6th Sunday of Easter, Year A
Sunday Church at Home
during the lockdown in the Coronavirus Pandemic
The lay leader makes the sign of the cross, saying:
Leader: ln the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
All reply: Amen
Leader: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
All reply: Blessed be God forever
Leader: For the past five weeks we, the long baptised and the newly baptised, have been relishing life in the Spirit. The gift of the Spirit is made more explicit today. We hear of an unexpected outpouring of the Spirit as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, and we are reminded of Jesus promising the Advocate, the Spirit of truth, to his disciples on the night before he died. There’s even a passing reference in 1 Peter to the Spirit in whom Christ “was raised to life.”
All this helps make us more aware of the work of the Spirit in each one of us and in the Church at large. For too long in the Western Church the Holy Spirit was the “forgotten person” of the Trinity. More and more these days we are rediscovering the Spirit in dialogue with the Eastern Churches; their rich tradition is steeped in the Spirit. We in the West now have the opportunity to come to a new level of Spirit-awareness, not just during the Easter season but throughout the year.
LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading: Acts 8:5-8.14-17
Introduction to the reading: Last week we heard how the Christian assembly in Jerusalem chose seven of their number to minister to the Greek-speaking Christians who lived there. Philip was one of the seven. Today we find him in Samaria, about 60 miles north of Jerusalem, fearlessly proclaiming the good news of Jesus and experiencing astounding results.
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles.
In those days, Philip went down to a city of Samaria, and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the multitudes with one accord gave heed to what was said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs which he did. For unclean spirits came out of many who were possessed, crying with a loud voice; and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city. Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.
The Word of the Lord.
Let us now pray the Responsorial Psalm beginning and ending with the response:
R/: Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.
Cry out with joy to God, all the earth;
O sing to the glory of his name.
O render him glorious praise.
Say to God, “How awesome your deeds!”
“Before you all the earth shall bow down,
shall sing to you, sing to your name!”
Come and see the works of God:
awesome his deeds among the children of men.
He turned the sea into dry land;
They passed through the river on foot.
Let our joy, then, be in him;
he rules forever by his might.
Come and hear, all who fear God;
I will tell what he did for my soul.
Blest be God, who did not reject my prayer,
nor withhold from me his merciful love.
R./ Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.
Second Reading: 1 Peter 3:15-18
Introduction to the reading: The first letter of Peter was written to Christians whose pagan neighbours continually questioned and ridiculed them about their faith. Since most of the Christians were low-born or slaves, their neighbours couldn’t understand why they were so joyful and hopeful. Today’s passage offers pastoral advice and encouragement.
A reading from the First Letter of Saint Peter
Beloved: In your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defence to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behaviour in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong. For Christ also die for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.
The Word of the Lord.
Alleluia, alleluia. If a person loves me, he will keep my word, says the Lord; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him. Alleluia!
Gospel: John 14:15-21
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John
At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.
“I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, is he who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection on the Readings
The leader plays the video prepared by the priest and leads the sharing with questions relating to the homily.
Pause the video before the prayers of the faithful for reflection time.
After your reflection, you may recite the prayers or listen to Fr. Tshepo.
Question for reflection: Have you ever felt the Holy Spirit working in your life? If so, in what ways do you experience it?
Prayers of the Faithful
Leader: As so many of us face the unknown with fear and anxiety in our hearts, let us raise our minds and our hearts in prayer to God, the ever-generous giver of life and love.
Reader: In today’s gospel, Jesus tells us that if we truly love him, we will keep his commandments. We pray for the grace and wisdom to desire always to do the will of God through keeping his commandments.
LORD HEAR US
We pray for more love and respect among the peoples of the world so that all can live in peace. May we be more generous in helping the less fortunate among us, especially in these times of financial difficulty amongst many families.
LORD HEAR US
With hope in our risen Lord, we ask You, God of life, to free us from this pandemic. To console our every pain. To sustain us in our efforts to develop a vaccine.
LORD HEAR US
We pray for all vulnerable people, especially the aged, those in their homes, those in retirement villages and nursing homes. Loving Father may You protect them and bring them safely through these difficult times.
LORD HEAR US
In this month of May, the month of Our Blessed Mother, we turn to Mary and ask that she may comfort those in mourning. Bring to their heavenly home those who have died from the Coronavirus.
LORD HEAR US
We pray that the Lord may be close to those who are sick and bless the work of the medical personnel that are caring for them. We pray in gratitude for those who have already recovered from the Coronavirus.
LORD HEAR US
Prayer in time of Pandemic
All: Loving God, your desire is for our wholeness and well being. We bring to you in prayer the collective suffering of our world at this time.
We grieve the precious lives lost and the vulnerable lives threatened.
We ache of ourselves and for our neighbours as we look to an uncertain future; a world impacted by the pandemic.
We pray that love and not fear may go viral. Inspire our leaders to discern and choose wisely and keep the common good in sight.
Help us to practice social distancing and reveal to us new and creative ways to come together in solidarity.
Call us to profound trust in your faithful and presence. You, the God who does not abandon those who cry out to you.
Sustain our faith and hope as we carry on living our lives in this, our beautiful, yet wounded world.
We can unite ourselves to the Eucharist through making a spiritual Communion.
By making an Act of Spiritual Communion, we express our faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and ask him to unite himself with us.
I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament.
I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to receive you.
But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment,
feed my soul at least spiritually.
I unite myself to you now as I do when I actually receive you.
Leader: Let us pray to the Father in the words Jesus our Saviour gave us:
All say: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Leader: Almighty and eternal God,
you have entrusted to us here on earth
the mysteries that foreshadow heaven.
Draw our gaze upward where Christ, who shares our human nature,
sits in glory at your right hand
and lives and reigns with you forever and ever.
A leader who is a layperson, using no gesture, says:
Leader: May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.
Instrumental music may be played or a hymn may be sung.