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WEDNESDAY OF THE SEVENTH WEEK OF EASTER — MAY 27, 2020

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Saint Gabriel’s is praying again as a Church
There is daily Mass but according to a different schedule.
This is temporary until we can have our regular Sunday gatherings

 

So temporarily our seven day Mass Schedule is:

The bishops have extended the Lord’s Day obligation to all seven days.
Unless we spread out our attendance during the week, you may find the church “full” on Sunday (the Vigil Mass too) and unable to get into the building because of the distancing and seating restrictions. Please plan ahead to come a different day.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday — 12:00 PM noon;
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday — 8:00 AM;
Sunday — 5:00 PM Vigil on Saturday evening and 10:00 AM Sunday morning.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

 

The Ascension of the Lord is the summation of our Easter Joy.

Easter Sunday was only the beginning of the unveiling of all that the Lord gives us in raising Jesus from the dead.

Therefore let us take another look at the word of God for last Sunday and the revelation of the joy to which God has been leading us. It will also open up for us the power of his love in the coming Feast of Pentecost.

 

 

Here is an extended commentary on the scriptures for the Feast of Ascension.

Acts 1:1-11
While the Apostles looked on, Jesus ascended his throne.

For a long time we have learned that when we listen to a scripture passage we constantly question whether we have God speaking of this in other parts of the Bible. It is amazing how frequently this occurs to our delight and the revelations God is consistently giving us as a reward for listening closely to his word. We take delight in this and should. As our mind wanders as we hear an echo of what has gone before some of our earlier understanding of his word is replaced by a more profound grasp of his mystery and a corresponding greater joy at the magnificence of God’s wisdom and love.

The Ascension of Christ in many ways is not new, not because we have heard it every year on this feast but because the word of God is working within us drawing closer and closer to fullness of life he has promised us. Here are a few words from this reading that stand out: forty days, kingdom of God, Holy Spirit, men of Galilee, God disappeared when the cloud was taken from their sight… Let us see how good our memories are.

FORTY DAYS — forty days in the desert in Old Testament times in preparation of entering the Promised Land; Jesus’ forty days in the desert in preparation for his public ministry; for forty days Jesus instructed his disciples on the mission he entrusted to them of going to all the world.

KINGDOM OF GOD — Jesus began his ministry by preaching the kingship of God; the psalms seat the Lord on his kingly throne in heaven; the “three kings” come adore the new-born king of the Jews; the placard above Jesus on the cross read Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews; Old Testament prophecy that the kings of the earth will all and worship the one King of heaven and earth.

BAPTIZED IN THE HOLY SPIRIT — Jesus told of being baptized by water and the Spirit; John the Baptist compared his water baptism to the baptism in the Spirit by the coming Messiah; Pentecost would reveal to the world that the disciples of Jesus were immersed in God’s Sprit.

MEN OF GALILEE — the Jewish leaders disparaged the Apostles as unlearned men who came from Galilee; the men of Galilee in today’s passage show an outstanding wisdom and love of God in their following of Christ both before and after his resurrection.

CLOUD TAKEN FROM THEIR SIGHT — the cloud representing God was on Mount Sinai and the Mount of Transfiguration — a good way to speak of the spiritual God who speaks to us through the scriptures.

All these scripture references come from Luke’s Ascension account. How they and God’s word throughout the Bible enrich our understanding of the Mystery of our Lord’s “ascending.” How little we knew in our early years when we pictured the ascension as nothing more that Jesus rising above the earth out of our sight — flying so to speak.

 

Psalm 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9 (6)
God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.

