Fifth Sunday of Year B

PRIEST:    We hear today how Jesus begins his ministry – immersed in a world of pain and oppression, he brings an explosion of life-giving and healing!  Healing was his chosen way to proclaim the Good News of New Life in God’s love.  Healing was the gift of his compassion as well as the sign of his Kingdom.  Like St Paul, all of us also have the sacred duty of proclaiming the Good News to the world around us. Let us welcome the healing of Christ into our own woundedness, the freedom of Christ into all that is imprisoned and not yet fully free for love within us.  By his unconditional mercy and forgiveness may we truly come alive in his wholeness, the better to proclaim His Good News and serve His healing will for our world!

READER:     Our sins are often our wounds crying out for healing
… let us welcome the healing of Christ
that we might find freedom from sin

                                           LORD HAVE MERCY…

When we do not believe enough in God’s love for us;
when we doubt he really wants to make us whole…

                                           CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

When our lack of love and compassion
                             deprives others of healing and hides His Good News;
                             when we imprison others by our attitudes
and hurtful words and actions…

                                           LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:   May Abba Father, the Life-giver, make us whole;
                     May Jesus, the Pain-bearer, free us from the burden of our guilts;
                     May the Holy Spirit, the Love-maker, raise us up to be fully alive
                     to bring to all the world everlasting life…

                                             AMEN!

FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD

PRIEST: The Wisdom of God has guided each of us here today, as surely as the Magi’s Star:  for we too are pilgrims on a journey searching for wisdom,  walking by faith and yearning in hope for the peace for our world.  We gather to offer our gifts,  our talents and our very selves on this feast of the Epiphany,  the Manifestation of Christ’s Redeeming Light to all the Nations of the world, the glory of the Father’s infinite love for all creation.  Let us find in the Wise Men inspiration to give all we are in the service of the Light of Christ’s Good News.

READER:       We welcome the wisdom of the Gift of Gold…
                             our love given to Christ our King:
                             may we so grow in love that we can offer the world
                             Christ’s healing, justice and New Life…

                                       O COME LET US ADORE HIM!

We welcome the wisdom of the Gift of Frankincense…
our worship for our God in human flesh:
                             may we so grow in prayer that we will find strength
and inspiration to shine before the world with Christ’s Light…

                                       O COME LET US ADORE HIM!

We welcome the wisdom of the Gift of Myrrh…
our share in the passion of Christ for the salvation of our world:
                             may we so grow in his sacrificial love
that we may place the demands of the Kingdom
                             before our own desires and wants…

                                       O COME LET US ADORE HIM!

PRIEST:         May our God forgive the coldness of our love,
                          the poverty of our prayer,
                          the shallowness of our sacrifice;
                          that we may shine with the splendour of Christ’s Light,
                          and journey with Gospel Wisdom to everlasting life…

                                         AMEN!

Feast of Mary, Mother of God – Day of Prayer for the Peace of the World

PRIEST:     On this first day of the New Year, the Church celebrates Mary “Theotokos’, the Bearer of God to the world. We look to the first and greatest disciple as we are about to embark on making this year truly the Year of Our Lord 2024. We commend all that is past into the Mercy of God, all that is present into the Love of God and all that is the future into the Providence of God, and journey ahead in faith and trust in the God who leads us. 

READER:     Mary said ‘Yes’ to God with her whole being holding nothing back:
For the weakness of our ‘yeses’ and the strength of our ‘no’s’

                                       LORD HAVE MERCY…

Mary pondered and treasured the Word she carried in her heart
so that she could treasure the Word enfleshed in her womb:
for so often taking the wonder of the Word for granted 

                                       CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

Mary embraced an unknown future for the sake of the Kingdom
trusting that the promises of God would be fulfilled;
for our fears of God’s unknown, failing to trust that God is Love

                                       LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:    May the Father strengthen our ‘yes’ with His forgiving mercy;
                      May the Word be enfleshed in our lives with the healing of forgiveness;
                      May the Spirit carry us forward into God’s Future of Reconciliation
                     To bring all the world to everlasting life…

                                           AMEN!

