May 10, 2020

First Reading (Acts 6: 1-7)

As the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles who prayed and laid hands on them. The word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 33: 1-2, 4-5, 18-19)

Refrain: Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

1) Exult, you just, in the Lord; praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the Lord on the harp; with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises. (Refrain:)

2) Upright is the word of the Lord, and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right; of the kindness of the Lord the earth is full. (Refrain:)

3) See, the eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine. (Refrain:)

Second Reading (1 Peter 2: 4-9)

Beloved: Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it says in Scripture: Behold, I am laying a stone in Zion, a cornerstone, chosen and precious, and whoever believes in it shall not be put to shame. Therefore, its value is for you who have faith, but for those without faith: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and A stone that will make people stumble, and a rock that will make them fall. They stumble by disobeying the word, as is their destiny. You are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Gospel (John 14: 1-12)

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.” 
Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.”

(Copyright 1970, 1986, 1992, 1998, 2001 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc. Washington D.C. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Copyright 1970, 1997, 1998 Contraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc. Washington, D.C. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

The English translation of some Psalm responses, some Alleluia and Gospel verses and the Lenten Gospel Acclamations, some Summaries, and the Titles and Conclusion of the Readings, from the Lectionary for Mass copyright 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc., Washington D.C. All rights reserved.

The poetic English translation of the sequences of the Roman Missal are taken from the Roman Missal approved by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States, copyright 1964 by the National Catholic Welfare Conference, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission of ICEL. 


One of Us

“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” One commentator has pointed out what exactly we have seen in seeing Jesus and therefore, through him, seeing in God the Father.

  1. “God entered into an ordinary home and into an ordinary family. In Jesus, God once and for all sanctified human birth, sanctified the humble home of ordinary folk and sanctified all childhood.
  2. “God was not ashamed to do a our work. It was as a working man that he entered into the world; Jesus was the carpenter of Nazareth. We can never sufficiently realize the wonder of the fact that God understands our day's work. He knows the difficulty of making ends meet; he knows the difficulty of the ill-mannered customer and the client who will not pay their bills. He knew all the difficulty of living in an ordinary home and in a big family, and he knew every problem which besets us in our every day work. According to the Old Testament work is a curse; according to the old story, the curse on humanity for the sin of Eden was: "In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread" (Gen.3:19). But according to the New Testament, common work is tinged with glory for it has been touched by the hand of God.
  3. “God knows what it is to be tempted. The life of Jesus shows us, not the serenity, but the struggle of God. Anyone might conceive of a God who lived in a serenity and peace which were beyond the tensions of this world; but Jesus shows us a God who goes through the struggle that we must undergo. God is not like a commander who leads from behind the lines; he too knows the firing-line of life.
  4. “In Jesus we see God loving. The moment love enters into life pain enters in. If we could be absolutely detached, if we could so arrange life that nothing and nobody mattered to us, then there would be no such thing as sorrow and pain and anxiety. But in Jesus we see God caring intensely, yearning over us, feeling poignantly for us and with us, loving us until he bore the wounds of love upon his heart.
  5. “In Jesus we see God upon a Cross. There is nothing so incredible as this in all the world. It is easy to imagine a god who condemns us; it is still easier to imagine a God who, if we oppose him, wipes us out. No one would ever have dreamed of a God who chose the Cross to obtain our salvation.” (1)

In taking on our humanity, Christ became our brother as He himself said to the women at the tomb “Go and tell my brothers to return to Galilee where they will see me”. But what about each other? Well, if we believe that Jesus was fully human, then we should be able to see him in one another.

Of course, we are all familiar with the story of St. Joan of Arc who fought for the king of France and died at the stake at the young age of 19. It was at the age of thirteen and a half in the summer of 1425 that Joan first became conscious of what she afterwards came to call her "voices" or her "counsel". In addition, several of the saints including St. Michael the Archangel appeared to her over the years to tell her about what was ahead of her in her life. By May of 1428, she no longer doubted that she was bidden to go to the help of the king, and the voices became insistent. In 1429, she reached Chinon on March 6 and two days later was admitted into the presence of Charles VII. To test her, the king had disguised himself, but she at once saluted him without hesitation amidst a group of attendants. In other words, she was able to recognize him even when he was hiding from her.

The reason I mention her is that a few years ago there was a television series called Joan of Arcadia which was loosely based on her life. During the programs, Joan heard the voice of God speaking to her. And then there were other people whom Joan would encounter in her daily life who would also speak to her and know things about her that no one should have. And each program started with a song called One of Us, ironically sung by singer named Joan Osborne.

Joan of Arc recognized that God was speaking to her through the voices and the apparitions of the saints. Joan of Arcadia recognized the voice of God in the voices and through the persons with whom she interacted on a daily basis. Our challenge every day of our lives is to recognize the face of Jesus in the faces of one another.


1. From The Gospel of John, copyright 1975 by William Barclay. St. Andrew Press, Edinburgh, Scotland. Used with permission. 

2. One of Us. Music and lyrics by Joan Osborne. Released in 1996. Used as the theme song for the television show Joan of Arcadia, which ran from 2003 to 2005. (Please note that I have removed a few lines which included the phrase “God is great” because it has been used so frequently by terrorists since 2011.)

(Copyright 2014 by the Spirit through Deacon Sil Galvan, with a little help from the friends noted above. Permission is freely granted for oral use in whole or in part in local communities. For permission to use in written form, please contact the human intermediary at )


Living Stones

In today's second reading, Peter refers to Christ as the "living stone" which has become the cornerstone of the church. What does he mean by this phrase "a living stone"? After all, a stone by its very nature is an inanimate object, that is, one that does not have life. Well, first of all, Webster defines a stone as a rock which is used for a specific purpose, such as a building block, a paving block, a grindstone or a gravestone. If it is used for these specific purposes, then we must next ask why it is used for these purposes. Obviously, a stone is known for its permanence, its imperviousness to change or to things like the weather. It is also not easily moved from one place to another, especially if it is a large stone. Once placed in a specific spot, it will stay there unless a greater force is exerted upon it. Now all of these qualities can be attributed to persons. The following story might better illustrate this.

Although our story talks about men being bricks, nothing would change if we referred to them as rocks. In this military analogy, the soldiers are rocks because they will not be moved and will be steadfast in their loyalty to their king. Because of this, being called a rock implies bravery and courage in the face of danger. Here's another military story which takes these qualities one step further.

Here was a new recruit who took the basic qualities of bravery and courage in the face of danger to a higher level, one which included being willing to die for his fellow soldiers. He was at a level that the others needed to emulate, which is why he was awarded the medal for his bravery. He exemplified the best qualities of a rock, a self-sacrifice that would be a model for the other soldiers.

Now what Peter (who himself was named "the Rock" by none other than Christ) is doing in the second reading is attributing the qualities of a stone to a living person, Jesus Christ. As we have discussed, someone who is "a stone" exhibits the qualities of bravery, courage and loyalty in the face of danger, but who is also willing to lay down their life for others.

In his definition of the word "live", Webster points out that it can describe someone who has attained eternal life. Thus, someone who is said to be "living" has attained eternal life through Christ, by following the model of self-sacrifice which Christ provided.

Most of us do not come into situations, like the young recruit was in our story, where we are called upon to lay down our lives for others or for our beliefs. But that very thing did happen to one young woman nine years ago today at Columbine High School.

Cassie could truly be called a rock, a pillar of strength who was brave and courageous in the face of evil. She was loyal to her king, Jesus Christ, and laid down her life for him. We will never know what went through her mind or the mind of her murderer in the moments before he shot her, but it would not be too far a stretch to assume that he might have spared her life if she had confessed that she did not believe in God. She spoke the truth about what she believed and she died for it.

As I mentioned before, we will probably not be called to sacrifice our lives as she did. However, we are called to be bricks, to be solid rocks of faith upon which others can build their own faith. And we do that by standing our ground, by doing what is right even in the face of adversity, even in the face of criticism. We become living stones when we refuse to let our grief at the loss of a loved one overwhelm our faith and trust in a merciful God who will care for us and for our loved one. We become living stones by drawing closer on a daily basis to a loving savior who was brave and courageous in the face of death, who was loyal to his Father to the end, and who laid down his life without hesitation for all of us whom he called his friends. If we can truly become "living stones of faith", then some day we too will join him in the everlasting dwelling place he has prepared for us, a dwelling place he has already shared with Cassie, the martyrs and all those upon whom we build our own faith.


1. He Was a Brick! From Sower's Seed of Encouragement, Fifth Planting, pp. 64-65. Copyright 1998 by Brian Cavanaugh, T.O.R. Paulist Press, Mahwah, NJ. Used with permission. 

2. One for the Team by Kim Noone. From A Cup of Chicken Soup for the Soul, p. 146, copyright 1996 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen & Barry Spilchuk. Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL. Used with the explicit permission of the author. 

3. Adapted from several sources by Ron Saunders.

(Copyright 2011 by the Spirit through Deacon Sil Galvan, with a little help from the friends noted above. Permission is freely granted for oral use in whole or in part in local communities. For permission to use in written form, please contact the human intermediary at )


May 10, 2020

Penitential Rite

Lord Jesus, you are the way that leads to the Father. Lord, have mercy.

Christ Jesus, you are the truth in whom we are set free from sin. Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you are the source of the eternal life which we seek with all of our being. Lord, have mercy.

May 10, 2020

Prayers of the Faithful

Celebrant: St. Peter reminds us that we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people Christ claims for himself. Therefore, confident that he will hear us, we can bring our needs before him.

Deacon/Lector: Our response is "Lord, teach us your ways".

That the leaders of the Church will be living stones in whom we may place our faith, we pray to the Lord.

That the leaders of the nations of the world, especially in the Middle East, will seek peace and not war, we pray to the Lord.

That all those who are grieving the loss of a loved one may find strength and peace in their faith, we pray to the Lord.

That all of those whom we have welcomed into the Church at Easter will be a sign of Christ's continued presence among us, we pray to the Lord.

That all of those who have contracted the Coronavirus will be healed of their illness and that the families of those we have lost will be strengthened in their grief by their faith, we pray to the Lord.

For all of the intentions we hold in our hearts and which we now recall in silence. (Pause) For all of these intentions, we pray to the Lord.

Celebrant: O Loving Father, you sent your only begotten Son to be one like us so that we might come to know you more clearly through him. Grant us the grace of your Spirit to keep us strong in our faith so that one day we may come to dwell forever in the place you have prepared for us from the beginning of time. And we ask this through Christ our Lord.