‘The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.’(Invitatory antiphon)
It is estimated on google that on average, the human person makes 35,000 choices per day. During this Covid-19 time, restrictions limit choice. Therefore, personal freedom is curtailed. Such a time of change brings hardship, disturbance and anxiety to people facing unemployment and close of businesses. However, people haven’t lost the ability to make choices. It is essential to maintain a spirit of hope and faith on a day to day basis.
The priest concludes chapter six of St John’s Gospel today at Mass which will be read via webcam. Alternatively, this Scripture can be read from the Bible (Jn 6:60-69). In the Scripture the disciples are offered a choice by Jesus-to follow him or not.
Jesus is teaching the Jews and they find what he is saying very difficult. Many of the followers said, “This language is very hard! Who can accept it?” Jesus told them why he came-so that later he would ascend to where he was before with his Father. Jesus came from God to share with us the life of God. He will bring those who believe back to God for eternal life. Meanwhile on earth, Jesus is present to those who believe and he gives himself to them in the Eucharist. Jesus said, ‘I am the Bread of life’ (Jn 6:48). He promised, ‘The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day’ (Jn 6:54). We hear after that teaching of Jesus, many disciples went away and no longer followed him. Jesus asked the twelve, “Will you also go away?” Peter responded, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We now believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Jesus must have been smiling and happy when he heard Peter saying these words. Jesus didn’t coerce the disciples into following him. He left them a choice. They freely chose to follow him.
In the Grow in Love programme, children begin from an early age to recognise the choices they make and the consequences of the choices. In the middle and senior classes they are taught about choice and the formation of conscience. They learn in the context of the experiences of their lives by reflecting on choices taken. Reflection on Gospel stories helps children learn Gospel values. To make good choices, for their personal lives, their lives with others and the environment is key to help children become disciples of Jesus. The Holy Spirit guides disciples to make good choices. So prayer is an important part of a child’s daily timetable to keep them in tune with God’s will and working for the common good. They learn to choose that which is right and that which is not right or good for themselves or others. The Eucharist helps the disciples to nourish their lives and to live, love and pray like Jesus. It is Jesus’ desire that disciples today will also say, ‘We now believe and know you are the Holy One of God.’ Prayer sustains faith in God.
Stories, poems and journal activities with the Grow in Love e-books are accessible to families to help them discern choices, available on VERITAS website.
Children slowly mature in their relationship with God, learning to trust, love and serve God and other people. In Fifth and Sixth Classes as young people prepare to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. they see the Holy Spirit as guide, Advocate and Paraclete. They learn to pray the Examen, where they hear Jesus gently speaking to them, helping them to review their day. They take time to reflect on their feelings in a quiet atmosphere of trust and calm. They pray to the Holy Spirit in preparation to receive the sevenfold gift. These gifts help to bear the fruit of love in daily life.
Popular songs on video lyrics from the Grow in Love website help the children to learn about the role of the Holy Spirit in their lives e.g. ‘ Make a Good Choice’, ‘Send Forth Your Spirit’, ‘Welcome Holy Spirit, Welcome’, ‘Spirit- Filled Day’, ‘Tar Anuas, a Spioraid Naoimh’, ‘Spirit Anthem’, ‘The Great Commandment’ ‘Trust in the Lord’ Psalm 37.
PRAY from Grow in Love/InGrá Dé
Act of Faith
O my God, I believe in you
and in all that your holy Church teaches
because you have said it
and your Word is true.
You are the Christ,
the Son of the living God.
Lord, I believe; increase my faith. Amen.
Act of Hope
O my God, I put my hope in you
because I am sure of your promises.
Deliver us, Lord, from every evil and
grant us peace in our day,
as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour,
Jesus Christ, Amen.
Act of Love
O my God,
I love you with all my heart,
with all my soul, and with all my strength.
Lord, increase our love.
Help us to love one another. Amen.
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit, I want to do what is right. Help me.
Holy Spirt, I want to live like Jesus.
Holy Spirit, I want to pray like Jesus.
Paidir chuig an Spiorad Naomh
A Spioraid Naomh, ba mhaith liom an rud ceart a dhéanamh.
A Spioraid Naomh, ba mhaith liom maireachtáil mar a mhair Íosa.
A Spioraid Naoimh, ba mhaith liom
guí mar a ghuigh Íosa. Múin dom é.
from the song ‘ Welcome Holy Spirit, Welcome’
‘Holy Spirit help my judgement
to know how to do what’s right.
Welcome, Holy Spirit, here.
Help me day and night.
‘Simon Peter said, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Christ, the Son of God”, alleluia.’ (Benedictus antiphon)
‘I am the door, says the Lord. Anyone who enters through me shall be safe and he will find a place of pasture, alleluia.’
‘How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me?’ (Psalm 116:12)
St Athanasius, pray for us.
Sr Anne Neylon