"What great faith our Lord Jesus Christ asks of us—and how just that is. Do we not owe him such faith? It looks impossible to us, but Jesus is Master of the impossible."
— Blessed Charles de Foucauld
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"Beloved brothers and sisters, we must strive with all our strength to repel the enemy of our soul, with full attention and vigilence, as he rages and aims his darts against every part of us that can be assaulted and wounded. This is what the Apostle Peter, in his epistle, warns and teaches us about, saying: 'Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour' (1 Pt. 5:8)." — Paul Thigpen, p.150 AN EXCERPT FROM Manual for Spiritual Warfare, p150
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St. Hilary of Arles
It's been said that youth is wasted on the young. In some ways, that was true for today's saint.
Born in France in the early fifth century, Hilary came from an aristocratic family. In the course of his education he encountered his relative, Honoratus, who encouraged the young man to join him in the monastic life. Hilary did so. He continued to follow in the footsteps of Honoratus as bishop. Hilary was only 29 when he was chosen bishop of Arles.
The new, youthful bishop undertook the role with confidence. He did manual labor to earn money for the poor. He sold sacred vessels to ransom captives. He became a magnificent orator. He traveled everywhere on foot, always wearing simple clothing.
That was the bright side. Hilary encountered difficulty in his relationships with other bishops over whom he had some jurisdiction. He unilaterally deposed one bishop. He selected another bishop to replace one who was very ill–but, to complicate matters, did not die! Pope St. Leo the Great kept Hilary a bishop but stripped him of some of his powers.
Hilary died at 49. He was a man of talent and piety who, in due time, had learned how to be a bishop.
Dear Lord, you have called me by my name. You have carved me in the palm of your hand. May I grow in trust and never give in to despair.
Lord grant me the grace to have freedom of the spirit. Cleanse my heart and soul so I may live joyously in Your love.
Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I can afford to be honest about how I am. How has the last day been, and how do I feel now? I share my feelings openly with the Lord.
The Word of God
Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord
Reading 1 Acts 1:1-11
In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for "the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
When they had gathered together they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" He answered them, "It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9 R. (6) God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. All you peoples, clap your hands, shout to God with cries of gladness, For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome, is the great king over all the earth.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy; the LORD, amid trumpet blasts. Sing praise to God, sing praise; sing praise to our king, sing praise.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. For king of all the earth is God; sing hymns of praise. God reigns over the nations, God sits upon his holy throne.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord. or: R. Alleluia.
Reading 2 Eph 1:17-23
Brothers and sisters: May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might: which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.
Or Heb 9:24-28; 10:19-23
Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf. Not that he might offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly from the foundation of the world. But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice. Just as it is appointed that men and women die once, and after this the judgment, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since through the blood of Jesus we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, " let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy.
Alleluia Mt 28:19a, 20b R. Alleluia, alleluia. Go and teach all nations, says the Lord; I am with you always, until the end of the world. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 24:46-53
Jesus said to his disciples: "Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."
Then he led them out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ The phase "a little while" is repeatedly used in this short passage. "A little while" may refer to the three days between the death of Jesus and his resurrection; but it may also be the time between the first and the second coming of Christ, the time in which we live, and move, and have our being. Jesus does not mince his words; he tells us that our lives will not be free from pain and desolation, but he also promises us that our mourning will turn to hope, and our pain to joy.
▪ Seven centuries before the coming of Christ, the prophet Habakkuk harangued God for allowing wrong to triumph in the world. God answers that his vision will take time to accomplish: "if it seem slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay." May I respond with Habakkuk, "God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like hinds' feet, he makes me tread upon my high places."
Lord, I know that when I turn to you there is no need for words. You can see into my heart. You know my desires and you know my needs. I place myself into your hands.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
The Ascension of the Lord (Solemnity) or Easter Weekday
You will see me. (John 16:16)
What a promise! Jesus was going away, but then he would come back, and the apostles would see him once more. These words must have brought them a great deal of comfort.
Of course, we know that the disciples did see Jesus again on Easter Sunday. But the "seeing" Jesus was speaking of here meant more than just encountering him again with their physical eyes. He was also talking about the way that the Holy Spirit would help them sense Jesus' presence and love even after he had ascended and was no longer visible.
But why would Jesus think it was important for us to see him again? Didn't his cross and resurrection take care of our salvation? Wasn't it enough for us to hear his gospel, be baptized into his name, and try to follow his commandments?
No, it wasn't. And thank God for this truth! We need to see Jesus every day. We need to hear his voice, to know his guidance, and to receive his love. As St. Paul taught, Jesus gave us the Spirit "so that we may understand the things freely given us by God" (1 Corinthians 2:12).
