FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT – YEAR 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.  Let us repent, and invite Jesus to rise victorious over sin and oppression within us, unbinding us and setting us free.

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;
                             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 to everlasting life…

                                                  AMEN!

FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR A

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 and poverty-stricken 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 yet more reason to rejoice as we thank God for the gift of the mothers who have given us life and love.  Let us ask forgiveness for so many refusals to recognise the depth of God’s love for us,  sometimes our mother’s love for us…

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,
and 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:      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! Sadly the LGBT+ community is too often the victim of such treatment. However we can all treat others with rejection with words and actions that wound and condemn! Let us all with honesty recognise when we judge and so exclude others from our hearts. Let us 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!

SECND SUNDAY OF LENT

PRIEST: In today’s celebration, we behold the Glory of God, the glory that each of us carries deep within our being. For we are all created in God’s image and likeness. And the Glory of God is humanity fully alive.  Transfiguration is only complete when we have transformed our world from war and injustice into the glory of equality, justice and peace among all the peoples of the earth. Transfiguration means healing our planet, challenging modern slavery and raising up the poor. Such a transformation will demand we truly listen to Him – God’s Word made flesh – and act! Like Abraham did when God called him to leave his security and risk a new future. What will we risk for God? Let us now turn in confidence to God that he may be merciful to us.

READER:    For the times when God challenges us to profound faith as he challenged Abraham,
                         and we refuse to follow him, to obey him, to trust him
                                             LORD HAVE MERCY …

For the times when the demands of our faith seem too much
                           and we avoid the hardships of deeper commitment;
for the times we do not trust that God is on our side,
full of mercy towards us

                                             CHRIST HAVE MERCY …

For the times we have not reverenced  or believed in ourselves or each other,
                           and we have failed to transfigure our world
                           in the power of His love within us

                                             LORD HAVE MERCY …

PRIEST:     May God our Father speak his words of forgiveness and mercy to our hearts;
                       May the Transfigured Christ transform the darkness of our sin into the glory of His love;
                       May the Holy Spirit be the light of justice, healing and compassion in our hearts,
                       and bring us to everlasting life…

                                               AMEN!

First Sunday of Lent Year A

PRIEST:      We have begun our journey of these 40 days of Lent – like Jesus we enter into the desert to face the demons of our own hearts – demons of selfishness and of comfort,  demons of greed and exploitation, demons of ambition and power.  Whatever our demons are, Lent is the appointed time, the season of grace, to confront and defeat them in the power of Jesus’ love.  Let us enter upon the sacred and life-giving task…

READER:       Stones to Bread! The temptation to be popular with the crowd rather faithful to His Father:
                             when we conform to others’ wisdom and prejudices
                             rather than live by the challenging values of the Gospel

                                                     LORD HAVE MERCY

The spectacular leap from the Temple –
                             the Temptation to take the quick and easy road to success,
                             rather than the hard road to Calvary:
                             when we opt for our own comfort,
                             when we do not want to be disturbed or to disturb

                                                     CHRIST HAVE MERCY

Gain all the world and its power and riches!
                               The Temptation to use His power for his own gain,
rather than to enrich others with life:
                                when we use our power to diminish others, to feed our greed,
to exploit and abuse our Earth and its poor,
                                or to satisfy our own desires, rather than to serve others

                                                     LORD HAVE MERCY

PRIEST:      May the God who calls us to the desert of his love – embrace us with mercy;
                         may the Redeemer who walks our path of temptation forgive us
                         and heal our sin;
                         may the Spirit change our hearts and give us the joy of repentance;
                         and bring us and the world to everlasting life

                                                         AMEN!

SEVENTH SUNDAY YEAR A

PRIEST:    As we gather to celebrate today’s Eucharist, Jesus challenges us to be a people of reconciliation, a community of peacemakers, to live in God’s endless and unconditional forgiveness.  Called to refuse to allow bitterness to arise from our wounds,  we seek to understand a God who is at once strong in demanding justice and gentle in forgiving!  And God is foolish enough to expect us to share the strength of his struggle and the gentleness of his forgiveness.  How often we fail!

READER:      When we judge rather than seek to understand,
condemn rather than forgive

                                                     LORD HAVE MERCY …

                            When we close our hearts to those who have hurt us,
loving only those who love us;
                            when we close our minds and hearts to the challenge
to be peacemakers and reconcilers

                                                     CHRIST HAVE MERCY …

                            When we are only too ready to seek and expect forgiveness,
                            but slow to offer the same forgiveness;
                            quick to expect support with our problems,
                            and slow to reach out to others in theirs

                                                     LORD HAVE MERCY …

PRIEST:     May the God of all mercy give us a new heart of compassion,
clothe us in forgiveness
                       and send us to our world as bearers of his reconciliation
                       bringing us all to everlasting life…

                                                    AMEN!

SIXTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR A

PRIEST:         Today, we celebrate Jesus as the new Moses:  the chosen one of God who gives us a New Law, but a ‘Law’ that takes us beyond Law and invites us to grow an ever wider love. We are called to go beyond relationships that inflict pain and the anarchy of shattered community and embrace a wholly new standard of human behaviour and a new quality of healing relationships.  It is the journey from a legalism that kills to the Divine Law of Love that brings both freedom and community.  Let us allow God to free and heal us by his law of forgiveness…

READER:      For all forms of legalism in the Church that diminishes God’s People,
                           and hides the freedom of the Gospel

                                            LORD HAVE MERCY …

For seeking freedom without responsibility, freedom without caring,
                             for that lawlessness which is a denial to love,
                             that refuses to respect the dignity or rights of others

                                            CHRIST HAVE MERCY …

For the limits we place on our loving,
                             for hurting those who are close to us
                             and ignoring the plight of those who are far from us

                                            LORD HAVE MERCY …

PRIEST:     May the God, whose law it is to forgive, embrace us with mercy;
                       May the Redeemer, who fulfils the Law by his Love,
                                        heal and reconcile us;
                       May the Spirit, who breathes life and unites us,
                                        set us free to live the Law of Love;
                        and bring us all to everlasting life…

                                              AMEN!

FIFTH SUNDAY OF YEAR A

PRIEST:     On this Racial Justice Sunday, we rejoice in the rich diversity of the human family. Jesus challenges each of us to be His salt transforming life and the earth;  to be Light burning with His love before all the world; He challenges us as Church to  be a community truly inclusive of all people and a community of constant mission: the City on the hill that cannot be hid. Yet Jesus is the true light; He gives us the taste of God’s goodness; He is raised up for all the world to see. He calls us to be the Light of Justice and the Salt of Love. Let us recognise the ways our lives do not offer the world the taste of God, the ways we obscure His Light and hide His Truth:  ways we do not burn with the flame of his loving. Let ur repent of all discrimination, racism and tribalism that can lurk in our own hearts…

READER:     When we do not salt our lives and our earth with prayer and faith
with understanding and healing compassion…

                                                 LORD HAVE MERCY …

                          When we do not light up our world with Truth that heals and liberates,
with our struggle against racism and for justice,
                           with our courage in creating peace…

                                                 CHRIST HAVE MERCY …

                           When as a Church we discriminate and exclude;
for our failures to love, to forgive, to care
that hides the City of God in the dark valleys of our sin…

                                                 LORD HAVE MERCY …

PRIEST:      May God salt our lives with forgiving compassion;
                        May Jesus burn into our hearts with purifying light of healing love;
                        May the Spirit transform our darkness into holiness
                        and bring us all to everlasting life…

                                                 AMEN!

FEAST OF CANDLEMAS (when Blessing of Candles is after the Homily

PRIEST: Today we greet Jesus, the Light of the World, just as Simeon and Anna did in the Temple all those centuries ago. He came fulfilling not their hopes alone, but the hopes of all humanity, of every people. Today we also affirm our young people in their decision to accept Confirmation. May they and we open our hearts, allow the Saviour to enter with Light into the Temple of our own lives. May they and we welcome His Light to shine into our own inner darkness, that we might become bearers of His Light into a world darkened by fear and the threat of war.

READER:        Because we prefer the darkness of our own selfishness
to the light of generous love and caring

                                             LORD HAVE MERCY…

Because we prefer the darkness of injustice and inequality
when we benefit and profit
to the light of freedom and fair sharing of resources

                                             CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

Because we prefer the darkness of unforgiveness,
criticism and condemnation
to the light of mercy, compassion and an understanding heart

                                              LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:         May the God who is more ready to forgive
                           than we are ready to be forgiven,
                           shine into our darkened lives
                           with the Light of Mercy, Healing and Forgiveness,
                           and bring us all to everlasting life

AMEN!

THIRD SUNDAY OF THE YEAR – SUNDAY OF THE WORD OF GOD

PRIEST:  Today we Jesus who is Light of God’s love for all trapped in darkness; we celebrate Jesus who calls disciples to leave everything behind and follow him closely.  The apostles of old and we today are alike called to become his light in a world darkened by war, poverty and injustice.  Today we celebrate for this first time the annual ‘Sunday of the Word’ – and His word is ‘Repent…’, a call to a radical change of heart and change of structures that will no longer trap the poor in the darkness of inequality. And we who are the disciples of Jesus are challenged to listen to His Word and, called into the Light, are to be the first to repent and change

READER:        ‘The People who walked in darkness have seen a great light’ …
                              For the darkness of sin in our own hearts;
For the darkness of injustice in the heart of our society …

                                                   LORD HAVE MERCY …

                              ‘Follow me’ is Jesus’ call to each of us …
When we are too busy about our own busy-ness, our own desires
to listen to His Word and reflect upon His call
to leave behind our own selves and follow him into light

                                                   CHRIST HAVE MERCY …

                              ‘Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is close at  hand’ …
For not wanting to hear  how we need to change;
For not embracing that mercy of God that sets us and the world free

                                                   LORD HAVE MERCY …

PRIEST:     May the God of Light heal the darkness of our sin,
                       May the Divine Word, the Son of God,
                       call us from darkness into the Light of forgiveness,
                       May the Spirit of Repentance transform and energise our lives
                      bringing us all to everlasting life…

                                                     AMEN!