YOU WILL BE MY WITNESSES TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH

HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF ASCENSION. MAY 24, 2020.

 “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God”.

My dearest friends in Christ,

As the disciples were gathered around the mountain in Galilee, we have gathered in this church and around this altar to celebrate the feast of the glorious Ascension of Christ into Heaven. It is a feast we are celebrating amidst mixed feelings. On the one hand, we are grieved, like the Apostles, for the physical separation of Christ. On the other hand, we are happy He has gone to prepare a place for us at the Right Hand of the Father and He will come back again to take us to be with Him Thus in the words of Leo the Great:
Today we are not only made possessors of Paradise but with Christ, we have ascended, mystically but also really, to the highest Heavens and have won through Christ a grace more wonderful than the one we had lost.” ( Excerpt from F. Fernandez in Conversation with God, Vol. II, p. 550).

The Ascension of Christ into Heaven should not be understood as separation from us, as if He has left the world to run on its own. “It would be a mistake to interpret the Ascension as the temporary absence of Christ from the world. Rather, we go to Heaven to the extent that we go to Jesus Christ and enter into Him. Heaven is a Person: Jesus Himself is what we call Heaven.” Pope Benedict XVI, Excerpt from Magnificat, Vol. 21, No. 3, May 2019, p. 416. 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_.” (Homily of John Paul II 24 May 1979)

On this great feast, we celebrate the completion of Jesus’ Paschal Mystery and His earthly Mission. Before He was lifted up in the sight of His disciples He charged them with the responsibility of the Mission of being His witnesses, as we saw in the first reading. In the gospel He made it clearer to them and to us gathered here, to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations”. This Mission entrusted to us will be pushed into force with the reception of the Holy Spirit. That is why Jesus asked the disciples to remain in Jerusalem until they had received the Spirit. Now in retrospect, I would say the immediate disciples of Jesus did a very good job in their commitment to this Mission. Thanks to them and the Holy Spirit we are believers today. Thanks to the Fathers of the Church and earlier missionaries who, inspired by apostolic zeal and the Holy Spirit, brought the Gospel to us at the expense of their comfort. They made great sacrifices for the Gospel to take its root in the ends of the earth.

To us who are beneficiaries of God’s Spirit and the sacrificial efforts of those who came before us, to what extent are we committed to witnessing this Mission in a world that is becoming more secular, anti-clerical, and violent to the Gospel of Christ? More than in the past generations, we have a greater challenge to witnessing this Mission. The martyrs of the Church shed their blood for this Gospel to take root. Ours may not be to the point of shedding our blood, but involves the denunciation of our worldly ambitions, desires, and pleasures in order to fully embrace the Cross of Christ and uncompromisingly defend and propagate the Gospel message.

The world needs to be told the Truth; the Truth that will lead us out of darkness into Christ’s wonderful Light, Life, and Salvation. Our words, and actions must reflect the testimony we bear. We must not let the Light of Faith entrusted to us be extinguished in our hands. “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which He looks with compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which He blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are His body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
–Teresa of Avila

This mission is not an easy one, hence Paul in his letter to the Ephesians in the second reading of today, prayed, “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to this call”. Truly our minds need to be illuminated to understand this Mission and responsibility that Christ entrusted to us.

Let us not be afraid because all power and authority in Heaven and on earth have been given to Christ. Let us not mourn His physical absence because He is in each one of us in the Spirit and intercedes for us at the Right Hand of the Father.

May God strengthen His grace within us to be His faithful witnesses in our world.

I keep you and your family always in my prayers. ©Clem C. Aladi.

Reflect on the word of God daily

PLEASE JOIN IN THE NOVENA TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

Catholic Prayers: Novena to the Holy Spirit

ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
On my knees,, before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body, to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You, I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light and listen to Your voice and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds and trusting in His
Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, so to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Ghost, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say
to You always and everywhere, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant heareth.” Amen

PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Christ Jesus, before ascending into heaven, You promised to send the Holy Spirit to Your apostles and disciples.

Grant that the same Spirit may perfect in our lives the work of Your grace and love.

Grant us the Spirit of Fear Of The Lord that we may be filled with a loving reverence toward You.

the Spirit of Piety that we may find peace and fulfillment in the service of God while serving others;

the Spirit of Fortitude that we may bear our cross with You and, with courage, overcome the obstacles that interfere with our salvation;

the Spirit of Knowledge that we may know You and know ourselves and grow in holiness;

the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten our minds with the light of Your truth;

the Spirit of Counsel that we may choose the surest way of doing Your will, seeking first the Kingdom;

Grant us the Spirit of Wisdom that we may aspire to the things that last forever;

Teach us to be Your faithful disciples and animate us in every way with Your Spirit.

Amen.

FIRST DAY
Creation Awaits Fulfillment
Holy Spirit, Lord of light!
From Your clear celestial height, Your pure’ beaming radiance give!
Almighty and eternal God, send forth Your Spirit, who brought order from chaos at the beginning of the universe, and peace to the Lord’s disciples.

