Sixth week of Easter

Monday 2 May
St Athanasius
Acts 16.11-15
Psalm 149.1-6, 9
John 15.26-16.4

Easter means that we are always on the verge of something new, and that comes out clearly in today’s readings. In the first reading, from Acts, there is an immense new beginning, as the gospel makes the momentous crossing of the Aegean Sea from Asia into Europe, to the beautiful island of Samothrace, then to the mainland at Neapolis, and finally, down the great Roman road of the Via Egnatia to Philippi, where Paul founded what may well have been his favourite church. Another novelty is that they start their preaching with the women of the city, by the riverside, and that it was a Gentile woman, Lydia the purple-seller, who invited herself to be the leader of the Church there. The psalm is new in a different way, ‘a new song to the Lord’, though it is almost the last hymn in the book. Finally the gospel offers the undying newness of the Paraclete, ‘who’, says Jesus, ‘will witness about me’, and enable us not to be upset when we are attacked for preaching the gospel. Today let us indeed ‘sing a new song’.

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