Feast of the Holy Family

PRIEST:    As we draw near the end of this year we gather as a family of families … around the simplicity and poverty, the love and the faith of the Holy Family of Bethlehem and Nazareth.  Like too many families today, torn by poverty, oppression and war, Jesus’ family was far from trouble-free family life: trapped in poverty, homeless, fleeing for their lives into exile because of the fears of the powerful, destined to be refugees for years, growing up in the midst of a guerrilla war.  Yet we celebrate the wonder of God’s great confidence in us and in our families, entrusting His own Son to a family like ours, for Jesus to grow and develop into the power of love that He became.  In the midst of so many diverse forms of family life among us, let us rededicate ourselves to the task of love, recognising that our failures are forgiven…

READER:     The family is the school of love:
                           that we may replace harshness with forgiveness,
                           criticism with encouragement, deafness with sensitive listening

                                       LORD HAVE MERCY…

The family is called to be a healing community:
                              that we may care rather than judge, accept rather than reject,
cherish rather than take for granted

                                       CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

The family is called to be a place of prayer:
                              that Christ may be the centre of our homes, not on the edge,
                              that parents may be the first and best of teachers of their children
                              in the ways of faith,
                             that love may set all free to search and develop,
                             not criticism  to stifle and limit

                                       LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:      May our God who is family, Father, Son and Spirit,
                        bring mercy to our failures, fire to our love grown cold,
                      healing peace to our hurting hearts,
                      and renewed hope to the challenge of love and growth
                      bringing us all to everlasting life…

                                           AMEN!

Fourth Sunday of Advent B

PRIEST:          My dear sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus,
                  We gather today on this last Sunday of Advent Preparation to share in this Eucharist God’s great call to bear Christ to the world.  Mary heard this call and answered with such love that he whom she already carried in her heart,  was now  conceived in her womb.  Overshadowed by the Spirit and abandoned to God’s Word and Will,  the Saviour can come to us, flesh of our flesh.  Let us utter our ‘Yes’ to the God who calls as we share Mary’s song of joy in the Coming of our Saviour.

[approaching the Advent wreaths we sing ‘Magnificat’]

Let us pray…
O God of our History, from all eternity You have spoken forth Your Word of Love that gives Life, creating the heavens and earth,  making man and woman in Your own image and likeness.  You dreamed of a People ready  to serve Your Truth and Kingdom in the world. And in the fullness of time, You found a woman so full of love that Your Word could make His home in her heart and her womb. Through her your Son,  the Divine Word, is made Flesh and dwells among us.  Bless these Advent Candles of Light and Expectancy and bless our community with the faith and love of Mary,  that we might dare to abandon ourselves to You and welcome the Day of your Kingdom … In the Name of the Father, + and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit… AMEN!

READER:   Mary, the woman of faith, risked saying ‘yes’
                        to an unknown future in God’s plan:
                        for our lack of faith and trust,

                                         LORD HAVE MERCY…

                        Mary,  the woman of hope, embraced the overshadowing Spirit
                        and dared the impossible for God:
                        for the ways we risk little in the service of God and His kingdom,

                                         CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

                         Mary, the woman of love, welcomed the Word in her heart
before she welcomed the Word in her womb:
                         for our lack of love that silences God’s Word in today’s world,

                                         LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:   O Lord, stir up your might and come!
                      Touch us with Your overshadowing Spirit,
                      speak Your Word of forgiveness to our hearts and to our world,
                      so that the Saviour, our Emmanuel, may come again
                      and bring us to  everlasting life

                                         …AMEN!

Third Sunday of Advent Year B (‘Gaudete’ Sunday)

PRIEST: My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This third Sunday of Advent is a day for rejoicing…rejoicing that the coming of our Saviour is close at hand; rejoicing that his coming will bring Good News to the Poor, a new freedom and an era of healing and liberation; rejoicing that God still sends prophets like John the Baptist to witness to the Light and to challenge us to welcome the Christ who changes all things!
Let us now sing with joy as we witness the Coming of Christ that brings healing to our brokenness and forgiveness to our sinfulness, transforming us with His Coming…

[ proceed to wreath, singing ‘Rejoice in the Lord Always!’]

