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Catholic Caucus: Sunday Mass Readings, 06-05-11, Seventh Sunday of Easter/Ascension of the Lord American Bible ^ | 0605-11 | New American Bible

Posted on 06/05/2011 6:29:35 AM PDT by Salvation

June 5, 2011

Seventh Sunday of Easter


Reading 1
Responsorial Psalm
Reading 2

Reading 1

Acts 1:12-14
After Jesus had been taken up to heaven the apostles
returned to Jerusalem
from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem,
a sabbath day’s journey away.

When they entered the city
they went to the upper room where they were staying,
Peter and John and James and Andrew,
Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew,
James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot,
and Judas son of James.
All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer,
together with some women,
and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

Responsorial Psalm

R. (13) I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
Hear, O Lord, the sound of my call;
have pity on me, and answer me.
Of you my heart speaks; you my glance seeks.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.

Reading II

Rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ,
so that when his glory is revealed
you may also rejoice exultantly.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you,
for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
But let no one among you be made to suffer
as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as an intriguer.
But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed
but glorify God because of the name.


Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come.
Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you,
just as you gave him authority over all people,
so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.
Now this is eternal life,
that they should know you, the only true God,
and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
I glorified you on earth
by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.
Now glorify me, Father, with you,
with the glory that I had with you before the world began.

“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.
They belonged to you, and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now they know that everything you gave me is from you,
because the words you gave to me I have given to them,
and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you,
and they have believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me,
because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours
and everything of yours is mine,
and I have been glorified in them.
And now I will no longer be in the world,
but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”

TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: ascension; catholic; easter; jesuschrist; prayer
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1 posted on 06/05/2011 6:29:39 AM PDT by Salvation
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To: All
Sigh.................................Or you may hear the Ascension of the Lord readings -- three days late.

June 5, 2011

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord


Reading 1
Responsorial Psalm
Reading 2

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 heavenwill return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”

Responsorial Psalm

R. (6) God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
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.
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.
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.
R. Alleluia.

Reading II

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.


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.”


2 posted on 06/05/2011 6:33:37 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...
Bring back Ascension Thursday Ping! Contact your Bishops if you wish!

Bishops listed by Diocese

Bishops by Name

Bishops listed by state

Alleluia Ping!
If you aren’t on this ping list NOW and would like to be, 
please Freepmail me.

3 posted on 06/05/2011 6:38:35 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Please Let us Celebrate Ascension on Thursday Again
English Bishops May Transfer Ascension, Epiphany Back to Traditional Days
[CATHOLIC/ORTHODOX CAUCUS] 2nd Glorious Mystery: The Ascension (Patristic Rosary)
Jesus' Ascension gives a foretaste of life in Heaven, teaches Pope Benedict
The denial of the Ascension is as grave a departure from Christian teaching as is ...
[Our Lord's] Ascension
Podcast: Fr. Z Reads Pope St. Leo the Great's Sermon 74 (On the Ascension)
ASCENSION THURSDAY - Holy Day of Obligation in certain dioceses

Ascension Sunday(Sigh)
New Roman">Ascension Thursday Sermons
Today's the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord
Ascension reveals the 'ultimate vocation' of all human beings, says Pope during prayer today
Extinguish the Paschal Candle on the Feast of Ascension . . . or Else!
Ascension Thursday
Thursday of the Ascension of Our Lord
Feast of the Ascension - Catholic Holy Day of Obligation
The Ascension of Christ and His Glorified Existence

4 posted on 06/05/2011 6:51:04 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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St. Boniface
Feast Day: June 5
Born: 673-680 at Crediton, Devonshire, England
Died: 5 June 754 at Dokkum, Freisland
Patron of: brewers; file cutters; tailors

5 posted on 06/05/2011 7:53:02 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Interactive Saints for Kids

St. Boniface

Feast Day: June 05
Born: (around) 675 :: Died: 754

This great apostle of Germany was born in Wessex in England. When he was small, some missionaries stayed a while at his home. They told the boy all about their work. They were so happy and excited about bringing the Good News to people. Boniface decided in his heart that he would be just like them when he grew up.

While still young, he went to study at a monastery school in Exeter. When he grew up, he became a popular teacher. Then after he was ordained a priest, he was a powerful preacher because he was so full of enthusiasm.

Boniface wanted everyone to know about and love Jesus and his Church. With the blessings of Pope St. Gregory II, he went as a missionary to the western part of Germany. St. Albinus, St. Abel and St. Agatha also helped him. Boniface preached with great success. He was gentle and kind. He was also a man of great courage.

Once, to prove that the pagan gods were false, he boldly went to a huge oak tree called the "oak of Thor." The pagans believed it was sacred to their gods. In front of a large crowd, Boniface took of his shirt and hacked the huge tree a few times with an axe bringing it down with a crash. Boniface stood on the trunk, and asked, "How stands your mighty god? My God is stronger than he." The pagans who expected their gods to punish Boniface for this act, realized that their gods were false when nothing happened to Boniface.

Everywhere he preached, people accepted Jesus, were baptized and joined the Church. In his lifetime, Boniface converted many people. He destroyed statues and temples of the pagan gods, and built churches and monasteries in those places.

In 732, the new pope, St. Gregory III made Boniface an archbishop and gave him another mission territory. It was Bavaria, which is part of Germany today. He and some companions went there to teach the people about the true faith. Here, too, the holy bishop was very successful.

Then, one day, he was at Freisland in Holland, preparing to confirm some converts. A group of fierce warriors swooped down on the camp. Boniface would not let his companions defend him. "Our Lord tells us to repay evil with good," he said. "The day has come for which I have waited so long. Trust in God and he will save us."

The Barbarians attacked, and Boniface was the first one killed and fifty-two newly converted Christians were also killed. He died a martyr on June 5, 754. As he wished, he was buried at the famous monastery he had started at Fulda, Germany.

6 posted on 06/05/2011 7:55:33 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Prayers for The Religion Forum (Ecumenical)
7 posted on 06/05/2011 7:58:15 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Continue to Pray for Pope Benedict [Ecumenical]
8 posted on 06/05/2011 7:58:40 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Jesus. High Priest

We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.

Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.

Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.

Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.

O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.

Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests

This icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.

The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.

The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.

Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem.  He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.

St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.

9 posted on 06/05/2011 8:00:14 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

Pray the Rosary

1.  Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

2.  The Apostles Creed:  I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

3.  The Lord's Prayer:  OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

4. (3) Hail Mary:  HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)

5. Glory Be:  GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.

Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer.  Repeat the process with each mystery.

