Prayer and Meditation for Thursday, May 25, 2017 — The Ascension of the Lord — “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” — “I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

The Ascension of the Lord
Lectionary: 58

Image may contain: 9 people, people standing

The Great Commission — What’s Your Role in The Christian Universe? — Art: Serrmon on the Mount Henrik Olrik

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 the 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:
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.

AlleluiaMT 28:19A, 20B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Go and teach all nations, says the Lord;
I am with you always, until the end of the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 28:16-20

The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

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From 2014
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Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
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ESTABLISHING THE KINGSHIP OF CHRIST BY MAKING DISCIPLES OF ALL THE NATIONS   – See more at: http://www.csctr.net/29-may-2014-the-ascension-of-the-lord/#sthash.3TcyGbKy.dpuf

The first thing we must take note when we celebrate this feast is that we are not commemorating a historical event.  In other words, we are not celebrating that day when Jesus, as depicted in Luke’s Acts of the Apostles, was literally lifted up into the sky and covered up by the clouds.  Rather, the feast of the Ascension must be seen in relation to the Feast of the Resurrection.  Both Easter and Ascension are two aspects of a single indivisible event.  That is why in Matthew’s gospel, when Jesus met His disciples at the mountain, it is presumed that He had already ascended into heaven, since “all authority in heaven and earth” had already been given to Him.

If later appearance narratives separate these two aspects of the one single event, as in Luke and John, it is because of a pastoral need to assimilate the richness of these realities.  Even then, when they separate them into two events, they are not seen as successively taking place one after the other.  For in John’s gospel, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, then ascended into heaven, which is then followed by His appearance to Thomas, inviting Him to touch His wounds.  In Luke’s gospel, the appearance and ascension took place on the Easter evening when Jesus imparted the Holy Spirit.

Consequently, we should not take the forty days literally.  Rather, the forty days is but a theological symbol of revelation.  Just as God revealed Himself to Moses at the mountain; and to Jesus Himself, who also taught at the mountain, it is a symbolic way of speaking about the revelation that took place.  This also explains why the Church gives the option to transfer the Feast of the Ascension to the following Sunday instead of celebrating it on Thursday.  Hence, when we celebrate this feast, we must ask, what is the theological meaning that this feast intends to reveal about Jesus?

To understand the meaning of this celebration, we must ask ourselves, what is the difference between the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, since both belong to the same event?  In the Resurrection, our focus and emphasis is on the new life and the transformation of Jesus.  This is illustrated by the Easter appearances.  In the Ascension, we contemplate on the effects and implications of the Resurrection.  It is therefore primarily concerned with the glorification of Jesus.  As the responsorial psalm and the second reading tell us, Jesus is enthroned as King of all creation, of the Church, which is His body; and of the universe as well.  In the Ascension, we contemplate on the exaltation of Jesus who now shares in the authority, power and glory of God the Father.   Now, if Jesus is raised to such a level, it is because by His Resurrection, He has triumphed over sin and death, and as St Paul puts it, “he has put all things under his feet.”

The corollary of the glorification of Jesus is that this victory that Jesus has gained is also given to us.  St Paul tells us that this is our hope and all of us are called to share in the rich glories that Jesus has promised to us.  As Christians, we also believe that if we conquer sin, we will also conquer death by sharing in His resurrection and also in His power, when sin no longer has a hold on us.  But this is not only given to us but also to everyone.  This hope of sharing in the inheritance of Christ is extended to the whole of creation. In this way, the Kingdom of God that Jesus came to establish will be completed and fulfilled.

But the fact is that although de facto, Christ is king of the whole Church, His body and of the universe, His kingship is still not fully established in creation.  This is because even for us as Christians, we have not yet fully submitted ourselves to the Kingship of Jesus.  We do not observe all the commands that He has given to us.  What is true for us is even more so for the rest of creation.  Many, still, are ignorant of the life of Christ.  Consequently, the feast of the Ascension, while offering us hope to share in the kingdom, power and life of Jesus, also gives us a missionary charge to make disciples of all nations.  Yes, we are called to be witnesses to Jesus.  Instead of being preoccupied with the date of the coming of God’s kingdom, what we must do, according to Jesus, is that we proclaim the Kingdom of Jesus by being His witnesses.

