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The Ascension of the Lord C Lectionary 58

Reading 1 - ACTS 1:1-11

In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for "the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." When they had gathered together they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" He answered them, "It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven."

Responsorial Psalm - PS 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9

R.(6) God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. All you peoples, clap your hands, shout to God with cries of gladness, For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome, is the great king over all the earth. R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord. or:

  1. R. Alleluia. God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy; the LORD, amid trumpet blasts. Sing praise to God, sing praise; sing praise to our king, sing praise. R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. For king of all the earth is God; sing hymns of praise. God reigns over the nations, God sits upon his holy throne. R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord. or: R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 - EPH 1:17-23

Brothers and sisters: May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might: which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

Or - EPH 4:1-13

Brothers and sisters, I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore, it says: He ascended on high and took prisoners captive; he gave gifts to men. What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended into the lower regions of the earth? The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things. And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature to manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ.

Gospel - LK 24:46-53

Jesus said to his disciples: "Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." Then he led them out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.

FOCUS QUESTIONS - THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD C

If you would like to receive these questions each week, please send your email address to Father Tom Hickey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.These questions are for reflection and discussion. Please understand that the homily may not address any of these questions directly. God speaks to hearts that are prepared.

1.According to the first reading, what was Jesus doing during for forty days after his resurrection? Was there enough instruction for the Church to begin functioning? How much of the New Testament had been written at this time?

2.How does the Psalm anticipate the ascension of Jesus? Where is the throne mentioned in this Psalm? Do you believe that the king of all the earth is God? Would you have Him govern the earth any differently than He is? How does this Psalm relate to the line in the Our Father: Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done?

3.In the second reading, make a list of all that Paul prays for his brothers and sisters. Pause and pray these same things for someone you know.

4.This same passage presents a sort of cosmic scope for the ascension of Jesus. Where is the Church in this cosmic viewpoint? How important does that make our participation in the ministry of our parishes?

5.In the second option for the second reading, Paul urges us to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received. What is that call? What does he offer in that passage as ways in which we can live in that manner? How important is the principle of unity in these urgings?

6.What are the gifts Christ gives to the Church for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ? How do those gifts affect you?

7.In the Gospel, just before He ascends to heaven, Christ speaks to His disciples, summarizing His work of suffering, death, and resurrection with a preface of It is written… Why would He say that?  This summary of what is written continues, saying that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations… What effect do you think these words would have had on the disciples? What effect does it have on you today?

8.Jesus then says, You are witnesses of these things. So who would be the ones to proclaim repentance, for the forgiveness of sins… to all the nations? Did they do it?  What are we witnesses to in our day? What message should we be proclaiming?

9.Jesus assures His disciples that, in His absence, He is sending the promise of My Father.  What is that promise? (see John 14:16, 16:13)  What did He say would be the effect of that promise?  Is the Church today clothed with power from on high? Are you?

10.What has God spoken to you, and what do you intend to do about it?

Seventh Sunday of Easter C Lectionary: 61

Reading 1 - Acts 7:55-60

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.

Responsorial Psalm - Ps 97:1-2, 6-7, 9

  1. R. (1a and 9a) The Lord is king, the most high over all the earth or: R. Alleluia. The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice; let the many islands be glad. Justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne. R. The Lord is king, the most high over all the earth. or: R. Alleluia. The heavens proclaim his justice, and all peoples see his glory. All gods are prostrate before him. R. The Lord is king, the most high over all the earth. or: R. Alleluia. You, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth, exalted far above all gods. R. The Lord is king, the most high over all the earth. or: R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 - Rev 22:12-14, 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 - Jn 17:20-26

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.”

FOCUS QUESTIONS - 7th SUNDAY OF EASTER C

If you would like to receive these questions each week, please send your email address to Father Tom Hickey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

These questions are for reflection and discussion, if you choose. Please understand that the homily may not address any of these questions directly. God speaks to hearts that are prepared.

1.In the first reading, what is the significance of Stephen seeing Jesus standing when other passages of Scripture tell us that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father? Why did this further enrage the Jews?

2.How were Stephen’s last words like the last words of Jesus? What did that indicate? Do you think those dying words had any effect on Saul?

3.Have you ever been caught up in an evil act as Saul was? How can we hope to purge ourselves of such an act?

4.The Psalm declares The Lord is king, the most high over all the earth. This was true before the ascension of Christ. What is the new significance of this declaration now that Christ has ascended in human flesh? Where does that put us?

5.The second reading emphasizes the word come. Count how many times this word occurs. Who is speaking in each case? Should we pray for this coming? Do we?

6.The hypostatic union is the doctrine of the two natures of Christ in one person. How is this doctrine illustrated in the titles Jesus uses for himself in this passage?

7.Jesus prayed for all of us in the prayer recorded for us in the Gospel. What did he pray for? Do you think this is a reality in your life?

8.Jesus prays for what some have called the divinization of humanity—being brought into oneness with God. Describe this oneness in the words used in this passage. Have you ever thought of this as your ultimate destiny? Are you ready for it?

9.Jesus prays that our oneness with him may be a witness to an unbelieving world. Can you explain this connection? Is it working? Is the world being convinced that Jesus is God in human flesh?

10.What has God spoken to you, and what do you intend to do about it?

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