On our own, we could never grasp the price that Jesus paid for our salvation or the depth of his love for us. We need the Spirit to write these truths on our hearts and to help us experience them in our lives. Without him, we limit our understanding of all God can do for us—and we limit our expectations of all the grace and power that God wants to pour into us.
This is why Jesus wants us to be baptized, immersed, in his Holy Spirit. He knows it's the only way we can receive the power and presence of God in our lives.
So what did the apostles do after Jesus was taken away from them and after they could no longer see him? Looking forward to the fulfillment of his promise, they joined together in prayer. They delved into the Scriptures. They prayed, "Come, Holy Spirit!"
Let's follow their example. From now until Pentecost, let's dive into Scripture, fix our eyes on Jesus, and try to increase our prayer. Let's ask for the grace to see Jesus with new eyes, the eyes of the Holy Spirit.
my2cents: We heard our Lord say at one point "... in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." Here we are 40 days from Easter, just like we heard in Holy Scripture "He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God." And our Lord says you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. The day of Pentecost, they say the birthday of the Catholic Church even, when the ones chosen and gathered were able to go out to the ends of the earth to proclaim and bear witness just as Our Lord Jesus said they would. And "they" are still here, walaahh! I am one of them baptized in water and fire; water in Holy Baptism and fire in Holy Confirmation, Sacraments. And what other Sacraments make me? Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist. 4 Sacraments that work hand in hand with another, Holy Matrimony sanctioned and brought together by God our Father. The other two are Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick, the latter which my wife once partook of when they had found cancerous cells and she was healed after surgery. This is all to say, Jesus is in all the Sacraments, and Holy Orders is the Order of Priests and religious. Are you religious? Nowadays it is an awkward word, treated as bad, and this is how backwards the world is. Stay, remain... We prayed today "God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord." This is how God is presented to His throne, and Jesus is God, even the name of Him is a super power, especially for those with faith in it and Him. Let trumpets blast! "All you peoples, clap your hands", all of those staunch catholics, listen! Clapping of hands is allowed! LOL, Shouting ALLELUYA! Is allowed! Listen here comes more: "shout to God with cries of gladness, For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome, is the great king over all the earth." Our bodies have to express our praise, move, dance, sing, shout, exclaim! It is not only a physical work, but this temple can make an exclamation. I heard someone say that if you force yourself a smile, your body will actually begin to think it is happy. The same is for the spirit within, once you physically force a posture or exultation for the Lord, like raising your hands, clapping, singing, dancing for the Lord, your spirit will actually begin to awaken and be exercised! Be fit and strong for the Lord! It is for your own good!! Recall the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass, the re-presentation of our Lord, as if being one with Him at that one point He made the greatest act of Love, "But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice." He is the great High Priest and the model of all Priests, because He is the unblemished lamb of God, "by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, " and His flesh is the Holy Eucharist which we heard today of Jesus "which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way." And then glimpses of Heaven appear "Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy." There is hope in Heaven, there is Peace in Heaven, because there is Jesus in Heaven, trustworthy, bringing peace and hope.
In comes the Lord of our Lives 40 days after Holy Easter: "Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day" and HE did rise and today we remember, re-present, His Ascension into Heaven to the sound of trumpets blasting, of our Lord mounting His throne, and He continues "and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." And the witnessing had begun when the Marys and Apostles witnessed Him alive and well after rising from the dead, but now witnessing would be on a whole new level...flourishing throughout the whole world, fruit upon fruit and all coming from the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The reason I write, is for the witness to come true. The Word of God must become flesh. Many times you think the message is directly written to you, like "Adrian must be writing about me". Well, truth is, I am writing to you. The great I AM is writing to you. HE is madly in love with you. He writes little love letters with deep and meaningful words. He writes with the blood of salvation that comes from His heart. Pop quiz, speaking about His Heart, do you know what type of blood Jesus had in His earthly body? You know how there are different types of blood, A, B, AB, and O? Which one was Jesus?
I'll give you a hint, His was Universal. The word Catholic means Universal. It is the kind that can be given to any type for salvation. Which reminds me, I need to donate blood again, it's been a while now. I remember one time I couldn't donate because of my readings, and I asked why I couldn't? And they said because I was possibly under alot of stress. Meanwhile, a priest, a Father (Jesus in flesh) was giving blood as he did regularly, it was Father, now Monsignor Gully. I have big shoes to fill in assisting in giving salvation. Giving means much, but it means more when you actually do it. Today, JESUS our Lord ascends to His throne and gives us a message "RECEIVE ME" and "FOLLOW ME". I love you for reading this far, now let's go further...
upon studies of the Eucharist turned flesh I believe in Lanciano, the blood was found to be type AB and the flesh and blood found that it came from the heart.