This missionary charge must be understood on two levels.  Firstly, we are called to make ourselves more and more the disciples of Christ. Take note of the missionary charge in the gospel: baptize and then teach them to observe the commands.  This means that as Christians, we need to be always catechizing ourselves in our faith so that we can be more imbued with the gospel of Christ and become truly the messengers of the kingdom.   The first conversion that must take place is ourselves, so that Christ’s kingship is not only acknowledged and recognized but a reality as well.

Secondly, the missionary charge also requires that we make disciples of all the nations.  The establishment of Christ’s kingship in the Church must move from the inner circle to the outer circle of the rest of the world.  This is because many people still do not acknowledge the kingship of Christ.  This command requires us to reconsider our missionary role as Christians.  Today, Christians tend to be diffident or over cautious about converting others to the Faith because we want to be nice and are afraid of hurting others.  Instead of speaking about conversion, today the contemporary attitude is one of dialogue with other religions.  This is not to say that such dialogue is not important.  We are also not denying that other religions have revelatory values because this would contradict the fact that the Incarnated Word is truly present in the Spirit in these religions whenever His message is lived.

However, we cannot reduce the work of mission to simply one of dialogue.  Indeed, it is not even enough to reduce the work of mission to one of proclaiming the Good News by our good deeds.  There is also a need to proclaim Christ explicitly to others. For Matthew, the establishment of Christ’s kingship must entail the conversion of people to Christ; that they become His disciples. Indeed, it must be our hope that all dialogue and proclamation of the Good News by our words and deeds will lead them to acknowledge Christ explicitly as their Lord and Saviour. Thus, evangelization without the name of Christ, without the call for conversion and discipleship cannot be called the full proclamation of the gospel.

 

Of course, in the work of conversion, we must ultimately realize that it is the work of the Holy Spirit.  Only the Holy Spirit can empower us to carry out effectively the mission entrusted to us.  For this reason, we must prepare ourselves for this mission by praying for the renewal of the Holy Spirit in our lives. That was what Jesus advised the disciples.  Until we experience the personal presence of Jesus in the Holy Spirit, we will not have the power to be His witnesses.  But with the Holy Spirit, we will be able to live the life of Christ, both by our words and deeds, proclaiming the Good News in person, thereby bringing about conversion to Christ when all people will observe His commands and His way of life. In this way, the Kingship of Christ will truly be established in the Church and in the whole world where the fullness of Jesus’ presence fills us all.

– See more at: http://www.csctr.net/29-may-2014-the-ascension-of-the-lord/#sthash.3TcyGbKy.dpuf

Written by The Most Rev William Goh Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore

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Jesus’ Last Words to the Disciples: The Great Commission (Matthew 28: 16-20)
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Introduction: Historical Context

This passage is called the Great Commission.  It is the final instructive word from Jesus to His church.

Jesus had just risen.  The Jews had killed Him and were equally ready to do away with His disciples.  The Roman empire was a strict ruler that didn’t like people causing any problems.  The ruler of the land was Herod.  There was a great tension between the Jewish community and the Roman power system.  The Jews wanted to be free from Roman rule.  The Romans wanted this small strange country called Israel to be peaceful.

The dominant religion in the Roman Empire was emperor worship.

Tiberius Caesar was the ruler from A.D. 14-37.  Next was Caligula (37-41), Claudius (41-54), Nero who persecuted the Christians (54-68).  In 70 A.D., the Jerusalem was besieged by the Romans and the Temple was destroyed.  You need to notice the similarities between the Roman Empire and America.

Both are not Christian nations, but only have Christians in them.

Both have officials in high places who are antagonistic to Christianity.

And… it was into this world, that Jesus commissioned the disciples.  Their commission was difficult….

