Thursday, 18 May 2023 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 28 : 16-20

At that time, as for the eleven disciples, they went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Jesus, they bowed before Him, although some doubted.

Then Jesus approached them and said, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples from all nations. Baptise them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all that I have commanded you. I am with you always even to the end of the world.”

Thursday, 18 May 2023 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

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, 18 May 2023 : 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, 18 May 2023 : 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, 18 May 2023 : 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, 18 May 2023 : 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, 18 May 2023 : 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, 18 May 2023 : 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, 18 May 2023 : 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, 17 May 2023 : 6th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all reminded to remain true to our faith in the Lord, the One and only true God, Who reigns over all things and is the Source of all things, and hence, He alone is worthy of worship and adoration. As Christians, each one of us are called to be the faithful disciples of the Lord, in doing everything we can to glorify the Lord by our lives, and to proclaim His truth and Good News to more and more people among the nations. All of us are called to entrust ourselves to the Lord more, that is to allow Him to lead us and guide us in our path, helping us all to remain firmly faithful in all of our works and deeds, in our every day living and in our every interactions with each other so that we may be good and dedicated beacons of His light and truth.

In our first reading today, as we heard from the passage of the Acts of the Apostles, we are reminded by what St. Paul told to the people of Athens, to those who were assembled in the Areopagus, the area of public discourse and discussion, regarding the nature of the pagan worship then carried out by the Greeks in general and the people of Athens in particular. St. Paul came to Athens bringing the Good News of Christ, our Lord and Saviour, as he revealed unto those people Who the Lord really truly is. He compared how the people were irrational and folly in their belief in the pagan gods and idols, in their trust and worship of beings that came out from our awe of the nature’s wonders, which were merely reflections of the glory of the true Creator and Master of all things.

Back then, the Greeks including the Athenians, and much of the Greco-Roman world believed in a myriad of gods and idols, with deities linked to the natural phenomenon like the sky, lightning, earth itself, fire and storm, the sea, the weather and many other things. Like what St. Paul himself had experienced earlier, with St. Barnabas, he was mistaken by some people during his missionary journey as the manifestations of the Greek pagan pantheon, Zeus and Hermes, the chief of the Greek gods and the messenger of the gods respectively. Those gods acted and behaved just like how humans behaved, as those of us who are familiar with the Greek and Greco-Roman mythology and pantheon would have known how those gods had competitions and rivalry with each other, carried out adulterous and immoral acts, becoming angry over trivial matters among other examples.

Why was that so, brothers and sisters in Christ? That was because those gods came forth from the imagination and the collective knowledge of the people who worshipped them, and they behaved therefore in the manner of those who have worshipped and followed them as well. Essentially, they were not true gods and true beings, but rather, manifestations of the people’s own desires and sometimes twisted beliefs and lack of knowledge of the truth. Hence, St. Paul spoke to the Athenians regarding their folly of following all those artificial and unreal gods and idols, and told them that the One Whom they all ought to be worshipping, is none other than the One and only True God, the same One Who has manifested Himself in this world in the Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of all mankind.

Now, how does this then relate to us? All of us have been called to the same Christian faith that those faithful and dedicated Apostles and servants of God have faithfully upheld. They have all committed themselves to a new life in accordance with God and following the one true God that St. Paul had preached about and proclaimed to the people of Athens. All of us are called and expected to live our lives in the same way, to uphold the Christian truths and the teachings of the Lord at all times, so that our every words, actions and deeds may truly be reflective of our belief and faith in the Lord. As Christians, each and every one of us have the solemn obligation and need to proclaim the truth of God through our lives and works, in everything that we say and do, so that in all of those, we may truly glorify God and made Him known to more and more people.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard yet again of the Lord’s reassurance to all of His disciples that He would send unto them the Holy Spirit to guide and help them down their path, to lead them to the right path and to help them to find their way and journey back towards the Lord. Each one of us are reminded that the Lord has always been with us, providing us throughout our journey and helping us whenever we needed help, in various ways. We have to therefore entrust ourselves in the Lord and to follow the path that He has shown us, so that we may truly be workers of the truth, to proclaim the Good News of God and to live our lives ever more worthily of the Lord Who has revealed Himself and His love to us, blessing us all with His wisdom and truth, with all the success and the growing spread of the Church and its evangelising mission to the world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we now get closer to the time of the Pentecost and hence the end of this joyful and glorious Easter season, let us all therefore do our part in being good and exemplary, faithful and committed servants of the Lord, such that in everything that we have done and are going to in our lives, we will be able to inspire many others by our faithful examples and by our dedication. Let us all be truly faithful to God, and turn away from the many distractions and temptations present all around us, some of which we have turned into the new idols of our lives, the idol of worldly greed and desires, the idol of power and influence, which made us to be distracted and separated ever further from the love of God. Let us all remember to put our faith and trust in the Lord, our most loving God and Saviour.

May the Risen Lord, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, our most loving God and Good Shepherd, be with us always, be with His Church, and may the Holy Spirit be our inspiration, strength and guide. May the Lord bless our every works and good efforts for His greater glory, and may He help us all to persevere through all the hardships and challenges that we may have to face in this world. May He, the One and only True God, shine the light of His truth and love to the whole of this darkened world. Amen.