First Reading – Adapted from Acts 14:19-28
Some Jews from Antioch and Iconium arrived where Paul was and turned the people against him. They hit him with stones and dragged him out of the city, believing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered around him, he got up and entered the city. The next day Paul and Barnabas left for Derbe.
After they preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch. They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and encouraged them to be faithful, saying, “We must experience many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They ordained priests for them in each church and prayed and fasted for them, trusting them to the Lord in whom they believed. They traveled through Pisidia and Pamphylia, and preached at Perga and down to Attalia. From there they sailed to Antioch, from which they had been sent with God’s grace to do the work they had accomplished. When they arrived, they gathered the church together and reported what God had done with them, how he had given faith to the Gentiles. They spent much time with the disciples.
Psalm 145:10-13B, 21
All thy works shall give thanks to thee, O LORD,
and all thy saints shall bless thee!
They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom,
and tell of thy power,
to make known to the sons of men thy mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of thy kingdom.
Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and thy dominion endures throughout all generations.
My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD,
and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.
Gospel – Adapted from John 14:27-31A
Jesus said to his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I give it to you in a different way than the world gives peace. Do not be troubled or afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you will believe. I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”
Saints Nereus, Achilleus and Pancras
Died: (around) 304
Nereus and Achilleus were Roman soldiers who worked under Emperor Trajan. They both converted to the Christian faith. They left the army and became followers of Jesus. Around the year 304, Nereus and Achilleus were exiled, or sent away, from Rome to the island of Terracina. There they were beheaded, willingly dying for their faith in Jesus. In 398, Pope Siricius built a church in Rome to honor them.
Pancras was a fourteen-year-old orphan. His uncle brought him to Rome where he was baptized and converted to Christianity. He was soon arrested for being a Christian. Pancras refused to give up his faith. He too was beheaded. Many witnessed his death, and many non-Christians converted because of it. In 514 a large church was built in his honor in Rome.