Ascension of the Lord: 24 May 2020
"And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.” Matt 28:20
When Jesus was taken from the Apostles sight by the cloud, this does not mean that he was transported to another cosmic location, but that he was taken up into God’s very being, participating in God’s powerful presence in the world.
In the Epilogue of his book ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ Pope Benedict XVI writes:
"At the ending of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus led his followers into the vicinity of Bethany, we are told. ‘Lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven.’ (Luke 24:50-51.) Jesus departs in the act of blessing. He goes while blessing, and he remains in that gesture of blessing. His hands remain stretched out over this world. The blessing hands of Christ are like a roof that protects us. But at the same time, they are a gesture of opening up, tearing the world open so that heaven may enter in, may become “present” within it…In faith we know that Jesus holds his hands stretched out in blessing over us. That is the lasting motive of Christian joy.”
During the liturgy on this holy day you could make a special feature of blessing each other. This could be as simple as the Sign of Peace, or consciously making the Sign of the Cross with deep reverence at the final blessing during the online Mass or liturgy of the Word. There are so many reasons to bless each other.
Illustration: Nā Diane Bensemann, Arowhenua
If you are seeking more examples of blessings in Te Reo check out this link Here.
The Auckland Liturgy Centre has published two liturgies for you to choose from to use at home.
Family Liturgy of the Word for Ascension day Here
Formal Liturgy of the Word for Ascension day Here
May 24 - World Communications Day – devoted to the theme of storytelling
Celebrated on the Sunday before Pentecost, this will be the 54th World Communications Day. For his 2020 message, Pope Francis has chosen the theme ‘So you can tell your children and grandchildren. Life creates history.’
The passage, based on the Book of Exodus (10:2), highlights the importance of sharing meaningful memories, stories and experiences, so they may live on and transform the present. The entire message is well worth reading for the inspiring messages contained.
“I would like to devote this year’s Message to the theme of storytelling, because I believe that, so as not to lose our bearings, we need to make our own the truth contained in good stories. Stories that build up, not tear down; stories that help us rediscover our roots and the strength needed to move forward together.” Pope Francis
To read the complete message from Pope Francis Click here
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 25-31 May 2020
They showed us unusual kindness. Acts 28:2
The materials for the 2020 Week of Prayer were prepared by the Christian churches in Malta. This year’s theme “they showed us unusual kindness” (Acts 28.2) refers to the shipwreck of St Paul and his companions on the island of Malta, when he was being taken to Rome as a prisoner. The inhabitants of Malta showed “unusual kindness” to those who were shipwrecked in a violent storm. This has particular relevance to our situation today when we've been asked to be kind to all we encounter.
Several beautiful resources have been produced for the Week of Prayer. Resources adapted for the Aotearoa New Zealand setting can be located on the NZCBC site. Click here
In particular, the Liturgy sheet - committing to acts of hospitality. Here
Reflection sheet for eight days of prayer. Here