Daily Readings & Inspiration Daily

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 15:1-6

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 presbyters
about this question.
They were sent on their journey by the Church,
and passed through Phoenicia and Samaria
telling of the conversion of the Gentiles,
and brought great joy to all the brethren.
When they arrived in Jerusalem,
they were welcomed by the Church,
as well as by the Apostles and the presbyters,
and they reported what God had done with them.
But some from the party of the Pharisees who had become believers
stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them
and direct them to observe the Mosaic law.”

The Apostles and the presbyters met together to see about this matter.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 122:1-2, 3-4ab, 4cd-5

R.(see 1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
“We will go up to the house of the LORD.”
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 15:4a, 5b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord;
whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Rita of Cascia, please go here.

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Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

St Rita: Teacher of Forgiveness

“Let me, my Jesus share in Thy suffering, at least one of Thy thorns.” – Saint Rita of Cascia

Jesus’ words in today’s gospel seem near impossible for any regular man to act. He tells us to love our enemies, stop judging, be merciful; we are still sinful and fallen. Alone, we cannot live a life of virtue that allows us to be kind and forgive those who do wrong.

However, Jesus gives us the gift of His saints whose virtuous lives can serve as a witness to us. For instance, He gives us St. Rita, whose feast we celebrate today.

St. Rita is the patron saint of impossible causes with St. Jude. Her life is a reflection of what Christ speaks about in the gospel. St. Rita was born in 14th century Italy. She had a deep desire to love the Lord and become a nun. As a child, she showed extraordinary piety and deep love for prayer.

But instead, her family married her off to a harsh and cruel man, named Paolo Mancini, whom she was married to for 18 years. She bore him two sons. Paolo was well known for his bad temper. He was often abusive, and Rita watched helplessly as her sons fell to their father’s influence.

She prayed unceasingly that the Lord speak to Paolo’s conscience and spare her sons from inheriting her husband’s rage. Eventually, Paolo had a change of heart and begged forgiveness from those whose suffering he caused.

However, Paolo had many enemies and one day, he was ambushed and killed. St. Rita’s sons vowed to avenge their father’s death through killing the men who killed him, but Rita prayed for them not to destroy their souls by taking another life. She gave the Lord permission to even kill them himself if it meant that their souls would be saved.

Her sons died of natural causes when they were teenagers not long after their father’s death. St. Rita nursed them, and they asked for forgiveness. She went on to also forgive the men who murdered her husband by going out and mending the hostility between her husband’s killers and his remaining family.

After losing her husband and sons, Rita joined the Augustinian nuns.

She meditated frequently on Christ’s passion, uniting her sufferings to His on the Cross. One day, she prayed so fervently and begged the Lord to share with her some of His pain. One of the thorns from the crucifix she prayed before loosened and implanted itself deep into her forehead.

During her time in the convent, she prayed for the souls of her husband and sons, as well as for those who did her wrong.

St. Rita died, and her body has remained incorrupt and is venerated today.

She is the patron saint of impossible causes, difficult marriages, infertility, and parenthood.

St. Rita is a teacher on how to love your enemies. Not only did she forgive their wrongs, but desired heaven for them. She looked to Jesus’ example from the cross when he asked God the Father to forgive those who crucified him.

When we are angered by what we see on our social media feeds, or see injustice in the world, let us remember to pray like St. Rita did and trust that God will be victorious in the end.

Hannah Crites is a native to Denver Colorado and graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. She has written for numerous publications and blogs including the Chastity Project, Washington Times, Faith & Culture: The Journal of the Augustine Institute, and Franciscan Magazine. She is currently working in content and digital marketing for a small web development and digital marketing agency. Connect with her through Twitter (@hannah_crites) and Facebook. Check out more of what she has written at https://hannhcrites.com/.

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