3rd SUNDAY OF EASTER

PRIEST:  There are many ways of meeting the Risen Christ:  one of the most life-giving encounters is to touch the world in mission.  Today,  we hear how Jesus re-affirms the apostles in their mission, after their experience of failure around the Calvary event.  Strengthened and healed,  we then hear how they find new courage in obeying God’s voice rather than human voices in bearing witness to Jesus. He challenges us with his repeated question to Peter:  ‘do you love me…?’  Do we love him enough to give ourselves to his world and its needs in the mission of the Resurrection?

READER:         When we put obedience to human voices before obedience to God;
                               when we want human acceptance and respect
                                more than Gospel integrity…

                                              LORD HAVE MERCY…

When we do not accept one another’s failures;
                               when we do not give each other a second chance;
                               when we do not affirm each other in our ministries

                                              CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

When our love for the Lord is not enough to give us new priorities;
                               not strong enough to change the way
                               we use our time and energy to serve his world

                                              LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:       May the Lord of mercy bring us to new beginnings;
                        may our Redeeming Jesus heal our every failure;
                        may the Spirit of divine love empower us to be moments
                        of Resurrection for our world
                        so that God might bring us all to everlasting life…

                                                AMEN!

SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER ‘LOW SUNDAY’

PRIEST:  There are many ways of meeting the Risen Christ:  one of the most life-giving encounters is to touch the world in mission.  Today,  we hear how Jesus re-affirms the apostles in their mission, after their experience of failure around the Calvary event.  Strengthened and healed,  we then hear how they find new courage in obeying God’s voice rather than human voices in bearing witness to Jesus. He challenges us with his repeated question to Peter:  ‘do you love me…?’  Do we love him enough to give ourselves to his world and its needs in the mission of the Resurrection?

READER:         When we put obedience to human voices before obedience to God;
                              when we want human acceptance and respect
                              more than Gospel integrity…

                                                LORD HAVE MERCY…

When we do not accept one another’s failures;
                             when we do not give each other a second chance;
                             when we do not affirm each other in our ministries

                                                CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

When our love for the Lord is not enough to give us new priorities;
                             not strong enough to change the way
                             we use our time and energy to serve his world

                                                LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:        May the Lord of mercy bring us to new beginnings;
                          may our Redeeming Jesus heal our every failure;
                          may the Spirit of divine love empower us to be moments
                         of Resurrection for our world
                         so that God might bring us all to everlasting life…

                                                  AMEN!

Fifth Sunday in Lent (Cycle A)

PRIEST:     In just two weeks time we shall celebrate the incomparable joy of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus foreshadows his own resurrection by bringing his friend Lazarus from the tomb into life. He reveals to all that he is victorious over death itself.  But the greatest victory Jesus wins is over the death that is sin, which distorts and wounds our world with its oppressive structures, dehumanises our sisters and brothers, destroys our people with war and abuses our beautiful planet. There is so much to ‘unbind and set free’! Let us repent, and invite Jesus to rise victorious over sin and oppression within us, unbinding us, liberating us and sending us to heal and set free in the power of His Love.

READER:       For not setting free those trapped in the tombs
of war and violence, poverty, oppression and modern slavery;
                             for not loving enough to free people from loneliness & depression

                                            LORD HAVE MERCY …

When we bind each other by our criticism and condemnation,
our discriminations and injustices;
                              for entombing others in our un-forgiveness and harshness

                                            CHRIST HAVE MERCY …

Because you call our name and draw us out of death and sin
                              into life, freedom, wholeness, holiness and humanity

                                            LORD HAVE MERCY …

PRIEST:     You are a God of Life, not of death:
                       may your mercy unbind us and heal us,
                       your word call us into life and reconciliation,
                       and your forgiveness lead us to perfect freedom,
                       drawing us and all creation to everlasting life…

                                  AMEN!

Fourth Sunday in Lent

PRIEST:   Today we rejoice:  it is ‘Laetare Sunday’ – a day to celebrate that the call to Lenten conversion is a call to a deeper joy. We hear the Gospel of the healing of the blind man at the pool of Siloam. Our deepest joy is to grow into Christ; to reflect his light onto our tragically war-torn, poverty-stricken and Covid-afflicted world; to embrace His world with a love that will heal humanity’s blindness to injustice and oppression.  That today is also ‘Mothering Sunday’ gives us added reason to rejoice as we thank God for the gift of the mothers who have given us life and love. But let us not forget the millions of mothers and children fleeing to safety in Ukraine and in other theatres of war. Today we need to ask ourselves – What and who are we blind to? Let us ask forgiveness for so many refusals to recognise the depth of God’s love for us and for every human person…

