Thursday in the 7th Week of Easter
Optional Memorials: St. Bede the Venerable, priest and doctor of the Church (†735). Monk of the Benedictine Monastery of St. Peter, in Wearmouth, England, he devoted his life to meditation and the study of Sacred Scripture, producing extensive theological and historical works; St. Gregory VII, Pope (+1085). He accepted the office of Supreme Pontiff with “much sorrow, groaning and weeping”, during a time of dire need for reform. He fought against simony and the interference of the civil power in ecclesiastical affairs and died in exile; and St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, virgin (†1607). She entered the Carmelite convent of Florence, Italy, where she ardently promoted Church reform and received extraordinary gifts from God.
First Reading – Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
Wishing to determine the truth about why Paul was being accused by the Jews, the commander freed him and ordered the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin to convene. Then he brought Paul down and made him stand before them. Paul was aware that some were Sadducees and some Pharisees, so he called out before the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees; I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.” When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the group became divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection or angels or spirits, while the Pharisees acknowledge all three. A great uproar occurred, and some scribes belonging to the Pharisee party stood up and sharply argued, “We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” The dispute was so serious that the commander, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, ordered his troops to go down and rescue Paul from their midst and take him into the compound. The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage. For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome.”
Responsorial Psalm – Ps 16:1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11 (R. 1)
R.Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
Keep me, O God, for in You I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are You.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
You it is who hold fast my lot. R.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with Him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed. R.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption. R.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in Your presence,
the delights at Your right hand forever. R.
Gospel – Jn 17:20-26
Lifting up His eyes to Heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”
St. Gennadius, abbot and bishop (†c. 925). Abbot of the monastery of San Pedro de Montes, Spain, he was elected Bishop of Astorga, but he renounced the Episcopal dignity to return to monastic life.
St. Peter Doan Van Van, martyr (†1857). Catechist and parish administrator, beheaded in Vietnam for his Faith.
St. Dionysius Ssebuggwawo, martyr (†1886). Page of King Uwanga of Uganda; he was pierced with a lance by the Sovereign after declaring that he had taught the rudiments of the Faith to other members of the court.
St. Gerard (†c. 1270). After having been Count of Lunel, he entered hermitic life and died during a pilgrimage in Montesanto, Italy.
St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, virgin (†1865). Founded the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Paris, for the Christian education of young women.
Blessed Nicholas Cehelskyj, priest and martyr (†1951). Ukrainian priest of the Byzantine Catholic Rite. He resisted pressure from the Communist authorities to convert to the state-approved orthodox church, and was imprisoned in the concentration camp in Mordovia, Russia, where he died as consequence of terrible sufferings.
Blessed Gerard Mecatti, hermit (†c. 1245). He distributed his goods to the poor and dedicated himself to a life of holiness in seclusion in Villamagna, Italy.
St. Aldhelm, bishop (†709). Abbot of the monastery of Malmesbury who, renowned as teacher of doctrine, became the first Bishop of Sherborne, England.