3rd Week of Easter: Readings and Feasts

April 24 Mon Easter Weekday [St Fidelis ] Acts 6:8-15/Jn 6:22-29

25 Tue St Mark, Evangelist 1 Pt 5:5b-14/Mk 16:15-20

26 Wed Easter Weekday Acts 8:1b-8/Jn 6:35-40

27 Thu Easter Weekday Acts 8:26-40/Jn 6:44-51

28 Fri Easter Weekday [St Peter Chanel; St Louis de Montfort,]

Acts 9:1-20/Jn 6:52-59

29 Sat St Catherine of Siena. Acts 9:31-42/Jn 6:60-69

30 SUN 4th SUNDAY OF EASTER Acts 2:14a, 36-41/1 Pt 2:20b-25/Jn 10:1-10

The Mass readings this week from the Acts of the Apostles tell the story of the Greek-speaking deacon Stephen, whose fiery preaching against temple worship and “stiff-necked” Jewish opposition to Jesus led to his death and a persecution that drove Greek-speaking Jewish Christians out of Jerusalem. (Monday and Tuesday) But Stephen’s death, like the death of Jesus, brings new life. The church grows. “The death of Christians is the seed of Christianity.” (Tertullian )

Philip the Deacon, one of the displaced, preaches to the Samaritans north of Jerusalem. Then, led by the Spirit, he converts the Ethiopian eunuch returning home after his pilgrimage to Jerusalem. (Wednesday and Thursday} Following Philip’s activity, Paul, the persecutor, is converted by Jesus himself. (Friday)

Before Paul’s ministry begins, Peter leaves Jerusalem to bless the new Christian communities near the coast; at Joppa he’s told by God to meet the Roman centurion in Caesarea Maritima. The mission to the gentile world begins with that meeting. (Saturday)

The Holy Spirit is at work. This part of the Acts of the Apostles reveals a changing church. From Jerusalem, closely connected to the worship and politics of the temple, the center of the Christian community moves to Antioch in Syria: its ministers are no longer original apostles like Peter, James and John. Stephen, Philip, Barnabas, Paul join them as God’s mysterious plan unfolds. Christian communities leave the Jewish synagogues to become churches on their own, led by bishops, elders, deacons. Christians are no longer only Jews, gentiles from different parts of the Roman world become followers of Jesus.

The Acts of the Apostles reveal a developing, changing church. Development and change are not limited to the early church, however, the church changes and develops in every age. It’s changing and developing now. 

The gospel readings this week are from St.John’s gospel– segments of Jesus’ long discourse on the Bread of Life to the crowd at Capernaum after the miracle of the loaves. (John 6) In the Eucharist the Risen Christ remains the same in a changing church.

St. Mark, the evangelist, and St. Catherine of Siena are important saints recalled this week.

Readings here.

Morning and Evening Prayer, 3rd week, here.

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