Thursday, 26 May 2022 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 24 : 46-53

At that time, Jesus said, “So it was written : the Messiah had to suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead. Then repentance and forgiveness in His Name would be proclaimed to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. And that is why I will send you what My Father promised. So remain in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Jesus led them almost as far as Bethany; then He lifted up His hands and blessed them. And as He blessed them, He withdrew, and was taken to heaven. They worshipped Him, and then returned to Jerusalem full of joy; and they were continually in the Temple, praising God.

Thursday, 26 May 2022 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hebrews 9 : 24-28 and Hebrews 10 : 19-23

Christ did not enter some sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the True One, but Heaven itself. He is now in the presence of God, on our behalf. He had not to offer Himself many times, as the High Priest does : he, who, may return every year, because the blood is not his own. Otherwise, He would have suffered many times, from the creation of the world.

But no; He manifested Himself only now, at the end of the ages, to take away sin by sacrifice, and, as humans die only once, and afterward are judged, in the same way, Christ sacrificed Himself, once to take away the sins of the multitude. There will be no further question of sin, when He comes again, to save those waiting for Him.

So, my friends, we are assured of entering the Sanctuary, by the Blood of Jesus Who opened, for us, this new and living way, passing through the curtain, that is, His Body. Because we have a High Priest in charge of the House of God, let us approach, with a sincere heart, with full faith, interiorly cleansed from a bad conscience, and our bodies washed, with pure water.

Let us hold fast to our hope, without wavering, because He, Who promised, is faithful.

Alternative reading

Ephesians 1 : 17-23

May the God of Christ Jesus our Lord, the Father of Glory, reveal Himself to you and give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that you may know Him. May He enlighten your inner vision, that you may appreciate the things we hope for, since we were called by God.

May you know how great is the inheritance, the glory, God sets apart for His saints; may you understand with what extraordinary power He acts in favour of us who believe. He revealed His Almighty power in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and had Him sit at His right hand in heaven, far above all rule, power, authority, dominion, or any other supernatural force that could be named, not only in this world but in the world to come as well.

Thus has God put all things under the feet of Christ and set Him above all things, as Head of the Church which is His Body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all.

Thursday, 26 May 2022 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 46 : 2-3, 6-7, 8-9

Clap your hands, all you peoples; acclaim God with shouts of joy. For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared; He is a great King all over the earth.

God ascends amid joyful shouts, the Lord amid trumpet blasts. Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!

God is King of all the earth; sing to Him a hymn of praise. For God now rules over the nations, God reigns from His holy throne.

Thursday, 26 May 2022 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 1 : 1-11

In the first part of my work, Theophilus, I wrote of all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when He ascended to heaven. But first He had instructed through the Holy Spirit, the Apostles He had chosen. After His passion, He presented Himself to them, giving many signs that He was alive, over a period of forty days He appeared to them and taught them concerning the kingdom of God.

Once when He had been eating with them, He told them, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the fulfilment of the Father’s promise about which I have spoken to you : John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit within a few days.”

When they had come together, they asked Him, “Is it now that You will restore the Kingdom of Israel?” And He answered, “It is not for you to know the time and the steps that the Father has fixed 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, even to the ends of the earth.”

After Jesus said this, He was taken up before their eyes and a cloud hid Him from their sight. While they were still looking up to heaven where He went, suddenly, two men dressed in white stood beside them, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up at the sky? This Jesus Who has been taken from you into heaven, will return in the same way as you have seen Him go there.”

(Usus Antiquior) The Ascension of our Lord (I Classis) – Thursday, 26 May 2022 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : White

Offertory

Psalm 46 : 6

Ascendit Deus in jubilatione, et Dominus in voce tubae, Alleluja.

