Liturgy for Sundays and Main Feasts
Sunday in the Octave of Ascension
Reflections on the Liturgy of the Day – from L’Année Liturgique, by Dom Prosper Guéranger
Jesus has ascended into heaven. His Divinity had never been absent; but, by the Ascension, His Humanity was also enthroned there, and crowned with the brightest diadem of glory. This is another phase of the Mystery we are now solemnizing. Besides a triumph, the Ascension gave to the sacred Humanity a place on the very throne of the Eternal Word, to whom it was united in unity of Person. From this throne, it is to receive the adoration of men and Angels. At the name of Jesus, Son of Man, and Son of God, – of Jesus who is seated at the right hand of the Father Almighty, every knee shall bend, in heaven, on earth, and in hell.
Give ear, O ye inhabitants of earth! This is the Man Jesus, who, heretofore, was a little Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes; who went through Judea and Galilee, not having where to lay His head; who was bound by the sacrilegious hands of His enemies, was scourged, crowned with thorns, nailed to a Cross; who, whilst men thus trampled Him, as a worm, beneath their feet, submitted His will to that of His Father, accepted the Chalice of suffering, and, that He might make amends to the divine glory, shed His Blood for the redemption of you sinners. This Man Jesus, child of Adam through Mary the Immaculate, is the master-piece of God’s omnipotence. He is the most beautiful of the sons of men; the Angels love to fix their gaze upon Him; the Blessed Trinity is well-pleased with Him; the gifts of grace bestowed on Him surpass all that men and angels together have ever received: –but He came to suffer, and suffer for you; and though He might have redeemed you at a much lower price, yet would He generously overpay your debts by a superabundance of humiliation and suffering. What reward shall be given to Him? The Apostle tells it us in these words: He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the Cross; for which cause God also hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a Name, which is above all names.
Dearly beloved: Be prudent, and watch in prayers. But before all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves: for charity covers a multitude of sins. Using hospitality one towards another, without murmuring. As every man hath received grace, ministering the same one to another: as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the words of God. If any man minister, let him do it as of the power which God administers; that in all things God may be honored through Jesus Christ.
Reflexion on the Epistle
The Prince of the Apostles, –who presided over the holy assembly that awaited, in the Cenacle, the descent of the Divine Spirit,– here addresses us, who are in expectation of the same great Gift, and recommends us to practice fraternal charity. This virtue, says he, covers a multitude of sinus: could we make any better preparation for receiving the Holy Ghost! This Paraclete is coming that he may unite all men into one family; let us, then, put an end to all our dissensions, and prove ourselves to be members of the Brotherhood established by the preaching of the Gospel. During these days of our preparing to receive the promised Comforter, the Apostle bids us be prudent and watch in prayers. Let us follow his instruction; we must show our prudence by excluding everything that might be an obstacle to the Holy Ghost’s entering our hearts; and as to prayer, it is the means which will open our hearts to him, that he may make them his own for ever.
Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to John Ch. XV, XVI.
At that time: Jesus said to His disciples: When the Paraclete comes, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He shall give testimony of Me; and you shall give testimony, because you are with Me from the beginning. These things have I spoken to you, that you may not be scandalized. They will put you out of the synagogues; yea the hour comes, that whosoever kills you, will think that he doth a service to God. And these things will they do to yon, because they have not known the Father, nor Me. But these things I have told you; that when the hour shall come, you may remember that I told you of them.
Reflexion on the Gospel
Here we have our Jesus telling us the effects, which the coming of the Holy Ghost will produce in our souls. These words were first addressed to the Apostles, at the Last Supper. He told them that the Paraclete would give testimony of Him, that is, would instruct them upon His Divinity, and teach them to be faithful to Him, even so as to lay down their lives for Him. A few moments before His Ascension, Jesus again spoke to them concerning the Paraclete, and called Him the Power from on high.
Severe trials were awaiting these Apostles; they would have to resist unto blood. Who would be their support, –for, of themselves, they were but weak men? The Holy Ghost, who was to abide with them. By him they would conquer, and the Gospel would be preached to all nations. Now, this Spirit of the Father and Son is about to descend upon us; and what is the object of his visit, but that of arming us for the combat, and strengthening us against the at tacks of our enemies? As soon as this holy Season of Easter is over, and we no longer have the celebration of its grand mysteries to enlighten and cheer us, we shall find ourselves at the old work of battling with the three enemies, –the devil, who is angered by the graces we have received; the world, to which we must unfortunately return; and our passions, which, after this calm, will again awaken, and molest us. If we be endued with the Power from on high, we shall have nothing to fear. Let us, therefore, ardently desire to receive Him; let us prepare Him a worthy reception; let us use every endeavor to make Him abide with us; and we shall gain the victory, as did the Apostles.