READER:     When we refuse to see the evil of war
                          when we will not see the suffering or joy of those around us;
when we have closed our eyes and hearts to another’s need
                          for friendship and caring …

                                           LORD HAVE MERCY…

For ignoring the injustices in our world or in our own hearts;
when we take for granted the love of our mothers and families
and fail to give thanks –
                          when we do not tell those to whom we are close that we love them …

                                           CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

When we will not see and trust in God’s deep love for us;
                           when pain or crisis makes us blind to the God who holds us,
to friends who care for us …

                                           LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:      May the God of joy set us free with loving mercy;
                        may Jesus our brother heal us of wilful blindness to love;
                        may the Holy Spirit wash us clean in the pool of God’s compassion  and forgiveness;
                        and bring us all to everlasting life…

                                                 AMEN!

Third Sunday of Lent (Year A)

PRIEST:     God quenches the thirst of His People as they journey through the desert – our world of today still struggling with Covid and afflicted by war in Ukraine and elsewhere is journeying through such a desert journey: have we recognised the water of God’s love and drank of that Water of the Spirit? Have we been a source of such Water of hope and healing to others during this past year of deprivation? Jesus comes among us, to offer the Water of New Life to all the peoples of the world.  He calls us to drink deeply of His Spirit and come to a new beginning. As with the Samaritan woman of today’s Gospel, so with us – Jesus knows us through and through! Being the Face of the Father’s mercy He reaches out to the most excluded and scorned! Let us all with honesty recognise when we judge and so exclude others from our hearts, and so bring our need for repentance and forgiveness to Him, and then drink of His mercy and His Spirit.

READER:         When we take God’s presence and love for us so much for granted,
                               neglect to pray, to drink from His well…

                                            LORD HAVE MERCY…

When we neglect the mission of Christ locally or globally,
when we reject others rather than offer the water of the Holy Spirit
                               to those around us thirsting for meaning and healing in their lives…

                                            CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

When we do not want to know God’s will for us,
when we will not recognise God’s love and acceptance of those we want to reject
                               when we will not allow our plans to be disturbed by another’s need…

                                            LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:      May the all-loving Father draw us to himself,
                        May His Redeeming Son, our brother Jesus, give us to drink of His mercy,
                       May the Holy Spirit be water of Life to forgive, cleanse and heal us,
                       and may we all come to everlasting life…

                                              AMEN!

SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR C

PRIEST:     We have hardly begun our Lenten journey,  yet we are given a glimpse of the glory to come:  the glory Abraham beheld at the moment of covenant;  Jesus clothed in the glory of God on the mountain of the Transfiguration.  That vision will give him the courage to embrace the Cross that he sees lying ahead of him;  that vision will enable the apostles to hold on in the dark days of Calvary.  At this time of war in Europe, holding tis vision is even more important as we pray for all who are enduring the brutality of war. In our darkest moments God gives us enough light to guide our steps and encourage our faltering hearts.  But do we trust him?

READER:            ‘As he prayed,  his face was changed…’
For the times we have said no to prayer,
                                  or have resisted the call to deeper prayer
and instead settled for superficial words…

                                                   LORD HAVE MERCY…

‘Master,  it is wonderful for us to be here:  let us build three tents…’
                                 For wanting to stay in the place of our comfort,
                                 avoiding the disturbing Gospel,
for not recognising the Glory of God in every person,
especially the world’s victims

                                                   CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

‘This is my Son,  the Chosen One.  Listen to him.’
For not centring our lives upon Jesus our Redeemer,
for not listening to His Word in Scripture
and in the stillness of our hearts…

                                                   LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:            May the God of all Glory transfigure our every failure  by the gift of his mercy;
                             may the Transfigured Christ embrace the sins of our wounded-ness and liberate us for Glory;
                            may the Spirit of God’s presence ever abide with us to empower us to reconcile with love;
                            and bring our world to the Glory of everlasting life

                                                   AMEN!

SEVENTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR C

PRIEST:     Today we hear how David refuses to give way to vengeance on King Saul; St Paul tells us to become more and more like Jesus, the heavenly man; and Jesus himself confronts us with the foolishness of God! He challenges us to love our enemies,  to return blessing for a curse.  He urges us to share the very compassion of God with a generous and giving heart. SAs the world sees it, this is sheer foolishness,  unrealistic idealism …  But is it the same for us?  Or have we the courage to live the foolish generosity of God here and now?

