May 9, 2016

Ascension Thursday

The scriptures tell us that 40 days after Jesus rose from the dead, He ascended back to heaven and there He will remain until He comes again at the end of time to "judge the living and the dead."  The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord is one of my favorite feast days as it's a reminder that the mission and work of Jesus Christ is now up to all of us.  He is gone and won't be back until the end. So until then, we must carry on His ministry of making disciples of all nations.

The liturgical observance of the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord has been marked on a Thursday for centuries but about 15 years ago, most dioceses in the United States moved the feast to the following Sunday (the Seventh Sunday of Easter).  However, the feast is still celebrated on its traditional day in New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Nebraska.  When I left the Congregation of Holy Cross in May of 2002, I left for home on what was the Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend but when I got home that night, it was the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord in the Archdiocese of Boston (only geeks like me thing about stuff like that).

So, to mark the great feast we had a school-wide Mass this past Thursday.  We actually had two Masses as the entire senior class was leaving at 9am that morning to attend an event called New Hampshire Scholars.  Father Jason Jalbert, the director of vocations and secretary to Bishop Libasci, generously celebrated a simple Mass for our seniors at 8am.  Then at 9:15am, our chaplain Fr. Richard Dion celebrated Mass for the underclassmen.  He tied the feast to the fact that the seniors weren't here.  If we never saw them again, he said, what would be the stories we tell about them and how would we remember them.  He said this was the challenge and goal of the early Christians after Jesus ascended back to heaven.

The period from Ascension Thursday to Pentecost Sunday is normally a time of prayer for the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Thus, our morning prayers last Friday and all this week will be prayers to God the Holy Spirit.

No comments:

Post a Comment