SATURday 29 APRIL
SAINT Catherine OF SienA
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 9:31-42
The Churches throughout Judaea, Galilee and Samaria were now left in peace, building themselves up, living in the fear of the Lord, and filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit. Peter visited one place after another and eventually came to the saints living down in Lydda. There he found a man called Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ cures you: get up and fold up your sleeping mat.” Aeneas got up immediately; everybody who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they were all converted to the Lord. At Jaffa there was a woman disciple called Tabitha, or Dorcas in Greek, who never tired of doing good or giving in charity. But the time came when she got ill and died, and they washed her and laid her out in a room upstairs. Lydda is not far from Jaffa, so when the disciples heard that Peter was there, they sent two men with an urgent message for him, “Come and visit us as soon as possible.” Peter went back with them straightaway, and on his arrival they took him to the upstairs room, where all the widows stood round him in tears, showing him tunics and other clothes Dorcas had made when she was with them. Peter sent them all out of the room and knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the dead woman and said, “Tabitha, stand up.” She opened her eyes, looked at Peter and sat up. Peter helped her to her feet, then he called in the saints and widows and showed them she was alive. The whole of Jaffa heard about it and many believed in the Lord.
R/ How can I repay the Lord for his goodness to me?
How can I repay the Lord for his goodness to me? The cup of salvation I will raise; I will call on the Lord’s name.
My vows to the Lord I will fulfil before all his people. O precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful.
Your servant, Lord, your servant am I; you have loosened my bonds. A thanksgiving sacrifice I make; I will call on the Lord’s name.
Alleluia, alleluia! We know that Christ is truly risen from the dead: have mercy on us, triumphant King. Alleluia!
Gospel: John 6:60-69
After hearing his doctrine many of the followers of Jesus said, “This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?” Jesus was aware that his followers were complaining about it and said, “Does this upset you? What if you should see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before? “It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the outset those who did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. He went on, “This is why I told you that no one could come to me unless the Father allows him.” After this, many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him. Then Jesus said to the Twelve, “What about you, do you want to go away too?” Simon Peter answered, “Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.”
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: Cf. 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.
Jesus has just told the disciples that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood to have life. For many, this is intolerable. They decide to leave him. Jesus respects the freedom of his disciples and lets them go. Then he turns to the twelve: “Do you also want to leave?” (Jn 6: 67). This question invites them to make a personal decision of faith, to make a choice and to follow Jesus. John’s Gospel confronts his readers with a choice: to believe in Jesus or not, knowing that to choose Christ is to choose life and light. Simon Peter knows this; even though Jesus’ teaching is difficult and radical, he firmly believes that there is no life outside of Jesus; so he answers on behalf of the twelve: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. As for us, we believe, and we know that you are the Holy One of God.” (Jn 6: 68-69) By their faithfulness, the Twelve testify their attachment to the Master and Lord. They will go to the end with him and will discover day after day the joy of sharing his life to the point of giving their lives for him. If the radical nature of the Gospel invites us to go beyond and to challenge ourselves in a world of ease and lightness, the faith by which we remain faithful to Christ is also an act of trust in Jesus which makes us strong.