Memory of the Mother of the Lord

Deel Op

Memorial of Father Christian de Chergé, prior of the Trappist monastery of Notre Dame de l'Atlas, in Tibihirine in Algeria; he was kidnapped and killed with six of his confreres by terrorists in 1996.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Acts 14,19-28

Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and turned the people against them. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the town, thinking he was dead. The disciples came crowding round him but, as they did so, he stood up and went back to the town. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe. Having preached the good news in that town and made a considerable number of disciples, they went back through Lystra, Iconium and Antioch. They put fresh heart into the disciples, encouraging them to persevere in the faith, saying, 'We must all experience many hardships before we enter the kingdom of God.' In each of these churches they appointed elders, and with prayer and fasting they commended them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe. They passed through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. Then after proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia and from there sailed for Antioch, where they had originally been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. On their arrival 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 gentiles. They stayed there with the disciples for some time.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The opposition to the preaching of the Gospel does not stop. Instead it seems to be growing, to the point that it pushes his enemies to stone Paul. After he had fallen, crushed by the stones, everyone thinks he is dead and leaves him under the stones on the side of the road. Only the disciples stay with him. Paul, who was present at the stoning of Stephen, now has suffered the same fate at the hands of members of his former religion. Maybe as he felt the pain of the stones hitting him, his thoughts went to Jerusalem, where they stoned Stephen while he watched the cloaks of those who were throwing stones. The testimony of the first martyr certainly sustained Paul through that very difficult and painful trial. Wounded but not killed and surrounded by the comfort of the disciples, the apostle rises to his feet. Not only does he not flee, but he goes back into the city and the following day continues on to proclaim the Gospel somewhere else. This could give the impression that Paul is pleased by his own heroism. In reality, the only thing that sustains him is his love for the Lord, which he has placed above everything else, even his own life. He is an extraordinary example for us today. Paul reminds us that love, Gospel love, the love Jesus lived, has to pass through the cross. In fact, the cross is the confirmation of the truth of the Gospel. Together with Barnabas, Paul returns to Antioch, where they had started, to help the community continue to grow and become stronger through his teaching. Paul and Barnabas go back to "where they had been commended to the grace of God," and, together with their brothers and sisters, rejoice at what the Lord himself had accomplished through their preaching.