Ascension (C)
May 26, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.








Gladden us with holy joys, almighty God,
and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving,
for the Ascension of Christ your Son
is our exaltation,
and, where the Head has gone before in glory,
the Body is called to follow in hope.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading 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/. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.

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.

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.

For king of all the earth is God;
sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits upon his holy throne.

Second Reading Heb 9:24-28; 10:19-23

Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands,
a copy of the true one, but heaven itself,
that he might now appear before God on our behalf.
Not that he might offer himself repeatedly,
as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary
with blood that is not his own;
if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly
from the foundation of the world.
But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages
to take away sin by his sacrifice.
Just as it is appointed that men and women die once,
and after this the judgment, so also Christ,
offered once to take away the sins of many,
will appear a second time, not to take away sin
but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since through the blood of Jesus
we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary
by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil,
that is, his flesh,
and since we have a great priest over the house of God, ""
let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust,
with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience
and our bodies washed in pure water.
Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope,
for he who made the promise is trustworthy.

Gospel Acclamation

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.

Catena Nova

On the fortieth day, at his Ascension into Heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ entrusted us with the body in which he would remain among us here below. He saw the many would honor him because of his Ascension but this honor would be worthless because at the same time they were trampling on his members. He wanted to prevent the error of worshiping the heavenly Christ and simultaneously trampling on the earthly Christ.... We have his last words on earth as he was about to ascend.... What does he say to us? Here I am at the Heavenly Father’s right hand, he says, but I am still hungry and thirsty and without shelter. You see how Christ entrusted to us the members of his Body that are still on earth and at the very moment of ascending into Heaven!.... He remembers on the Day of Judgment all that his members have suffered and all the help they have received. Are you keeping this in mind whenever you see Christ’s Body in need of help and kindness? (St. Augustine of Hippo)

The Lord’s Ascension increased the faith of the infant Church and this was strengthened by the gift of the Holy Spirit. That faith remained unshaken by chains, imprisonment, exile, hunger, fire, being fed to starved beasts, and the most refined tortures that could be devised. Not only men but boys, not only women but girls as well, shed their life blood in this struggle to keep the faith. It is a faith that cast out devils, healed the sick, and raised the dead. Even the apostles, though they had been strengthened by witnessing many miracles and much teaching by the Lord himself, were afraid by reason of the cruel sufferings of the Lord’s passion and couldn’t accept his resurrection without hesitations. Yet they made such progress by means of Christ’s ascension that they began to find joy in what had terrified them before. They were now able to fix their attention on Christ’s divinity and his having gone to sit at the right hand of the Heavenly Father. What was present to their senses no longer hindered them from fixing their attention on the realization that the Son had not left the Father when he descended to the earth and so neither had he abandoned his disciples when he ascended into heaven.... He now was even more present to them than he had been when he lived among us. A more mature faith enabled them to stretch their minds upward to the Son in his equality with the Father. Contact with Christ’s tangible body isn’t necessary. The Lord’s glorified body retained its human nature but the faith of those who believed in him was raised to new heights. They now could know that, as the Father’s equal, the Only Begotten Son isn’t reached physically but by spiritual discernment.... All these things are intended to lead us to believe what tremendous authority he will have in the end of all things. Do you want to accompany him into his heavenly home? Then you must follow the angels and accompany him in ministering to others, especially to our brothers and sisters in faith. That is full maturity in faith. (Pope St. Leo the Great)

Salute the last, and everlasting day,
Joy at the uprising of this Sunne, and Sonne,

Ye whose just tears, or tribulation
Have purely washed, or burnt your drossy clay;
Behold the Highest, parting hence away,
Lightens the dark clouds, which he treads upon,
Nor doth he by ascending, show alone,
But first he, and he first enters the way.
O strong Ram which hast battered heaven for me,
Mild lamb, which with thy blood, hast marked the path;
Bright Torch, which shin'st, that I the way may see,
Oh, with thy own blood quench thy own just wrath.
And if the holy Spirit, my Muse did raise,
Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and praise.(John Donne)

See how the Church invites us, in her liturgy, to celebrate with gladness this exaltation of the Bridegroom, our God and our Redeemer.... "I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to My God and your God." Jesus has but gone before us: He does not separate Himself from us, He does not separate us from Him. If He enters into His glorious Kingdom, it is to "go and prepare a place" for us. He promises to come again one day to take us to Himself, so that, He says "where I am, you also may be." Thus, we are already, participants in the glory and bliss of Christ Jesus; we shall be there one day in reality. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. What power in this prayer, and what sweetness in this promise! Let us then give ourselves up to this intimate and wholly spiritual joy. (Bl. Columba Marmion)