End with the Hail Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Final step -- The Sign of the Cross


The Mysteries of the Rosary

By tradition, Catholics meditate on these Mysteries during prayers of the Rosary.
The biblical references follow each of the Mysteries below.

The Glorious Mysteries
(Wednesdays and Sundays)
1.The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-29) [Spiritual fruit - Faith]
2. The Ascension (Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11) [Spiritual fruit - Christian Hope]
3. The Descent of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:1-13) [Spiritual fruit - Gifts of the Holy Spirit]
4. The Assumption [Spiritual fruit - To Jesus through Mary]
5. The Coronation [Spiritual fruit - Grace of Final Perseverance]

10 posted on 06/05/2011 8:01:13 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
 Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we  humbly pray,
 and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
 by the power of God,
 Cast into hell Satan and all evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.

11 posted on 06/05/2011 8:02:22 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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God Save Our Country web site (prayer warriors)
Prayer Chain Request for the United States of America
Pray for Nancy Pelosi
Bachmann: Prayer and fasting will help defeat health care reform (Freeper Prayer Thread)
Prayer Campaign Started to Convert Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians to Pro-Life
[Catholic Caucus] One Million Rosaries
Non-stop Rosary vigil to defeat ObamaCare

From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:

"Pray for Obama.  Psalm 109:8"

Psalm 109:8

    "Let his days be few; and let another take his place of leadership."


Evening Prayer
Someone has said that if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.
Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace?  

There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.    Please forward this to your praying friends.

12 posted on 06/05/2011 8:03:16 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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June Devotion: The Sacred Heart

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of June is set apart for devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. "From among all the proofs of the infinite goodness of our Savior none stands out more prominently than the fact that, as the love of the faithful grew cold, He, Divine Love Itself, gave Himself to us to be honored by a very special devotion and that the rich treasury of the Church was thrown wide open in the interests of that devotion." These words of Pope Pius XI refer to the Sacred Heart Devotion, which in its present form dates from the revelations given to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1673-75.

The devotion consists in the divine worship of the human heart of Christ, which is united to His divinity and which is a symbol of His love for us. The aim of the devotion is to make our Lord king over our hearts by prompting them to return love to Him (especially through an act of consecration by which we offer to the Heart of Jesus both ourselves and all that belongs to us) and to make reparation for our ingratitude to God.


O Heart of love, I put all my trust in Thee; for I fear all things from my own weakness, but I hope for all things from Thy goodness.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque


Devotion to the Sacred Heart was the characteristic note of the piety of Saint Gertrude the Great (1256-1302), Benedictine nun and renowned mystic. She was, in fact, the first great exponent of devotion to the Sacred Heart. In our efforts to honor the Heart of Jesus we have this prayer as a model for our own:
Hail! O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and quickening source of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, and burning furnace of divine love. Thou art my refuge and my sanctuary, 0 my amiable Savior. Consume my heart with that burning fire with which Thine is ever inflamed. Pour down on my soul those graces which flow from Thy love, and let my heart be so united with Thine, that our wills may be one, and mine in all things be conformed to Thine. May Thy divine will be equally the standard and rule of all my desires and of all my actions. Amen.
Saint Gertrude


O most holy Heart of Jesus, shower Thy blessings in abundant measure upon Thy holy Church, upon the Supreme Pontiff and upon all the clergy; to the just grant perseverance; convert sinners; enlighten unbelievers; bless our relations, friends and benefactors; assist the dying; deliver the holy souls in purgatory; and extend over all hearts the sweet empire of Thy love. Amen.


O God, who didst in wondrous manner reveal to the virgin, Margaret Mary, the unsearchable riches of Thy Heart, grant that loving Thee, after her example, in all things and above all things, we may in Thy Heart find our abiding home.
Roman Missal


Reveal Thy Sacred Heart to me, O Jesus, and show me Its attractions. Unite me to It for ever. Grant that all my aspirations and all the beats of my heart, which cease not even while I sleep, may be a testimonial to Thee of my love for Thee and may say to Thee: Yes, Lord, I am all Thine;
pledge of my allegiance to Thee rests ever in my heart will never cease to be there. Do Thou accept the slight amount of good that I do and be graciously pleased to repair all m] wrong-doing; so that I may be able to bless Thee in time and in eternity. Amen.
Cardinal Merry del Val

Remember, O most sweet Jesus, that no one who has had recourse to Thy Sacred Heart, implored its help, or sought it mercy was ever abandoned. Encouraged with confidence, O tenderest of hearts, we present ourselves before Thee, crushes beneath the weight of our sins. In our misery, O Sacred Hear. of Jesus, despise not our simple prayers, but mercifully grant our requests.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

June and the Sacred Heart of Jesus: Do not be afraid to be pious
Only for Love: The Sacred Heart and the Priesthood [Catholic Caucus]

Catholic Word of the Day: LITANY OF THE SACRED HEART, 10-19-09
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Devotion to the Sacred Heart Today
The Biblical Foundation of Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus [Ecumenical]
Heart to Heart (Sacred Heart of Jesus Devotion) [St. Margaret Mary Alacoque]
(June) The Month of the Sacred Heart {Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
First Friday Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus [St. Margaret Mary Alacoque]
The Heart of the World (On the Sacred Heart of Jesus) (Catholic Caucus)
The Sacred Heart Is The Holy Eucharist(Catholic Caucus)
The Origin of the Sacred Heart Badge

Importance of Devotion to the Sacred Heart
An Awesome Homily on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Father Edmond Kline
Catholic Prayer and Devotion: June the Month of the Sacred Heart
Catholic Devotions: Sacred Heart of Jesus
Pope Urges Jesuits to Spread Sacred Heart Devotion
Homilies preached by Father Altier on the Feast of the Sacred Heart
Catholic Meditation and Devotion: The Sacred Heart of Jesus
Daily Recomendation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus powerful prayer!
The Sacred Heart and the Eucharist
The Love of the Sacred Heart

On the Sacred Heart - "We Adore God's Love of Humanity"
HAURIETIS AQUAS (On Devotion To The Sacred Heart) - Encyclical by Pope Pius XII
Solemnity Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary
Sacred Heart a Feast of God's Love, Says John Paul II
The Sacred Heart of Jesus: Symbol of Combativity and the Restoration of Christendom
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus-The Early Church, Middle Ages up to St. Margaret Mary
See this Heart
‘God Will Act and Will Reign’
About Devotion To The Sacred Heart:The Story Of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
Rediscover Feast of Sacred Heart, John Paul II Tells Youth


"Behold this Heart which has loved men so much, and yet men do not want to love Me in return. Through you My divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth."

- Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary

Our Lord also made 12 promises to St. Margaret Mary for those that are devoted to His Sacred Heart.

  1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life.
  2. I will give peace in their families.
  3. I will console them in all their troubles.
  4. They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.
  5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
  6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
  7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
  8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
  9. I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honoured.
  10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
  11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced.
  12. The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at the last hour.

13 posted on 06/05/2011 8:05:21 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

June 2011

Pope Benedict XVI's Intentions

General Intention: That priests, united to the Heart of Christ, may always be true witnesses of the caring and merciful love of God.

Missionary Intention: That the Holy Spirit may bring forth from our communities numerous missionary vocations, willing to fully consecrate themselves to spreading the Kingdom of God.

14 posted on 06/05/2011 8:06:27 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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From: Acts 1:12-14

The Apostolic College

[12] Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near
Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away; [13] and when they had entered, they
went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James
and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of
Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. [14] All these with
one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary
the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.


13-14. St Luke mentions the twelve Apostles by name, with the exception of Ju-
das Iscariot.

This is the first passage which tells of the spiritual life and devout practices of
the disciples. Significantly it places the emphasis on prayer, in keeping with our
Lord’s own practice and with his constant recommendation to his followers (cf.
Mt 6:5, 14:23; etc.).

“Prayer is the foundation of the spiritual edifice. Prayer is all-powerful” (St. J. Es-
criva, “The Way”, 83). It can truly be said that prayer is the bedrock of the Church,
which will be made manifest with the coming of the Holy Spirit. The prayer of the
disciples, including the women, in the company of Mary would have been a sup-
plication of entreaty and praise and thanksgiving to God. This union of hearts and
feelings produced by prayer is a kind of anticipation of the gifts the Holy Spirit will

“We are told this time and again in the passage narrating the lives of the first fol-
lowers of Christ. ‘All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer (Acts
1:14). [...] Prayer was then, as it is today, the only weapon, the most powerful
means, for winning the battles of our interior struggle” (St. J. Escriva, “Friends of
God”, 242).

Here we see Mary as the spiritual center round which Jesus’ intimate friends ga-
ther: tradition has meditated on this “tableau”, and found it to depict our Lady’s
motherhood over the whole Church, both at its beginning and over the course of
the centuries.

On 21 November 1964, at the closing of the third session of Vatican II, Paul VI
solemnly proclaimed Mary Mother of the Church: “Our vision of the Church must
include loving contemplation of the marvels which God worked in his holy Mother.
And knowledge of the true Catholic doctrine about Mary will always be the key
to correct understanding of the mystery of Christ and of the Church.

Reflection on the close ties linking Mary and the Church, so clearly indicated by
the present constitution [”Lumen Gentium”], allows us to think this is the most
appropriate moment to satisfy a desire which, as we pointed out at the end of
the last session, many council Fathers have made their own, calling insistently
for an explicit declaration during this council of the maternal role which the Bles-
sed Virgin exercises towards the Christian people. To this end we have consi-
dered it opportune to dedicate a title in honor of the Virgin which has been pro-
posed in different parts of the Catholic world and which we find particularly tou-
ching, for it sums up in a wonderfully succinct way the privileged position which
this council has recognized the Blessed Virgin to have in the Church.

“And so, for the glory of the Virgin and for our consolation, we proclaim Mary
Most Holy to be the Mother of the Church, that is, Mother of the entire people of
God, faithful as well as pastors, who call her loving Mother, and we desire that
from now on she be honored and invoked by the entire people of God under this
most pleasing title.”

The text makes reference to Jesus’ “brethren”, an expression which also appears
in the Gospels. Given that the Christian faith teaches us that the Virgin Mary had
no children other than Jesus, whom she conceived by the action of the Holy Spi-
rit and without intervention of man, this expression cannot mean that Jesus had
blood brothers or sisters.

The explanation lies in the peculiarities of Semitic languages. The word used in
the New Testament translates a Hebrew term which applied to all the members
of a family group and was used for even distant cousins (cf. Lev 10:4) and for ne-
phews (Gen 13:8). See note on Mt 12:46-47. In the New Testament then; the
word “brethren” has a very wide meaning—as happens, also, for example, with
the word “apostle.”

At one point Jesus describes those who hear and keep his word as his “breth-
ren” (Lk 8:21), which seems to imply that, in addition to meaning belonging to
the same family group, the word “brother” in the New Testament may be a de-
signation for certain disciples who were particularly loyal to our Lord.

St Paul, for his part, uses this term for all Christians (cf., for example, 1 Cor 1:
10; etc), as does St Peter, according to Acts 12:17.

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

15 posted on 06/05/2011 8:07:33 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: 1 Peter 4:13-16

The Christian Meaning of Suffering (Continuation)

[13] But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also re-
joice and be glad when his glory is revealed. [14] If you are reproached for the
name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory and of God rests
upon you. [15] But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or a wrong-
doer, or a mischief-maker; [16] yet if one suffers as a Christian, let him not be
ashamed, but under that name let him glorify God.


12-19. St Peter now returns to the main theme of this part of the letter (3:13-4:
19) — the trials Christians unjustly suffer on account of being followers of Christ
(cf. 1:6-7; 2:18-25; 3:13-17). They should not be surprised or ashamed by this;
rather, it should make them happy and lead them to glorify God, for if they share
in Christ’s suffering it means they will also share in his exaltation. St John of Avi-
la wrote:”God wants to open our eyes and have us realize what favors are being
done us in things the world regards as disadvantages, and how honored we are
to be scoffed at for seeking the honor of God, and what great reward awaits us
for our present depression, and how God’s gentle, sweet and loving arms are o-
pened wide to receive those wounded in doing battle on his behalf’ (”Letter”,

Moreover, the “spirit of God” will rest on them (v. 14): our Lord promised the spe-
cial assistance of the Holy Spirit to persecuted Christians hauled before courts
on account of their faith (cf. Mt 10:19-20); St Peter here calls him “the spirit of
glory”, because his indwelling in the Christian is a guarantee and an anticipation
of eternal glory (cf. 2 Cor 1:22).

Before the divine judgment which lies ahead (it is one of the frequent themes of
the letter) no one can be complacent (vv. 17-18). The Apostle’s severe warnings
are reminiscent of those Jesus gave the women of Jerusalem on his way to Cal-
vary: “if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
(Lk 23:31). However, if one has suffered on Christ’s account in this life it is clear
that one can approach the judgment with greater confidence (cf. Mt 5:11-12; 10:

13. “To the prospect of the Kingdom of God,” Bl. John Paul II teaches, “ is linked
hope in that glory which has its beginning in the Cross of Christ. The Resurrection
revealed this glory — eschatological glory — which in the Cross of Christ was com-
pletely obscured by the immensity of suffering. Those who share in the suffering
of Christ are also called, through their own sufferings, to share in glory” (”Salvfici
Doloris”, 22).

