To stand up for truth or in the cause of defence of human rights has cost many people their lives. Numerous people die and many are in prison for speaking and witnessing to the truth in love and justice. We have seen examples of this in the lives of St Oscar Romero, Jean Donovan and countless others. This is not a recent phenomenon. People from time began, have stood up for what is right. The witness of the lives of the prophets in the Old Testament indicates this stance.
Today the reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 14:19-28) proclaims how there was continued aggression shown by certain Jews to the disciples. They stoned Paul in Antioch and Iconium for proclaiming the Good News. Those who stoned Paul thought they killed him, but he stood up and went back to the town to stay the night. Next day, he and Barnabas set out for Derbe, where they preached the Good News again. On hearing and accepting the Good News, more people became disciples. Then Paul returned to Antioch and encouraged the disciples, giving them ‘a fresh heart.’ Paul truthfully told them the challenge of discipleship and said, ‘We all have to experience many hardships before we enter the kingdom of God.’ In the churches of those days, when a leader such as Paul and his colleagues gathered the flock, ‘they appointed elders, and with prayer and fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe.’ Then Paul moved on to Antioch. There Barnabas and he stopped off and continued their missionary work. They continued on to Pamphylia, Pergia and Attalia. Arriving at Attalia, they assembled the Church and gave an account of ‘all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the pagans.’
The road of discipleship is challenging and demands great sacrifices for the Lord. This is a constant theme addressed in the Acts of the Apostles. Jesus witnessed this in his own life to the point of his sacrifice of love on the cross.
The psalm response encourages the assembled people at Mass today to acknowledge their role as disciples. Together they respond, ‘Your friends, O Lord, shall make known the glorious splendour of your reign.’ Will we do that personally and collectively? Those who believe and love the Word of God with all the difficulties and challenges, God fills with joy and grace as they delight in sharing the Good News.
The Gospel (Jn 14:27-31) proclaims Jesus speaking to his disciples. He offers them his personal gift of peace. It is not the peace the world gives but the peace for doing God’s will and doing what one knows is right and just in the eyes of God. Jesus is preparing the disciples for his coming Ascension. He tells them he is going to his Father. He tells them not to be afraid and they ought to delight in his going. However, this is difficult for them to understand. Jesus confirms his love for the Father and that he is doing exactly what his Father wants him to do. Jesus’ desire for his disciples is that they live in peace.
Today the Church celebrates the feast of St Conleth. We believe Conleth came from the Wicklow area and that he lived as a hermit. Brigid persuaded him to minister to her community in Kildare. The church venerated Conleth as a great saint and Cogitosus, in his Life of Brigid calls him bishop and abbot of the monks of Kildare. His burial place is beside Brigid in the great church there.
Forming conscience and helping children to make good choices is a recurring theme in the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé religious education programme. The Holy Spirit helps people to make God’s choice. Children explore the online resources available on the website including the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé e-book accessible on the VERITAS Grow in Love website:
- Read about Christian heroes and heroines such as St Oscar Romero and Jean Donavan
PRAY FROM Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
- Pray for mercy and peace by saying the prayer of the Mass Lamb of God/A Uain Dé
- Pray the Act of Faith/ Gníomh Creidimh and Apostles’ Creed/Cré na nAspal
- Pray the Gloria to say thanks to God
- Pray the Prayer of St Francis/Paidir Naomh Proinsias Assisi
- Offer a sign of peace to some member of your family today
- Pray for peace in your heart
- Find out more facts about St Conleth.
Sr Anne Neylon