers in their daily dedication to serve truth, peace, justice and freedom. In ascending to heaven, he reopens for us the way to our blessed homeland, not to alienate us from history but to give the greatest hope to our journey.
The most recent breakthroughs in communications and information have placed the Church before unheard-of possibilities for evangelization. Keeping this fact in mind, I thought this year the relevant theme to propose should be: "Internet: a New Forum for Proposing the Gospel".
With realism and confidence we must deal with this modern and ever denser network of communications, convinced that if used competently and with a sense of responsibility, it can offer valid opportunities for the spread of the Gospel message.
So do not be afraid to "put out into the deep" into the vast ocean of information technology. By using it we can make the Good News reach the hearts of the men and women of the new millennium.
After the Regina Caeli, the Pope gave thanks to all those who worked for the liberation of the Basilica of the Nativity.
We have all heard with great relief that the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem has been restored to God and to the faithful. I cordially thank all who helped to give back to the holy place its true religious identity. I send a particular greeting to the communities of the Franciscans, Greeks and Armenian Orthodox who with considerable sacrifices remained as faithful custodians of the shrine.
To the people of Bethlehem and the surrounding region goes my heartfelt encouragement to resume their journey with faith and hope in God, who in their land became close to man.
My Special Envoy, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, is spokesmen in Bethlehem for my sentiments. The universal message of Bethlehem is love, justice, reconciliation and peace. On these foundations a future respectful of the rights of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples can be built in mutual confidence.
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homily of Pope Saint John Paul II, so that they could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
8 June 2014