16. This is one of the three places in the New Testament in which Christ’s ‘disci-
ples are described as “Christians” (cf. Acts 11:26; 26:28). As St Luke explains
in Acts, they were first given this name in Antioch, the capital of the Roman pro-
vince of Syria (cf. Acts 11:26).

Being a Christian should never cause one to be cowed or ashamed; it should be
a motive for gratitude to God and for holy pride: “Christians who become cowed
or inhibited or envious in the face of the licentious behavior of those who have not
accepted the Word of God, show that they have a very poor idea of the faith. If
we truly keep the law of Christ—that is, if we make the effort to do so, because
we will not always fully succeed—we will find ourselves endowed with a wonderful
gallantry of spirit that does not need to look elsewhere to discover the full mea-
ning of human dignity” (St. J. Escrivá, Friends of God, 38).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

16 posted on 06/05/2011 8:10:07 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: John 17:1-11a

The Priestly Prayer of Jesus

[1] When Jesus had spoken these words, He lifted His eyes to Heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son that the Son may glorify Thee, [2]
since Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom
Thou hast given Him. [3] And this is eternal life, that they know Thee the only
true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. [4] I glorified Thee on earth,
having accomplished the work which Thou gavest Me to do; [5] and now, Father,
glorify Thou Me in Thy own presence with the glory which I had with Thee before
the world was made.

[6] “I have manifested Thy name to the men who Thou gavest Me out of the world;
Thine they were, and Thou gavest them to Me, and they have kept Thy word. [7]
Now they know that everything Thou hast given Me is from Thee; [8] for I have
given them the words which Thou gavest Me, and they have received them and
know in truth that I came from Thee; and they have believed that thou didst send
Me. [9] I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom
Thou hast given Me, for they are Thine; [10] all Mine are Thine, and Thine are
Mine, and I am glorified in them. [11a] And now I am no more in the world, but
they are in the world, and I am coming to Thee.”


1-26. At the end of the discourse of the Last Supper (Chapters 13-16) begins
what is called the Priestly Prayer of Jesus, which takes up all of Chapter 17.
It is given that name because Jesus addresses His Father in a very moving dia-
logue in which, as Priest, He offers Him the imminent sacrifice of His passion
and death. It shows us the essential elements of His redemptive mission and
provides us with teaching and a model for our own prayer. “The Lord, the Only-
begotten and co-eternal with the Father, could have prayed in silence if neces-
sary, but He desired to show Himself to the Father in the attitude of a suppli-
cant because He is our Teacher. [...] Accordingly this prayer for His disciples
was useful not only to those who heard it, but to all who would read it” (St.
Augustine, “In Ioann. Evang.”, 104, 2).

The Priestly Prayer consists of three parts: in the first (verses 1-5) Jesus asks
for the glorification of His holy human nature and the acceptance, by His Father,
of His sacrifice on the cross. In the second part (verses 6-19) He prays for His
disciples, whom He is going to send out into the world to proclaim the redemp-
tion which He is now about to accomplish. And then (verses 20-26) He prays
for unity among all those who will believe in Him over the course of the centu-
ries until they achieve full union with Him in Heaven.

1-5. The word “glory” here refers to the splendor, power and honor which ‘belong
to God’. The Son is God equal to the Father, and from the time of His Incarnation
and birth and especially through His death and resurrection His divinity has been
made manifest. “We have beheld His glory, glory as the only Son from the Father”
(John 1:14). The glorification of Jesus has three dimensions to it. 1) It promotes
the glory of the Father, because Christ, in obedience to God’s redemptive decree
(cf. Philippians 2:6), makes the Father known and so brings God’s saving work to
completion. 2) Christ is glorified because His divinity, which He has voluntarily dis-
guised, will eventually be manifested through His human nature which will be seen
after the Resurrection invested with the very authority of God Himself over all crea-
tion (verses 2, 5). 3) Christ, through His glorification, gives man the opportunity to
attain eternal life, to know God the Father and Jesus Christ, His only Son: this in
turn redounds to the glorification of the Father and of Jesus Christ while also invol-
ving man’s participation in divine glory (verse 3).

“The Son glorifies You, making You known to all those You have given Him. Fur-
thermore, if the knowledge of God is life eternal, we the more tend to life, the
more we advance in this knowledge. [...] There shall the praise of God be without
end, where there shall be full knowledge of God; and because in Heaven this know-
ledge shall be full, there shall glorifying be of the highest” (St. Augustine, “In Ioann.
Evang.”, 105, 3).

6-8. Our Lord has prayed for Himself; now He prays for His Apostles, who will con-
tinue His redemptive work in the world. In praying for them, Jesus describes some
of the prerogatives of those who will form part of the Apostolic College.

First, there is the prerogative of being chosen by God: “Thine they were...”. God
the Father chose them from all eternity (cf. Ephesians 1:3-4) and in due course
Jesus revealed this to them: “The Lord Jesus, having prayed at length to the Fa-
ther, called to Himself those whom He willed and appointed twelve to be with Him,
whom He might send to preach the Kingdom of God (cf. Mark 3:13-19; Matthew
10:1-42). These apostles (cf. Luke 6:13) He constituted in the form of a college or
permanent assembly, at the head of which He placed Peter, chosen from among
them (cf. John 21:15-17)” (Vatican II, “Lumen Gentium”, 19). Also, the Apostles
enjoy the privilege of hearing God’s teaching direct from Jesus. From this teaching,
which they accept with docility, they learn that Jesus came from the Father and
that therefore He is God’s envoy (verse 8): that is, they are given to know the rela-
tionships that exist between the Father and the Son.

The Christian, who also is a disciple of Jesus, gradually acquires knowledge of
God and of divine things through living a life of faith and maintaining a personal
relationship with Jesus Christ.

“Recalling this human refinement of Christ, who spent His life in the service of
others, we are doing much more than describing a pattern of human behavior; we
are discovering God. Everything Christ did has a transcendental value. It shows
us the nature of God and beckons us to believe in the love of God who created us
and wants us to share His intimate life” (St. J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”,

11-19. Jesus now asks the Father to give His disciple four things—unity, perseve-
rance, joy and holiness. By praying Him to keep them in His name (verse 11) He
is asking for their perseverance in the teaching He has given them (cf. verse 6)
and in communion with Him. An immediate consequence of this perseverance is
unity: “that they may be one, even as We are one”; this unity which He asks for
His disciples is a reflection of the unity of the Three Divine Persons.

