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Thursday, May 01, 2008


Mark Brumley

But of course today is not the Feast of the Ascension in the California dioceses. The bishops have changed Thursday into Sunday here, and the Ascension will be celebrated on Sunday, not today.

Although Scripture indicates that the Ascension took place 40 days after the Resurrection, some liturgists insist that we ignore the 40 days symbolism of the Bible and we celebrate the Ascension on Sunday, so that--let me see if I can remember the rationale for it--all the major events associated with the Paschal Mystery are celebrated on a Sunday. (Except for the Last Supper, the institution of the Eucharist, the institution of Holy Orders, the Passion and Death of Jesus on Good Friday, and his descent into hell on Holy Saturday. In other words, everything except the Resurrection.)

The other rationale I remember is that many people can't get to Mass during the week and therefore won't be able to participate in a liturgy celebrating the Ascension unless it's observance is moved to Sunday. That I find utterly hard to believe. Sorry. If it's really a problem , then offer a Mass in the evening, in addition to other Masses during the day. I can't believe that for the vast majority of people in this state who otherwise intend to go to Mass for the Ascension that this is a real problem. I can believe, however, that not allowing our day-to-day life to be "interrupted" by holy days reflects as dangerous secularization of Catholic life.

Brian Schuettler

What really gives the boot to the rationale(s) the liturgists presented, Mark, is that there is no uniformity of practice in regard to holy days. A perfect example is today, the Ascension. In California you do not have an obligation to attend Mass while I, here in NJ, do. The consequence of this absurdity is that if I do not go to Mass today without just reason, I have committed a mortal sin, while you have not. It is this sort of approach to the practice of our faith that leads to confusion and perhaps even scandal. Thank you raising this very important issue. I hope the bishops in the US will address it soon!


That's probably the best reflection on the Ascension I've ever read. Looks like I'll soon be ponying up for yet another Ignatius Press book...

Thanks for posting. I continue to be amazed at the concurrent depth and accessibility in just about all of Ratzinger's writings. Amazing.

I subscribe to the Magnificat monthly prayer books and I can't count the number of times when I'm reading the little "day by day" reflections in there, and as I read I start to think "Man, this is really good," and at the end I find it was written by Benedict XVI.

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