Seventh Sunday after Easter: Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26: Ps 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20; 1 John 4:11-16; John 17:11b-19
Ascension of Jesus into Heaven: Acts 1:1-11; Ps 47:2-3, 6-9; Ephesians 1:17-23; Mark 16:15-20 (These major sections of our country will celebrated the Ascension of Jesus on Thursday: Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Philadelphia and Omaha. The rest of the country has moved it to the next Sunday to explain its significance to the people.)
According to Acts of the Apostles (the history of the first 20 years of the church) Jesus appeared in many convincing ways that he was back, glorified and giving them more instructions. Forty days after his resurrection Jesus left them physically. Yet he is still spiritually present with us until the end of time on earth. He is present in Mass with the reading of Scripture and the consecration of bread and wine into his body and blood, the best meal on earth. Jesus is present in the ministers who continue his mission of salvation for all. He is present in his church where two or three are gathered in his name. Jesus is present in all the sacraments that bring divine power to live good lives and bless others.
Jesus came to earth to be physically with us. He loved us and taught us how to love one another and he freed us from our sins by his death and resurrection. So we are empowered to heal, teach and tell others about God’s real love for all his children. Having finished his work Jesus told his apostles and disciples to go back into the city and wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon them. I gave you those texts from St. John last week. So we wait 9 days in prayer for more power of the Holy Spirit to help us continue Jesus’ work here. The Pentecost Sequence describes more of the work of the Holy Spirit. This is the best prayer to the Holy Spirit.
I believe this is the most beautiful and accurate prayer to the Holy Spirit. It is also a mini-course in His activity in the world next to the 5 Holy Spirit sayings I gave you recently from St. John’s Gospel in chapters 14 to 16. I underlined key words to emphasize for you more of the great works of the Holy Spirit in us. This is an excellent novena prayer yet any prayer can be used. This one is very easy to memorize, as it is poetry.
Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from Your clear celestial home,
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our being shine!
You, of comforters the best;
You, our soul's most welcome guest
Sweet refreshment here below.
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light Divine,
Shine within these hearts of Thine,
And our inmost being fill!
Where You are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour Your Dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away.
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore\
And confess You, evermore
In Your many Gifts descend.
Give us virtue's sure reward;
Give us Your Salvation, Lord;
Give us joys that never end.
(Stephen Langton, 1150-1228 A.D.
Archbishop of Canterbury, England.)
If you have already celebrated the Ascension last Thursday, read carefully Acts 1 and 2 and then John 17. The latter is Jesus’ prayer thanking his Father for his work and then praying over the disciples and a protective prayer for all those who will continue his work on earth.
If you would like to read a little more about the Holy Spirit in 9 short sharings, send me an email and I shall send them to you in .rtf format. Have a beautiful week as we await more signs and wonders of God’s love in our lives.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(© 2015 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR