Mass Today at 6.00pm
Ye men of Galilee, why wonder you, looking up to heaven? Alleluia. He shall come as you have seen Him going up into heaven, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia (Ps 46:2) O clap your hands, all ye nations; shout unto God, with the voice of exultation. Glory be… Ye men…
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that we, who believe Thine only-begotten Son, our Redeemer, to have ascended in this day into heaven, may also ourselves dwell in mind amid heavenly things. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son…
Epistle (Acts 1:1-11)
The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of all things which Jesus began to do and to teach, until the day on which, giving commandments by the Holy Ghost to the apostles whom he had chosen, he was taken up. To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And eating together with them, he commanded them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he) by my mouth. For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence. They therefore who were come together, asked him, saying: Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? But he said to them: It is not for you to know the times or moments, which the Father hath put in his own power: But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up: and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments. Who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven.
Alleluia, alleluia. (Ps 46:6) God is ascended with a shout, and the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. Alleluia. (Ps 67:18-19) The Lord is in Sinai, in the holy place; ascending on high He has led captivity captive. Alleluia.
Gospel (Mark 16:14-20)
At that time Jesus appeared to the eleven as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again. And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name they shall cast out devils: they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover. And the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God. But they going forth preached everywhere: the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.—Creed
Offertory (Ps 46:6)
God is ascended with a shout, and the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. Alleluia.
Accept, O lord, the gifts we offer up to Thee, for the glorious Ascension of Thy Son: and mercifully grant that we may be freed from present perils, and attain unto everlasting life. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son…
Preface for The Ascension
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O Holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ Our Lord. Who, after His Resurrection, appeared openly to all His disciples, and, while they looked on, was taken up into heaven, that He might grant unto us to be sharers in His own divinity. And therefore, with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying:—Sanctus
Communion (Ps 67:33-34)
Sing ye to the Lord, who mounteth above the heaven of heavens to the East, alleluia.
Grant to us, we beseech thee, almighty and merciful God, that we may obtain the invisible effects of that which we have shared by communion in visible Mysteries Through Our Lord Jesus Christ…
Thoughts for the Day
The Homily of St John Paul the Great on the Feast of The Ascension, in 1979, at the Venerable English College in Rome
Dear sons and brothers and friends in Jesus Christ,
ON THIS SOLEMNITY of the Ascension of our Lord, the Pope is happy to offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice with you and for you. I am happy to be with the students and staff of the Venerable English College in this year in which you are celebrating your fourth centenary. And today, in a special way, I feel spiritually close to you, to your parents and families, and to all the faithful of England and Wales – to all who are united in the faith of Peter and Paul, in the faith of Jesus Christ. The traditions of generosity and fidelity that have been exemplified in the life of your College for four hundred years are present in my heart this morning. You have come to give thanks and praise to God for what has been accomplished by his grace in the past, and to find strength to go forward – under the protection of our Blessed Lady – in the fervour of your forefathers, many of whom laid down their lives for the Catholic faith.
A cordial word of welcome goes also to the new priests from the Pontifical Beda College. For you too this is a moment of special challenge to keep alive the ideals manifested in your patron, Saint Bede the Venerable, whom you will commemorate tomorrow. Welcome also to the staff and to your fellow students.
With joy then and fresh resolves for the future, let us reflect briefly on the great mystery of today’s liturgy. In the Scripture readings the whole significance of Christ’s Ascension is summarized for us. The richness of this mystery is spelled out in two statements: Jesus gave instructions, and then Jesus took his place.
In the providence of God – in the eternal design of the Father – the hour had come for Christ to go away. He would leave his Apostles behind, with his Mother Mary, but only after he had given them his instructions. The Apostles now had a mission to perform according to the instructions that Jesus left, and these instructions were in turn the faithful expression of the Father’s will.
The instructions indicated, above all, that the Apostles were to wait for the Holy Spirit, who was the gift of the Father. From the beginning, it had to be crystal-clear that the source of the Apostles’ strength is the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who guides the Church in the way of truth; the Gospel is to spread through the power of God, and not by means of human wisdom or strength.
The Apostles, moreover, were instructed to teach – to proclaim the Good News to the whole world. And they were to baptise in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Like Jesus, they were to speak explicitly about the Kingdom of God and about salvation. The Apostles were to give witness to Christ to the ends of the earth. The early Church clearly understood these instructions and the missionary era began. And everybody knew that this missionary era could never end until the same Jesus, who went up to heaven, would come back again.