The Ascension is a feast of joyful hope, a sweet foretaste of heaven. By going before us, Jesus our head has given us the right to follow him there some day, and we can even say with Saint Leo, “In the person of Christ, we have penetrated the heights of heaven.” As in Christ Crucified we die to sin, as in the risen Christ we rise to the life of grace, so too, we are raised up to heaven in the Ascension of Christ. This vital participation in Christ’s mysteries is the essential consequence of our incorporation in him. He is our head; we, as his members, are totally dependent upon him and intimately bound to his destiny. God, who is rich in mercy, says Saint Paul, for his exceeding charity wherewith he loved us…hath quickened us together in Christ…and hath raised us up…and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places through Christ Jesus (Eph 2:4-6). Our right to heaven has been given us, our place is ready; it is for us to live in such a way that we may occupy it someday. (Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen)

Paschal Time, to give its old name to the interval between Easter and Ascension, marks the end of the historical manifestation of the Word Incarnate, and the beginning of His hidden life within the church. But the quality of that hidden life, in which as members of the Body of Christ we are all required to take part, is the quality which the historic life revealed.  From the very beginning the church has been sure that the series of events which were worked out to their inevitable end in Holy Week sum up and express the deepest secrets of the relation of God to men. That means, of course, that Christianity can never be merely a pleasant or consoling religion.  It is a stern business.  It is concerned with the salvation through sacrifice and love of a world in which, as we can all see now, evil and cruelty are rampant.  Its supreme symbol is the crucifix – the total and loving self-giving of man to the redeeming purposes of God. Because we are all the children of God we all have our part to play in His redemptive plan; and the church consists of those loving souls who have accepted this obligation, with all that it costs.  Its members are all required to live, each in their own way, through the sufferings and self-abandonment of the cross; as the only real contribution which they can make to the redemption of the world.  Christians, like their Master, must be ready to accept the worst that evil and cruelty can do to them, and vanquish it by the power of love. For if sacrifice, total self-giving to God’s mysterious purpose, is what is asked of us, His answer to that sacrifice is the gift of power.  Easter and Whitsuntide complete the Christian Mystery by showing us first our Lord Himself and then His chosen apostles possessed of a new power – the power of the Spirit – which changed every situation in which they were placed.  That supernatural power is still the inheritance of every Christian and our idea of Christianity is distorted and incomplete unless we rely on it.  It is this power and only this which can bring in the new Christian society of which we hear so much.  We ought to pray for it; expect it and trust it; and as we do this, we shall gradually become more and more sure of it. (Evelyn Underhill)

