SATURDAY 30 APRIL 2022 – Do not be afraid – OUR LADY OF AFRICA

2nd Week of Easter

1st Reading: Acts 6:1-7

As the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.  So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table.  Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”  The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism.  They presented these men to the Apostles who prayed and laid hands on them.  The word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

Gospel: Jn 6:16-21

When it was evening, the disciples of Jesus went down to the sea, embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum.  It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.  The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing.  When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid.  But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”  They wanted to take him into the boat, but the boat immediately arrived at the shore to which they were heading.

Do not be afraid: The disciples are heading to Capernaum through the sea. In this darkness, there is a strong wind and Jesus is not present. The disciples experience fear. Like the disciples, we too experience fear when living amidst life difficulties. Such times are worsened by hopelessness; When God/Jesus is absent from our lives, we experience immense fear. However, once Jesus appears, He restores peace and tranquility. He tells us, “Do not be afraid.” Christ grants us the Holy Spirit. With the Spirit, we are able to do great things in life. We are able to live a life of courage and hope. May we remember today that Jesus came so that we may have life and have it to the full. Let us embrace Jesus and His Spirit all the days of our lives. When we do so, we shall be able to live a life of grace, adding life not only to ourselves but to all those we come across.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to come out of the darkness of my life.


COMMUNION IS SOLIDARITY: The Church is Communion; the Church is Family, and that is why we take care of our Church, our Parishes, our Small Christian Communities or the Christian movements or associations. Since we support our family with our prayer, time, effort, dedication, personal gifts and material goods, we honour and work for the Church. Being Christian is being family; the Father wants to save us as family, He sends his Son to bring us back to one another from every race, tribe and nation giving to each member a gift of the Spirit for the benefit of the whole body of the Church (cf. 1 Cor 12:12-13). Such is the solidarity that exists among the members of the Church. The first community of Christians understood that they had to provide for those less advantaged. Hence, they instituted the ministry of the deacons and, in solidarity, they had everything in common (cf. Acts 2:44).


OPENNESS TO SERVE: The first reading tells us of our responsibility towards the less fortunate. In the Jewish tradition, two collectors went round the market and the private houses every Friday morning making a collection for the needy. Christians have taken over this custom. They choose seven office bearers for practical service to help distribute alms to the poor and widows. In the Gospel we have the story of disciples of Jesus in distress. Their boat is facing a stormy wind. They are headed directly into it and found themselves making little progress. They call upon Jesus who heeds to them and rescues them. In our church and villages, let us learn to give alms to the poor and whenever our boats are sinking, call upon Jesus.