English translation

God is ascended in jubilee, and the Lord with the sound of trumpet. Alleluia.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Suscipe, Domine, munera, quae pro Filii Tui gloriosa Ascensione deferimus : et concede propitius; ut a praesentibus periculis liberemur, et ad vitam perveniamus aeternam. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Receive, o Lord, the offerings which we bring for the glorious Ascension of Your Son, and grant in Your mercy that we may be delivered from present dangers and may attain unto life everlasting. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Preface of the Ascension

Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere : Domine, Sancte Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus : per Christum, Dominum nostrum. Qui post resurrectionem suam omnibus discipulis suis manifestus apparuit et, ipsis cernentibus, est elevatus in caelum, ut nos divinitatis suae tribueret esse participes. Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus cumque omni militia caelestis exercitus hymnum gloriae Tuae canimus, sine fine dicentes :

English translation

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks to You, o holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, through Christ our Lord. He who after His resurrection very openly showed Himself to all His disciples, and in their sight was raised up to heaven, in order to give to us to be partakers of His Godhead. And therefore, with the angels and archangels, with the thrones and dominations, and with all the array of the heavenly host, we sing a hymn to Your glory and unceasingly repeat :

Communion

Psalm 67 : 33-34

Psallite Domino, qui ascendit super caelos caelorum ad Orientem, Alleluja.

English translation

Sing all of you to the Lord, who mounts above the heaven of heavens to the east. Alleluia.

Post-Communion Prayer

Praesta nobis, quaesumus, omnipotens et misericors Deus : ut, quae visibilibus mysteriis sumenda percepimus, invisibili consequamur effectu. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Grant, we beseech You, o Almighty and merciful God, that what we have received in visible mysteries, we may also obtain in their invisible effect. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) The Ascension of our Lord (I Classis) – Thursday, 26 May 2022 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : White

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Marcum – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark

Mark 16 : 14-20

In illo tempore : Recumbentibus undecim discipulis, apparuit illis Jesus : et exprobravit incredulitatem eorum et duritiam cordis : quia iis, qui viderant eum resurrexisse, non crediderunt. Et dixit eis : Euntes in mundum universum, praedicate Evangelium omni creaturae.

Qui crediderit et baptizatus fuerit, salvus erit : qui vero non crediderit, condemnabitur. Signa autem eos, qui crediderint, haec sequentur : In Nomine Meo daemonia ejicient : linguis loquantur novis : serpentes tollent : et si mortiferum quid biberint, non eis nocebit : super aegros manus imponent, et bene habebunt.

Et Dominus quidem Jesus, postquam locutus est eis, assumptus est in caelum, et sedet a dextris Dei. Illi autem profecti, praedicaverunt ubique, Domino cooperante et sermonem confirmante, sequentibus signis.

English translation

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 those who had seen Him after He had risen again. And He said to them, “Go all of you to the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”

“He who believes and is baptised shall be saved, but he who does not believe shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow those who 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 sits on the right hand of God. But they go forth preaching everywhere, the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.

(Usus Antiquior) The Ascension of our Lord (I Classis) – Thursday, 26 May 2022 : Alleluia

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 46 : 6 and Psalm 67 : 18-19

Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : Ascendit Deus in jubilatione, et Dominus in voce tubae.

Alleluja.

Response : Dominus in Sina in sancto, ascendens in altum, captivam duxit captivitatem. Alleluja.

English translation

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : God had ascended in jubilation, the Lord ascended with the voice of the trumpet.

Alleluia.

Response : The Lord is in Sinai, in His holy place, ascending on high. He had led captivity captive. Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) The Ascension of our Lord (I Classis) – Thursday, 26 May 2022 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : White

Lectio Actuum Apostolorum – Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles

Acts 1 : 1-11

Primum quidem sermonem feci de omnibus, o Theophile, quae coepit Jesus facere et docere usque in diem, qua, praecipiens Apostolis per Spiritum Sanctum, quos elegit, assumptus est : quibus et praebuit seipsum vivum post passionem suam in multas argumentis, per dies quadraginta apparens eis et loquens de regno Dei.

