Father Valan Arockiaswamy

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HOMILIES

Close Dear Audience,
For better understanding of the spiritual message behind this homily I kindly remind you to first read and contemplate the biblical texts before reading or listening to my preaching - a human reflection on the Word of God!

The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Year B)

May 12, 2024 Views 466 Listen 2 Downloads 0
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First Reading

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles (1:1-11)

In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for "the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

When they had gathered together they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" He answered them, "It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established 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, and to the ends of the Earth."

When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven."

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalms of David (47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9)


(R)God mounts His throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.

All you peoples clap your hands, shout to God with cries of gladness; for the Lord, the Most High, the awesome, is the great king over all the Earth. (R)

God mounts His throne amid shouts of joy; the Lord, amid trumpet blasts. Sing praise to God, sing praise; sing praise to our king, sing praise. (R)

For king of all the Earth is God; sing hymns of praise. God reigns over the nations, God sits upon His holy throne. (R)

Second Reading

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians (1:17-23)

Brothers and sisters: May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of Him.

May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in His inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of His great might, which He worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at His right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come.

And he put all things beneath Christ's feet and gave him as head over all thing to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.

Gospel

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (16:15-20)

Jesus said to his disciples: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. The will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.

(P) The Gospel of the Lord.
(R) Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Homily

The Liturgical year of the Catholic Church is divided into six seasons - Advent, Christmas, Lent, Holy Week, Easter and Ordinary Time. In addition the Church observes memorials, feasts and solemnities. The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord is one of the great solemnities. It occurs on the fortieth day after Easter Sunday, which always falls on a Thursday, and often passes unnoticed by the majority of Christians. So, many churches move the Ascension Day to the following Sunday to ensure more people participate in the celebration.

What is the meaning and importance of the ascension of Jesus Christ?

Today's readings, from the Book of Acts (1:9-11), the Gospel of Mark (16:15-20) and the Gospel of Luke (24:50-53) give a detailed account of Jesus' ascension.

You may remember since Easter Sunday we have been reading several familiar stories of Jesus' post resurrection appearances to his disciples. During his appearances Jesus greeted them with peace and talked to them. He walked with them to Emmaus and explained the scriptures to them. He showed them his wounds and asked them to touch him. He shared a meal with them. He dispelled their doubts and fears, and proved to them that he is alive. He instructed them not to leave Jerusalem until they had received power from the Holy Spirit.

On the fortieth day, while the disciples had gathered in Jerusalem, Jesus appeared before them for the last time. They asked him whether he was going to "restore the kingdom of Israel" at the time. Jesus said to them that "it is not for them to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by His own authority but that they would be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and bear witness to the gospel". He then charged them to "go out into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to everyone, to heal the sick, to cast out demons and told them that no deadly or poisonous thing will harm them".

Jesus' appearance ended with him being "taken up into heaven and seated at the right hand of God" in their sight. After Jesus had ascended to heaven, the disciples received the Holy Spirit, as Jesus had promised, and then they went everywhere preaching the gospel of Jesus, healing people and working many signs and wonders with the help of the Holy Spirit. This is the event we commemorate today.

The Ascension of the Lord is important for two reasons.

  • With the Ascension Jesus decisively ended his time on Earth and entered into God's heavenly domain, so that his own words should be fulfilled. He had told his disciples, "No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man", John (3:13). He had said to Mary Magdalene at the tomb, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God", John (20:17). Jesus had descended from heaven in the Incarnation and returned to heaven in the ascension.

    However, he ascended to heaven not only to return to where he came from but also to prepare a place for those who believe in him. He said, "In my Father's house there are many rooms. If it weren't so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you", John (14:2). Yes, the Ascension of the Lord is a great consolation to all who are afraid of death or afraid of dying. Let us, therefore, encourage one another to remember that Jesus descended, died, resurrected and ascended into heaven for us. Let us believe and live in the hope of one day being with him in God's kingdom forever.

  • Jesus Christ, having entered heaven once again, intercedes constantly for us for the power of the Holy Spirit which is very essential to the life of faith in Christ. Jesus said, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I don't go away the Holy Spirit won't come to you. But If I go, I will send him to you", John (16:7). Jesus has not promised to restore to us our health, family, relationships, work, fortunes and finances according to our own times, ways, thoughts, plans and desires but in God's time. Meanwhile he has promised us the power of the Holy Spirit so that we can courageously preach his gospel, minister healing in his name, wisely deal with difficult people and take on evil and win.

Let us today, therefore, earnestly pray for ourselves and our Church that we may be blessed with all joy and peace in believing in the ascension of the Lord and continue to seek the gifts of the Holy Spirit - the fear of God, piety, knowledge, fortitude, counsel, understanding and wisdom.

(P) Amen.

God Bless You!

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