DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     May 20, 1998     vol. 9, no. 98


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Wednesday, May 20, 1998

    Wednesday, May 20:
    Wednesday in the Sixth Week of Easter and
    Feast of Saint Bernardine of Siena, Priest, Religious and Missionary

    White vestments

      First Reading: Acts 17: 15, 22-34; 18: 1
      Psalms: Psalm 148: 1-2, 11-14 and Isaiah 6: 3
      Gospel Reading: John 16: 12-15


          Saint Bernardine was born of noble parentage in Siena, Italy near the end of the 14th Century. While a youth he practiced the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, even to personally taking care of an old woman who was very holy. From her he learned a true respect for God and devotion to the Church. Upon her death following a long illness, Bernardine entered the Franciscan Order. There he dedicated his life to God and vowed to be a great preacher of the Holy Name of God. One day in 1408, while the great preacher Saint Vincent Ferrer was preaching to a group of young Franciscans, he stopped in the middle of his sermon to prophesize that there was among this group one who would go on to become a greater preacher than himself and would bring great honor to Holy Mother Church. Bernardine never dreamed it was him Ferrer was talking about for he had a speech impediment that hindered him from speaking eloquently to the people. Yet, true to St. Vincent's prediction, Bernardine went on to become just that as God cured him through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For 38 years Bernardin spread devotion to the Holy Name through his inspiring words and example. The fruits of his labors produced countless conversions and reformed most of Italy but, as is true of anyone who willingly takes up the cross, he suffered great persecution by detractors, even being proclaimed a heretic by some in the Church. Yet through all his trials he persevered, trusting in the truth and God's providence. He was finally proclaimed innocent and absolved of any wrongdoing. The Feast of the Holy Name commemorates the path of salvation for all of us following the example of Christ: suffering in order to attain triumphant glory. This was the path Bernardin traveled throughout his life, succumbing on Ascension Eve in 144 while his fellow Franciscans were chanting the antiphon, "Father, I have manifested Thy Name to men."

THURSDAY, May 21, 1998

      First Reading: Acts 1: 1-11
      Psalms: Psalm 47: 2-3, 6-9
      Second Reading: Ephesians 1: 17-23 Gospel Reading: Luke 24: 46-53


          This mystery, honored 40 days after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, celebrates the Triumph of Jesus Ascension into Heaven. It gave new hope not only to all the Apostles and disciples, but for every person to follow for all generations, for all have ingrained in their hearts and minds Jesus' Own words, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world" (Matthew 28: 19-20). At His beckoning, we are invited, rather commanded, to follow Jesus through the authority He placed here on earth - Holy Mother Church. The Church, through the dogmas, doctrines and teachings, combined with tradition, Sacraments, and Sacred Scripture carries on this edict Christ set down just before elevating into the Heavenly clouds and returning to the Father. Just like her Founder, the Church realizes that for all those faithful to Christ's One, True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church the only way to be reunited with Him in Heavenly bliss is through the Cross. Jesus has shown us that the way of humiliation and suffering is the only true freeway to Heaven. This feast was not officially recognized by the Church until the Fourth Century. Up to that time, the Ascension had traditionally been part of the paschal mystery tied in with the Resurrection. Because of the denial by Celsus in the second century as a pagan myth, the Church finally decided to emphasize this feast, acknowledging that all souls who were saved but denied Heaven before Christ's Death and Resurrection, were brought into the Heavenly Glory with Jesus. His Ascension is the example for all of us that, by doing God's Will, we, too, can look forward to being assumed into Heaven by the grace of God.
     For some strange reason, in the dioceses and Archdioceses in the West (Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Nevada and Hawaii) the Solemnity of the Ascension is not celebrated on this day but transfered to the Seventh Sunday of Easter. In its place they celebrate Thursday in the Sixth Week of Easter or the Feast of Saint Eugene De Mazenod, Bishop and Founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

May 20, 1998       volume 9, no. 98


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