  1. Verse 16, “But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated.”
    1. The mountain is often used in the Bible to designate a meeting with God.
      1. Moses received the ten commandments on Mt. Sinai
      2. Jesus spoke to the woman at the well about which mountain to worship God on.
      3. Jesus went up on the mount for the transfiguration, probably the same one spoken of here.
      4. This was a meeting, not behind closed doors, but out in the open.  They were not hiding.
    2. They went where Jesus commanded them to go.  If you want to maintain communion with Christ, you must go to where He has appointed you to go.
  2. Verse 17, “And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.”
    1. An interesting contrast: Some worshiped, some doubted, even though He had been crucified and risen from the dead.
      1. Jesus did not reject those who doubted.  They were there.  They had made the journey.  He did not reject them.
      2. Also, Jesus accepted the worship of those who were there.
    2. Jesus is worshiped in many scriptures: Matt. 2:2; 2:11; 14:33; 28:9; John 9:35-38; Heb. 1:6.
      1. Jesus receives worship and does not rebuke them.  He said in Matt. 4:10 that you are to worship God and serve Him only.  Yet, Jesus receives this worship.
      2. This is important because it means He is God.
        1. Which is why He could say later, “I am with you to the end of the age.”
  3. Verse 18, “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
    1. This is one of the most crucial statements that Jesus ever made.
    2. Jesus has all the authority… in heaven and on earth.
      1. Authority to forgive sins (Luke 5:20; 7:48).
      2. Authority to mediate to the Father (1 Tim. 2:5).
      3. Authority to send the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26).
      4. Authority to open the hearts and minds of His people (Luke 24:45).
      5. Authority to reveal the Father (Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22).
      6. Authority to give eternal life to whom He chooses (John 10:27-28).
      7. Authority to raise us up on the last day (John 6:40).
    3. Jesus, before His incarnation, was equal with the Father and He possessed all authority and power.  He is still equal to the Father, but now He has two natures: God and Man.
      1. Therefore, as the God-man, as the Mediator, all power was given him;
      2. This is because Jesus was a man (Phil. 2:5-8) and had humbled Himself.
  4. Verse 19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”
    1. This commission is mainly given to the disciples then present. But it applies to you as well.
      1. You are called by Jesus to make disciples of all people, to go out into the world and teach and live the truth of the cross of redemption.
    2. Baptism was a common practice back then.  It was for converts to the faith and was practiced by more groups that the Christians alone.
    3. However, Christian baptism is a picture of the death of one’s self and rebirth in the Son (Rom. 6).
    4. To be baptized is to show your commitment to the Lord and to His call.
      1. What did your baptism mean to you?
      2. Was it a social event that you did because, “It is the thing to do”?
      3. Was it because your parents wanted you to?
      4. Or… was it because you have identified with the Lord and have committed yourself to Him?
    5. The Baptism Formula
      1. There are cult groups that say you are only to be baptized “In Jesus Name.”
      2. They deny the doctrine of the Trinity and they deny the baptismal formula of “in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” They are false teachers.
  5. verse 20, “…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
    1. When someone becomes a Christian, he is to follow the ways of the Lord Jesus.
      1. Being a Christian means that Jesus is Lord.
    2. Jesus is always with you.  He will never leave you.
      1. This is a sign of His deity and it is a comfort to know that Jesus is always with us.  He will never leave us or forsake us no matter what the situation.

Conclusion

Jesus wants you to finish what He began.  He came to the disciples, taught them, and worked with them.  He then died on the cross and rose from the dead.  But, before He ascended into heaven, He gave them, and us, the commission to convert the world.  He will not ask you to do the impossible.

You need to know that your efforts to honor Christ by obeying His call to make disciples of all nations is something that you can do.  Do it where you are, with those whom you meet, with the those you work with, with those you go to school with, etc.  Be a witness for Jesus in your lives and when necessary, talk about Him, too.

When you seek to accomplish God’s will, He will bless your efforts because you’re seeking to obey Him.

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In Christianity, the Great Commission is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciples to spread his teachings to all the nations of the world. The most famous version of the Great Commission is in Matthew 28:18–20, where on a mountain in Galilee Jesus calls on his followers to baptize all nations in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The Great Commission is similar to the episodes of the commissioning of the Twelve Apostles found in the other Synoptic Gospels, though with significant differences. Luke also has Jesus dispatching disciples during his ministry, sending them to all the nations and giving them power over demons, including the Seventy disciples. The dispersion of the Apostles in the traditional ending of Mark is thought to be a 2nd-century summary based on Matthew and Luke.

It has become a tenet in Christian theology emphasizing ministry, missionary work, evangelism, and baptism. The apostles are said to have dispersed from Jerusalem and founded the apostolic sees. Preterists believe that the Great Commission and other Bible prophecies were fulfilled in the 1st century while futurists believe Bible prophecy is yet to be fulfilled at the Second Coming.