By becoming a human being Christ annihilated the dichotomy between matter and spirit.  In the Person of the Divine-Human Being, a continuum between the divine and the human has been established.  Thus, God’s plan is not only to spiritualize the material universe, but to make matter itself divine.  This he has already done in the glorified humanity of his Son.  The grace bestowed on us by the Ascension of Jesus is the divinization of our humanity.  Our individuality is permeated by the Spirit of God through the grace of the Ascension and more specifically through the grace of Pentecost.  Thus we, in Christ, are also annihilating the dichotomy between matter and spirit.  Our life is a mysterious interpenetration of material experience, spiritual reality and the divine Presence. The key to being a Christian is to know Jesus Christ with the whole of our being.  It is important to know his sacred humanity through our senses and to reflect upon it with our reason, to treasure his teaching and example in our imagination and memory, and to imitate him by a life of moral integrity.  But this is only the beginning.  It is to the transcendent potential in ourselves – to our mind which opens up to unlimited truth, and to our will which reaches out for unlimited love – that Christ addresses himself in the Gospel with particular urgency. Not only is it important to know Jesus Christ with the whole of our being; it is also important to know Jesus Christ in the whole of his being.  We must know Christ, first of all, in his sacred humanity and historical reality and, more precisely, in his passion, which was the culminating point of his life on Earth.  The essential note of his passion is the emptying of his divinity.  We enter into his emptying by accepting the emptying process in our own life, by laying aside our false self and by living in the presence of God, the source of our being. We must know Christ, however, not only in his human nature – his passion and emptying – but also in his divinity.  This is the grace of the resurrection.  It is the empowerment to live his risen life.  It is the grace not to sin.  It is the grace to express his risen life in the face of our inner poverty without at the same time ceasing to feel it. The grace of the Ascension offers a still more incredible union, a more entrancing invitation to unbounded life and love.  This is the invitation to enter into the cosmic Christ – into his divine person, the Word of God, who has always been present in the world.  And he has always been present in a saving way because of God’s foreknowledge of his incarnation, death, and resurrection.  Christ is “the light that enlightens everyone,” (John 1:9) – the God who is secretly at work in the most unexpected and hidden ways.  This is the Christ who disappeared in his Ascension beyond the clouds, not into some geographical location, but into the heart of all creation.  In particular, he has penetrated the very depths of our being, our separate-self sense has melted into his divine Person, and now we can act under the direct influence of his Spirit.  Thus, even if we drink a cup of soup or walk down the street, it is Christ living and acting in us, transforming the world from within.  This transformation appears in the guise of ordinary things – in the guise of our seemingly insignificant daily routine. The Ascension is Christ’s return to the heart of all creation where he dwells now in his glorified humanity.  The mystery of his Presence is hidden throughout creation and in every part of it.  At some moment of history, which prophecy calls the Last Day, our eyes will be opened and we will see reality as it is, which we know now only by faith.  That faith reveals that Christ, dwelling at the center of all creation and of each individual member of it, is transforming it and bringing it back, in union with himself, into the bosom of the Father.  Thus, the maximum glory of the Trinity is achieved through the maximum sharing of the divine life with every creature according to its capacity.  This is “the mystery hidden for ages in God,” (Ephesians 3:9). The grace of the Ascension is the triumphant faith that believes that God’s will is being done no matter what happens.  It believes that creation is already glorified, though in a hidden manner, as it awaits the full revelation of the children of God. The grace of the Ascension enables us to perceive the irresistible power of the Spirit transforming everything into Christ despite any and all appearances to the contrary.  In the misery of the ghetto, the battlefield, the concentration camp; in the family torn by dissension; in the loneliness of the orphanage, old-age home, or hospital ward – whatever we see that seems to be disintegrating into grosser forms of evil – the light of the Ascension is burning with irresistible power.  This is one of the greatest intuitions of faith.  This faith finds Christ not only in the beauty of nature, art, human friendship, and the service of others, but also in the malice and injustice of people or institutions, and in the inexplicable suffering of the innocent.  Even there it finds the same infinite love expressing the hunger of God for humanity, a hunger that he intends to satisfy. Thus, in Colossians, Paul does not hesitate to cry out with his triumphant faith in the Ascension: “Christ is all and in all” – meaning now, not just in the future.  At this very moment we too have the grace to see Christ’s light shining in our hearts, to feel his absorbing Presence within us, and to perceive in every created thing – even in the most disconcerting – the presence of his light, love, and glory. (Thomas Keating)


“Entrance Granted”

         Among the items in Catholic school lore from days gone by are thingslike: “Don’t chew the Host!” “Eating meat on Friday is a mortal sin.” “It’s dangerous to read the Bible.” One thing I remember hearingin a Catholic school was how you’re allowed into the sanctuary of the church during Mass – except for altar boys and the cleaning lady -- only twice in your lifetime: on the day of your First Communion, and on the day of your wedding -- as long as you married a Catholic, of course!

        At other times, you weren’t allowed to come close to what happens in the sanctuary  unless you became a priest.  For the rest of your life, they said, the Communion rail would keep you apart from the Holy Place where the sacred mysteries are celebrated.  And in those days, that was at a distant altar which the priest faced while praying with hushed tones in Latin. In fact, one of the misty memories I have from that time is how the altar boy would open and close the little gate in the center of the Communion rail which gave access to the sanctuary.  It all seemed so forbidding.

         Now I admit such thingsdid create a sense of reverence for the altar, the tabernacle, and the Blessed Sacrament.  None of which should be lamented.  Those who complain we’ve lost a sense of the sacred in the liturgy are correct in many ways. After all, we’ve come here to worship God, with the same sense of awe that overcame the apostles the day our Lord was taken up to heaven [and] they did him homage (G).

         On the other hand, we can’t forget another aspect of the mystery we celebrate this Ascension Day -- what the Letter to the Hebrews says: We have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the  new and living way he opened for us through the veil, that is, his flesh (II). In other words, as of today there are no barriers between us and God, forcing us to keep our distance.

