Saturday in the 2nd Week of Easter, April 17, 2021

The apostles were looking for disciples to serve the material needs of the people. They were supposed to be servants filled with the Spirit of wisdom, who would see the needs of their brethren, just and fair in distributing the food and help needed. It takes sensitivity to feel who are the needy and what they need. The apostles set Stephen and companions aside for this task. This reading says also that the first duty of the Church is the proclamation of the Good News. And the Good News says, “Christ is always staying with his Church in times of trials and the tempest of all times.”
Opening Prayer
Lord God,
in our day, we need men and women
filled with the Spirit of love and service
who are attentive to the needs of people.
Let them listen, even to the unspoken cries
of people too timid to voice out
their poverty and distress
and help without condescension
their brothers and sisters of Christ,
for he is our Lord for ever. Amen!
1 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.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
R. (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you. or: Alleluia.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises. R.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full. R.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine. R.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ is risen, who made all things;
he has shown mercy on all people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: JOHN 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.
The twelve apostles have a clear perspective on their mission: “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God to serve at tables.”
Preaching the word of God and serving at table are both important and equally necessary, but one should not forget the sequence: service proceeds from the word of God. It is not rare to find well-meaning Christians immersed in works of charity with not much time left for prayer and reflection on the word of God. They often find consolation in the saying, “work is worship.” Work is worship, indeed. But when one’s work displaces the Word and takes center stage, one must wonder if the former loses its soul and becomes less an act of worship than one of mere social service. Today is an opportune time to reflect on how well the word of God and works of charity are synchronized in our lives. The twelve apostles have a clear perspective on their mission: “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God to serve at tables.”
That the Church may preach the Good News of the Lord in and out of season, even when the world does not like the message, we pray:
That our communities may always attend the whole person, of its actual and prospective members, in their material and spiritual needs, we pray:
That we may have the fullest trust in the presence of the Lord when we are tried, and not forget to be present to the people in distress, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord God,
here are our simple gifts of bread and wine.
Let your Holy Spirit change them
into Christ, your Son among us,
and let him change us, your people,
into servants ready to help
those in need,
especially those deprived of love
and those who have hardly experienced
what true justice is.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen!
Prayer after Communion
Our saving God,
when we are tossed about
on the rough waves of life,
calm our fears and tell us:
“Do not be afraid, I am here with you.”
Make us aware of the presence
of you and of your Son, Jesus,
in the difficulties of life.
Make us people of hope and faith
who keep trusting in you at all times.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen!
Communities worthy of that name care for the needy among them. But there are also spiritual needs, of people who are tired, confused, mourning. As the Lord is with us, let us stand by their side, with the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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