He also prays that none of them should be lost, that the Father should guard and
protect them, just as He Himself protected them while He was with them. Thirdly,
as a result of their union with God and perseverance they will share in the joy of
Christ (verse 13): in this life, the more we know God and the more closely we are
joined to Him, the happier will we be; in eternal life our joy will be complete, be-
cause our knowledge and love of God will have reached its climax.

Finally, He prays for those who, though living in the world, are not of the world,
that they may be truly holy and carry out the mission He has entrusted to them,
just as He did the work His Father gave Him to do.

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

17 posted on 06/05/2011 8:11:07 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Acts 1:1-11


[1] In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do
and teach, [2] until the day when he was taken up, after he had given command-
ment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. [3] To them
he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them
during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God. [4] And while staying with
them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise
of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me, [5] for John baptized with wa-
ter, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

The Ascension

[6] So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time
restore the kingdom of Israel?” [7] He said to them, “It is not for you to know times
or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. [8] But you shall re-
ceive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnes-
ses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” [9]
And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud
took him out of their sight. [10] And while they were gazing into heaven as he went,
behold, two men stood by them in white robes, [11] and said, “Men of Galilee, why
do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into
heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”


1-5. St Luke is the only New Testament author to begin his book with a prologue,
in the style of secular historians. The main aim of this preface is to convey to the
reader the profoundly religious character of the book which he is holding in his
hands. It is a work which will give an account of events marking the fulfillment of
the promises made by the God of Israel the Creator and Savior of the world. Un-
der the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, into his book St Luke weaves quotations
from the Psalms, Isaiah, Amos and Joel; it both reflects the Old Testament and
interprets it in the light of its fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

The prologue refers to St Luke’s Gospel as a “first book”. It mentions the last e-
vents of our Lord’s life on earth—the appearances of the risen Christ and his as-
cension into heaven—and links them up with the account which is now beginning.

St Luke’s aim is to describe the origins and the early growth of this Christianity,
of which the main protagonist of this book, the Holy Spirit, has been the cause.
Yet this is not simply an historical record: the Acts of the Apostles, St Jerome
explains, “seems to be a straightforward historical account of the early years of
the nascent Church. But if we bear in mind it is written by Luke the physician,
who is praised in the Gospel (cf. 2 Cor 8: 18), we will realize that everything he
says is medicine for the ailing soul” (”Epistle” 53, 9).

The spiritual dimension of this book, which is one of a piece with the Third Gos-
pel, nourished the soul of the first generations of Christians, providing them with
a chronicle of God’s faithful and loving support of the new Israel. “This book”, St.
John Chrysostom writes at the start of his great commentary, “will profit us no
less than the Gospels, so replete is it with Christian wisdom and sound doctrine.
It offers an account of the numerous miracles worked by the Holy Spirit. It con-
tains the fulfillment of the prophecies of Jesus Christ recorded in the Gospel; we
can observe in the very facts the bright evidence of Truth which shines in them,
and the mighty change which is taking place in the Apostles: they become per-
fect men, extraordinary men, now that the Holy Spirit has come upon them. All
Christ’s promises and predictions—He who believes in me will do these and even
greater works, you will be dragged before tribunals and kings and beaten in the
synagogues, and will suffer grievous things, and yet you will overcome your per-
secutors and executioners and will bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth—all
this, how it came to pass, may be seen in this admirable book. Here you will
see the Apostles speeding their way overland and sea as if on wings. These Ga-
lileans, once so timorous and obtuse, we find suddenly changed into new men,
despising wealth and honor, raised above passion and concupiscence” (”Hom.
on Acts”, 1).

St Luke dedicates this book to Theophilus—as he did his Gospel. The dedication
suggests that Theophilus was an educated Christian, of an upper-class back-
ground, but he may be a fictitious person symbolizing “the beloved of God”, which
is what the name means. It also may imply that Acts was written quite soon after
the third Gospel.

1. “To do and teach”: these words very concisely sum up the work of Jesus Christ,
reported in the Gospels. They describe the way in which God’s saving Revelation
operates: God lovingly announces and reveals himself in the course of human his-
tory through his actions and through his words. “The economy of Revelation is rea-
lized by deeds and words, which are intrinsically bound up with each other”, Vati-
can II teaches. “As a result, the works performed by God in the history of salvation
show forth and bear out the doctrine and realities signified by the words; the words,
for their part, proclaim the works, and bring to light the mystery they contain. The
most intimate truth which this revelation gives us about God and the salvation of
man shines forth in Christ, who is himself both the mediator and the sum total of
Revelation” (”Dei Verbum”, 2).

The Lord “proclaimed the kingdom of the Father both by the testimony of his life
and by the power of his word” (Vatican II, “Lumen Gentium”, 35). He did not limit
himself to speech, to being simply the Teacher whose words opened man’s minds
to the truth. He was, above all, the Redeemer, able to save fallen man through the
divine efficacy of each and every moment of his life on earth.

“Our Lord took on all our weaknesses, which proceed from sin—with the exception
of sin itself. He experienced hunger and thirst, sleep and fatigue, sadness and
tears. He suffered in every possible way, even the supreme suffering of death. No
one could be freed from the bonds of sinfulness had he who alone was totally in-
nocent not been ready to die at the hands of impious men. Therefore, our Savior,
the Son of God, has left all those who believe in him an effective source of aid,
and also an example. The first they obtain by being reborn through grace, the
second by imitating his life” (St Leo the Great, “Twelfth Homily on the Passion”).

Jesus’ redemptive action—his miracles, his life of work, and the mystery of his
death, resurrection and ascension, whose depth and meaning only faith can
plumb—also constitute a simple and powerful stimulus for our everyday conduct.
Faith should always be accompanied by works, by deeds, that is, our humble
and necessary cooperation with God’s saving plans.

“Don’t forget that doing must come before teaching. ‘Coepit facere et docere’, the
holy Scripture says of Jesus Christ: ‘He began to do and to teach. ‘ “First deeds:
so that you and I might learn” (St. J. Escriva, “The Way”, 342).