         It’s difficult for us to grasp what those words meant to those who first heard them, those whose religion prevented such direct access to God. For those words about the sanctuary and the veil called to mind the First Temple with its Inner Sanctum-- the Holy of Holies --hidden behind a curtain, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, and inside it the tablets of the Law given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Those words from Hebrews recalled the covering over the Ark -- the Mercy Seat-- and the ritual celebrated once a year on Yom Kippur as the high priest entered the sanctuary, and sprinkled the blood of animals, to take away sin (cf. II).

         Should anyone else enter behind that veil, at any other time, they would be put to death – including the high priest. Even Aaron, the first priest, was told he could not come whenever he pleased into the sanctuary, inside the veil, in front of the Mercy Seat; otherwise he would die. And two of his sons, priests themselves, were the first to die for such a transgression (Lv. 10:1-2; 16:1-2).

         So when Christians were told they should have confidence to enter the sanctuary -- not a sanctuary made by human hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself (II) -- an unheard of access to God was proclaimed, a nearness and an approachability no one dared to imagine before: Acloseness not intended for priests alone, but for everyone whose heart has been sprinkled clean from an evil conscience [by the blood of Jesus] and whose body has been washed with the pure water of baptism (cf. II).  So we can approach God with a sincere heart and in absolute trust (II).

            So you see, no one in a Catholic school, or anywhere else for that matter, should ever have been told they can “enter the sanctuary” but twice in their lifetime. Nor should the place where we gather for worship ever need a Communion rail to keep us from getting too close to the mysteries of our salvation.  Not even the tabernacle, where the divine Presence remains, should make us forget we too are the temples of the living God. Indeed, nothing should make us forget we have full access to heaven, ever since that day the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven to claim for us a share in his divine life (Preface of Ascension II).

           And of course the greatest sign of this access is the Eucharist. For here we have the very Flesh which parts the veil behind which the Presence once lay hidden.  Here we have the very Blood through which we now have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary (II). And this Eucharistic sign was never meant to be hidden behind still more veils, or barricaded behind still more rails, as though access should be denied. No, this Flesh and this Blood, grant us passage into the Inner Sanctum of God’s own life and love, into heaven itself.

         So let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy, namely, Jesus Christ, who has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice, our great high priest over the house of God (II).  Who lives and reigns, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

Nicene Creed

Intercessions  (Mary Grace Melcher)

For the apostles of the church today, that
they may stir up within themselves and
the whole church the power they received
when the Holy Spirit was given to them in
the grace of their ordination.

That Jesus, who mounted His throne amid
shouts of joy, may establish His rule over
the hearts of world leaders, leading them
into the ways of life, justice, morality, and
peace for the exultation of all the peoples.

That God may give us all His Spirit of
wisdom, so that we may know and
understand the hope of our calling and
the riches of His glory that we will inherit
as His holy ones.

For the missionary outreach of the church,
that we may all support by our prayers
and financial resources the final mandate
of Jesus: to make disciples of all nations.

For all who are suffering, who think Jesus
has left them behind, that they may come
to know that He seems to hide himself in
heaven only to send the Holy Spirit of grace,
healing, and courage upon them.

For our faithful departed ones, that Jesus,
whom the Father raised from the dead and
seated above every authority and power,
may use His dominion to bring them to
eternal life in heaven.

God of majesty,
you led the Messiah
through suffering into risen life
and took him up to the glory of heaven.
Clothe us with the power
promised from on high,
and send us forth to the ends of the earth
as heralds of repentance
and witnesses of Jesus Christ, the firstborn from the dead,
who lives and reigns with you now and always
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Motet


O Rex gloriae Domine virtutum tuum qui triumphator hodie super omnes caelos ascendisti, ne derelinquas nos orphanos sed mitte promissum Patris in nos. Spiritum veritatis Alleluia

King of glory, O Lord of virtue who ascended today triumphant for us in the heavens do not forsake us orphans but send us according the spirit of truth Hallelujah.

Communion Antiphon


Closing Hymn


See, the Conqueror mounts in triumph; See the King in royal state, Riding on the clouds, His chariot, To His heavenly palace gate. Hark! the choirs of angel-voices Joyful alleluias sing, And the portals high are lifted To receive their heavenly King.

Who is this that comes in glory, With the trump of jubilee? Lord of battles, God of armies, He has gained the victory. He who on the cross did suffer, He who from the grave arose, He has vanquished sin and Satan, He by death has spoiled His foes.

Thou hast raised our human nature On the clouds to God's right hand; There we sit in heavenly places, There with Thee in glory stand. Jesus reigns, adored by angels, Man with God is on the throne; Mighty Lord, in Thine ascension We by faith behold our own.