One of the faith statements associated with the Ascension of the Lord is that he is now seated at the right hand of the Father. This is an expression of God the Father sitting on his royal throne as King of all his creation and that he has given his Son raised to glory to sit in kingly fashion tohis right. This imagery takes us back to the coronation ceremony of the Israelite.  kings. This psalm fits into that mode. A closer examination reveals some noteworthy details. Even though there were earthly kings of Israel the Lord Yahweh, maker of the Covenant, was the actual King of his people. The earthly king was representative of God as King among his people. So this psalm is based on that fact and the praise of the King was an acclamation of God as King and on this Feast the kingship of the Christ is being acknowleged as well. In a true sense this is the Feast of Christ the King. An added aspect of Christ’s sharing in the kingship of his Father was that he is King ot just of the Israelite people but of all peoples in the world. He is the King of the “nations.” This is behind Jesus saying preach the Gospel to all the world. So the psalm says: All you peoples, clap your hands, shout to God with cries of gladness. So the extent of the kingship of the risen Lord reaches to the ends of the earth until the end of time. No one is exempt from the rule of the Christ of glory. All the world is to give glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Son’s Spirit.

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.

 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.

 For king of all the earth is God;
sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits upon his holy throne.

Collect

Lord God, in your almighty power and love, we beg of you to give us the gift of your sacred joy as we offer you thanks as a sign of our religious devotion to you. This day in raising your Son to your right hand in glory as Head of his body, the Church, you afford us the undying hope that whither the Head has gone, we, his body, will follow.

 

The teachings of the Church on her role as the Mystical Body of Christ is more than a nice theological theory. It is actively going on and we are prat of it. It has meaning for everyday life. It is taking place right now. We are never separated from Christ and his body, the Church. So this Gathering Prayer at Mass is about what is taking place in the Eucharistic banquet. These Collect Prayers are not in the middle of nowhere. They really have a powerful significance as the Body of Christ is gathered with Christ its Head. It is a true “communion” throughout the Mass. That is why being at Mass and participating in it is such a wonderful gift left to us by Christ so that our communion with him can be seen and realized as a source of his saving blessings.

Through the divine power of the Father, then, Christ’s action really touches us and becomes a great joy for us so that we give thanks to God for being so loving and great. There is a divine promise contained in what Christ is doing for us at Mass that we become of people of hope. That hope is ours that some day we shall be with Christ is in heaven. That hope comes from the time spent in communion with Christ during this celebration.

 

Ephesians 1:17-23
God made his Son sit at his right as coregent

 

The Ascension of the Christ does not just concern what the Father has done for him but included in raising Jesus to his right hand are we, his followers, the Church. The Ascending of Jesus means we have a “mission” from him. We are forever associated with him in glory and have been sent forth to bring the Good News to all mankind. The body of Christ, the Church, both Head and members, are to bring the fullness of salvation to the world. Christ taking his place at the right hand of the Father makes us one with him in the work of salvation. This is the message of our passage today. The whole first chapter needs to be read in that light. The sacred author gives us a summary of the whole plan of his love for us all.

To sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth. In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will.

This will show that this Mystery of the Ascension is something that happens not only to Christ but also to us as the “commissioning” in the Gospel teaches. The role of the Church is not something that stands apart from Christ. Without the risen Lord the Church is no more than a mere human society with earthly goals. This, too, makes it very clear that we constantly must be in Christ’s presence and join him in the sacred work of the Father, i.e. gathering for the Eucharist.

Matthew 28:16-20
All power has been given me both in heaven and on earth

Once again it needs to be said that each of the Gospel accounts of the Ascension (and the accounts of the resurrection) has its own approach and must be seen in its own context. Be careful not to read into this one elements from the others, e.g. the forty days. You will not find that mentioned in Matthew. In fact, in Matthew’s account the word ascension does not appear at all.

The commissioning of the disciples and the consequent union of Christ and his disciples is emphasized. Be sure to note that in the commissioning Jesus first says: All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Then I am with you to the end of the ages. God’ s power is with us in carrying out the work of the Church. Human power alone could not accomplish Christ’s command to go to all the world. Baptism is our entrance into the Church and being associated with the risen Christ in his mission to all mankind. Through baptism we enter into the communion or covenant of the heavenly Triity — which is our salvation.

One last point: Matthew ends his Gospel the way he began with the phrase I am with you until the end of time. Emmanuel is the Hebrew word or name meaning God is with us. At the announcement of the birth of Christ Matthew cites the coming of Christ as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy that the child to be born is Emmanuel, God is with us (Matthew 1:23).