Et convescens, praecepit eis, ab Jerosolymis ne discederent, sed exspectarent promissionem Patris, quam audistis (inquit) per os meum : quia Joannes quidem baptizavit aqua, vos autem baptizabimini Spiritu Sancto non post multos hos dies. Igitur qui convenerant, interrogabant eum, dicentes : Domine, si in tempore hoc restitues regnum Israel?

Dixit autem eis : Non est vestrum nosse tempora vel momenta, quae Pater posuit in sua potestate : sed accipietis virtutem supervenientis Spiritus Sancti in vos, et eritis mihi testes in Jerusalem et in omni Judaea et Samaria et usque ad ultimum terrae. Et cum haec dixisset, videntibus illis, elevatus est, et nubes suscepit eum ab oculis eorum.

Cumque intueretur in caelum euntem illum, ecce, duo viri astiterunt juxta illos in vestibus albis, qui et dixerunt : Viri Galilaei, quid statis aspicientes in caelum? Hic Jesus, qui assumptus est a vobis in caelum, sic veniet, quemadmodum vidistis eum euntem in caelum.

English translation

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 Spirit to the Apostles whom He had chosen, He was taken up to whom He also showed Himself to be 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, (He said) by My mouth, for John indeed baptised with water, but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days hence. They therefore who had come together asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?”

But He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or moments which the Father had put in His own power, but you shall receive the power of the Holy Spirit 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, “All you men of Galilee, why do you stand 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.”

(Usus Antiquior) The Ascension of our Lord (I Classis) – Thursday, 26 May 2022 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : White

Introit

Acts 1 : 11 and Psalm 46 : 2

Viri Galilaei, quid admiramini aspicientes in caelum? Alleluja : quemadmodum vidistis cum ascendentem in caelum, ita veniet. Alleluja, Alleluja, Alleluja.

Omnes gentes, plaudite manibus : jubilate Deo in voce exsultationis.

Response : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper : et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

All you men of Galilee, why do you wonder, looking up to heaven? Alleluia. He shall come again just as you have seen Him going up into heaven. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

O clap your hands, all you nations, shout unto God with the voice of joy.

Response : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Collect

Concede, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus : ut, qui hodierna die Unigenitum Tuum. Redemptorem nostrum, ad caelos ascendisse credimus : ipsi quoque mente in caelestibus habitemus. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Grant, we beseech You, o Almighty God, that, believing Your only-begotten, our Redeemer, to have ascended to heaven on this day, we, too, may spiritually dwell in heavenly places. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Wednesday, 25 May 2022 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Bede the Venerable, Priest and Doctor of the Church, and Pope St. Gregory VII, Pope, and St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of God in the Scriptures, we are presented with the story of how St. Paul evangelise to the pagan people of Athens, proclaiming the truth of the One and only True God to all of them, seeing how the Athenians were all worshipping the pagan gods of the Olympian pantheon, and was even worshipping an unknown God. St. Paul revealed to all of them that what they served and worshipped were merely creations of human hands and minds, and were not the true divinity, which is in fact, the Lord and Creator, Whom St. Paul introduced to them.

St. Paul spoke courageously about the Lord amidst the people of Athens who were renowned for their philosophical thoughts and ideas, and many of whom also held strong devotion to the pagan gods and idols. Hence, his introduction of the totally foreign concept of the one and only God Who created the whole world and the universe, which was very radically different from what the Athenians were used to, is something that is totally courageous and significant for St. Paul to do, and while he did end up having many of the Athenians ridiculing him and rejecting his beliefs and words, there were some among the Athenians who were intrigued by the Christian faith that St. Paul brought unto them.

That was how the seeds of the faith and the foundation of the Church was built in Athens, even in the heart of the Greek paganism and philosophical ideals, which later on would be rivals against the influences of the Christian faith and Church in the later centuries. St. Paul and his hard works and efforts helped to make the Lord known to all those people, and that was thanks to the guidance and strength that God had given to them which allowed them to carry on persevering for the sake of the Lord and His people, for their fellow brethren. Through them, the Church would very soon grow into a large organisation with strong foundations and many believers.