Let us pray…
O God, Mother and Father of all that lives, come among us and dance over us with your joy, as on a day of Festival! Fill our community with that rejoicing that comes from welcoming your Light, Jesus Christ, and sharing that light of forgiveness. liberation and healing with all our world. Bless this Advent Wreath and our parish so that we may hasten the day when your Son, our Brother, will fill all creation with joyous Glory…
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER + AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT…AMEN!

READER:     Lord, for the wastelands in our lives,
                          for the deserts of sin within us and our world:
                          the emptiness that deprives our earth of your joy;
                          we ask your mercy

                                              LORD HAVE MERCY…

                          Lord, for the violence and war that wastes our world,
for the deserts of unemployment and homelessness,
                         for the darkness of greed and luxury that wounds our planet;
                         we ask your mercy

                                              CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

                          Lord, because of the joy you have in forgiving us,
                          because you come to transforming us with healing and reconciliation;
                          with confidence we ask your mercy

                                              LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:      O Lord, stir up your might and come!
Clothe us in your joyous Light,
                        renew our hearts in your  compassion and forgiveness,
                        and bring us all to  your Day of unending Festival,
                       that we may rejoice to live for ever and ever              

                                                 AMEN!

Let us rejoice in the Lord’s Coming as we sing…[‘Prepare the Way of the Lord’]

Second Sunday of Advent YB – ‘Bible Sunday’

PRIEST: We gather on this Bible Sunday, at the beginning of our second week of Advent Preparation and Prayer. On this Bible Sunday, we come together to listen to God’s Holy Word in the Bible, so that we may allow His Word to be made Flesh in our lives. That same Word will be spoken over bread of the earth and wine from the hills, with such power that the Word will become the Flesh and Blood of Christ in Eucharist.

Let us now praise the Light of God’s Word as we sing…

                           (‘The Lord is my Light’)

                            [ proceed to the wreath ]

Let us pray…
O God, from all eternity You have spoken forth Your Word, so that all creation may experience Your Love. Your Word first created Light at the dawning of time. In the fullness of that time, Your Word became Flesh in the poor Virgin of Nazareth. For Your People everywhere, Your Word remains the Light that guides our journey, the Lamp revealing the path before us. Bless our Advent Candles, and this our parish family, so that the Light of Your Word may grow in our hearts, inspire our lives, and guide our community,
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER  +  THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT,                                     … Amen!

READER:     Too often, Lord, we allow the false lights of our world to guide us,
                           rather than the Light of Your Word:
                           forgive us when we fail to root our lives in the Word of the Gospel…

                                           LORD HAVE MERCY…

                            Lord, for the many times we do not listen to Your Word in the Bible,
                           for the ways we leave it an unopened book, a treasure sadly neglected

                                           CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

                            Lord, the neglect of Your Word makes us less a People of Faith;
                           it weakens our witness to Your Presence and Your Kingdom:
                            so for the ways our lives do not shine with the Light of Your Word

                                           LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:     O Lord, stir up our hearts to prepare the way of Your Son,
                      the Word made Flesh, so that through His Coming on earth
                      we may serve you with lives filled with the Light of His Word,
                     for He Who will come again lives for ever and ever…
                                              AMEN!

As our children gather here we echo the Prophetic words of Isaiah

 (‘Prepare the Way of the Lord…’)

           

First Sunday of Advent YB

PRIEST:  My dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
In the midst of our war torn world and of the immense crisis of Global Warming, we have come to the Holy and Joyful Season of Advent, these four weeks of preparation…learning to watch with faith for the Coming of the Lord in Glory…learning to welcome with love our brother Jesus who has already come among us…learning to yearn with hope for the final coming of His Kingdom of Peace, Justice and Love upon the earth.

Let our hearts chant the ancient prayer of our Christian forebears, ‘Come, Lord Jesus!’

