wednesday 29 April 2020
St Catherine of Siena (1347 – 1380)
Born in Siena, she entered Third Order of the Dominicans. She is remembered for her burning love of God and neighbour and contributions to doctrine. In 1970 Pope Paul VI declared her a Doctor of the Church.
Here is a wise virgin, from among the number of the prudent, who went forth with lighted lamp to meet Christ, alleluia.
O God, who set Saint Catherine of Siena on fire with divine love in her contemplation of the Lord’s Passion and her service of your Church, grant, through her intercession, that your people, participating in the mystery of Christ, may ever exult in the revelation of his glory. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
First reading: Acts 8:1-8
That day a bitter persecution started against the church in Jerusalem, and everyone except the apostles fled to the country districts of Judaea and Samaria. There were some devout people, however, who buried Stephen and made great mourning for him. Saul then worked for the total destruction of the Church; he went from house to house arresting both men and women and sending them to prison. Those who had escaped went from place to place preaching the Good News. One of them was Philip who went to a Samaritan town and proclaimed the Christ to them. The people united in welcoming the message Philip preached, either because they had heard of the miracles he worked or because they saw them for themselves. There were, for example, unclean spirits that came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town.
R/ Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.
- Cry out with joy to God all the earth, O sing to the glory of his name. O render him glorious praise. Say to God: ‘How tremendous your deeds!
- Because of the greatness of your strength your enemies cringe before you. Before you all the earth shall bow; shall sing to you, sing to your name!’
- Come and see the works of God, tremendous his deeds among men. He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the river dry-shod.
- Let our joy then be in him; he rules for ever by his might. His eyes keep watch over the nations: let rebels not rise against him.
Gospel Acclamation: Jn 10:27
Alleluia, alleluia! The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice, says the Lord, I know them and they follow me. Alleluia!
Gospel: John 6:35-40
Jesus said to the crowd: ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst. But, as I have told you, you can see me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I shall not turn him away; because I have come from heaven, not to do my own will, but to do the will of the one who sent me. Now the will of him who sent me is that I should lose nothing of all that he has given to me, and that I should raise it up on the last day. Yes, it is my Father’s will that whoever sees the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and that I shall raise him up on the last day.’
Prayer over the Offerings
Accept, O Lord, the saving sacrifice we offer in commemoration of Saint Catherine, so that, instructed by her teaching, we may give ever more fervent thanks to you, the one true God. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: 1 Jn 1: 7
If we walk in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of his Son Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin, alleluia.
Prayer after Communion
May the heavenly table at which we have been fed, O Lord, confer eternal life upon us, as even in this world it nourished the life of Saint Catherine. Through Christ our Lord.
Dear brothers and sisters, today the Church celebrates the memorial of a virgin and Doctor of the Church, St Catherine of Siena, Principal Patroness of Italy. We remember the crucial and mediating role she played in the Middle Ages, in order to get the Pope come back from Avignon to Rome. The time of the so called Avignon Papacy, when the French hijacked the papacy was a trying moment for the universal Church. Thanks to St Catherine, the sad episode came to an end.
In moments of conflict, the Church should play her role and take up her mission as Mother and Teacher, of peace-building, reconciliation and helping people to love one another. Today, there are too many conflicts all over the world; the Church is called upon to proclaim Christ the Prince of Peace; and God who is Love. In the first Reading we are told about the persecution in Jerusalem which scattered the disciples all over. This turned out to be a blessing because as they went, they proclaimed the Good News in foreign lands. God can write straight on crooked lines, and turn disappointments into blessings. As long as we follow Christ, there is little to fear. He himself tells us once more in the Gospel today that He is the bread that comes from heaven and anyone who eats of this bread will have eternal life. Let us remain close to Him and share in his life.