5th Sunday of Easter
Sunday 28th April: 5th Sunday of Easter(c).
The first reading is from the Acts of the Apostles. Paul and Barnabas retrace their steps, encouraging the little communities of Christians they had founded, by reminding them of all that God has done for them.
The second reading is from the Book of the Apocalypse. It is taken from the final part and opens with the vision of a new world and a new order of things inaugurated by Jesus Christ. There will be no more sorrow. God will wipe away the tears from every eye.
The Gospel passage is from St. John. During the Last Supper, Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment – to love one another as he has loved them.
Monday 29th April: Feast of St. Catherine of Sienna.
St. Catherine was born in Siena about 1347, the youngest of 25 children ! She died in Rome in 1380. She was so committed to the love of God, his Church and all people that she worked to restore peace among the rival factions in Italy, persuaded Pope Gregory XI to return from Avignon to Rome where the Popes had lived for 74 years and tried to heal the great schism which had arisen. We are told she scolded the Pope for ‘his short sightedness.’ She was canonised in 1461.
Tuesday 30th April: 5th Tuesday of Easter
Paul and Barnabas are persecuted, stoned and driven from one place to another as they carry on preaching the Gospel. They don’t give up. Paul encourages the disciples and puts fresh heart into them. He acknowledges that God has done great things in them.
In the Gospel Jesus’ message is the same. Just before his passion and death, he speaks of peace and encourages the apostles not to be troubled or afraid. If we are united with God, nobody can rob us of that inner peace of which he speaks.
Wednesday 1st May: 5th Wednesday of Easter.
Some Jews tried to cause trouble by suggesting that, in order to become a Christian, a convert from paganism had to be come a Jew first. The apostles convene the first Council of the Church in Jerusalem to resolve the question.
Jesus uses the analogy of the vine. We are all branches of that vine with him. The Father prunes the vine and expects it to produce fruit; we can only do that if we linked to Jesus.
Thursday 2nd May: Feast of St. Athanasius.
Athanasius was born in 297 at Alexandria. He lived during very troubled times, both politically and within the Church. He was secretary to the local Bishop when he attended the Council of Nicaea, from which we get the Nicene Creed. This Council condemned the priest Arius who was teaching that Jesus was not divine. After he became Bishop, many of Arius’ followers caused a great deal of trouble. The political leaders were inconsistent in whom they supported –sometimes Athanasius, at other times his opponents. He was banished five times from the city and lived for seventeen years in exile. He died in 373.
Friday 3rd May: Feast of St. Philip & St. James.
Philip was a follower of John the Baptist but accepted Christ’s call immediately. He persuaded his friend, Nathaniel, to come and see Jesus for himself. He is named among those present at the coming of the Holy Spirit.
James, the Less or Younger, was present at the Council of Jerusalem where it was decided that Gentile converts need not become Jewish as well. A Letter in the New Testament is attributed to him.
Both were martyred as a result of their preaching the Gospel.
Saturday 4th May: 5th Saturday of Easter.
Paul sets out on his second missionary journey, this time with Timothy. They head for Macedonia.
Jesus tells the disciples that they too will suffer because they are his friends and they are to carry on his work. ‘Because you are not of this world, the world will persecute you.’
He is risen as he said