Some students of the historical Jesus hypothesize the Great Commission as reflecting not Jesus’ words but rather the Christian community in which each gospel was written. (See Sayings of Jesus.) Some scholars, such as John Dominic Crossan, assert that Jesus did commission the apostles during his lifetime, as reported in the Gospels. Others, however, see even these lesser commissions as representing Christian invention rather than history.

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The Great Commission — What’s Your Role in The Christian Universe?

Catch Excitement for the Gospel

Every person has an important, God-given role to play in helping to fulfill the Great Commission.

By Bill Bright

Great Commission

  1. Catch Excitement for the Gospel
  2. The Who of the Great Commission
  3. The What and Why of the Great Commission
  4. The When and Where of the Great Commission
  5. The How of the Great Commission
  6. Creating a Personal Strategy to Fulfill Great Commission
  7. Be Sure You Are Committed to Christ
  8. Pray for Guidance and Seek Training
  9. Take the Initiative in Evangelism
  10. The Rewards and Cost of the Great Commission
  11. Study Guides

Today I lay before you the greatest challenge ever given to man by the greatest person who has ever lived. No matter how wealthy, famous, brilliant, or powerful you may be, you will never give yourself to any cause that can compare with this life-changing, even world-changing, call of God.

No matter how many honors, awards, or achievements may be placed in your hands, nothing can even begin to compare with this command of our Lord Jesus Christ to help take His message of love and forgiveness to every person in every community, in every city, in every country of the world and make disciples of all nations.

Today we live in a world of rapid and radical change. Men’s hearts are filled with fear and dread, frustration and despair. Mankind has proven incapable of coping with the pressing problems of our time – the population explosion, the pollution of the environment, the rising tide of crime and violence, sexual rebellion, alcoholism, drug addiction, abortion, pornography, urban sprawl, and wide spread political, social and moral decay.

The Power of the Gospel

Oh, what an hour for Christians to become involved in the greatest spiritual harvest since Pentecost! This dark and desperate hour in the affairs of mankind is an hour of destiny, a time of unprecedented opportunity for Christians. This is the hour for which we were born — to set in motion a mighty, sweeping spiritual revolution that will turn the tide and reveal to mankind that the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ offers the basic solutions to every problem facing mankind.

If such a statement sounds simplistic or melodramatic, just apply the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule and other teachings of Jesus such as His command to love God with all of your heart, with all of your soul and with all of your mind, and your neighbor as yourself – even your enemies — to each of these problems, and watch them evaporate before your eyes.

The Greatest Event of the Centuries

If I had the privilege of writing a news story about the greatest events of all the centuries, one of the most important would be a meeting on a mountain near Galilee where a small group of men were given a global strategy for carrying God’s love and forgiveness to a lost and dying world. On this mountain these men received that greatest challenge ever given to mankind, to which I referred, by that greatest Person who ever lived, concerning the greatest power ever revealed and the greatest promise ever recorded. I refer, of course, to the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He gave to His disciples and through them to us. He said:

“I have been given all authority in heaven and earth. Therefore go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this – that I am with you always, even to the end of the world . “

Later, on the Mount of Olives, our Lord gave His final word to His disciples and to us before He ascended to the Father. He said:

“When the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power to testify about me with great effect, to the people in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, about my death and resurrection.”

Had these meetings not been held and had our Lord’s command and promise not been given, you would not now be experiencing the love, forgiveness, joy and purpose of God’s matchless grace available to all who believe in Christ. In fact, I would not be writing this message.

Bill Bright’s Great Commission Story

The Great Commission has been the focus of my life ever since one midnight hour in the spring of 1951 when God spoke to me in a sovereign, unique, supernatural way concerning my role in helping to fulfill His command. The vision embraced the entire world and resulted in the ministry of Cru.

Since that time we have grown from a staff of two – my wife Vonette and me — on the campus of UCLA to more than twenty thousand full-time and associate staff and volunteers serving our Lord in 133 major countries representing 97 percent of the world’s population. Tens of millions of people have received Christ as their Savior and Lord through this ministry, and millions of these have been discipled to win and disciple others — spiritual generation after generation.