READER:          Jesus says: ‘Love your enemies’ …
                                when we hold onto grudges,
                                past hurts,  and meaningless animosities

                                                         LORD HAVE MERCY…

Jesus says: ‘Give to everyone who asks you’ …
                                for meanness of heart and pocket,  for lack of generosity
with our time, our energy and our caring

                                                         CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

Jesus says: ‘Be compassionate – do not judge’ …
                                 when we ignore or make ourselves blind to the suffering of others,
                                 because it will cost too much;
                                 for being judgemental rather than forgiving and understanding

                                                         LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:    May the compassionate Father embrace us;
                       may Jesus who died for love of his enemies and ours forgive us;
                       may the Spirit given so generously empower us to be
                       servants of reconciliation and peace;
                       and bring all the world to everlasting life…

                                                           AMEN!

SIXTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR C

PRIEST:      Jesus is the Prophet of the Poor – the Voice of the Voiceless. We hear this morning Luke’s version of the Beatitudes – the Blessings of the Kingdom. But if the Poor are blessed and the world is to change to raise up the poor, then the world of the rich must radically change! Jesus’ Kingdom turns the world’s order of things upside down!  Are we going to be ‘turning the world upside down’? Are we going to stand with Jesus where he is … among the poor, powerless and voiceless? What a challenge to the Church – what a challenge to you and me!

READER:          When we trust in our own power and possessions
rather than trust in the foolish wisdom of Jesus

                                                LORD HAVE MERCY…

For resisting the challenge to be truly identified with Jesus
who identifies with the struggles of the Poor

                                                CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

When the words of our Church speak of Option for the Poor
but our own life-style and the way we use our energy as a parish
belie the fine words 

                                                LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:     May the God who saved the poor of Israel bring us mercy;
                       May Jesus born into the poverty of Bethlehem and Galilee
                                share with us liberating compassion and strong justice;
                        May the Holy Spirit who renews the face of the earth
                        by turning the world upside down, renew us with forgiveness
                         and bring all the world to everlasting life…

                                                         AMEN!

Our Lady of Lourdes and World Day of the Sick

PRIEST: We gather to celebrate the World Day of the Sick on this Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, in the midst of the continuing Covid Pandemic. While some are relaxing restrictions others are still fearful of their health We come together as a people of Faith, to entrust this world into the healing love of Christ Jesus, who overflows with healing and life for the broken and the sick, the exhausted carers and the lonely isolated. Mary as the servant of God’s healing in Lourdes challenges us to care and to pray, and also to work for equality and justice that will bring health-care, hope and vaccines to the poorest of the earth. Our mission is to witness to the Gospel of Life and the tenderness of God especially for those excluded from hope, healing and opportunity. Do we seek to be signs of hope and healing?

READER:       For the ways our words have wounded,  not healed;
                           our hearts have hardened against another,
                           not opened in caring and compassion, offering hope

                                                 LORD HAVE MERCY…

For the ways we have not valued and supported
those whose work is medicine, research or caring;
when we could have shared the burden and did not

                                                 CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

For the times we have been too preoccupied with self
                            to reach out and listen to another’s pain;
                            slow to respect every person, not bearers of the Gospel of Life

                                                 LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:           O God of love without limit,
                             make us compassionate as you are compassionate;
                             Jesus,  come to bring us Life in all fullness
                                      makes us whole and holy;
                             Holy Spirit, breath of love and great Comforter,
                             bind us together in unbreakable bonds of a love that give hope
                             and so bring us and all Creation to everlasting life…

                                                       AMEN!

Fifth Sunday of the Year C

PRIEST:    We celebrate today that Jesus calls and makes disciples:  people who will follow him anywhere,  do whatever he tells them,  share the work with him. Disciples are not some elitist group in the Church – they are you and me. And when he calls,  it involves leaving something behind so that we can give ourselves to mission,  to action. What is our answer to the call of Christ?  What do we need to leave behind? 

READER:     For protecting ourselves against the challenging call of Christ,
for reckoning that it is always someone else who is called, and not me

                                                 LORD HAVE MERCY …

For being afraid of holiness,  for being afraid of the God who is Holy,
                           for counting ourselves as unworthy of his work…
                                                 CHRIST HAVE MERCY …

For wanting to ‘do our own thing’ and being unwilling
to work with others for the sake of the Gospel:
                             for not considering the work and the love of Christ
                             important enough to change our lives…

                                                 LORD HAVE MERCY …

PRIEST:     May the God of Holiness purify our hearts with his mercy;
                       may the Redeemer who calls, summon us to work for the
                                world’s healing and reconciliation;
                      may the Spirit empower us with compassion
                                that sets us free to liberate others
                      and bring us all to everlasting life…

                                                  AMEN!