Grant that I, as your creation, baptized in your Spirit, may be filled with the seven gifts so that I may forever do your will and renew the face of the earth.

Amen.

Pray: Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory be
Pray: Act Of Consecration to the Holy Spirit & Prayer For The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

SECOND DAY
Christ’s Promise To Send The Paraclete
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, treasures which endure!
Come, Light of all that live!
Come, O Blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, fill me with devotion to God alone.

In the Risen Christ, I welcome You, O Spirit of truth, whom the Father sends in Jesus’ name.

Wash clean the sinful soul, and rain down your grace that we may be one with the Church in fidelity to our Lord Jesus, Christ.

Amen.

Pray: Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory be
Pray: Act Of Consecration to the Holy Spirit & Prayer For The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

THIRD DAY
The Soul Of Christ’s Body, The Church
Thou, of all consolers, best, Visiting the troubled breast
Dost refreshing peace bestow.

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart.

God, our Father, may I, through the grace of your Spirit, be forever filled with filial affection for you.

Grant that I may be inspired to love and respect all members of your family as brothers and sisters of Jesus, who, together with him, call you Abba, Father.

Amen.

Pray: Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory be
Pray: Act Of Consecration to the Holy Spirit & Prayer For The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

FOURTH DAY
The Dignity Of The Christian
Thou, in toil art comfort sweet; Pleasant coolness in the heat; Solace in the midst of woe.
Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity. O, Divine Trinity, grant that we may be strengthened to see in ourselves and each other the dignity that is ours as temples of Your Holy Spirit, to be loved by one another as each of us is loved by Jesus.

We ask this through Christ, our Lord.

Amen.

Pray: Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory be
Pray: Act Of Consecration to the Holy Spirit & Prayer For The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

FIFTH DAY
Gifted To Serve And Build Others Up
Light immortal! Light Divine! Visit Thou these hearts of Thine, And our inmost being fill!
Come, 0 Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father.

Father, through Your Spirit, You invite us to participate in the fullness of Creation.

Help me to see that all gifts are from You and intended for your Glory.

For there are many different gifts, but always the same Spirit, many ways of serving, but ‘always the same Lord.

Amen.

Pray: Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory be
Pray: Act Of Consecration to the Holy Spirit & Prayer For The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

SIXTH DAY
Human Weakness And Sinfulness
If Thou take Thy grace away, Nothing pure in man will stay, All his good is turn’d to ill.
Come, 0 Blessed Spirit of Understanding, enlighten our minds so that we may appreciate and see more fully what we know by faith.

Come to us in our weakness and give voice to our petitions, for “the prayers that the
Spirit makes for God’s holy people are always in accordance with the mind of God.”

Pray: Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory be
Pray: Act Of Consecration to the Holy Spirit & Prayer For The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

SEVENTH DAY
Growth In The Freedom That Love Gives
Heal our wounds – our strength renew; On our dryness, pour thy dew; Wash the stains of guilt away!
Come, 0 Blessed Spirit of Counsel. Make my thoughts holy, my love pure, and my works pleasing to God.

Father, guided by Your Spirit, may I strive to make loving choices and respect all life. May we be aware of our dignity as Your sons and daughters, redeemed with the Blood of Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

Amen.

Pray: Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory be
Pray: Act Of Consecration to the Holy Spirit & Prayer For The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

EIGHTH DAY
Gifted Through The Spirit
Bend the stubborn heart and will; Melt the frozen, warm the chill; Guide the steps that go astray!
Come, 0 Blessed Spirit of Wisdom, strengthen my faith, increase my hope, perfect my charity.

Father, enlighten us each day, in the silence of our hearts, to discern the voice of
Your Spirit, to do what He asks of us and to understand the gifts He freely gives us.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Pray: Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory be
Pray: Act Of Consecration to the Holy Spirit & Prayer For The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

NINTH DAY
Sent With The Power To Reconcile
Thou on those who evermore,
Thee confess and Thee adore,
In Thy sevenfold gifts, descend;
Give them comfort when they die; Give them life with Thee on high; Give them joys which never end. Amen.
Father, through Jesus, Your Son, You sent the Paraclete to be at our side, to reconcile all Creation to you.

Grant that I may be forever open to Jesus’ invitation to “Receive The Holy Spirit!” Father, open our hearts to accept Your forgiveness for our sins and to offer that same forgiveness to those who we feel have offended us.

For merciful forgiveness is the essence of Your love revealed in Your Son.

Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Your Heavenly Fruits – Your charity, joy, peace patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness and temperance, that I may, by faithful submission to your Inspiration, merit to be united eternally with You in the love of the Father and the Son.

Amen.

Pray: Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory be
Pray: Act Of Consecration to the Holy Spirit & Prayer For The Seven Gifts of the Holy
Spirit
A novena is a practice where a prayer or groups of prayers are recited for nine consecutive days for special intentions and petitions. The praying of a novena draws its origin from the practice of the disciples who prayed in the upper room for the nine days between the ascension of our Lord and the arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Picayune, MS http://www.scborromeo.org

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