6th Sunday of Easter (a)
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
Sunday 25th May: 6th Sunday of Easter (a)
The first reading today tells of the ministry of the apostles Philip, Peter and John in a Samaritan town They accept the message of the Gospel with joy and are baptised. We hear how the Holy Spirit comes down on them to help in their new found faith.
‘Have your answer ready.’ That is how St. Peter tells the people to live their lives. They will be questioned and so need to be able to explain their faith and to live blameless lives.
The Gospel reminds us that Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will be sent on all who love him. He will be the Advocate, the companion who will give strength, courage and wisdom on the journey of faith.
Monday 26th May: Memorial of St. Philip Neri.
Philip Neri was born in Florence in 1515. In his late teens he moved to Rome where he spent to years praying about his life and the way forward. His only practical work during this time was teaching his host’s two sons. He began working with the people whose faith was at a low ebb and was ordained in 1551. He became known as a great confessor. He was helped by a group of other priests and this was the start of the Oratorians. He worked hard until his death in 1595
Tuesday 27th May: Feast of St. Philip and 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.
Wednesday 28tth May: Wednesday in the sixth week of Easter.
Paul travels to the great city of Athens where he preaches to the Greeks. He tries to show them that their statue to an unknown God was really one to the God about whom he was preaching. As soon as he started preaching about the risen Christ, many of them laughed at him and refused to accept his teaching.
Jesus continues teaching the disciples about the work of the Advocate he is sending to them. The Spirit of Truth will lead them to the complete truth. He will help them understand more clearly the link between Jesus and the Father.
Thursday 29th May: Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.
The Ascension of Jesus is the climax of his victory over sin and death. It is a day of joy and hope. Jesus wants us to share in his victory. It is important to realise that he has not left us; he is still with us helping us in our struggles.
The first reading describes the Ascension of Jesus into heaven and his promise to send the Holy Spirit to his disciples.
In the second reading, Paul describes the meaning of the Ascension – God raised Jesus above all earthly powers and makes him head of the Church, Lord of creation.
In the Gospel, Jesus commissions the apostles to preach the Gospel to all nations and promises to remain with them always.
Friday 30th May: Friday in the sixth week of Easter.
Jesus was going to pass through his passion and death on the way to the joy of the resurrection. The disciples would have to pass through the pain of separation from Jesus. As a result, they become a little uncertain since they are aware how much it will be tested.
Similarly, the Church in our time is tried and tested daily, constantly renewing itself in the image of Christ.
Saturday 31st May: Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
This feast was first celebrated by the Franciscans in 1263 and extended to the universal church by Pope Urban VI in 1389. It commemorates Our Lady’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth. It is an occasion of a great outpouring of grace. Elizabeth welcomes her cousin as the Mother of the Lord; the yet unborn John the Baptist leaps for joy in her womb; Our Lady sings her great canticle of thanksgiving for all that God has done in her and through her.