Tag: Christ

Feast Of The Ascension Of Jesus (Solemnity)

Feast Of The Ascension Of Jesus (Solemnity)

COLLECT PRAYER

Gladden us with holy joys, Almighty God, and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving, for the Ascension of Christ your Son is our exaltation, and, where the Head has gone before in glory, the Body is called to follow in hope. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Graciously hear our supplications, O Lord, so that we, who believe that the Savior of the human race is with you in your glory, may experience, as he promised, until the end of the world, his abiding presence among us. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 

ASCENSION OF JESUS
The sixth week of Easter and the Seventh Sunday of Easter is a liturgical time with a bit of an identity crisis. This week was often referred to as Rogation Week before the revision of the calendar in 1969, and the Solemnity of the Ascension is traditionally celebrated on Thursday. But much of that has changed, or varies depending on where one lives.

The Ascension of Jesus marks forty days of the glorious celebration of Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, this calendar year.

A sermon by Saint Augustine exalts all believers as follows.

No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven

Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.

Christ is now exalted above the heavens, but he still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of his body, have to bear. He showed this when he cried out from above: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? and when he said: I was hungry and you gave me food.

Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to him? While in heaven he is also with us; and we while on earth are with him. He is here with us by his divinity, his power and his love. We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love.

He did not leave heaven when he came down to us; nor did he withdraw from us when he went up again into heaven. The fact that he was in heaven even while he was on earth is borne out by his own statement: No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.

These words are explained by our oneness with Christ, for he is our head and we are his body. No one ascended into heaven except Christ because we also are Christ: he is the Son of Man by his union with us, and we by our union with him are the sons of God. So the Apostle says: 

Just as the human body, which has many members, is a unity, because all the different members make one body, so is it also with Christ. He too has many members, but one body.

Out of compassion for us he descended from heaven, and although he ascended alone, we also ascend, because we are in him by grace. Thus, no one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is no distinction between the head and the body, but because the body as a unity cannot be separated from the head. 
I wish to add to St Augustine’s discourse by noting that Jesus has promised the continued unity of the head and body through the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Thus, in the next nine we are all invited to await the coming of the Holy Spirit in prayers. Kindly make out time for you and your loved ones for this powerful and oldest novena to the Holy Spirit for divine empowerment and sanctification.

As much as possible go to confession and take up a fast for the next nine days.

May God bless you and your loved ones and grant you your heart desires with coming of the Holy Spirit.

Was There Really Darkness And An Earthquake During Christ Crucifixion? Historians & Geological Evidence Gives Us Clues

Was There Really Darkness And An Earthquake During Christ Crucifixion? Historians & Geological Evidence Gives Us Clues

The Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, relays the passion narrative thus:

“From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split” – Matthew 27:45,51.

Today, some authors and historians dismiss this record of events as simply imaginative fiction. What secular evidence do we have for darkness and an earthquake taking place at the Crucifixion?

Thallus in 52 A.D.

Thallus was the earliest secular writer to mention Jesus; in fact, he is so ancient his complete volume of works does not even exist anymore. Writing not even twenty years after the Crucifixion, he is quoted by Julius Africanus around 221 A.D. as trying to provide an explanation for the darkness that occurred at the Crucifixion:

“On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun.” – (Julius Africanus, Chronography, 18:1).

Thallus attempted to explain the darkness at the Crucifixion away as simply an eclipse. A reasonable explanation, except that a solar eclipse can last at most seven minutes, not a full three hours as recorded in the gospels. Even more evidence the darkness was not simply a natural phenomenon, a solar eclipse can only take place at the new moon, however Christ was crucified during Passover which takes place during the full moon.

Phlegon in 137 A.D.

Even more conclusive non-Biblical evidence comes from Phlegon, who wrote an extensive chronology around the year 137 A.D. In his writing, he confirms the year of the Crucifixion darkness, and records that an earthquake took place.

“In the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad [33 A.D.] there was ‘the greatest eclipse of the sun’ and that ‘it became night in the sixth hour of the day [noon] so that stars even appeared in the heavens. There was a great earthquake in Bithynia, and many things were overturned in Nicaea.’”

Geological Evidence

In a study conducted by secular geologists of an outcropping on the southwestern shore of the Dead Sea, a distinctive mixed sediment layer was linked to the Qumran earthquake of 31 B.C.

About a foot above the layer is a narrow band of another mixed sediment layer. Using sedimentation rates, the study determined the thin layer was placed about 65 years after the first, in the year 33 A.D.

This thin layer was determined to be caused by a prominent seismic event between the years 26 A.D. – 36 A.D., causing rocks to combine and form the thin mixed layer. According to the geological evidence, the earthquake that occurred at the Crucifixion was a real historical event.😱

Did Jesus Visit His Mother First On Easter Morning? St. John Paul II Said ‘Probably So’.

Did Jesus Visit His Mother First On Easter Morning? St. John Paul II Said ‘Probably So’.

The Polish pope 21 years ago, had this to say about Mary as witness to the Paschal mystery.

The Filipino community has a whole celebration linked to the traditional belief that the Resurrected Jesus must surely have chosen to visit His Mother first, even before Mary Magdalene saw him at the tomb.

This belief was reflected upon by Pope John Paul II at the general audience of May 21, 1997.


We offer you his reflection to enjoy today (emphases in bold are our own):

~

1. After Jesus had been laid in the tomb, Mary “alone remains to keep alive the flame of faith, preparing to receive the joyful and astonishing announcement of the Resurrection” (Address at the General Audience, 3 April 1996; L’Osservatore Romano English edition, 10 April 1996, p. 7). The expectation felt on Holy Saturday is one of the loftiest moments of faith for the Mother of the Lord: in the darkness that envelops the world, she entrusts herself fully to the God of life, and thinking back to the words of her Son, she hopes in the fulfilment of the divine promises.

