The responsorial psalm for Mass tomorrow, Sunday, the feast of the Ascension, is chosen for the appropriateness of the imagery drawn from the Temple Liturgy to celebrate the Mystery of the Ascension.
God goes up with shouts of joy; the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.
All peoples, clap your hands,
cry to God with shouts of joy!
For the Lord, the Most High, we must fear,
great king over all the earth.
God goes up with shouts of joy;
the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.
Sing praise for God, sing praise,
sing praise to our king, sing praise.
God is king of all the earth,
sing praise with all your skill.
God is king over the nations;
God reigns on his holy throne.
The image above shows the Ascended Christ, welcoming St Nicholas into Paradise. It reminds that the Lord’s Mystery is also a mystery of our lives in Christ. Jesus holds the Cross, a reminder of the cost of his Victory, and testimony to his love for us and all.
- To which part of your life do you wish the Lord’s triumph next to be applied?
- How can you best cooperate with his grace?
Detail of Saint Nicholas of Bari Received into Paradise Francesco de Mura (1696–1782) Compton Verney (c) 2016, Allen Morris
The second reading of the Fourth Sunday of Advent, this year, comes from St Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Glory to him who is able to give you the strength to live according to the Good News I preach, and in which I proclaim Jesus Christ, the revelation of a mystery kept secret for endless ages, but now so clear that it must be broadcast to pagans everywhere to bring them to the obedience of faith. This is only what scripture has predicted, and it is all part of the way the eternal God wants things to be. He alone is wisdom; give glory therefore to him through Jesus Christ for ever and ever. Amen.
St Paul offers a timely reminder that it is not enough for us to know Jesus, we – and all the world – must learn to live in, with and through him. In the child born at Bethlehem we have the opportunity of receiving again the gift of ourselves, and the power to live that gift.
Perhaps today we can pray with Pope Francis that the birth of the Redeemer, and our celebration of it this Christmas, may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Photograph is of statue of St Paul in the Basilica of St Paul outside the Walls, Rome, showing the medallions of Pope Emeritus Benedict and of Pope Francis. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.