3. This verse recalls the account in Luke 24:13-43 of the appearances of the risen
Jesus to the disciples of Emmaus and to the Apostles in the Cenacle. It stresses
the figure of forty days. This number may have a literal meaning and also a deeper
meaning. In Sacred Scripture periods of forty days or forty years have a clearly
salvific meaning: they are periods during which God prepares or effects important
stages in his plans. The great flood lasted forty days (Gen 7:17); the Israelites
journeyed in the wilderness for forty years on their way to the promised land (Ps
95:10); Moses spent forty days on Mount Sinai to receive God’s revelation of the
Covenant (Ex 24:18); on the strength of the bread sent by God Elisha walked for-
ty days and forty nights to reach his destination (1 Kings 19:8); and our Lord fas-
ted in the wilderness for forty days in preparation for his public life (Mt 4:2).

5. “You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit”: this book has been well described
as the “Gospel of the Holy Spirit”. “There is hardly a page in the Acts of the Apos-
tles where we fail to read about the Spirit and the action by which he guides, di-
rects and enlivens the life and work of the early Christian community. It is he who
inspires the preaching of St Peter (cf. Acts 4:8), who strengthens the faith of the
disciples (cf. Acts 4:31), who confirms with his presence the calling of the Gen-
tiles (cf. Acts 10:44-47), who sends Saul and Barnabas to distant lands, where
they will open new paths for the teaching of Jesus (cf. Acts 13:2-4). In a word,
his presence and doctrine are everywhere” (St. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”,

6-8. The Apostles’ question shows that they are still thinking in terms of earthly
restoration of the Davidic dynasty. It would seem that for them —as for many
Jews of their time—eschatological hope in the Kingdom extended no further than
expectation of world-embracing Jewish hegemony.

“It seems to me”, St John Chrysostom comments, “that they had not any clear
notion of the nature of the Kingdom, for the Spirit had not yet instructed them.
Notice that they do not ask when it shall come but ‘Will you at this time restore
the Kingdom to Israel?’, as if the Kingdom were something that lay in the past.
This question shows that they were still attracted by earthly things, though less
than they had been” (”Hom. on Acts”, 2).

Our Lord gives an excellent and encouraging reply, patiently telling them that the
Kingdom is mysterious in character, that it comes when one least expects, and
that they need the help of the Holy Spirit to be able to grasp the teaching they
have received. Jesus does not complain about their obtuseness; he simply cor-
rects their ideas and instructs them.

8. The outline of Acts is given here: the author plans to tell the story of the growth
of the Church, beginning in Jerusalem and spreading through Judea and Samaria
to the ends of the earth. This is the geographical structure of St Luke’s account.
In the Third Gospel Jerusalem was the destination point of Jesus’ public life (which
began in Galilee); here it is the departure point.

The Apostles’ mission extends to the whole world. Underlying this verse we can
see not so much a “geographical” dimension as the universalist aspirations of
the Old Testament, articulated by Isaiah: “It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of
the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; and all the nations shall flow
to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain
of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and
that we may walk in his paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word
of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Is 2:2-3).

9. Jesus’ life on earth did not end with his death on the Cross but with his ascen-
sion into heaven. The ascension, reported here, is the last event, the last myste-
ry of our Lord’s life on earth (cf. also 24:50-53)—and also it concerns the origins of
the Church. The ascension scene takes place, so to speak, between heaven and
earth. “Why did a cloud take him out of the Apostles’ sight?”, St John Chrysostom
asks. “The cloud was a sure sign that Jesus had already entered heaven; it was
not a whirlwind or a chariot of fire, as in the case of the prophet Elijah (cf. 2 Kings
2: l 1), but a cloud, which was a symbol of heaven itself” (”Hom. on Acts”, 2). A
cloud features in theophanies—manifestations of God—in both the Old Testament
(cf. Ex 13:22) and the New (cf. Lk 9:34f).

Our Lord’s ascension is one of the actions by which Jesus redeems us from sin
and gives us the new life of grace. It is a redemptive mystery “What we have al-
ready taught of the mystery of his death and resurrection the faithful should deem
not less true of his ascension. For although we owe our redemption and salvation
to the passion of Christ, whose merits opened heaven to the just, yet his ascen-
sion is not only proposed to us as a model, which teaches us to look on high
and ascend in spirit into heaven, but it also imparts to us a divine virtue which
enables us to accomplish what it teaches” (”St Pius V Catechism” I, 7, 9).

Our Lord’s going up into heaven is not simply something which stirs us to lift up
our hearts—as we are invited to do at the preface of the Mass, to seek and love
the “things that are above” (cf. Col 3:1-2); along with the other mysteries of his
life, death and resurrection, Christ’s ascension saves us. “Today we are not only
made possessors of paradise”, St Leo says, “but we have ascended with Christ,
mystically but really, into the highest heaven, and through Christ we have ob-
tained a more ineffable grace than that which we lost through the devil’s envy”
(”First Homily on the Ascension”).

The ascension is the climax of Christ’s exaltation, which was achieved in the first
instance by his resurrection and which—along with his passion and death—const-
itutes the paschal mystery. The Second Vatican Council expresses this as fol-
lows: “Christ our Lord redeemed mankind and gave perfect glory to God [...].
principally by the paschal mystery of his blessed passion, resurrection from the
dead, and glorious ascension” (”Sacrosanctum Concilium”, 5; cf. “Dei Verbum”,

Theology has suggested reasons why it was very appropriate for the glorified Lord
to go up into heaven to be “seated at the right hand of the Father.” “First of all, he
ascended because the glorious kingdom of the highest heavens, not the obscure
abode of this earth, presented a suitable dwelling place for him whose body, rising
from the tomb, was clothed with the glory of immortality. He ascended, however,
not only to possess the throne of glory and the kingdom which he had merited by
his blood, but also to attend to whatever regards our salvation. Again, he ascen-
ded to prove thereby that his kingdom is not of this world” (”St Pius V Catechism”,
I, 7, 5; cf. “Summa Theologiae”, III, q. 57, a. 6).

The ascension marks the point when the celestial world celebrates the victory
and glorification of Christ: “It is fitting that the sacred humanity of Christ should
receive the homage, praise and adoration of all the hierarchies of the Angels and
of all the legions of the blessed in heaven” (St. J. Escriva, “Holy Rosary”, second
glorious mystery).

11. The angels are referring to the Parousia—our Lord’s second coming, when he
will judge the living and the dead. “They said to them, What are you doing here,
looking into heaven? These words are full of solicitude, but they do not proclaim
the second coming of the Savior as imminent. The angels simply assert what is
most important, that is, that Jesus Christ will come again and the confidence
with which we should await his return” (St John Chrysostom, “Hom. on Acts”,

We know for a certainty that Christ will come again at the end of time. We con-
fess this in the Creed as part of our faith. However, we know “neither the day nor
the hour” (Mt 25: 13) of his coming. We do not need to know it. Christ is always
imminent. We must always be on the watch, that is, we should busy ourselves
in the service of God and of others, which is where our sanctification lies.

