Universalis
Thursday 5 May 2016    (other days)
The Ascension of the Lord 
Solemnity

Office of Readings

If you have already recited the Invitatory Psalm today, you should use the alternative opening.


Lord, open our lips.
  And we shall praise your name.
Invitatory PsalmPsalm 23 (24)
Alleluia! Christ ascends into heaven as Lord. Come, let us adore him. Alleluia!
(repeat antiphon*)
The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,
  the world and all who live in it.
He himself founded it upon the seas
  and set it firm over the waters.
(repeat antiphon*)
Who will climb the mountain of the Lord?
  Who will stand in his holy place?
The one who is innocent of wrongdoing and pure of heart,
  who has not given himself to vanities or sworn falsely.
He will receive the blessing of the Lord
  and be justified by God his saviour.
This is the way of those who seek him,
  seek the face of the God of Jacob.
(repeat antiphon*)
Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
  and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of might and power.
  The Lord, strong in battle.
(repeat antiphon*)
Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
  and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of hosts
 – he is the king of glory.
(repeat antiphon*)
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
  as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
  world without end.
Amen.
Alleluia! Christ ascends into heaven as Lord. Come, let us adore him. Alleluia!*

* If you are reciting this on your own, you can choose to say the antiphon once only at the start of the psalm and not repeat it.


Hymn
Hail the day that sees him rise, alleluia!
to his throne above the skies; alleluia!
Christ, the Lamb for sinners given, alleluia!
enters now the highest heaven! alleluia!
There for him high triumph waits; alleluia!
lift your heads, eternal gates! alleluia!
he hath conquered death and sin; alleluia!
take the King of glory in! alleluia!
Lo! the heaven its Lord receives, alleluia!
yet he loves the earth he leaves; alleluia!
though returning to his throne, alleluia!
still he calls mankind his own. alleluia!
Still for us he intercedes, alleluia!
his prevailing death he pleads, alleluia!
near himself prepares our place, alleluia!
he, the first-fruits of our race. alleluia!
Lord, though parted from our sight, alleluia!
far above the starry height, alleluia!
grant our hearts may thither rise, alleluia!
seeking thee above the skies. alleluia!
There we shall with thee remain, alleluia!
partners of thy eternal reign, alleluia!
there thy face forever see, alleluia!
find our heaven of heavens in thee, alleluia!

Psalm 67 (68)
The Lord's triumphal journey
O sing to the Lord, make music to his name; make a highway for him who rides on the clouds. Alleluia.
God arises and his enemies are scattered:
  those who hate him flee from his sight.
You blow them away like wisps of smoke;
  as wax melts in front of a fire,
  so the wicked melt away before God.
The righteous are glad and exult in God’s sight;
  they rejoice in their gladness.
Sing to the Lord and celebrate his name!
Make a road for him who rides upon the clouds –
  “The Lord” is his name.
Rejoice in his sight,
  the father of orphans, defender of widows,
  God in his holy dwelling-place,
God, who gives the lonely a house to dwell in,
  God, who leads captives out into prosperity;
  but the rebellious shall live in a desert land.
God, when you set out in the sight of your people,
  when you crossed the wilderness – the earth shook.
The heavens sent down dew at your coming –
  the God of Sinai, the God of Israel.
At your bidding the rains came, O God,
  your inheritance was worn out but you refreshed it.
All your creatures took up residence there,
  in your goodness you made a place for the needy.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
  as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
  world without end.
Amen.
O sing to the Lord, make music to his name; make a highway for him who rides on the clouds. Alleluia.

Psalm 67 (68)
When you ascended on high, Lord, you led captivity captive. Alleluia.
The Lord gives out the word,
  and a great army of maidens brings the news:
“The kings of the armies are fleeing, they are fleeing,
  and the fair one at home is dividing the spoils.
While you sleep among the sheepfolds,
  the wings of the dove shine with silver,
  her feathers glow with green gold.
Through her the Almighty scatters the kings,
  and the mountain of Zalmon is white with snow.”
The mountain of Bashan is God’s mountain;
  the mountain of God is a high-peaked mountain.
Why do you envy it, you high-peaked mountains,
  envy the mountain that God has chosen?
  The Lord will dwell there for ever.
The chariots of God are ten thousand thousand:
  the Lord has come from Sinai to his holy sanctuary.
You have scaled the heights, you have taken captives,
  you have received men as gifts
  so that even the rebels live with the Lord God.
Blessings on the Lord, day after day!
  God will carry us, God our saviour.
Our God is a God of salvation,
  our Lord is a Lord who rescues from death.
Truly God will break the heads of his enemies,
  take the scalps of those who tread the path of crime.
The Lord has spoken:
  “I shall bring them back from Bashan,
  I shall bring them back from the depths of the sea,
so that your feet may be dipped in blood
  and the tongues of your dogs receive food from your enemies.”
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
  as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
  world without end.
Amen.
When you ascended on high, Lord, you led captivity captive. Alleluia.

