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Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA

Continually Praising God

The Ascension of the Lord


In both the first reading and the Gospel we are told about Christ’s glorious ascension into heaven. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians reminds us that Christ has been seated at God’s right hand in heaven, above every choir of angels. There might be a temptation to stay at an awed distance from Jesus Christ. However, the tone of today’s readings is far from that temptation. The tone is exultant and the message is urgent. We are to be his witnesses, and the Gospel describes the first witnesses this way: “[W]ith great joy . . . they were continually in the temple praising God” (Luke 24:53). How can we continually praise God? The answer can be found in the second reading, in which Paul prays that God will give us a “Spirit of wisdom and revelation” in order to know Christ clearly (Ephesians 1:17). We cannot stand at a distance. We are to be enlightened and empowered.

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Readings for the Week

Monday: Acts 19:1-8; Ps 68:2-3ab, 4-5acd, 6-7ab; Jn 16:29-33
Tuesday: Acts 20:17-27; Ps 68:10-11, 20-21; Jn 17:1-11a
Wednesday: Acts 20:28-38; Ps 68:29-30, 33-36ab; Jn 17:11b-19
Thursday: Acts 22:30; 23:6-11; Ps 16:1-2a, 5, 7-11; Jn 17:20-26
Friday: Acts 25:13b-21; Ps 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20ab; Jn 21:15-19
Saturday: Acts 1:15-17, 20-26; Ps 113:1-8; Jn 15:9-17
Sunday: Acts 2:1-11; Ps 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34; 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13; Jn 20:19-23

Treasures from Our Tradition

The Second Vatican Council decreed that the devotional life of the Church should be examined and reformed with an eye towards expressing Easter faith. This encouragement for creativity has deep roots in our tradition, and some attempts at reform show great promise. One of the great treasures in our devotional repertoire is a familiar feature of Lent: the Way of the Cross. The faithful walk a path recalling the events of Christ’s passion, a contemplative experience increasingly enriched these days by scripture and song. There are fourteen stations in the usual configuration, although in recent years, a fifteenth station of the Empty Tomb has been added. Why stop there? Why not develop a similar journey structured on the theme of the appearances of the Risen Lord? Over the last decade, a Via Lucis, or “Way of Light,” has developed as a companion to the Via Crucis. It has been celebrated at the Vatican and is catching on elsewhere. There are fourteen stations, beginning with the Women Carrying Spices to the Tomb, con-
tinuing with the familiar appearances of the Lord at Emmaus, the Upper Room, the shore of Tiberias. The journey ends with stations recalling the apostles’ wait with Mary for the advent of the Spirit, and with Pentecost. This is fertile ground indeed for the genius of artists, musicians, preachers, and liturgists. This is a living example of how many of our traditions are born to fill a great spiritual need, and spread to every corner of the Church. It may even come soon to a church near you. Maybe next Eastertime!