THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST (Year B) – 24th June 2018

Theme: JOHN THE BAPTIST PREPARED THE PEOPLE FOR THE COMING OF THE LORD

  • Isaiah 49:1-6;
  • Psalm 138 (139): 1-3. 13-15. R/ v. 14;
  • Acts 13:22-26
  • Luke 1:57-66. 80

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist. We celebrate the Birth of John the Baptist, because he prepared the people for the coming of the Lord!

The gospel today tells us about the birth, circumcision and naming of John the Baptist. John was born of old age parents and his mother was barren. John’s birth was from God. John was circumcised to initiate him into the people of Israel. The name John means “God is gracious”! God was gracious to John’s old age barren parents in the birth of John and more importantly, God was gracious because John heralded the coming of the Lord! (Lefrois) The gospel ends with the people asking:

“What will this child turn out to be?”

The answer is in the Canticle of Zechariah (CSB):

“As for you, little child, you shall be called a prophet of God, the Most High. You shall go ahead of the Lord to prepare his ways before him.” (cf. Lk 1:76; Gospel Acclamation; SM)

Indeed the second reading tells us that he will prepare the way of the Lord by proclaiming a baptism of repentance and by declaring that he was not the one the people imagined him to be and that the one was coming after him whose sandals he was not worthy to undo! Thus we read in the second reading:

“God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Savior, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said, ‘I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.’” (Ac 13:23-25; SM)

The first reading is taken from the second of four suffering servant songs of Isaiah. The first reading was chosen to tell us about the birth of John the Baptist (Fuller), but more importantly, the first reading tells us about our Savior Jesus Christ whom John heralded!

The first reading tells us that our Savior Jesus Christ will come as a Suffering Servant of God. Though innocent, he will suffer and die for the salvation of sinners! Vicarious suffering! Vicarious sacrifice!

Thus he will be “the light of the nations” (Is 49:6; SM). Light in the New Testament symbolizes three things: (i) Light symbolizes faith in God as opposed to unbelief which is darkness and blindness. (ii) Light symbolizes life, happiness and contentment as opposed to death, misery and unhappiness which is darkness. (iii) Light symbolizes good as opposed to evil which is darkness. (Lk 2:32; Acts 13:47; Jn 8:12b; NJB)

More importantly, the three are connected, that is, faith in God brings new life from God and that new life is good! Most importantly, in the end, light will overcome darkness, faith will overcome unbelief, life will overcome death and good will over come evil! And that would be the salvation of the world! Thus we read in the first reading:

“I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Is 49:6; SM)

The responsorial psalm was also chosen to tell us about the birth of John the Baptist (Fuller), thus the response: “I thank you for the wonder of my being”. (Ps 138 (139): 14; SM)

But originally, the responsorial psalm tells us that God is all knowing! (NJBC)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us that God is all knowing. God knows even our “thoughts” and our “ways”! (vv. 1-3) The second and third stanzas tell us that God knows us because God created us! (vv. 13-15)

To know is to love! We cannot love someone we do not know! God knows us, loves us, and saves us, so that we can be happy with him forever! We know God, love God, and serve God, so that we can be happy with him forever! To know is to love, to love is to serve, and to serve is to be happy forever! The same is true of knowing, loving, serving and being happy with our neighbor forever!

As we celebrate the Solemnity of The Birth of John the Baptist today, let us thank God for John the Baptist, and let us thank God especially for Jesus Christ whom he heralded, and let us ask God to help us to be John the Baptist, to prepare the way for the Second Coming of the Lord, to prepare the people for the Second Coming of the Lord by announcing the Gospel of the Lord! A happy and blessed feast day to all of you!

 

Amen!

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 17th June 2018

Theme: THE KINGDOM OF GOD WILL COME IN ALL ITS FULLNESS AT THE END OF TIME

  • Ezekiel 17:22-24;
  • Psalm 91 (92): 2-3. 13-16. R/ cf. v. 2;
  • 2 Corinthians 5:6-10
  • Mark 4:26-34 

Today we celebrate the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that the Kingdom of God will come in all its fullness at the end of time! (NJBC)

The gospel today tells us of two parables; the “parable of the seed growing by itself” and the “parable of the mustard seed”. (NJB)

The first “parable of the seed growing by itself” tells us that the kingdom of God is like a man who sowed the seed and the seed grew by itself. Whether the man was awake or asleep, the seed grew by itself! And when harvest time came the man reaped the crop!

