Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – The Ascension of the Lord – Cycle A – Matt 28:16-20
The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for the Ascension of the Lord/Cycle A is Matthew 28:16-20.
Following His miraculous Resurrection from the dead and spending 40 days with His disciples in preparation for His departure, Christ gathers the 11 remaining Apostles (Judas Iscariot has committed suicide) for the final time. Christ directed the Apostles to meet Him in Galilee, where He first called and formed them; Christ’s choice of gathering the Apostles on a mountain in Galilee symbolically reminds them of His Sermon on the Mount which summarizes His Gospel that they will not be commanded to proclaim.
Dutifully meeting Christ as directed, the Apostle fall to their knees in awe and worship Him; some of the Apostles, still uncertain and confused, have harbored doubts. Christ knows their doubts and reaffirms that God the Father has given all authority in Heaven and on earth to the Son; the Apostles, steeped in Scriptures, probably realize Christ is confirming the royal power given to the Son of Man (Dan 7:13-14) and their doubts are lessened. Christ, in His resurrected and glorified body, has lordship over the universe.
Speaking from His position of divine authority, Christ now gives His final commandments to the Apostles, the 11 men He has hand-picked and formed to establish His Holy Catholic Church. Christ instructs them to make disciples of “all nations”, confirming that He expects the Apostles (and all men who follow Him) to evangelize every single soul in the entire world. Establishing the authority and mission of His Apostolic Catholic Church, Christ directs the Apostles to evangelize in the name of the Trinity and affirms the centrality of the Sacraments (Baptism), His teachings (the Gospel), and the essential requirement to keep “all” the commandments (moral life). Christ promises to be with the Apostles “always”, giving them life and allowing them to bear fruit in Him.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God and Son of Man, Christ is resurrected and glorified and has complete dominion over all Creation; He ascends to Heaven. Person of the Trinity, Christ speaks with the authority of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Divine Prophet, Christ fulfills His own prophecies of His Death, Resurrection, Ascension and the establishment of a worldwide Church. As Divine King, Christ sends His Apostles (literally, “those sent”) to evangelize the world.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Reflect upon the unfathomable power that Christ has: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.”
2) In the chaos of the post-Protestant Revolt and poor Catholic formation, some Catholic men wander away from Christ’s One, Holy and Apostolic Catholic Church, mistakenly walking away from the the fullness of truth and the life-giving Sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession. During Easter, renew and strengthen your understanding of Christ’s One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church (CCC 811-870) and pray for Christ to guide you to draw men to His Church.
3) As Christ sent the Apostles, so too is every man sent out to build Christ’s kingdom at every Mass; the term, “Mass” comes from the Latin words (Ite missa set) spoken at the end of Mass which mean “to be sent”. During Easter, reflect upon Christ’s final direction to men to “make disciples” (CCC 767-768; 849-856) and pray for Christ to strengthen and guide you do do His will.
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Luminous Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Holy Eucharist
Virtue of the Day – Fortitude
Corporal Work of Mercy – To shelter the homeless
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To bear wrongs patiently