First Reading – Adapted from Acts 9:31-42
There was peace in the Church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria. She was obedient to the Lord, and with the comfort of the Holy Spirit, was growing in numbers. As Peter went among the people, he came to the holy ones in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been in bed for eight years because he was paralyzed. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed.” Immediately he got up. All the people saw him, and they turned to the Lord.
In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha, who spent all her time doing good deeds and giving to the poor. During that time, she got sick and died. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him to ask, “Please come to us at once.” So Peter got up and went with them.
When he arrived, they took him to the room where Tabitha was, and all the widows came to him crying and showing him all the clothing she had made for them when she was with them. Peter sent them out and knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to her body and said, “Tabitha, rise.” She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up. He gave her his hand and lifted her up, and when he had called the holy ones and widows, he presented her alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people came to believe in the Lord.
What shall I render to the LORD
for all his bounty to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the LORD,
I will pay my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints.
O LORD, I am thy servant;
I am thy servant, the son of thy handmaid.
Thou hast loosed my bonds.
I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of the LORD.
Gospel – Adapted from John 6:60-69
Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said, “This teaching [about eating his flesh and drinking his blood] is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were saying this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you saw the Son of Man rising to where he was before? It is the Spirit that gives life, while the body can not. The words that I have spoken to you are from the Spirit and give life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe, and the one who would betray him. And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless he has help from my Father.”
Because of this, many of his disciples returned to their old way of life and did not follow him anymore. Jesus then said to the Twelve Apostles, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom should we go? You have the words of everlasting life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
Born: (around) 296
Athanasius was born in Alexandria, in Egypt. He loved reading books about the Catholic faith and studied the classics and theology at the University of Alexandria. He became a deacon and secretary to Bishop Alexander of Alexandria. Athanasius later became a priest. At that time, the Arians did not believe that Jesus was God. They tried to spread these false teachings. The Pope held a council called the Council of Nicaea. Athanasius attended and fought against these teachings and convinced the council to accept the Nicene Creed.
He became the archbishop of Alexandria before he was thirty years old. For forty-six years, he led the faithful. Four Roman emperors tried to make him stop writing books explaining the faith. They failed. His enemies did everything they could to make him suffer. Five times he was sent away from Alexandria. At other times, Athanasius was hunted by people who wanted to kill him. He was kept safe in the desert by some monks for seven years, and his enemies could not find him. Athanasius died on May 2, 373.