The words of Jesus became a treasure for the Church to guard and to proclaim, to meditate on and to rive. And at the same time, the Holy Spirit implanted in the Church an apostolic charism, in order to keep this revelation intact. Through his words Jesus was to live on in his Church: I am with you always. And so the whole ecclesial community became conscious of the need for fidelity to the instructions of Jesus, to the deposit of faith. This solicitude was to pass from generation to generation – down to our own day. And it was because of this principle that I spoke recently to your own Rectors, stating that the first priority for seminaries today is the teaching of God’s word in all its purity and integrity, with all its exigencies and in all its power. The word of God – and the word of God alone – is the basis for all ministry, for all pastoral activity, for all priestly action. The power of God’s word constituted the dynamic basis of the Second Vatican Council, and John XXIII pointed out clearly on the day it opened: ‘The greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be more effectively guarded and taught’. And if the seminarians of this generation are to be adequately prepared to take on the heritage and challenge of this Council they must be trained above all in God’s word: in ‘the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine’ Yes, dear sons, our greatest challenge is to be faithful to the instructions of the Lord Jesus.
And the second reflection on the meaning of the Ascension is found in this phrase: Jesus took his place. After having undergone the humiliation of his passion and death, Jesus took his place at the right-hand of God; he took his place with his eternal Father. But he also entered heaven as our Head. Whereupon, in the expression of Leo the Great, the glory of the Head became the hope of the body. For all eternity Christ takes is place as the first-born among many brethren: our nature is with God in Christ. And as man, the Lord Jesus lives for ever to intercede for us with Father. At the same time, from his throne of glory, Jesus sends out to the whole Church a message of hope and a call to holiness.
Because of Christ’s merits, because of his intercession with the Father, we are able to attain justice and holiness of life, in him. The Church may indeed experience difficulties, the Gospel may suffer setbacks, but because Jesus is at the right-hand of the Father the Church will never know defeat. Christ’s victory is ours. The power of the glorified Christ, the beloved Son of the eternal Father, is superabundant, to sustain each of us and all of us in the fidelity of our dedication to God’s Kingdom and in the generosity of our celibacy. The efficacy of Christ’s Ascension touches all us in the concrete reality of our daily lives. Because of this mystery it is the vocation of the whole Church to wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Dear sons, be imbued with the hope that is so much a part of the mystery of the Ascension of Jesus. Be deeply conscious of Christ’s victory and triumph over sin and death. Realize that the strength of Christ is greater than our weakness, greater than the weakness of the whole world. Try to understand and share the joy that Mary experienced in knowing that her Son had taken his place with his Father, whom he loved infinitely. And renew your faith today in the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has gone to prepare a place for us, so that he can come back again and take us to himself.
This is the mystery of the Ascension of our Head. Let us always remember: Jesus gave instructions, and then Jesus took his place. Amen.
Today sees the extinguishing, after the Gospel, of the Paschal Candle, which has burned during all Masses since Easter. At the conclusion of today’s Mass it is moved to stand close to the Baptismal Font during the rest of the year, being lit again only for Baptisms and for Funerals (where it stands at the head of the coffin)—signifying that the light of of Christ’s Resurrection is in our Christian life from start to finish.
Your charitable prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of Rose Margaret Davies (my late mother) who’s anniversary falls on Sunday, 17th May.
I was with her when she passed from this earthly life to her eternal life with our Almighty Father, just as I had finished praying the office of Compline on the evening of the Feast of The Ascension of OLJC in 2012.
It is most appropriate that the office of Compline contains the words of the canticle of Simeon:
Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine
secundum verbum tuum in pace.
Quia viderunt oculi mei, salutare tuum
quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum,
Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuæ Israel.
Lord, lettest now thy servant depart in peace, according to thy Word.
For my eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples.
A light to enlighten the gentiles and to be the glory of Thy people, Israel.
Requiem aeternam dona ei Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Anima ei et animae omnium fidelium per misericordiam Dei requiescant in pace. Amen.
Please pray the following with me on Sunday, as Our Blessed Lady requested we pray for all the faithful departed:
Five times the Apostles Creed
One Salve Regina
One Pater Noster
One Ave Maria
One Gloria Patri
One Requiem Aeternam
And, as a personal request, the five Glorious Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary.