Thursday, May 5, 2016

What is the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven? Bible Answers on #Ascension and #Novena Prayer

The Ascension of Jesus is told in the Bible in Acts 1:9-11. This teaching explains that the resurrected Jesus was taken up to Heaven 40 days after the resurrection. The Gospels also describe the ascension of Jesus in Luke 24:50-53 and Mark 16:19. The ascension of Jesus is included in the Nicene Creed and in the Apostles' Creed. The Feast of the Ascension, is celebrated on the 40th day of Easter (always a Thursday). In some countries this Feast is transferred to the Sunday following the Thursday. Jesus said unto them, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. Jesus led the eleven disciples to Bethany, not far from Jerusalem.  Then he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. Acts 1:9 describes the Ascension: "And when he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight." The Ascension took place on Mount Olivet. The Chapel of the Ascension in Jerusalem today is venerated by Christians and Muslims. There is a 12x12 meter octagonal structure (called a martyrium—"memorial"—or "Edicule") that remains to this day. Russian Orthodox have a Convent of the Ascension on the top of the Mount of Olives. Christian theology[edit]  The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:"Christ's Ascension into heaven signifies his participation, in his humanity, in God's power and authority." CCC 668. In  John 20:17 Jesus told St. Mary Magdalene: "I have not yet ascended to the Father; go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God"
Ascension remembers the day when Jesus went up into heaven 40 days after He rose from the dead.  The Ascension is often transferred to the Sunday so that people can attend Mass.
Novena Prayer (Say 9 Times)
Antiphon
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
V. Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Let us Pray:
O God, who hast taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may be always truly wise, and ever rejoice in His consolations,
Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

#PopeFrancis New Video for May Prayer Intentions on Respect for Women - FULL TEXT - Video


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ prayer intention for May is for the Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed. 
The Apostleship of Prayer has produced the Pope’s Video on this prayer intention.
The full text of the Pope’s Video is below
Women
The contribution of women in all areas of human activity is undeniable, beginning with the family. But only to recognize it…Is that enough? We have done little for the women who are in very difficult situations--despised, marginalized, and even reduced to slavery.
We must condemn sexual violence against women and remove the barriers that prevent their full integration into social, political, and economic life. If you think this is clearly right, join my petition. It is a prayer--that in all countries of the world women may be honored and respected and valued for their essential contribution to society.
I DO MY JOB AS WELL AS A MAN. I WILL NEVER BE A SLAVE. NO GENDER VIOLENCE.
ENOUGH OF DISCRIMINATION AT WORK. MEN AND WOMEN ARE CHILDREN OF GOD.

#PopeFrancis "Jesus’ tears cannot go without a response..." FULL TEXT - Video at Prayer Vigil to "Dry the Tears"

Pope Francis leads a prayer vigil in St. Peter's Basilica for those in need of consolation - REUTERS
Pope Francis leads a prayer vigil in St. Peter's Basilica for those in need of consolation - REUTERS
05/05/2016 17:30


(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Thursday (the Feast of the Ascension) presided over a prayer vigil “To Dry the Tears” in St Peter’s Basilica dedicated to all those who are suffering and who seek consolation. Members of one family and two individuals who have undergone different types of suffering in their lives testified to the gathering about their painful experience and how they were helped to recover from it. During the vigil the reliquary of Our Lady of Tears of Syracuse were on display inside the basilica for the veneration of the faithful. This reliquary is linked to the extraordinary phenomenon that occurred in 1953, when a small plaster picture depicting the Immaculate Heart of Mary that was hanging above the bed of a young Italian married couple shed human tears. The reliquary contains part of the tears that flowed miraculously from the image of Our Lady.
Please find below a translation into English of Pope Francis’ prepared meditation during the Prayer Vigil.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
                After the moving testimonies we have heard, and in the light of the word of the Lord that gives meaning to our suffering, let us first ask Holy Spirit to come among us.  May he enlighten our minds to find the right words capable of bringing comfort.  May he open our hearts to the certainty that God is always present and never abandons us in times of trouble.  The Lord Jesus promised his disciples that he would not leave them alone, but at all times in life he would remain close to them by sending his Spirit, the Comforter (cf. Jn 14:26) to help, sustain and console them.
                At times of sadness, suffering and sickness, amid the anguish of persecution and grief, everyone looks for a word of consolation.  We sense a powerful need for someone to be close and feel compassion for us.  We experience what it means to be disoriented, confused, more heartsick than we ever thought possible.  We look around us with uncertainty, trying to see if we can find someone who really understands our pain.  Our mind is full of questions but answers do not come.  Reason by itself is not capable of making sense of our deepest feelings, appreciating the grief we experience and providing the answers we are looking for.  At times like these, more than ever do we need the reasons of the heart, which alone can help us understand the mystery which embraces our loneliness.
                How much sadness we see in so many faces all around us!  How many tears are shed every second in our world; each is different but together they form, as it were, an ocean of desolation that cries out for mercy, compassion and consolation.  The bitterest tears are those caused by human evil: the tears of those who have seen a loved one violently torn from them; the tears of grandparents, mothers and fathers, children; eyes that keep staring at the sunset and find it hard to see the dawn of a new day.  We need the mercy, the consolation that comes from the Lord.  All of us need it.  This is our poverty but also our grandeur: to plead for the consolation of God, who in his tenderness comes to wipe the tears from our eyes (cf. Is 25:8; Rev 7:17; 21:4).
                In our pain, we are not alone.  Jesus, too, knows what it means to weep for the loss of a loved one.  In one of the most moving pages of the Gospel, Jesus sees Mary weeping for the death of her brother Lazarus.  Nor can he hold back tears.  He was deeply moved and began to weep (cf. Jn 11:33-35).  The evangelist John, in describing this, wanted to show how much Jesus shared in the sadness and grief of his friends.  Jesus’ tears have unsettled many theologians over the centuries, but even more they have bathed so many souls and been a balm to so much hurt.  Jesus also experienced in his own person the fear of suffering and death, disappointment and discouragement at the betrayal of Judas and Peter, and grief at the death of his friend Lazarus.  Jesus “does not abandon those whom he loves” (Augustine, In Joh., 49, 5).  If God could weep, then I too can weep, in the knowledge that he understands me.  The tears of Jesus serve as an antidote to my indifference before the suffering of my brothers and sisters.  His tears teach me to make my own the pain of others, to share in the discouragement and sufferings of those experiencing painful situations.  They make me realize the sadness and desperation of those who have even seen the body of a dear one taken from them, and who no longer have a place in which to find consolation.  Jesus’ tears cannot go without a response on the part of those who believe in him.  As he consoles, so we too are called to console.
                In the moment of confusion, dismay and tears, Christ’s heart turned in prayer to the Father.  Prayer is the true medicine for our suffering.  In prayer, we too can feel God’s presence.  The tenderness of his gaze comforts us; the power of his word supports us and gives us hope.  Jesus, standing before the tomb of Lazarus, prayed, saying: “Father, I thank you for having heard me.  I knew that you always hear me” (Jn 11:41-42).  We too need the certainty that the Father hears us and comes to our aid.  The love of God, poured into our hearts, allows us to say that when we love, nothing and no one will ever be able to separate us from those we have loved.  The apostle Paul tells us this with words of great comfort: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness or the sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:35, 37-39).  The power of love turns suffering into the certainty of Christ’s victory, and our own in union with him, and into the hope that one day we will once more be together and will forever contemplate the face of the Blessed Trinity, the eternal wellspring of life and love.
                At the foot of every cross, the Mother of Jesus is always there.  With her mantle, she wipes away our tears.  With her outstretched hand, she helps us to rise up and she accompanies us along the path of hope.”

#NationalDayofPrayer - 65th Annual - OFFICIAL Prayer and Theme - SHARE



The 65th annual National Day of Prayer, May 5, 2016The 65th annual National Day of Prayer, May 5, 2016, will have profound significance for our country.  It is an unprecedented opportunity to see the Lord’s healing and renewing power made manifest as we call on citizens to humbly come before His throne.

NDP_Theme-PPSlide.jpegOur theme for 2016 is Wake Up America, emphasizing the need for individuals, corporately and individually, to return to the God of our Fathers in reverence for His Holy Name. To further highlight our theme, we’ve chosen Isaiah 58:1a as our Scripture for this year:  “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet.

For the May 5th observances, Dr. Tony Evans, the 2016 Honorary Chairman, wrote aspecial prayer to be simultaneously read throughout the nation at noon (ET).  This recitation will create a huge wave of prayer, flowing from one coast to the other, illustrating the unity of God’s people and acknowledging His dominion over the circumstances facing us.  Millions of people will gather to pray at thousands of events facilitated by our volunteer coordinators and people just like you!  We hope you’ll join with our staff again as we seek to bring more communities than ever before together in prayer.  As a way of assisting you, we have assembled a variety of resources that equip you to organize and publicize prayer gatherings, citywide prayer breakfasts, worship services, and rallies.  These materials also present creative ideas geared toward helping individuals and families to establish meaningful devotional times.  If you have any questions after reviewing these items, please don’t hesitate to contact our NDP staff at (800) 444-8828.  We would count it a privilege to lend a hand in whatever manner we are able.

At this crucial time for our nation, we can do nothing more important than pray.  Thank you in advance for making this spiritual discipline a personal priority and for standing with us as we encourage others to incorporate prayer in their lives.  The Lord has graciously anointed our efforts, empowering them to touch and change many hearts and lives.  We look forward to seeing His hand move across our land in exciting ways each May in response to our petitions!  In closing, we ask that you prayerfully consider becoming a volunteer in your church or community to lead a National Day of Prayer gathering. May the Lord’s peace fill your heart as you rest in Him throughout the days ahead.
Watch
For the May 7th observances, Dr. Jack Graham, the 2015 Honorary Chairman, wrote aspecial prayer (below) to be simultaneously read throughout the nation at noon (EDT).  This recitation will create a huge wave of prayer, flowing from one coast to the other, illustrating the unity of God’s people and acknowledging His dominion over the circumstances facing us.  Millions of people will gather to pray at thousands of events facilitated by our volunteer coordinators and people just like you!  We hope you’ll join with our staff again as we seek to bring more communities than ever before together in prayer.  As a way of assisting you, we have assembled a variety of resources that describe how to organize and publicize citywide prayer breakfasts, worship services, and rallies.  These materials also present creative ideas geared toward helping individuals and families to establish meaningful devotional times.  If you have any questions after reviewing these items, please don’t hesitate to contact our NDP staff at (800) 444-8828.  We would count it a privilege to lend a hand in whatever manner we are able.
At this crucial time for our nation, we can do nothing more important than pray.  Thank you in advance for making this spiritual discipline a personal priority and for standing with us as we encourage others to incorporate prayer in their lives.  The Lord has graciously anointed our efforts, empowering them to touch and change many hearts and lives.  We look forward to seeing His hand move across our land in exciting ways each May in response to our petitions!  In closing, we ask that you prayerfully consider becoming a volunteer in your church or community to lead a National Day of Prayer gathering. May the Lord’s peace fill your heart as you rest in Him throughout the days ahead.
Quick Links:
Dear heavenly Father, we come to You today as a humble people desperate for Your supernatural intervention on behalf of our beloved nation.  First, we thank You for all the blessings You have bestowed on our land, blessings that have allowed us to bring so much good and benefit to not only our own citizens but also to the rest of the world. The very ideals upon which this country was founded were based on biblical truths, no matter how some try to rewrite history to deny that very fact today.
This is why our hearts are so broken over how You continue to be marginalized and dismissed by both our people and our institutions. We are also saddened by the fact that Your people have contributed greatly to the spiritual apathy that now engulfs us. Our satisfaction in remaining religious without being fully committed to living out the truths of Your Word has caused us to become co-conspirators with the forces of evil that are destroying us as a society.
It is for this reason that we personally and collectively repent of our carnality and recommit ourselves to becoming visible and verbal disciples of Jesus Christ. Enable us, by Your Spirit, to no longer be secret agent Christians but rather to publicly declare and live out Your truth in a spirit of love so that You feel welcome in our country once again.
Thank You for Your promise to hear our prayers when we call to You with hearts of repentance and obedience, which is how we are appealing to You today, Father. On behalf of Your church, we affirm afresh the priority You are to us that You would fill every dimension of our lives as we seek to bring You glory through the advancement of Your kingdom in our personal lives, our family lives, and in the lives of our churches and our government leaders. We confidently invite heaven’s intervention into all the affairs of our nation and we praise You in advance for Your answer.
In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen.
by Dr. Tony Evans

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

In times of steady calm and extraordinary change alike, Americans of all walks of life have long turned to prayer to seek refuge, demonstrate gratitude, and discover peace.  Sustaining us through great uncertainty and moments of sorrow, prayer allows us an outlet for introspection, and for expressing our hopes, desires, and fears.  It offers strength in the face of hardship, and redemption when we falter.  Our country was founded on the idea of religious freedom, and we have long upheld the belief that how we pray and whether we pray are matters reserved for an individual's own conscience.  On National Day of Prayer, we rededicate ourselves to extending this freedom to all people.

Every day, women and men use the wisdom gained from humble prayer to spread kindness and to make our world a better place.  Faith communities at home and abroad have helped feed the hungry, heal the sick, and protect innocents from violence.  Nurturing communities with love and understanding, their prayer inspires their work, which embodies a timeless notion that has kept humanity going through the ages -- that one of our most sacred responsibilities is to give of ourselves in service to others.

The threats of poverty, violence, and war around the world are all too real.  Our faith and our earnest prayers can be cures for the fear we feel as we confront these realities.  Helping us resist despair, paralysis, or cynicism, prayer offers a powerful alternative to pessimism.  Through prayer, we often gain the insight to learn from our mistakes, the motivation to always be better, and the courage to stand up for what is right, even when it is not popular.

Each of us is an author in our collective American story, and in participating in our national discourse to address some of our Nation's greatest challenges, we are reminded of the blessing we have to live in a land where we are able to freely express the beliefs we hold in our hearts.  The United States will continue to stand up for those around the world who are subject to fear or violence because of their religion or beliefs.  As a Nation free to practice our faith as we choose, we must remember those around the world who are not afforded this freedom, and we must recommit to building a society where all can enjoy this liberty and live their lives in peace and dignity.

On this day, may our faiths enable us to sow the seeds of progress in our ever-changing world.  Let us resolve to guide our children and grandchildren to embrace freedom for all, to see God in everyone, and to remember that no matter what differences they may have, they, just like we, will always be united by their common humanity.

The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on the President to issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a "National Day of Prayer."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 5, 2016, as National Day of Prayer.  I invite the citizens of our Nation to give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and I join all people of faith in asking for God's continued guidance, mercy, and protection as we seek a more just world. 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.

 

 BARACK OBAMA

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday May 5, 2016


Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 294


Reading 1ACTS 18:1-8

Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus,
who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla
because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome.
He went to visit them and, because he practiced the same trade,
stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.
Every sabbath, he entered into discussions in the synagogue,
attempting to convince both Jews and Greeks.

When Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia,
Paul began to occupy himself totally with preaching the word,
testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.
When they opposed him and reviled him,
he shook out his garments and said to them,
“Your blood be on your heads!
I am clear of responsibility.
From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
So he left there and went to a house
belonging to a man named Titus Justus, a worshiper of God;
his house was next to a synagogue.
Crispus, the synagogue official, came to believe in the Lord
along with his entire household, and many of the Corinthians
who heard believed and were baptized.

Responsorial PsalmPS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

R. (see 2b) The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R. Alleluia.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaSEE JN 14:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord;
I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 16:16-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
“A little while and you will no longer see me,
and again a little while later and you will see me.”
So some of his disciples said to one another,
“What does this mean that he is saying to us,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me,’
and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?”
So they said, “What is this ‘little while’ of which he speaks?
We do not know what he means.”
Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them,
“Are you discussing with one another what I said,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me’?
Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”