May 20, 2007
Seventh Sunday of Easter
Ascension of the Lord

Reading 1
Acts 7:55-60

Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and Stephen said, “Behold, I see the heavens
opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him together. They threw him out of the city,
and began to stone him.
The witnesses laid down their cloaks  at the feet of a young man named Saul.
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them;”and when he said this, he fell asleep.

Only in Luke's rendition of the Crucifixion of Jesus do we hear Christ's words of forgiveness and His giving of Himself to the Father in His last breath. Our similar story in ACTS about Steven's forgiveness and commending himself to Jesus, is a 'parallelism', a literary device used in ancient writings to tie the events together and give theologicl certainty to the readings.
 
We see the use of parallels in Genesis with both Abraham and his son Isaac, involved with a gentile King who ravishes their wives and they both pretend their wives were their sisters, placing them in jeapordy. This was to point out the social status of women as the bottom rung of the social ladder.(Genesis 12 10-20; 20: 1-18; 26: 6-11)
The point of the Steven story turns out to be a segue into the character of Saul (Paul) who is to turn from persecutor to proslytizer.
When the Holy Spirit chooses us to be His instrument of salvation to others, do we think we're unworthy? God does not judge as we do. Thanks be to God!
 
Responsorial Psalm
Ps 97:1-2, 6-7, 9

R. (1a and 9a) The Lord is king, the most high over all the earth..
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice; let the many islands be glad.
Justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
R. The Lord is king, the most high over all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice, and all peoples see his glory.
All gods are prostrate before him.
R. The Lord is king, the most high over all the earth.
You, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth,
exalted far above all gods.
R. The Lord is king, the most high over all the earth.

The psalm introduces us to the object of love and devotion. It is the Lord! The highest of the high; the King of Kings: the root of David; the morning star.
All are metaphors of the one and only God!

Reading II
Rev 22:12-14, 16-17, 20

I, John, heard a voice saying to me: “Behold, I am coming soon.
I bring with me the recompense I will give to each according to his deeds.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Blessed are they who wash their robes so as to have the right to the tree of life and enter the city through its gates.
“I, Jesus, sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the root and offspring of David, the bright morning star.”
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come. Let the hearer say, “Come. ”Let the one who thirsts come forward, and the one who wants it receive the gift of life-giving water.
The one who gives this testimony says, “Yes, I am coming soon.  Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
 
The last verses of the last chapter of Revelation reveals Him as the Alpa and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. The final victory of God over the
forces of evil ensures us of the final place reserved for those who love God!
Come Lord Jesus! Maranatha!
 

Gospel
Jn 17:20-26

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “Holy Father, I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one,
as you, Father, are in me and I in you,  they also may be in us,  the world may believe you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me, so  they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, may  they be brought to perfection as one, the world may know
 you sent me,and  you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, may they see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of
the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known,  the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”

Before Jesus is betrayed and arrested, His final dissertation is a plea to the Father for the ubnity of all believers. Jesus; desire for us to be with Him on the final day
is evidence of His love for us, even though we are sinners.
Let us pray together for the reconciliation of all believers into the house of God, His Holy Catholic Church!
 

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