St. Rita Roman Catholic Church
1008 Maple Dr.
Webster, NY 14580
585-671-1100
Masses: Sat 5:00 pm
Sun 7:30; 9:00 (children's liturgy); 10:30 am
Weekdays 8:15 am
Reconciliation: Saturdays from 3:30-4:30 pm
Office Hours: M-Th 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
Fri 9:00 to 12:00 pm
The Sixth Sunday of Easter - May 1, 2016
In the hope that you will enter more fully into the Mass

"Peace I leave with you, My Peace I give to you" 
(John 14:27
DO NOT LET YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED OR AFRAID -
    Our Gospel reading for this Sunday(John 14:23-29) is packed with meaning and food for meditation. In it, Jesus prepared his disciples for his leaving and told them the Father would send an Advocate - the Holy Spirit; then he gave them His Peace - the same Peace we hear in the prayer just before Communion during every Mass. 
    "Jesus said to his disciples: 'Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. 'I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, 'I am going away and I will come back to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.'"
    In our first reading (Acts of the Apostles 15:1-2,22-29), we hear of a struggle in the very early Church between the forces of traditionalism and inclusion. It was settled by the Council of Jerusalem about 50 AD. The decision by the Holy Spirit and the whole church was that Christ's Church was to be open to all (universal / catholic) and the Gentiles did not have to adhere to Mosaic law.  
    "Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers, 'Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved.' Because there arose no little dissension and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question. The apostles and elders, in agreement with the whole church, decided to choose representatives and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers. This is the letter delivered by them:
   "' . . . Greetings. Since we have heard that some of our number who went out without any mandate from us have upset you with their teachings and disturbed your peace of mind, we have with one accord decided to choose representatives and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we are sending Judas and Silas who will also convey this same message by word of mouth: 'It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from unlawful marriage. If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right. Farewell.'''
     Our second reading (Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23) was written in the midst of the persecutions of the latter 1st century, after the destruction of Jerusalem, to Christians who sorely needed reassurance that God would prevail. John's vision was of the end times when a "new Jerusalem" would descend from heaven and God would indeed prevail. 
     "The angel took me in spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It gleamed with the splendor of God. Its radiance was like that of a precious stone, like jasper, clear as crystal. It had a massive, high wall, with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed and on which names were inscribed, the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites . . . . The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation, on which were inscribed the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
    "I saw no temple in the city for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb. The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb." 
    Just as John had reassured the early Christians during a time of great distress, Jesus reassured his disciples in the time of their impending distress. That message of reassurance has lost none of its meaning today. In our times of distress, whatever they may be, we have only to look to the reassurance of Jesus himself - "Let not your hearts be troubled or afraid" - "My Peace I give you" - "The Father will send you an Advocate". And, we have only to trust and believe it to be. 
  • Click Here to read, reflect and pray on the full Sunday readings for May 1, 2016

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