In our Gospel passage today, as we are now getting closer to the celebration of the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord and the Solemnity of the Pentecost Sunday, we are presented with the Lord’s promise for His disciples and followers, that while He would not be with them physically much longer, but He would always be by their side, caring for them and being with them. He would send them the Helper, the Advocate, that is the Holy Spirit, coming down from God the Father Himself, to be with us, to strengthen and encourage us, and inflame us all with hope and power. The Holy Spirit helped and encouraged St. Paul and the other Apostles and disciples to go forth fearlessly and proclaim the truth of God to the many people of the many nations they had ministered to.

Today, we celebrate the feast of a few saints whose life, calling and ministries can also be sources of inspiration for each one of us, to see how they had been strengthened and inspired by the Holy Spirit, in doing the will of God. St. Bede the Venerable, Pope St. Gregory VII and St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi all had dedicated their lives in their own ways to serve the Lord and to glorify Him, and each one of us can take note of what they had done so that we may know how we can also act in our lives to glorify the Lord and to proclaim Him to all those whom we encounter in life, in each and every moments of our lives.

St. Bede the Venerable is a renowned monk and prolific writer from the Dark Age England, where he ministered to the people of God and inspired many through his writings and treatises, as he wrote extensively on many matters. St. Bede the Venerable helped to drive the foundation of Christian education in England and beyond, inspiring others to delve deeper into the wisdom of Christian teachings and truths. The Holy Spirit clearly inspired St. Bede the Venerable in his writings and works, through which he himself inspired and strengthened the faith in many of those whose lives he had touched, and all those who have read his works, all the way to our present day and time.

Meanwhile, Pope St. Gregory VII is a great reformer Pope and leader of the Church, who was remembered for his dedication and contributions in reforming the Church very vigorously, implementing many important reforms that rooted out corruptions and wickedness in the Church, driving out worldly matters and corruptions from the Church, from the monasteries and from among the clergy, many of whom had been gradually influenced by worldly practices and concerns, which slowly caused the Church to lose its focus and direction. Pope St. Gregory VII continued to work hard to champion those important reforms, even against powerful secular rulers who sought to make use of the Church and its institutions for their own benefits.

Hence, Pope St. Gregory VII was also well-known for his role in the so-called ‘Investiture Controversy’, as the secular leaders particularly that of the powerful Holy Roman Emperor defended and championed their rights to appoint and invest the bishops in their own land, and the Holy Roman Emperor being the supreme secular leader of Christendom, collided with the Pope, who contended that all spiritual matters, the appointment and ultimately the allegiance of bishops came under the full authority of the Church and the leadership of the Pope alone, and the Emperor had no right to intervene in it. The Holy Spirit strengthened and guided Pope St. Gregory VII in his zeal and dedication to reform the Church and oppose those who sought to corrupt it.

Lastly, St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi was a Carmelite nun and a renowned Church mystic who came from one of the wealthiest noble Italian families during the late Renaissance, who from early on in her life had learnt to dedicate herself to the Lord, practicing self-mortification and meditation which later on would inspire her to join the religious life, initially against the wishes of his father, who eventually relented and allowed her to be part of the Carmelite religious order. St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi became a nun and received a series of visions and revelations through which others came to know more about Christ, an experience that must have indeed be inspired by the Lord and His wisdom, passed on through the Holy Spirit.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, having heard all these great examples of the three saints, St. Paul and many others whose lives we know and are aware of, we can see how the Holy Spirit has inspired many to do the will and work of God in our world. Can we do the same as well with our lives? Can we allow the Lord to guide us through His Holy Spirit, that His wisdom and strength may lead us to walk in this path of faith, and inspire others to come to the Lord as well. May the Lord be with us all and may His Holy Spirit inflame us with His Passion and love, at all times, that we may always glorify Him by our lives. Amen.