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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Seventh Sunday of Easter
May 28, 2017
Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1: 17-23; Matthew 28:16-20

            The Ascension teaches us that Jesus has to return to his Father in order to take his seat as humanity’s merciful judge. When Christ ascends, part of us ascends with him, and we have to keep our eyes set on the things that are above. His presence with God reminds us that Christ’s promises will eventually be fulfilled because Christ does not want to be separated from us. St. Augustine wrote in one of his homilies, “We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love.

            We have to keep our eyes set high because, for certain, people are going to try to take us down. Have you had an experience of saying something positive to someone and ninety-nine people hear your goodness, but one person is personally offended? Others explain the good intention, but this one person does not have to capacity to hear the good and only finds fault? This opinion is loud and vocal and takes the conversation away from its intended course. They cannot let their point go and they build up drama. They make the story all about themselves, which was never the point? We must keep our eyes lifted high.

            Have you ever been filled with jealousy or envy? Has someone received an award or a title that you secretly wanted? Do you take offense at every little slight? Perhaps someone bumps you in the subway and you get so angry you want to take the man’s head off. We all have the tendency for road rage if we are already upset about something. Greed, sloth, unhealthy pride will take us to dangerous places. While most people act well, a certain few challenge us because they have not been brought up to respect other’s boundaries.

Our negative emotions feed an unsettled part of our soul. and can take us down, and many people around us will be happy to oblige, but this is not they way of Christ. When experiencing strong feelings, people isolate themselves when they need to reach out. Of course, it is uncomfortable and a lot of work, but it is soul-saving work. Our solution is in talking with one another because the Ascension is about relating well to one another. Jesus goes to God in heaven to advocate for us. We are to tell him what we need and he will bring our petitions to God.

            Ascension is about moving forward, not withdrawing. When we are unsettled, seek out trusted friends and explain how you are feeling. We will never progress in anything in life unless we courageously tell others how we feel. If we bottle them up and make others guess how we are feeling, we are doomed. Being a Christian means sharing our uncomfortable parts with others, that is, parents, spouses, children, colleagues, and friends. Ascension means that we connect, and this interaction brings joy and relief.

            An angel asked the disciples, “Why are you standing there looking up?” The implied message is “look around.” You have all you need because the Risen Jesus is still among us and we are with you. Like Jesus, We will not give up, so let’s connect and find the best in one another. Gladly, we will help you along the way.
Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Acts 19) Paul went through the interior of Greece and down to Ephesus to introduce the believers to the Holy Spirit. The community was baptized into the Body of Christ.  
Tuesday: (Acts 20) The presbyters at Ephesus summoned Paul, who told them that he was going to an uncertain fate in Jerusalem. Paul recounts the ways he served the Lord with humility, tears, and trials, but imprisonment and hardships await him.
Wednesday: (Acts 20) Paul prays for the whole flock and he prays for them because he knows adversaries will take advantage of Paul’s absence. When Paul finished speaking, the people wept loudly and threw their arms around him and kissed him. 
Thursday: (Acts 22) Paul is brought to trial. The Pharisees and Sadducees are sharply divided; armed forces rescue Paul from their midst. The Lord tells Paul he must go to Rome and be faithful there the same way he was faithful in Jerusalem. 
Friday (Acts 25) King Agrippa hears Paul’s case and determines that Paul is to be tried in Jerusalem, but Paul, as a Roman citizen, appeals for the Emperor’s decision. 
Saturday (Acts 28) When Paul entered Rome, he was allowed to live by himself. He called together the leaders of the Jews to let them know the charges brought against them. He told them his story. He remained for two years in his lodgings and received all who came to him without hindrance as he proclaimed the Kingdom of God.

Monday: (John 16) The disciples realize Jesus is returning to the Father and that he is strengthening them for the time when he will not longer be physically with them.  
Tuesday: (John 17) Jesus raises his eyes to heaven and realizes it is time to glorify the Father through his death so he may give eternal life to all that we given to him. He revealed God’s name to them and now it is time to see the glory of God revealed.
Wednesday (John 17) Jesus prays for the safety of those given to him. He wants them to be safe as they testify to God’s steadfastness in a harsh world. He prays for unity, “so that they may be one just as we, Father, are one.”
Thursday (John 17) Jesus consecrates them to the truth and wards off the Evil One. He also prays for those given to him through the testimony of others. The love Jesus and the Father share is available to future disciples.
Friday (John 21) After the Farewell Discourse ends, Jesus appears at the seashore with Simon Peter who professes his three-fold love of Jesus. Jesus forgives him and asks him to care for his people even though the authorities of this world will eventually have their day with him.
Saturday (John 21) Peter turns to Jesus and asks about the Beloved Disciple. Jesus retorts, “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours?” This disciple is the one who wrote the testimony about Jesus and can attest to its truth.

Saints of the Week

May 31: Visitation of the Virgin Mary commemorates the visit of Mary in her early pregnancy to Mary, who is reported to be her elder cousin. Luke writes about the shared rejoicing of the two women - Mary's conception by the Holy Spirit and Elizabeth's surprising pregnancy in her advanced years. Elizabeth calls Mary blessed and Mary sings her song of praise to God, the Magnificat.

June 1: Justin, martyr (100-165), was a Samaritan philosopher who converted to Christianity and explained doctrine through philosophical treatises. His debating opponent reported him to the Roman authorities who tried him and when he refused to sacrifice to the gods, was condemned to death.

June 2: Marcellinus and Peter, martyrs (d. 304) died in Rome during the Diocletian persecution. Peter was an exorcist who ministered under the well-regarded priest, Marcellinus. Stories are told that in jail they converted their jailer and his family. These men are remembered in Eucharistic prayer I.

June 3: Charles Lwanga and 22 companion martyrs from Uganda (18660-1886) felt the wrath of King Mwanga after Lwanga and the White Fathers (Missionaries of Africa) censured him for his cruelty and immorality. The King determined to rid his kingdom of Christians. He persecuted over 100 Christians, but upon their death new converts joined the church.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      May 28, 1962. The death of Bernard Hubbard famous Alaskan missionary. He was the author of the book Mush, You Malemutes! and wrote a number of articles on the Alaska mission.
·      May 29,1991. Pope John Paul II announces that Paulo Dezza, SJ is to become a Cardinal, as well as Jan Korec, in Slovakia.
·      May 30, 1849. Vincent Gioberti's book Il Gesuita Moderno was put on the Index. Gioberti had applied to be admitted into the Society, and on being refused became its bitter enemy and calumniator.
·      May 31, 1900. The new novitiate of the Buffalo Mission, St Stanislaus, in South Brooklyn, Ohio, near Cleveland, is blessed.
·      Jun 1, 1527. Ignatius was thrown into prison after having been accused of having advised two noblewomen to undertake a pilgrimage, on foot, to Compostella.
·      Jun 2, 1566. The Professed House was opened in Toledo. It became well known for the fervor of its residents and the wonderful effects of their labors.

·      Jun 3, 1559. A residence at Frascati, outside of Rome, was purchased for the fathers and brothers of the Roman College.

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