19 May 2012

20th May 2012 - Ascension Sunday (Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord)

On this weeks programme Fr Phonsie Cullinan visits us again on the programme to remind us again about the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin from 10th to 17th June 2012 as well as our regular reflection on this weeks Sunday gospel and saints of the week.

50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012

Fr Phonsie Cullinan is back on the programme this week to give us an reminder and an update in relation to preparations for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 hich is being held from June 10th to 17th in Dublin. All the details of the daily programmes, links on information, and registration details are available online at the IEC2012 website.

Local events to mark the IEC2012 coming up in the next few weeks:

  • Cratloe Grotto 20th May 2012 - Mass at 2pm at the Grotto
  • Holy Rosary Parish - 40 hours adoration 31st May - 1st June 2012
  • Limerick Congress Walk - a Novena of Churches - a pilgrimage walk to nine city churches in Limerick - Our Lady Queen of Peace (Redemptorists Mt St Alphonsus), Augustinians, St Joseph's (the Crescent), St Michael's Denmark St, St John's Cathedral, St Patrick's (Dublin road), St Saviours (Domincan parish),
Keep on eye on the diocesan website for more information.

Gospel - Mark 16: 15-20

Last October, as part of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land last year, one of the places visited on the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem was the Dome of the Ascension. The shrine marks the spot where christians believe Jesus ascended into heaven. All that remains of the several churches built to celebrate the Ascension is a small octagonal structure that is now a mosque. Plain and unadorned, it stands in a walled compound east of the main road that runs on the top of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. The location is just north of the Church of Pater Noster — which is built over a cave that the first Christians used as a more secluded place to commemorate the Ascension. The last church on the site was captured by the Muslim sultan Saladin when he defeated the Crusaders in 1187. Since Muslims also believe in the Ascension of Jesus, it was converted into a mosque which it remans today. You can read more about the history of the shrine here and here.

An unusual feature of the tiny building is that it contains what has been traditionally regarded as the last impression of Jesus’ right foot on earth before he ascended into heaven.

Reflection on this weeks gospel:

The appearance of Jesus to the disciples after the Resurrection is part of the gentle encounter of the Divine with us rather than imposing his prescence on us. He continues to knock gentely on the doors of our hearts if we are willing to be open to and welcome him in.

St Augustine reflecting on the Ascension of the Lord:
Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.

Christ is now exalted above the heavens, but he still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of his body, have to bear. He showed this when he cried out from above: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? and when he said: I was hungry and you gave me food. 

Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to him? While in heaven he is also with us; and we while on earth are with him. He is here with us by his divinity, his power and his love. We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love.

He did not leave heaven when he came down to us; nor did he withdraw from us when he went up again into heaven. The fact that he was in heaven even while he was on earth is borne out by his own statement: No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.

These words are explained by our oneness with Christ, for he is our head and we are his body. No one ascended into heaven except Christ because we also are Christ: he is the Son of Man by his union with us, and we by our union with him are the sons of God. So the Apostle says: Just as the human body, which has many members, is a unity, because all the different members make one body, so is it also with Christ. He too has many members, but one body.

Out of compassion for us he descended from heaven, and although he ascended alone, we also ascend, because we are in him by grace. Thus, no one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is no distinction between the head and the body, but because the body as a unity cannot be separated from the head.

Other reflections for this weeks gospel:

Reflections for the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

Saints of the Week

Psalter - Week 3

May 21st - SaintChristopher Magallanes and his Companions, Martyrs
May 22nd - St Julian of Corsica
May 23rd - The Martyrs of Cappadocia
May 24th - St David of Scotland
May 25th - St Gregory VII (Pope) and St Mary Magdelen of Pazi and St Bede the Venerable
May 26th - St Philip Neri


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