The first parable tells us that the kingdom of God will come in all its fullness at the end of time, because it is God who makes his kingdom grow! We are therefore not to be discouraged or impatient, even in the face of difficulties, sufferings, problems, failures or persecutions! (NJBC)

We are to do what Jesus Christ did, that is, to sow the seed of the kingdom, that is, to preach the word of God, to proclaim the good news (Gospel Acclamation), and God will make the seed grow into his kingdom! As Paul the preacher says in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7:

“I did the planting, Apollos did the watering, but God gave growth. In this, neither the planter not the waterer counts for anything; only God, who gives growth.” (NJB)

The second “parable of the mustard seed” tells us that the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed which is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grew, it grew into the biggest shrub of all and all the birds settled in it!

Again, the second parable tells us that the kingdom of God will come in all its fullness at the end of time, but more than that, the second parable tells us that the kingdom of God will include all the nations of the world! (CSB)

To begin with, the kingdom of God is not the kingdom of man. The kingdom of man is a political, nationalistic and military kingdom; but the kingdom of God is a kingdom of love, joy and peace! The kingdom of God includes all the kingdoms of man!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the Lord will plant a cedar tree, that is, a large evergreen tree, and all the birds will settle in it!

The first reading tells us that the Lord will restore the kingdom of David through David’s descendant!

But again, it will not be King David’s political, nationalistic and military kingdom; but it will be the kingdom of love, joy and peace of Jesus Christ! A kingdom that will include all the kingdoms of the world!

The responsorial psalm is a psalm of thanksgiving! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“It is good to give you thanks, O Lord.” (Ps 91 (92): 2; SM)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza gives thanks to God for his love and faithfulness/truth (Faley)! (v. 3; SM) Love and faithfulness are the two attributes of God! (Ex 34:6c; NJB)

The second and third stanzas tell us that God protects, rewards and blesses the just! (CSB; NJBC; IBC) The second stanza tells us that the just will be prosperous and live long lives (HCSB)! (v. 13; SM) The third stanza tells us that the just will be fertile even when they are old! (v. 15; SM)

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but the second reading has something important to tell us. The second reading tells us that we live by faith, not by sight!

Like Paul we would like to be in heaven with the Lord and to see him face to face, but we are on earth. We are to live by faith not by sight.

We are to please the Lord by doing good and by avoiding evil. For if we do good we will see the Lord in heaven, but if we do evil we will not see the Lord in heaven!

Today in the Eucharist, we give thanks to God for his kingdom and we ask God to continue to make his kingdom grow. We also ask God to help us sow the seed of his kingdom, that is, to preach his word, to proclaim the good news. We also ask God to help us please him by doing good and by avoiding evil, so that one day; we will be with him in heaven! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you!     Amen!

10th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 10th June 2018

Theme: WITH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST WE CAN CAST OUT THE DEVIL AND DESTROY SIN AND DEATH

  • Genesis 3:9-15
  • Psalm 129 (130). R/ v. 7
  • 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
  • Mark 3:20-35

Dear friends,

Today is the 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that with faith in Jesus Christ we can cast out devils and destroy sin and death! 

The first reading tells us that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and committed the Original Sin of Pride. It was the serpent who tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit and Eve ate it and gave it to Adam and Adam ate it. Thus God told the serpent that He will put enmity between the woman and the serpent and her offspring will crush the head of the serpent. Christian tradition tells us that the serpent is the devil, the woman is Mary, and the offspring of the woman is Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ will crush the head of the Devil! This is the first “Gospel” of the whole Bible!

Indeed the Gospel today tells us that Jesus cast out devils! The scribes said that Jesus cast out devils through the prince of the devils (Beelzebul). But Jesus said he casts out devils through the power of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit. In today’s Gospel the devil is the strong man, but Jesus is the stronger man who tied up the devil the strong man and burgled his house! Jesus tied up the devil and cast him out!

The first paragraph of the second reading today tells us that St. Paul preached the Good News relying on faith, but his opponents, the false apostles relied on their own qualifications and achievements to preach the Good News.

Today we too like St. Paul rely on faith to preach the Good News and to cast out devils and to destroy sin and death! The devil is stronger than us, that is why like Adam and Eve we sin and experience death, but with faith in Jesus Christ we are stronger than the devil and we tie up the devil and cast him out and save the world!

That is why we responded three times in the responsorial psalm: “With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.”! With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of salvation! Salvation comes from faith in Jesus Christ! Faith in His love, faith in His mercy, faith in His grace! A Happy and Blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!

The Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi (Year B) – 2nd June 2018

Theme: ONLY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST CAN PURIFY US FROM SINS 

  • Exodus 24:3-8;
  • Psalm 115 (116): 12-13. 15-18. R/ v. 13;
  • Hebrews 9:11-15
  • Mark 14:12-16. 22-26

Today we celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. The readings today tell us that the blood of animals cannot purify us from sins. Only the blood of Christ can purify us from sins.