The Gospels mention various appearances of the risen Christ, but not a meeting between Jesus and his Mother. This silence must not lead to the conclusion that after the Resurrection, Christ did not appear to Mary; rather it invites us to seek the reasons the Evangelists made such a choice.

On the supposition of an “omission,” this silence could be attributed to the fact that what is necessary for our saving knowledge was entrusted to the word of those “chosen by God as witnesses” (Acts 10:41), that is, the Apostles, who gave their testimony of the Lord Jesus’ Resurrection “with great power” (cf. Acts 4:33). Before appearing to them, the Risen One had appeared to several faithful women because of their ecclesial function: “Go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me” (Mt 28:10).


If the authors of the New Testament do not speak of the Mother’s encounter with her risen Son, this can perhaps be attributed to the fact that such a witness would have been considered too biased by those who denied the Lord’s Resurrection, and therefore not worthy of belief.

2. Furthermore, the Gospels report a small number of appearances by the risen Jesus and certainly not a complete summary of all that happened during the 40 days after Easter. St Paul recalls that he appeared “to more than 500 brethren at one time” (1 Cor 15:6). How do we explain the fact that an exceptional event known to so many is not mentioned by the Evangelists? It is an obvious sign that other appearances of the Risen One were not recorded, although they were among the well-known events that occurred.

How could the Blessed Virgin, present in the first community of disciples (cf. Acts 1:14), be excluded from those who met her divine Son after he had risen from the dead?

3. Indeed, it is legitimate to think that the Mother was probably the first person to whom the risen Jesus appeared. Could not Mary’s absence from the group of women who went to the tomb at dawn (cf. Mk 16:1; Mt 28:1) indicate that she had already met Jesus? This inference would also be confirmed by the fact that the first witnesses of the Resurrection, by Jesus’ will, were the women who had remained faithful at the foot of the Cross and therefore were more steadfast in faith.


Indeed, the Risen One entrusts to one of them, Mary Magdalene, the message to be passed on to the Apostles (cf. Jn 20:17-18). Perhaps this fact too allows us to think that Jesus showed himself first to his Mother, who had been the most faithful and had kept her faith intact when put to the test.


Lastly, the unique and special character of the Blessed Virgin’s presence at Calvary and her perfect union with the Son in his suffering on the Cross seem to postulate a very particular sharing on her part in the mystery of the Resurrection.

A fifth-century author, Sedulius, maintains that in the splendor of his risen life Christ first showed himself to his mother. In fact, she, who at the Annunciation was the way he entered the world, was called to spread the marvelous news of the Resurrection in order to become the herald of his glorious coming. Thus bathed in the glory of the Risen One, she anticipates the Church’s splendor cf. Sedulius, Paschale carmen, 5, 357-364, CSEL 10, 140f).

4. It seems reasonable to think that Mary, as the image and model of the Church which waits for the Risen One and meets him in the group of disciples during his Easter appearances, had had a personal contact with her risen Son, so that she too could delight in the fullness of Paschal joy.

Present at Calvary on Good Friday (cf. Jn 19:25) and in the Upper Room on Pentecost (cf. Acts 1:14), the Blessed Virgin too was probably a privileged witness of Christ’s Resurrection, completing in this way her participation in all the essential moments of the Paschal mystery. Welcoming the risen Jesus, Mary is also a sign and an anticipation of humanity, which hopes to achieve its fulfillment through the resurrection of the dead.

In the Easter season, the Christian community addresses the Mother of the Lord and invites her to rejoice: “Regina Caeli, laetare. Alleluia!” “Queen of heaven, rejoice. Alleluia!” Thus it recalls Mary’s joy at Jesus’ Resurrection, prolonging in time the “rejoice” that the Angel addressed to her at the Annunciation, so that she might become a cause of “great joy” for all people.

Source:

Aleteia

Former Atheist Explains The ‘Facts’ That Convinced Him That, The Resurrection Of Jesus Was Real

Former Atheist Explains The ‘Facts’ That Convinced Him That, The Resurrection Of Jesus Was Real

 

There are still many naysayers who like to argue otherwise, regarding the Crucifixion and death of Christ. Despite all the proof and evidences presented to support the fact that Jesus Christ is still alive.

Former atheist Lee Strobel hopes to prove once and for all that Jesus’ resurrection was real in his new book, “The Case for Miracles: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for the Supernatural,” according to The Christian Post. There, Strobel provided four important facts that surround His resurrection.

First – Jesus was already dead after being Crucified, and no scholar would argue otherwise. Next, Strobel said that “reports that come so quickly, you can’t just write them off as being a legend.”

“We have one report of the resurrection, including named eye-witnesses, that has been dated back by scholars to within months of the resurrection of Jesus. That is historical gold,” he continued in the video he posted on Vimeo.

Third, there’s the empty tomb, which nobody can argue against. “I found that even the opponents of Jesus implicitly conceded that the tomb of Jesus was empty,” he said.

“And fourth, we have nine ancient sources, inside and outside the New Testament, confirming and corroborating the conviction of the disciples that they encountered the resurrected Jesus. That is an avalanche of historical data,” Strobel added.

Even though there are many hoaxes in this world, Strobel said people should not count Jesus’ resurrection as one of them. “The resurrection of Jesus is not some April Fools’ Day joke, it is a historical reality based not on mythology, but a solid foundation of historical truth,” he said, noting that Easter Sunday falls on April Fools Day this year.

When he was still an atheist, Strobel says he would have found it hilarious that the two events fell on the same date, as he considered those who believed in Jesus’ resurrection to be fools. But after becoming a Christian, he realized the error of his ways.

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