Psalm 67 (68)
They see your solemn procession, O God, the procession of my God, of my king, to the sanctuary. Alleluia.
They have seen your processions, O God,
  the processions of God, my king, to his sanctuary.
First came the singers, last the musicians,
  between them the maidens playing their drums.
“Bless God in the assemblies:
  bless the Lord, you who spring from Israel!”
There was young Benjamin, leading them,
  the princes of Judah in their rich robes,
  the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.
O God, command in your strength;
  make firm what you have achieved in us.
From your temple in Jerusalem,
  kings shall bring you tribute.
Rebuke the wild beast of the reeds,
  the herd of bulls, the lords of peoples.
  Let them lie prostrate before you with tribute of silver.
Scatter the peoples that delight in war.
  Nobles will come from Egypt,
  Ethiopia will stretch out its hands to God.
Kingdoms of the earth, sing to God;
  celebrate the Lord.
Sing to God who rides on the highest heavens,
  at the origin of all things.
Listen! – he speaks, a voice of power.
Acknowledge the strength of the Lord:
  his majesty is over Israel,
  his strength is in the clouds.
God inspires awe in his holy place;
  he, the God of Israel, gives power to his people;
  he gives them strength.
Blessed be God!
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
  as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
  world without end.
Amen.
They see your solemn procession, O God, the procession of my God, of my king, to the sanctuary. Alleluia.

The Lord opened their minds, alleluia,
to understand the scriptures, alleluia.

First Reading
Ephesians 4:1-24 ©
I, the prisoner in the Lord, implore you to lead a life worthy of your vocation. Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. There is one Body, one Spirit, just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all and within all.
  Each one of us, however, has been given his own share of grace, given as Christ allotted it. It was said that he would:
When he ascended to the height, he captured prisoners,
he gave gifts to men.
When it says, ‘he ascended’, what can it mean if not that he descended right down to the lower regions of the earth? The one who rose higher than all the heavens to fill all things is none other than the one who descended. And to some, his gift was that they should be apostles; to some, prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers; so that the saints together make a unity in the work of service, building up the body of Christ. In this way we are all to come to unity in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God, until we become the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself.
  Then we shall not be children any longer, or tossed one way and another and carried along by every wind of doctrine, at the mercy of all the tricks men play and their cleverness in practising deceit. If we live by the truth and in love, we shall grow in all ways into Christ, who is the head by whom the whole body is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its own strength, for each separate part to work according to its function. So the body grows until it has built itself up, in love.
  In particular, I want to urge you in the name of the Lord, not to go on living the aimless kind of life that pagans live. Intellectually they are in the dark, and they are estranged from the life of God, without knowledge because they have shut their hearts to it. Their sense of right and wrong once dulled, they have abandoned themselves to sexuality and eagerly pursue a career of indecency of every kind. Now that is hardly the way you have learnt from Christ, unless you failed to hear him properly when you were taught what the truth is in Jesus. You must give up your old way of life; you must put aside your old self, which gets corrupted by following illusory desires. Your mind must be renewed by a spiritual revolution so that you can put on the new self that has been created in God’s way, in the goodness and holiness of the truth.
Responsory
℟. When Christ ascended to the heights he captured prisoners:* he gave gifts to men, alleluia.
℣. God goes up with shouts of joy, the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.* He gave gifts to men, alleluia.

Second Reading
From a sermon by Saint Augustine
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.
Responsory
℟. After his passion Jesus appeared to his disciples over a period of forty days and taught them about the kingdom of God,* and while they looked on he was lifted up and a cloud took him from their sight, alleluia.
℣. While he was in their company he told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for what the Father had promised,* and while they looked on he was lifted up and a cloud took him from their sight, alleluia.

HymnTe Deum
God, we praise you; Lord, we proclaim you!
You, the Father, the eternal –
all the earth venerates you.
All the angels, all the heavens, every power –
The cherubim, the seraphim –
unceasingly, they cry:
“Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts:
heaven and earth are full of the majesty of your glory!”
The glorious choir of Apostles –
The noble ranks of prophets –
The shining army of martyrs –
all praise you.
Throughout the world your holy Church proclaims you.
– Father of immeasurable majesty,
– True Son, only-begotten, worthy of worship,
– Holy Spirit, our Advocate.
You, Christ:
– You are the king of glory.
– You are the Father’s eternal Son.
– You, to free mankind, did not disdain a Virgin’s womb.
– You defeated the sharp spear of Death, and opened the kingdom of heaven to those who believe in you.
– You sit at God’s right hand, in the glory of the Father.
– You will come, so we believe, as our Judge.
And so we ask of you: give help to your servants, whom you set free at the price of your precious blood.
Number them among your chosen ones in eternal glory.
The final part of the hymn may be omitted:
Bring your people to safety, Lord, and bless those who are your inheritance.
Rule them and lift them high for ever.
Day by day we bless you, Lord: we praise you for ever and for ever.
Of your goodness, Lord, keep us without sin for today.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us.
Let your pity, Lord, be upon us, as much as we trust in you.
In you, Lord, I trust: let me never be put to shame.

Let us pray.
Almighty God,
  fill us with a holy joy;
  teach us how to thank you with reverence and love
  on account of the ascension of Christ your Son.
You have raised us up with him:
  where he, the head, has preceded us in glory,
  there we, the body, are called in hope.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
  who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
  one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.

The psalms and canticles here are our own translation. The Grail translation of the psalms, which is used liturgically in most of the English-speaking world, cannot be displayed on the Web for copyright reasons. The Universalis downloads do contain the Grail translation of the psalms.

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