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States

18 posted on 06/05/2011 8:17:06 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Ephesians 1:17-23

Thanksgiving. The Supremacy of Christ (Continuation)

[17] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit
of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, [18] having the eyes of your
hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called
you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, [19] and what
is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the
working of his great might [20] which he accomplished in Christ when he raised
him from the dead and made him sit at the right hand in the heavenly places, [21]
far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name
that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come; [22] and he
has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for
the church, [23] which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.


17. The God whom St Paul addresses is “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ”, that
is, the God who has revealed himself through Christ and to whom Jesus himself,
as man, prays and asks for help (cf. Lk 22:42). The same God as was described
in the Old Testament as “the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob” is now de-
fined as “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ”. He is the personal God recognized
by his relationship with Christ, his Son, who as mediator of the New Covenant ob-
tains from God the Father everything he asks for. This will be our own experience
too if we are united to Christ, for he promised that “if you ask anything of the
Father, he will give it to you in my name” (Jn 16:23; 15:16).

The founder of Opus Dei reminds us that “Jesus is the way, the mediator. In him
are all things; outside of him is nothing. In Christ, taught by him, we dare to call
Almighty God ‘our Father’: he who created heaven and earth is a loving Father”
(”Christ Is Passing By”, 91).

The Apostle also calls God “the Father of glory”. The glory of God means his
greatness, his power, the infinite richness of his personality, which when it is re-
vealed inspires man with awe. Already, in the history of Israel, God revealed him-
self through his saving actions in favor of his people. Asking God to glorify his
name is the same as asking him to show himself as our Savior and to give us his
gifts. But the greatest manifestation of God’s glory, of his power, was the raising
of Jesus from the dead, and the raising, with him, of the Christian (cf. Rom 6:4;
1 Cor 6:14). In this passage St Paul asks God “the Father of glory” to grant Chris-
tians supernatural wisdom to recognize the greatness of the blessings he has gi-
ven them through his Son; that is, to acknowledge that he is their Father and the
origin of glory. By asking for a “spirit of wisdom and revelation” the Apostle is see-
king special gifts—on the one hand, wisdom, that gift of the Holy Spirit which ena-
bles one to penetrate the mystery of God: “Who has learned thy counsel, unless
thou hast given wisdom and sent thy holy Spirit from on high?” (Wis 9:17). This
wisdom which the Church has been given (cf. Eph l:8) can be communicated to
Christians in a special way, as a special gift or charism of the Holy Spirit. The A-
postle also asks God to give them a spirit “of revelation”, that is, the grace of per-
sonal revelations, such as he himself (cf. 1 Cor 14:6) and other Christians (cf. 1
Cor 14:26) received. It is not a matter of revelation or recognition of new truths,
but rather of special light from the Holy Spirit so as to have a deeper appreciation
of the truth of faith, or of the will of God in a particular situation.

18-19. Along with this deeper knowledge of God, St Paul asks that Christians be
given a fuller and livelier hope, because God and hope are inseparable. He recog-
nizes the faith and charity of the faithful to whom he is writing (cf. 1:15); now he
wants hope to shine more brightly for them; he wants God to enlighten their
minds and make them realize the consequences of their election, their calling, to
be members of the holy people of God, the Church. Hope, therefore, is a gift from
God. “Hope is a supernatural virtue, infused by God into our soul, by which we de-
sire and expect eternal life, promised by God to his servants, and the mean ne-
cessary to obtain it” (”St Pius X Catechism”, 893).

The ground for hope lies in God’s love and power which have been manifested in
the resurrection of Christ. This same power is at work in the Christian. Because
God’s plan for our salvation is an eternal one, he who has called us will lead us
to an immortal life in heaven. The fact that God’s power is at work in us (cf. Rom
5:5) does not mean that we encounter no difficulties. St. Escriva reminds us that
“as we fight this battle, which will last until the day we die, we cannot exclude
the possibility that enemies both within and without may attack with violent force.
As if that were not enough, you may at times be assailed by the memory of your
own past errors, which may have been very many. I tell you now, in God’s name:
do not despair. Should this happen (it need not happen; nor will it usually happen),
then turn it into another motive for uniting yourself more closely to the Lord, for he
has chosen you as his child and he will not abandon you. He has allowed this
trial to befall you so as to have you love him the more and discover even more
clearly his constant protection and love” (”Friends of God”, 214).

20-21. The Apostle is in awe at the marvels which God’s power has worked in
Jesus Christ. He sees Christ as the source and model of our hope. “For, just as
Christ’s life is the model and exemplar of our holiness, so is the glory and exal-
tation of Christ the form and exemplar of our glory and exaltation” (St Thomas
Aquinas, “Commentary on Eph, ad. Ioc”.).

As elsewhere in the New Testament (cf. Acts 7:56; Heb 1:3; 1 Pet 3:22), the fact
that the risen Christ is seated “at the right hand” of the Father means that he
shares in God’s kingly authority. The Apostle is using a comparison with which
people of his time were very familiar — that of the emperor seated on his throne.
The throne has always been the symbol of supreme authority and power. Thus,
the “St Pius V Catechism” explains that being seated at the right hand “does not
imply position or posture of body, but expresses the firm and permanent posses-
sion of royal and supreme power and glory, which he received from the Father”
(I, 7, 3).

Christ’s pre-eminence is absolute: he is Lord of all creation, material as well as
spiritual, earthly as well as heavenly. “All rule and authority and power and do-
minion”: this refers to the angelic spirits (cf. note on Eph 3:10), whom the false
preachers were presenting as superior to Christ. St Paul argues against them:
Jesus Christ at his resurrection was raised by God above all created beings.

22-23. In previous letters St Paul described the Church as a body (cf. Rom 12:
4f; 1 Cor 12:12ff). Here, and in Colossians 1:18, he pursues this comparison and
says that it is the body of Christ, and that Christ is its head. He returns to this
teaching elsewhere in the Captivity Epistles (cf. Col 1:18; Eph 5:23f). The image
of body and head highlights the life-giving and salvific influence of Christ on the
Church, and at the same time emphasizes his supremacy over the Church (cf.
St. Thomas Aquinas, “Commentary on Eph, ad loc.”, and also the note on Col
1:18). This fact fills Christians with joy: by joining the Church through Baptism,
they have become truly members of our Lord’s body. “No, it is not pride”, Paul
VI says, “ nor arrogance nor obstinacy nor stupidity nor folly that makes us so
sure of being living, genuine members of Christ’s body, the authentic heirs of
his Gospel” (”Ecclesiam Suam”, 33).