The first reading tells us about the sealing of the Sinai Covenant. The Sinai Covenant was sealed with the blood of animals. Moses poured half of the blood of the animals on the altar and half of the blood towards the people. Blood symbolizes life and purification. The pouring of half of the blood on the altar and half towards the people symbolizes union and communion with God and keeping the commandments of God. Thus we read in the first reading:

“Half of the blood Moses took up and put into basins, the other half he cast on the altar. And taking the Book of the Covenant he read it to the listening people, and they said, ‘We will observe all that the Lord has decreed; we will obey.’ Then Moses took the blood and cast it towards the people. ‘This’ he said ‘is the blood of the Covenant that the Lord has made with you, containing all these rules.’” (Ex 24:6-8/SM)

The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving to God for salvation from death. (CSB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“The cup of salvation I will raise; I will call on the Lord’s name.” (Ps 115 (116): 13)

The second reading tells us that the blood of animals cannot purify us from sins. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can purify us from sins. The blood of animals can only purify us externally, ritually and legally, but the blood of Jesus Christ can purify us internally. The blood of Jesus Christ can purify us from sins, and save us from death, so that we serve the living God! Thus we read in the second reading:

“How much more effectively the blood of Christ, who offered himself as the perfect sacrifice to God through the eternal Spirit, can purify our inner self from dead actions so that we do our service to the living God.” (Heb 9:14/SM)

The gospel tells us of the institution of the Eucharist. (NJB) Jesus Christ instituted the Eucharist to give us his body to eat and his blood to drink; to forgive our sins, to save us from death, so that we serve the living God. Thus we read in the gospel:

“And as they were eating he took some bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to them. ‘Take it,’ he said ‘this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had returned thanks he gave it to them, and all drank from it, and he said to them, ‘This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many. I tell you solemnly, I shall not drink any more wine until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God.’” (Mk 14:22-25/SM)

Today in the Eucharist we will do the four actions that Jesus did in the institution of the Eucharist. We will take (Preparation of the Gifts/Offertory). We will bless/thank (Eucharistic Prayer). We will break (Break the Bread). And we will give (Holy Communion).

We will eat his body and drink his blood and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit to forgive our sins, and to save us from death, so that we will serve the living God!

Amen!

The Most Holy Trinity (Year B) – 27th May 2018

Theme: THE MYSTERY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY IS THE MYSTERY OF GOD’S LOVE FOR US

  • Deuteronomy 4:32-34. 39-40;
  • Psalm 32 (33): 4-6. 9. 18-20. 22. R/ v. 12;
  • Romans 8:14-17
  • Matthew 28:16-20

Today we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Trinity; three persons in one God and one God in three persons; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit; God the Father creates, God the Son saves, and God the Holy Spirit sanctifies; God the Father creates out of love, God the Son saves out of love, and God the Holy Spirit sanctifies out of love! The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the mystery of God’s love for us!

God the Father created us out of love, but when we sinned, God loved us even more. He became man and came down to earth to save us, but when we killed him on the cross, He loved us even more. He rose from the dead and gave us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not dwell in heaven nor on earth, but the Holy Spirit dwells in us and within us, loving us from inside us; nearer to us than we are to ourselves, knowing us more than we know ourselves, and loving us more than we love ourselves.

The Holy Spirit will continue to love us until we love God back, until we love our neighbor, and until we love ourselves. Again, the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the mystery of God’s love for us. It is not about believing in one God or three Gods. It is about believing in a God of love, mercy and forgiveness who can save us; it is not about believing in a God of law, justice and punishment who cannot save us.

Someone of another religion said that he cannot believe that God can become man, God can die, and that we can even eat God in the Eucharist! But this is precisely what we Christians believe! We Christians believe in a God of love, mercy and forgiveness who can save us! That someone believes in a God of law, justice and punishment who cannot save us! I believe that that someone will also believe in the Trinity if he is here tonight to listen to the good news! The good news gives faith!