I try to evaluate everything I do every day in light of how it will contribute the most to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Sometimes I am asked the question, “Are you surprised at the phenomenal growth and success of Campus Crusade for Christ?” My answer is “No,” for according to that original vision which God gave me in 1951, we have only begun to see what God is going to do. The best is yet before us!

I am truly humbled and deeply grateful for the privilege of serving this ministry. Yet, I am not surprised at the miracles of God’s grace during the last four decades in light of the dramatic vision God gave me of the world, and what was to happen in terms of spiritual harvest.

Our Lord’s Great Commission is for every believer, not just the staff of Campus Crusade and a few missionaries and pastors who love our Lord. Every Christian is commanded to be involved in helping to reach the world for Christ. Each of us has an important, God given role to play in helping to fulfill the Great Commission.

Adapted from the Transferable Concept: How You Can Help Fulfill The Great Commission, by Dr. Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Cru. All rights reserved.

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Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
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25 MAY, 2017, Thursday, Ascension of the Lord
MAKING THE DREAM OF JESUS FOR HUMANITY OURS

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ ACTS  1:1-11; PS 46:2-3,6-9; EPH 1:17-23; MT 28:16-20]

This world is so divided.  Advancement in digital and social media, migration and travelling has turned the world into a global village.  With globalization comes increase in tension as people grapple to deal with and adapt to people from different nationalities, cultures and religions.  Things said and done which are perfectly acceptable within context, can easily become a source of provocation if taken out of context and made viral via social media.  Indeed, more than ever the world has become an unsafe place to live in as wars could be fought today without the need to even be physically present in your enemy’s territory.  Furthermore, when there is a growing divide between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak, the perceived injustices can lead to terrorist activities.

What, then, is our hope for the world?  What is your dream for this humanity? This hope is spelt out in the Constitution of the Church. “For after we have obeyed the Lord, and in His Spirit nurtured on earth the values of human dignity, brotherhood and freedom, and indeed all the good fruits of our nature and enterprise, we will find them again, but freed of stain, burnished and transfigured, when Christ hands over to the Father: ‘a kingdom eternal and universal, a kingdom of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, love and peace.’ On this earth that Kingdom is already present in mystery. When the Lord returns it will be brought into full flower.”  (GS 39.4)  This kingdom that we envisage therefore is not a political kingdom, unlike what the disciples thought.  Neither is it a kingdom that is based on territory.  It is the rule of God in our hearts and minds.  It is when we make Jesus as the Lord of our lives, sharing His mind and heart in the way we deal with our brothers and sisters.

Ascension celebrates this dream that has begun with the resurrection of Christ and His ascension into heaven.  In the Ascension of our Lord, we celebrate His Kingship and authority over the nations.  Now seated at the right hand of the Father, He is “far above every Sovereignty, Authority, Power, or Domination, or any other name that can be named, not only in this age, but also in the age to come. He has put all things under his feet, and made him, as the ruler of everything, the head of the Church; which is his body, the fullness of him who fills the whole creation.”   Indeed, with His Ascension, Jesus is not just glorified but He is invested with the power to empower all of us to bring about the kingdom that He has started on earth.   In the gospel, Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”   Only when everything is under Christ’s Lordship, will there be peace.

So like the disciples, we ask, “Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”  The truth is that this is not something to be left until the end of time. It must begin now.  That is what the Lord told the disciples.  “It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has decided by his own authority, you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth.”  We are called to realise this dream of the kingdom of justice, love and peace according to our talents and resources.  That was what the Lord instructed His disciples. “Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise 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.”  We are to baptize, that is, transform the lives of men according to the mind and heart of Christ.  It is to live the resurrected life in Christ.  This calls for observance of all the commands of Christ.  The gospel of Christ is the map by which we are called to live our lives, in charity, service, and mercy.  Only when we are imbued with the Word of God, the gospel of our Lord, can we live out the blueprint that the Lord has imparted to us.  Only when we decide to make the gospel as the reference point and the guide, can the kingdom be established.

But dreaming is not enough, we need the power.  This can only come from the Lord Himself.  This is what St Paul said, “This you can tell from the strength of his power at work in Christ, when he used it to raise him from the dead and to make him sit at his right hand, in heaven.”   This power comes from the Holy Spirit when we are identified with the Lord and when He lives in our hearts.  Jesus instructed the disciples “not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for what the Father had promised. ‘It is’ he had said ‘what you have heard me speak about: John baptised with water but you, not many days from now, will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’”  The bestowal of the Holy Spirit by the Lord is the empowerment of every Christian to be a witness for Him.   Indeed, Jesus says, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth.”

