Scripture Reading: Mark 16:19 – 20
Today, we are celebrating the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord. I once heard a Catholic say, “I do not understand why we should celebrate the Ascension. It was clear what Good Friday did for me and the benefits of Easter Sunday’s are not disputable, but as for the Ascension, what is it, why celebrate it? Beloved, as Marcellino D’Ambrosio noted, “The first thing to remember about the Ascension is that it is about sharing in Jesus’ joy. It is about celebrating His return to the heavenly glory to which He refused to cling (Phil 2:6-11). It is about rejoicing that His crown of thorns has been replaced with the kingly crown, that the mocking crowd at Calvary has been replaced with myriads of adoring angels. The Ascension is about Jesus’ triumph and glorification. Ascension is a feast of hope, He goes to prepare a place for us. (John 14:2) We will also one day wear crowns made of gold instead of thorns.
The beauty of the Ascension is heightened further after seeing it as a realization of the prophet, Daniel’s vision in Daniel 7:13-14: “ …and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a Son of Man, and He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom, one that shall not be destroyed.”Child of God, for you to endure until that blessed moment, we need divine power. He takes His place at God’s right hand so that He can pour out the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit, upon his disciples. (Ephesians 4:10) He promised His disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit who will be with them and guide them. The Gospel of Mark tells us of the great commission that was given to the Apostles by Jesus as He ascended into heaven. They had a mission to fulfil but one that could only be possible through the power from on high. He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem until such time as they had been baptized with the Holy Spirit promised by the Father. As He ascends, He tells the disciples to wait for this power. As such, Ascension invites us to prepare for Pentecost.
So, the Daily Strength Devotional family (All Users) like the Apostles of old in union with Mary the Mother of Jesus, will embark on a nine-day Pentecost fasting and prayer (Novena to the Holy Spirit), for everyone old, and young. Pope Leo XIII said, “We ought to pray and invoke the Holy Spirit for each one of us greatly needs His protection and help.” We need a “fresh visitation” of the Holy Spirit, we need a new Pentecost for we are getting weak in the things of the spirit, the fire in the hearts of many is going off, many are slacking in zeal, we do not love Him as we once did, earthly interests and occupations are preoccupying our minds more than eternal treasures. Beloved when do we need another Pentecost? When we would rather watch TV and read secular books and magazines than read the Bible and pray; when church dinners are better attended than prayer meetings; when concerts draw bigger crowds than prayer meetings; when we have little or no desire for prayer; when we would rather make money than give money; when our Christianity is joyless and passionless; when we have time for sports, recreation, and entertainment, but not for Bible study and prayer; when we do not tremble at the Word of God; when preaching lacks conviction, divine fire and anointing; when believers can be at odds with each other and not feel compelled to pursue reconciliation; when our children are growing up to adopt worldly values, secular philosophies, and ungodly lifestyles, spiritual laziness and ignorance. We need a “new Pentecost” “a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit”, “a new fall of the fire of the Holy Ghost” on us and the Church.
MASS: WHITE Acts 1:1-11; Ps 47:2-3.6-7.8-9 (R. 6); Eph 1:17-23; Accl. Mt 28:19a-20b; Mk 28:16-20THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD (SOLEMNITY) HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION
1. Examine your conscience and ask God for forgiveness.
2. “Father Lord, have mercy on me for my sins and hypocrisy in the name of Jesus.”
3. “Lord Jesus, let Your Fire and Your Blood purge my soul, body and spirit in the name of Jesus.”
4. “O Lord, make me a fountain of living waters as I embark on this nine-day Pentecost fasting and prayer in the name of Jesus.”
5. “Holy Spirit, break me down and re-mold me for Your use in the name of Jesus.”
6. “Pray the “Prayer to the Holy Spirit” by Cardinal Mercier in the Book AMEN: IT IS DONE.”
Exercise: Endeavor to reconcile to God and one another.
Meditation: Act 1:4-5