The readings today tell us about the Most Holy Trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The first reading tells us about God the Father. The first reading tells us that God the Father created us and gave us laws and commandments to keep so that we and our children will be prosperous and live long lives! Thus we read in the first reading:

 “Moses said to the people: ‘Put this question to the ages that are past, that went before you, from the time God created man on earth: Was there ever a word so majestic, from one end of heaven to the other? Was anything ever heard? …. Keep his laws and commandments as I give them to you today so that you and your children may prosper and live long in the land that the Lord your God gives you for ever.’” (Dt 4:32. 40) 

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. Stanzas one and two tell us that God created the universe by a mere word. Stanzas three and four tell us that God chose us and our response to God’s choice. (CSB) Thus we read in the second stanza of the responsorial psalm:

  “By his word the heavens were made, by the breath of his mouth all the stars. He spoke; and they came to be. He commanded; they sprang into being.” (Ps 32 (33): 6. 9)

And thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Happy the people the Lord has chosen as his own.” (Ps 32 (33): 12)    

The gospel tells us that when we sinned God loved us even more! He became man and came down to earth to save us. But when we killed him on the cross, he loved us even more. He rose from the dead and gave us the Holy Spirit and sent us out to make disciples of all the nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, so that all may receive the Holy Spirit and keep the commandments of God.

The gospel also tells us that He will be with us until the end of time, that is, he will be with us in the Holy Spirit until the end of time. Note that in the gospel of Matthew that we read today, there is no Ascension, and there is not even Pentecost! The Ascension and Pentecost are in the Resurrection! (Faley) Thus we read in the gospel today:

“Jesus said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.’” (Mt 28:18-20) 

The second reading tells us that the Holy Spirit makes us into children of God, calling God, ‘Abba, Father!’ And as children of God we are heirs of God and coheirs with Jesus Christ, sharing in his sufferings so as to share in his glory! Thus we read in the second reading:

  “Everyone moved by the Spirit is a son of God. The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself and our spirit bear united witness that we are children of God. And if we are children we are heirs as well: heirs of God and coheirs with Christ, sharing his sufferings so as to share his glory.” (Rm 8:14-17) 

Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and our Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit, and send us out to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, so that they will receive the Holy Spirit and keep the commandments of God; and so that they will become the children of God, calling God, ‘Abba, Father!’; and so that they will be heirs of God and coheirs with Jesus Christ, sharing in his sufferings so as to share in his glory. Amen!

Pentecost Sunday (Year A, B, C) – 20th May 2018

Theme: THE HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERS US TO PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS TO RENEW THE EARTH IN LOVE AND UNITY   

  • Acts 2:1-11;
  • Psalm 103: 1. 24. 29-31. 34. R. cf v. 30;
  • 1 Corinthians 12:3-7. 12-13
  • John 20:19-23 

Today we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, that is, the descend of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost was originally a harvest festival which began at the Passover. The word Pentecost means fifty. Just as our Kadazandusun brothers and sisters celebrate harvest festival for the whole month of May climaxing at the end of May, the Jews also celebrated their harvest festival for fifty days climaxing on the day of Pentecost. Later the feast of Pentecost became a celebration of the giving of the Law to Moses at Mount Sinai. In the New Testament Pentecost became a celebration of the giving of the Holy Spirit! (Fuller) As creatures we need food, as human beings we need the law, and as children of God we need the Holy Spirit of God!

Another important point to note is that there are two different accounts of Pentecost in today’s readings. The gospel of John tells us that Pentecost happened on Easter Sunday, but the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles tells us that Pentecost happened fifty days after Easter Sunday. The Acts of the Apostles also tell us that the Ascension happened forty days after the Resurrection, but the gospel of Luke also written by Luke tells us that the Ascension happened on the day of the Resurrection. Again, in the gospel of John there is no “speaking in tongues” on the day of Pentecost, but in the Acts of the Apostles there is “speaking in tongues” on the day of Pentecost. The details are not as important as the essentials. The essentials are these: Jesus Christ died, rose from the dead, and gave the Holy Spirit!

The gospel today tells us that on the day of His resurrection the Lord gave the Holy Spirit to the disciples and sent them out to proclaim the good news so that those who believe and are baptized will have their sins forgiven, but those who do not believe and are not baptized will not have their sins forgiven. Thus we read in the gospel:

“And he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.’ After saying this he breathed on them and said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.’” (Jn 20:21-23)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us that after receiving the Holy Spirit the Apostles spoke in foreign languages. Note that Luke changed the words “speaking in tongues” to “speaking in foreign languages” to indicate the universal mission of the Church to proclaim the good news of the Resurrection! The universal mission of the Church is symbolized by the Jews from all the nations!

The first reading also tells us that the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of unity. The Holy Spirit unites all the languages and nations of the world. Pentecost undoes and reverses the Tower of Babel (Gn 11:1-9) where and when the people were confused in their language and were divided and scattered all over the world! Thus we read in the first reading:

“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.

Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language.” (Ac 2: 4-6)

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that the Holy Spirit does not only create the earth, but the Holy Spirit also sustains the earth. More importantly, the responsorial psalm tells us that the Holy Spirit does not only sustain the earth, but the Holy Spirit also renews the earth! Thus the second stanza of the responsorial psalm:

“You take back your spirit, they die, returning to the dust from which they came. You send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the earth.” (Ps 103 (104): 29-30)

And thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.” (Ps 103 (104): 30)

Like the first reading, the second reading also tells us that the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of unity. Thus we read in the second reading:

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Co 12: 4-7. 12-13/HCSB)

Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit, and send us forth to proclaim the good news of his resurrection to renew the earth in love and unity!   Amen!

THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD (B)

Theme: THE LORD ASCENDS INTO HEAVEN IN ORDER TO SEND US THE HOLY SPIRIT SO THAT WE TOO MAY ASCEND INTO HEAVEN WITH HIM IN GLORY 

  • Acts 1:1-11;
  • Psalm 46 (47): 2-3. 6-9. R/ v. 6;
  • Ephesians 4:1-7. 11-13
  • Mark 16:15-20 

Today we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord into heaven in glory, Liturgical Year B. Next Sunday we will celebrate Pentecost Sunday, that is, the descend of the Holy Spirit! The Easter Season of fifty days which began on Easter Sunday will end next Sunday with Pentecost Sunday.

The readings today tell us that the Lord ascends into heaven, not to abandon us, but to send us the Holy Spirit, so that we may do his work on earth, and so that one day we too may ascend into heaven with him in glory!

The gospel today tells us that after his resurrection and before his ascension, the Lord sent his apostles out into the world to preach the Good News, so that those who believe and are baptized will be saved, but those who do not believe and are not baptized will not be saved!

And these are the signs associated with believers, that is, in the name of Jesus, they will drive out devils, they will speak in tongues, they will pick up snakes in their hands, and even if they drink poison they will not die, and they will heal the sick.

But more importantly, the gospel tells us that the Lord has ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father in glory! But most importantly, the gospel tells us that the apostles went out preaching and the Lord was working with them confirming their words with signs! The Lord was with them in the Holy Spirit!

The first reading tells us that after his resurrection the Lord spent forty days with his disciples instructing them on the kingdom of God, preparing them to preach the kingdom of God! Moses also spent forty days on the mountain and Jesus also spent forty days in the desert to prepare for their ministries!

More importantly, the first reading tells us that after forty days, the Lord will ascend into heaven in order to send down the Holy Spirit on the apostles, so that they will become his witnesses, not only in Jerusalem, but also in Judaea, and Samaria and indeed to the ends of the earth! That is, not only in Jerusalem where Jesus died, rose from the dead and gave the Holy Spirit, but also in Judaea, that is, to all the Jews, and also in Samaria, that is, to the “half-Jews”, and indeed to the ends of the earth, that is, to the non-Jews, the gentiles, the pagans!

But most importantly, the first reading tells us that the Lord has been taken up into heaven in a cloud. And when the disciples were staring at him into the sky, two men in white (angels) appeared to them and said to them, ‘Men of Galilee, why are you staring into the sky, the Jesus that has been taken up into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him go’, that is, he will return in a cloud in glory at the Parousia, that is, at his Second Coming at the end of the world, when all will be saved!

The Responsorial Psalm is a hymn calling on all the nations of the earth to acknowledge the universal rule of the God of Israel who is enthroned as king of Israel and as king of all the nations! (CSB)

The Responsorial Psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza (vv. 2-3) calls on all the nations to acknowledge the universal rule of the God of Israel. The second and third stanzas (vv. 6-9) tells us that the God of Israel is enthroned as king of Israel and as king of all the nations!

In the liturgy today the Responsorial Psalm tells us about the Ascension of the Lord into heaven in glory! (CSB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“God goes up with shouts of joy; the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.” (Ps 46 (47): 6; SM)

As we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord today and as we will celebrate Pentecost next Sunday, the second reading tells us about the Holy Spirit! The second reading tells us that the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of unity! Because there is only one body (church), one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God! The “seven unities”! (CSB)

And although there are many gifts, that is, the gifts of being apostles, prophets, evangelizers, pastors and teachers; all these gifts unite into one service of the one body of Christ!

Today in the Eucharist, we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, especially for his death and resurrection and ascension into heaven; and we ask God to send us the Holy Spirit so that we may do the work of Jesus Christ on earth, especially in proclaiming the Good News as apostles, prophets, evangelizers, pastors, and teachers, and so that at the end of time, we may all ascend into heaven with him in glory! A happy Ascension Day to all of you!

Amen!