Sunday, May 16, 2010

What Sunday is this?

For most of the catholic world this is the 7th Sunday after Easter; for the church of easy observance this is Ascension Sunday; on the old calendar it is Sunday within the Octave of Ascension. Here it is the middle one. I feel least comfortable with that option. For many it is not an onerous burden to have Ascension on Thursday as it was meant to be. Thursday is forty days after Easter. At one time in this non-catholic country, we were noticed, in part, on account of us having extra holidays, catholic holidays others did not recognise, and even snickered at, and demeaned. There are countries where Ascension Thursday is a public holiday [remember 'holiday' is another spelling of 'holy day']. It was a source of distinction, and a chance to share, and evangelise the faith; not so much now. With the new calendar, and the new Mass, one positive matter is the greater number of Scripture readings people hear in worship in the three year, and two year cycles. By the using of the middle option, the readings of the first option are not heard to-day.
Acts vii.55-60
Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit,

looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God

and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,

and Stephen said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened

and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

But they cried out in a loud voice,

covered their ears, and rushed upon him together.

They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.

The witnesses laid down their cloaks

at the feet of a young man named Saul.

As they were stoning Stephen, he called out,

“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice,

“Lord, do not hold this sin against them;”

and when he said this, he fell asleep.

Apoc. xxii. 12-14, 16-17, 20

I, John, heard a voice saying to me:

“Behold, I am coming soon.

I bring with me the recompense I will give to each

according to his deeds.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last,

the beginning and the end.”

Blessed are they who wash their robes

so as to have the right to the tree of life

and enter the city through its gates.

“I, Jesus, sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches.

I am the root and offspring of David,

the bright morning star.”

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”

Let the hearer say, “Come.”

Let the one who thirsts come forward,

and the one who wants it receive the gift of life-giving water.

The one who gives this testimony says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

Gospel of John xvii. 20-26

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:

“Holy Father, I pray not only for them,

but also for those who will believe in me through their word,

so that they may all be one,

as you, Father, are in me and I in you,

that they also may be in us,

that the world may believe that you sent me.

And I have given them the glory you gave me,

so that they may be one, as we are one,

I in them and you in me,

that they may be brought to perfection as one,

that the world may know that you sent me,

and that you loved them even as you loved me.

Father, they are your gift to me.

I wish that where I am they also may be with me,

that they may see my glory that you gave me,

because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,

but I know you, and they know that you sent me.

I made known to them your name and I will make it known,

that the love with which you loved me

may be in them and I in them.”

The stoning of the protomartyr Stephen and the apostle Paul's[Saul's] rĂ´le is a story we need to hear. The second reading is virtually the last words of Scripture, there is only one more verse, it is a final salutation and "Amen". "Amen" is the last word of Scripture. Most, here, missed these words at church to-day.
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supra windows: Ascension. John Cantius, Cleveland.
Stoning of Stephen. St. Stephen, Cleveland.
Alpha. Omega. St. Anthony of Padua, Akron.

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