This image also reveals Christ’s close union with his Church and his deep love
for her: “he loved her so much”, St John of Avila observes, “that although what
normally happens is that a person raises his arm to take a blow and protect his
head, this blessed Lord, who is the head, put himself forward to receive the blow
of divine justice, and died on the Cross to give life to his body, that is, us. And
after giving us life, through penance and the sacraments, he endows us, defends
and keeps us as something so very much his own, that he is not content with
calling us his servants, friends, brethren or children: the better to show his love
and render us honor, he gives us his name. For, by means of this ineffable union
of Christ the head with the Church his body, he and we are together called ‘Christ”’
(”Audi, Filia”, chap. 84).

The Apostle also describes the Church, the body of Christ (cf. 1 Cor 12:12) as
his “fullness” (cf. note on Col 1:19). What he means is that, through the Church,
Christ becomes present in and fills the entire universe and extends to it the fruits
of his redemptive activity. By being the vehicle which Christ uses to distribute his
grace to all, the Church is different from the Israel of the Old Testament: it is not
confined to a particular geographical location.

Because the Church has limitless grace, its call is addressed to all mankind: all
men are invited to attain salvation in Christ. “For many centuries now, the Church
has been spread throughout the world,” St. Escriva comments, “and it numbers
persons of all races and walks of life. But the universality of the Church does not
depend on its geographical extension, even though that is a visible sign and a mo-
tive of credibility. The Church was catholic already at Pentecost; it was born ca-
tholic from the wounded heart of Jesus, as a fire which the Holy Spirit enkindles
[...]. ‘We call it catholic’, writes St Cyril, ‘not only because it is spread throughout
the whole world, from one extreme to the other, but because in a universal way
and without defect it teaches all the dogmas which men ought to know, of both
the visible and the invisible, the celestial and the earthly. Likewise, because it
draws to true worship all types of men, those who govern and those who are ruled,
the learned and the ignorant. And finally, because it cures and makes healthy all
kinds of sins, whether of the soul or of the body, possessing in addition—by what-
ever name it may be called—all the forms of virtue, in deeds and in words and in
every kind of spiritual gift’ (”Catechesis”, 18, 23)” (”In Love with the Church”, 9).

All grace reaches the Church through Christ. The Second Vatican Council reminds
us: “He continually endows his body, that is, the Church, with gifts of ministries
through which, by his power, we serve each other unto salvation so that, carrying
out the truth in love, we may through all things grow into him who is our head”
(”Lumen Gentium”, 7). This is why St Paul calls the Church the “body” of Christ;
and it is in this sense that it is the “fullness” (”pleroma”) of Christ—not because it
in any way fills out or completes Christ but because it is filled with Christ, full of
Christ, forming a single body with him, a single spiritual organism, whose unifying
and life-giving principle is Christ, its head. This demonstrates Christ’s absolute su-
premacy; his unifying and life-giving influence extends from God to Christ, from
Christ to the Church, and from the Church to all men. It is he in fact who fills all
in all (cf. Eph 4:10; Col 1:17-19; 2:9f).

The fact that the Church is the body of Christ is a further reason why we should
love it and serve it. As Pope Pius XII wrote: “To ensure that this genuine and
whole-hearted love will reign in our hearts and grow every day, we must accustom
ourselves to see Christ himself in the Church. For it is indeed Christ who lives in
the Church, and through her teaches, governs and sanctifies; and it is also Christ
who manifests himself in manifold disguise in the various members of his society”
(”Mystici Corporis”, 43).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States

19 posted on 06/05/2011 8:18:00 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Matthew 28:16-20

Appearance in Galilee. The Mission to the World

[16] Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus
had directed them. [17] And when they saw him they worshipped him; but some
doubted. [18] And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on
earth has been given to me. [19] 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,
[20] teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with
you always, to the close of the age.”


16-20. This short passage, which brings to a close the Gospel of St Matthew,
is of great importance. Seeing the risen Christ, the disciples adore him, worship-
ping him as God. This shows that at last they are fully conscious of what, from
much earlier on, they felt in their heart and confessed by their words—that their
Master is the Messiah, the Son of God (cf. Mt 16:18; Jn 1:49). They are over-
come by amazement and joy at the wonder their eyes behold: it seems almost
impossible, were he not before their very eyes. Yet he is completely real, so
their fearful amazement gives way to adoration. The Master addresses them with
the majesty proper to God: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given
to me.” Omnipotence, an attribute belonging exclusively to God, belongs to him:
he is confirming the faith of his worshippers; and he is also telling them that the
authority which he is going to give them to equip them to carry out their mission
to the whole world, derives from his own divine authority.

On hearing him speak these words, we should bear in mind that the authority of
the Church, which is given it for the salvation of mankind, comes directly from
Jesus Christ, and that this authority, in the sphere of faith and morals, is above
any other authority on earth.

The Apostles present on this occasion, and after them their lawful successors,
receive the charge of teaching all nations what Jesus taught by word and work:
he is the only path that leads to God. The Church, and in it all Christian faithful,
have the duty to proclaim until the end of time, by word and example, the faith
that they have received. This mission belongs especially to the successors of
the Apostles, for on them devolves the power to teach with authority, “for, before
Christ ascended to his Father after his resurrection, he [...] entrusted them with
the mission and power to proclaim to mankind what they had heard, what they
had seen with their eyes, what they had looked upon and touched with their
hands, concerning the Word of Life (1 Jn 1: 1). He also entrusted them with the
mission and power to explain with authority what he had taught them, his words
and actions, his signs and commandments. And he gave them the Spirit to fulfill
their mission” (John Paul II, “Catechesi Tradendae”, 1). Therefore, the teachings
of the Pope and of the Bishops united to him should always be accepted by
everyone with assent and obedience.

Here Christ also passes on to the Apostles and their successors the power to
baptize, that is, to receive people into the Church, thereby opening up to them
the way to personal salvation.

The mission which the Church is definitively given here at the end of St Mat-
thew’s Gospel is one of continuing the work of Christ—teaching men and women
the truths concerning God and the duty incumbent on them to identify with these
truths, to make them their own by having constant recourse to the grace of the
sacraments. This mission will endure until the end of time and, to enable it to do
this work, the risen Christ promises to stay with the Church and never leave it.
When Sacred Scripture says that God is with someone, this means that that per-
son will be successful in everything he undertakes. Therefore, the Church, helped
in this way by the presence of its divine Founder, can be confident of never failing
to fulfill its mission down the centuries until the end of time.

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States

20 posted on 06/05/2011 8:19:05 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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