Sunday 28th May: 7th Sunday of Easter (a)
The first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, recounts how the disciples and Our Lady gathered in the upper room, waiting in prayer for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
The second reading, from the First letter of St. Peter, tells how Peter encourages those who suffer because of their faith in Christ.
Today’s passage from St. John’s Gospel is from one of Jesus’ final discourses to his disciples. He prays for himself and for his disciples. His prayer for them is also his prayer for us in our time and place. May his words penetrate our minds and hearts and lead us closer to the living God.
Monday 29th May: Monday in the seventh week of Easter.
Paul arrives in Ephesus. There had been many converts who had responded to the teaching of Apollos but they did not know about the Holy Spirit. Paul lays hands on them and they are filled with the Spirit. Paul stays at Ephesus well over a year, the longest stay in one place of which we are told.
Jesus reminds the disciples again that they will be scattered on his behalf. He also encourages them not to be afraid for he has conquered the world.
Tuesday 30th May: Tuesday in the seventh week of Easter
After many joys and difficulties in Ephesus, Paul now has to leave. He sums up all his work. He talks of his feeling of foreboding that he will become a prisoner for the Lord. Even then, he must still witness to the Good News.
Jesus prays to his Father. The hour has come to glorify his son. He then prays for his disciples and entrusts them to the care of the Father.
Wednesday 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.
Thursday 1st June: Memorial of St. Justin.
Justin was born about the beginning of the second century in Palestine. He was born of pagan parents and took up philosophy as a profession. His search for truth led him to Christian faith. In one of his books, he left an invaluable description of the Mass as celebrated in Rome in the second century. He was martyred during the persecution of Marcus Aurelius in 165.
Friday 2nd June: Friday in the seventh week of Easter.
The Jews continue to conspire against Paul. He is moved to Caesarea and there appeals his case to Rome. The Roman Governor is determined to agree to Paul’s request to be treated as a Roman citizen. It is agreed that he should go there for trial. In this way Paul fulfils the prophecy that he must bear witness to Jesus in Rome itself.
We move towards the end of John’s Gospel. Peter assures Jesus three times of his love. This mirrors the three fold denials from earlier. He repents and is forgiven and made shepherd of the flock.
Saturday 3rd June: Memorial of St. Charles Lwanga and His Companions.
St. Charles and his twenty-one companions are venerated as the first martyrs equatorial Africa. They were natives of Uganda, a country first evangelised about 1880 by the White Father. Only five years later, a savage persecution of the Christians broke out under King Mwanga. Charles and his companions who were officials of the king’s court were arrested. The group were martyred in 1886 and were canonised by Paul VI in 1964