[proceed to wreath]

Let us pray…

O God, Father and Mother of all Life, by your Word all things are made holy. Send forth your Blessing upon our Advent Wreath, and upon our parish family: may we use this sign of Your growing Light to prepare our hearts and minds to build Your Kingdom among us, to heal our Earth and bring Peace built upon Justice, so that we may hasten that day when the Lord Jesus will come in His Glory … In the Name of the Father, + the Son, and the Holy Spirit…AMEN!

READER:     The purple candles and ribbon call us to repentance,
                           making our hearts wide open and ready for His Coming:
Lord, grant us the grace of conversion to your Gospel this Advent…

                                         LORD HAVE MERCY…

The circle of evergreen reminds us that God is ever faithful to us,
in His love and mercy that never ends:
Lord, forgive us all our unfaithfulness to your call to love…

                                         CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

The red berries remind us that Jesus came among us to die on a Cross,
                              and that we drink the Cup of His Redeeming Blood:
Lord, by Your wounds we are healed,
and by Your death we are freed from the death of sin…

                                         LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:     O Lord, stir up Your might and come!
                       Be our protector and liberator;
                       rescue us from the dangers that threaten us
                       because of our sins,
                      and lead us to our salvation, for ever and ever…

                                           AMEN!

TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY YEAR A

PRIEST:    We are gathered today for the Eucharist during the Synod Assembly in Rome…to share this glimpse of the great banquet of God’s love with our sisters and brothers who are marginalised, suffering and poor. We and they have been invited and called, simply because God loves us so much. The Holy Spirit is challenging us to be an all inclusive Church that rejects no-one. How do we to God’s invitation to the banquet? Do we come joyfully and with expectancy?  Or do we come grudgingly and with little desire to receive?   Do we allow the Eucharist really to change our lives? And who else do we invite to share the Banquet not only of Faith but also of Justice?

READER:       For the times we ignore the invitations of God,
                            the promptings of His Spirit deep within us;
                            for the ways we silence the voice of God’s call…

                                            LORD HAVE MERCY…

                            For the ways we avoid the challenge of the Word of God
                            to change,  to grow,  to serve and to proclaim…

                                            CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

                           For our sins  and those of the Church that stop so many
coming to God’s banquet of the Eucharist
                           and sharing in the mission of the Church…

                                            LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:           May the Father who calls us
                             welcome us to his banquet of forgiveness;
                            May the Redeemer,  Jesus,  
break the bread of mercy for us;
                           May the Reconciling Spirit breath peace and new hope into our hearts
                          and bring us to everlasting life…

                                              AMEN!

Twenty-Fifth Sunday of Year A

PRIEST: Today we hear the Lord’s call to each one of us to work in His vineyard … the world. He challenges us to build up His Kingdom upon the earth.  Even if we respond only at the eleventh hour, He rewards us with a most generous love that fulfils the yearnings of our heart and completes our joy.  Those going at the eleventh hour as we hear in today’s Gospel, represent those who are normally excluded and marginalised, but whom God calls and wants to be co-workers in the mission of the Church. Will we leave behind our sense of earlier rejection and recognise God’s urgent calling and answer with the gift of ourselves with renewed confidence?  Surely it is our deepest joy to share our faith and to proclaim His Gospel to our own people, our own city. Are we faithful to His calling,  do we work for His Kingdom everyday?

READER:        For narrowness of heart and meanness of the spirit
that does not welcome others who might be different from ourselves,
                             that is not willing to share the work of Christ with one another

                                              LORD HAVE MERCY…

For not answering God’s call to share the Good News,
for allowing past rejections to stop us responding to God’s urgent call
for our lack of enthusiasm in working in God’s Vineyard

                                              CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

When our ways are not God’s ways, our thoughts are not God’s thoughts;
when we fail to challenge our society to change according to the Gospel

                                              LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:         May the God who calls us forgive us every failure to serve,
                         send us once more into His Vineyard,
                         heal us by His mercy of the wounds of past rejection
                         and bring us and all Creation to everlasting life

                                                   AMEN!