Friday, May 18, 2007


The Curt Jester and Father Erik have very legitimate reasons to pitch a rant. You see, they've been screwed out of a holy day of obligation this week - the Ascension. Yeah, I've been lucky enough to live in a diocese (Providence, RI) and a province (Hartford, CT) that keeps the holy day, well, holy. If I remember correctly, Nick has the same fortune as I. Jason's not so lucky.

It's almost as if we here on the Ascension Thursday dioceses are screaming TASTES GREAT, while the Ascension Sunday dioceses are screaming LESS FILLING. Yeah - less FULfilling is more like it. If there ever was a feast I'd miss if I were to (God forbid) move out of state for some reason, it would sure be Ascension. It would just not be the same celebrating it on Sunday. I kinda like that closure of having this Sunday be the Seventh Sunday of Easter. But in a theological sense, Fr. Erik rightly states:
It was 40, not 43, days after Easter that our frail human nature was taken up into heaven and lifted above all of creation.
I also like his General Intercessions intention:
That the Solemnity of the Ascension will be returned to its proper day of Thursday, let us pray to the Lord.

What next? Assumption Sunday? All Saints Sunday? Immaculate Conception Sunday? (Assumption and All Saints do trump the numbered Sunday of Ordinary Time in the US, but ONLY if the actual dates, August 15 and November 1 respectively, fall on a Sunday. Immaculate Conception is moved if December 8 falls on a Sunday, as that Solemnity falls during Advent.) Christmas Sunday??? LET'S HOPE NOT!!! It's as if instead of teaching people to keep the holy day, we're accomodating for, and promoting, a lazy society. Bad enough the "obligation" part of "holy day of obligation" is gone once one of those holy days falls on a Saturday or a Monday. So you had to make a second trip to church on a given weekend. A little confusion never hurt anyone.

That we as Catholics may regain a sense of "obligation", let us pray to the Lord.



PhiMuAlpha2681 said...

The Ascension on the 40th day after Easter is up for debate. Someone else raised this point if Fr. Richtsteig's comments section.

Matthew and Mark have the Ascension on the evening of Easter Sunday. Luke can't make up his mind. In his gospel it's on Easter Sunday, but in Acts it's 40 days. John is silent. My NAB has as a footnote to Acts 1:3 the following:

"Luke considered especially sacred the interval in which the appearances and instructions of the risen Jesus occurred and expressed it therefore in terms of the sacred number forty. In his gospel, however, Luke connects the ascension of Jesus with the resurrection by describing the ascension on Easter evening (Lk. 24:50-53). What should probably be understood as one event (resurrection, glorification, ascension, sending of the Spirit-the paschal mystery) has been historicized by Luke when he writes of a visible ascension of Jesus after forty days and the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost. For Luke, the ascension marks the end of the appearances of Jesus except for the extraordinary appearance to Paul. With regard to Luke's understanding of salvation history, the ascension also marks the end of the time of Jesus and signals the beginning of the time of the church."

Should the entire country transfer Ascension, I would be much more disappointed by the loss of the Seventh Sunday of Easter and its beautiful readings rather than the loss of a day of obligation.


Brian Michael Page said...

I'd miss those readings as well, especially the one yesterday about the martyrdom of Stephen.