monday 27 April 2020
St Asicus (c.490)
He was converted to Christianity by St Patrick, who made him bishop of Elphin. He is the patron saint of that diocese.
The Good Shepherd has risen, who laid down his life for his sheep and willingly died for his flock, alleluia.
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that, putting off our old self with all its ways, we may live as Christ did, for through the healing paschal remedies you have conformed us to his nature. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
First reading: Acts 6:8-15
Stephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people. But then certain people came forward to debate with Stephen, some from Cyrene and Alexandria who were members of the synagogue called the Synagogue of Freedmen, and others from Cilicia and Asia. They found they could not get the better of him because of his wisdom, and because it was the Spirit that prompted what he said. So they procured some men to say, ‘We heard him using blasphemous language against Moses and against God.’ Having in this way turned the people against him as well as the elders and scribes, they took Stephen by surprise, and arrested him and brought him before the Sanhedrin. There they put up false witnesses to say, ‘This man is always making speeches against this Holy Place and the Law. We have heard him say that Jesus the Nazarene is going to destroy this Place and alter the traditions that Moses handed down to us.’ The members of the Sanhedrin all looked intently at Stephen, and his face appeared to them like the face of an angel.
R/ They are happy whose life is blameless.
- Though princes sit plotting against me I ponder on your statutes. Your will is my delight; your statutes are my counsellors.
- I declared my ways and you answered; teach me your statutes. Make me grasp the way of your precepts and I will muse on your wonders.
- Keep me from the way of error and teach me your law. I have chosen the way of truth with your decrees before me.
Gospel Acclamation Jn20:29
Alleluia, alleluia! ‘You believe, Thomas, because you can see me. Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe. Alleluia!
Gospel: John 6:22-29
After Jesus had fed the five thousand, his disciples saw him walking on the water. Next day, the crowd that had stayed on the other side saw that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that the disciples had set off by themselves. Other boats, however, had put in from Tiberias, near the place where the bread had been eaten. When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into those boats and crossed to Capernaum to look for Jesus. When they found him on the other side, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ Jesus answered: ‘I tell you most solemnly, you are not looking for me because you have seen the signs but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat. Do not work for food that cannot last, but work for food that endures to eternal life, the kind of food the Son of Man is offering you, for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal.’ Then they said to him, ‘What must we do if we are to do the works that God wants?’ Jesus gave them this answer, ‘This is working for God: you must believe in the one he has sent.’
Prayer over the Offerings
May our prayers rise up to you, O Lord, together with the sacrificial offerings, so that, purified by your graciousness, we may be conformed to the mysteries of your mighty love. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Jn 14: 27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you, says the Lord, alleluia.
Prayer after Communion
Almighty ever-living God, who restore us to eternal life in the Resurrection of Christ, increase in us, we pray, the fruits of this paschal Sacrament and pour into our hearts the strength of this saving food. Through Christ our Lord.
My dear brothers and sisters, we begin our third week of Easter with the story of the martyrdom of St Stephen, the first Christian martyr and a sign of what it means to bear witness to Christ Jesus. We must be ready for the ordeal but we must also be ready to forgive those who hurt and hate us because truly they do not know what they are doing. Christianity is the only religion which preaches love of enemy and the call to do good to those who hate us. Jesus Christ set the example of praying for those who were nailing him on the cross. As his followers, we do the same. But this is not the easiest of things to do. The natural human tendency is to want to retaliate. Today, the Church reminds us that vengeance is for God.
In the Gospel, the crowds follow Jesus to Capernaum all seeking his company; but he rebukes them telling them that they are looking for him not for the word of God but because of the food that they ate after the miracle of the multiplication. He then advices them to seek the kind of food that will last. Many people in our world today are overwhelmed by the greed for money, wealth and power. These elements have taken many captive; and they hardly understand that we shall leave behind all these very values that we treasure today. What is most important is to have God from whom we came.