Truly, the Good News is that we too now share in His power to establish the dream that God envisaged for humanity.  That is why St Paul wrote, “May he enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit and how infinitely great is the power that he has exercised for us believers.”   To realise this dream, we must first keep our hope in focus, not just a hope for this life on earth but in the life to come.  It is this hope that can give us the power.  It is important to be clear of our hope in life.  It is hope that keeps the fire growing strong.  We must keep the dream of Jesus with us in our hearts.  Is the dream of Jesus your dream?  Until, we are convinced that the dream Jesus started for us is a dream worth living for, then we can start to do something about this dream.

Most of all, we need to deepen our faith and knowledge of the Lord.  It is the Holy Spirit that helps us to grow in a fuller understanding and knowledge of Christ.  “May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of him.”  The Holy Spirit leads us to Jesus Himself.  This is what the Lord said, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”  (Jn 16:12-14) We need to continue with our ongoing formation, like the disciples after the death and resurrection of our Lord.  We read from St Luke who wrote, “I dealt with everything Jesus had done and taught from the beginning until the day he gave his instructions to the apostles he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven.”   We too need to strength our faith in Him so that we can truly be His witnesses in the power of the Spirit.

Indeed, we will not be alone in this proclamation of the Kingdom.  Jesus has given us the assurance.  “And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.”  The psalmist says, “All peoples, clap your hands, cry to God with shouts of joy!  For the Lord, the Most High, we must fear, great king over all the earth.  God goes up with shouts of joy; the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.  Sing praise for God, sing praise, sing praise to our king.”  Jesus will help us and empower us.  We must not work alone.   Rather, as disciples of Christ, sharing in our common baptism, as members of the One Body of Christ, we must support each other, affirm each other so that together, each in our own ways can fulfill the dream of Christ for us, now and in the world to come.

Consequently, from now until the Feast of Pentecost, the Church invites us to wait and pray for the Holy Spirit.  The Lord has ascended on high to come back to give us the Gift of the Holy Spirit. “When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.”  (Eph 4:8) The angel said, “Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen him go there.”   Let us be receptive and docile to the Holy Spirit through a yearning for Him again in prayers.

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 Written by The Most Rev William Goh Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore
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TURN YOUR LIFE AROUND THIS SPRING:
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“God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb.”

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We recommend the book “Holy Spirit” By Edward Leen. It changed my life. It can change yours too.

 

“Introduction to the Devout Life,” By St. Francis de Sales. Many people reject that word  “devout.”  But we are all devoted to a thing or two.  A crack addict is devoted to cocaine. Once a  human being decides maybe he can find a better life with the help of God, he naturally becomes less devoted to some things and more devoted to others…..

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“Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence” by de Caussade — the goal is total dependence upon God. To get a new self; most human beings need to get rid of the old self.

Jean Pierre de Caussade (7 March 1675 – 8 December 1751), advice on people having great troubles, anxiety, depression:

“They have only to fulfill the simple duties of the Christian Faith and of their state of life, to accept with submission the crosses that go with those duties, and to submit with faith and love to the designs of Providence in everything that is constantly being presented to them to do and to endure, without searching for anything themselves.”

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 (Padre Pio) (If you are totally dependent upon God, and you are working to have a good life and want to stay alive, I guarantee you’ll have no trouble sleeping.)
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Because you are a spiritual being first, the root cause of many troubles is the relationship to God. Written by spiritual thinkers, psychiatrists with input from the best in science and faith…..
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Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days and then was tempted by the devil. What is going on in this mysterious incident?
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Jesus experienced everything we do — including depression, anxiety, etc…..
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A “Dynamic Catholic” is much the same as a good member of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). He prays and meditates, studies, does selfless service to others and he evangelizes (“He Does Twelve Step Work”). Given to us by an alcoholic priest in recovery.
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1. Pray and Meditate
2. Do service for others (Get out of yourself)
3. Get Closer to God — 4. — GUESS!
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One Response to “Prayer and Meditation for Thursday, May 25, 2017 — The Ascension of the Lord — “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” — “I am with you always, until the end of the age.””

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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