SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER – ‘LOW’ SUNDAY

PRIEST:  On this Octave Day of easter we hear in the Gospel a story of doubt that becomes magnificent faith;  a story of wounds that breath peace and healing;  a story of frightened empty men who become courageous in the Holy Spirit;  a story of a community witnessing the Risen Christ.  It is the story not only of the apostles, but also of each one of us;  not only the early Church,  but the Church of every age and land – the story of our own parish.  Let us welcome the Risen Jesus among us to transform us and our community – that we might be life-givers.

READER:             We give thanks for God’s mercy, flowing from the Father’s love
for He has brought us from doubt to deeper faith

                                                       LORD HAVE MERCY…

                                   We give thanks for God’s mercy, made flesh in Jesus the Crucified
for his wounds are our peace

                                                       CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

                                 We give thanks for God’s mercy, breathed into us by the Holy Spirit
for he has filled our emptiness
                                and sent us as bearers of reconciling love

                                                       LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:           May God our creator give us the peace of his forgiveness;
                            may the Risen Jesus heal our wounds and transform our weak love;
                           may the Spirit breathe new courage and deeper faith,
                           reconciling us to everlasting life…

                                                      AMEN!

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, 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 to everlasting life…

                                                  AMEN!

FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR A – ‘LAETARE’

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 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,
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 locked into Covid Pandemic is 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 nWater 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 B

PRIEST: In today’s celebration, we are appalled by Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, while thrilled with the glory transfiguring Jesus on the mountain! But we human beings carry both the evil and the glory within us. As we join the apostles on the Mountain of the Transfiguration, to behold the Glory of God, the glory that each of us carries deep within our being, we know that we are all created in God’s image and likeness. Let us cry out for mercy for a world that sacrifices its young so easily through war and poverty! Let us seek never to obscure God’s glory within us, by our sin, our lack of love, our self-centredness. May God transfigure by his mercy our poor love into a new and deeper well-spring of divine love.

READER:       For the times when God calls us as he called Abraham
and we refuse to leave our security,
                            refuse to follow him, we fail 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

                                             Christ have mercy…

For the times we have not reverenced or believed
in ourselves or each other;
                          for failing 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 love 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 compassion and mercy in our hearts,
                            and bring us to everlasting life…

                                               AMEN!

FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT – YEAR B

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,  of greed and exploitation.  Having overcome them, like Noah overcame the flood-tide of evil, Jesus shares the Good News of the New Life that is possible for all who repent and change.  That is why Lent is Good News – the time has come for us to change and become more alive!… and more life-giving! Let us make this lent truly a Springtime of new growth, new beginnings, recreation in the midst of a world devastated by Covid and Climate Change.

READER:             Jesus remains in the wilderness,
                                        to confront the demons of the world’s sin …
so often we are afraid to enter the wilderness of our hearts
                                  and confront honestly what we find within us

                                                       LORD HAVE MERCY …

Jesus welcomed the touch of God ministered by the angels

… too often our closed minds and hearts fail to welcome
the comforting and healing angels that God sends to us

                                                       CHRIST HAVE MERCY …

Jesus leaves the wilderness to proclaim Gospel repentance …
we can be afraid of change in ourselves, and even more afraid
                                  of challenging our society to change its injustice and poverty

                                                       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 all the world to everlasting life

                                                             AMEN!

SIXTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR B

PRIEST:      Today’s Gospel tells us of Jesus curing a leper: but it is not just another healing.  He breaks the sacred Law because of his compassion.  And in restoring this outcast to his family and community,  Jesus then becomes the outcast.  Compassion costs,  and healing does not often come cheap,  even if it is a free gift!  Who are the lepers and outcasts of todays’s world – and where is our compassion?  Whom do we cast out of our hearts?  Perhaps the outcast can heal our hardness…

READER:                 We cry out to God for mercy
                                      because of all the outcasts our heart makes,
                                      for every refusal to be compassionate

                                                                LORD HAVE MERCY…

We cry out to Jesus for forgiveness in the name of a society
                                       that discriminates and divides,
                                       that gives birth to racial violence
                                       and hatred towards those who do not conform

                                                                CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

We cry out to the Holy Spirit for the healing
                                       of our hardened and cynical hearts
that so often will not accept those who are different from ourselves

                                                                LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:               May the God of all love melt our hearts with his compassion;
                                 may Jesus touch our sin with reconciling mercy;
                                 may the Holy Spirit cleanse and heal us that
                                we might have a new heart for all humanity
                                and bring us and all outcasts to everlasting life

AMEN!

Fifth Sunday of the Year B – marking World Day of the Sick

PRIEST:        We gather to celebrate the World Day of the Sick. We also celebrate the Mission we all share. Indeed our Mission is to be Healing Light for the world.   In the Gospel Jesus allows himself to be besieged by the wounded and broken of the world – and like Simon’s mother-in-law raises us up from pain to be servants of others healing. He calls our parish to be God’s ‘Field Hospital’ of hope, healing and welcome. He calls all of us to protest against global inequality of health-care revealed so graphically during this Covid Pandemic. Will be bring hope and healing to the poorest of the earth? Will we, as a parish, respond to the challenges that the aftermath of this pandemic will bring?

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 have not

                     CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

For the times we have been too preoccupied with self
                                 to reach out and listen to another’s pain, to touch the wounds;
                                 slow to respect every person, fail to be bearers of Gospel Light

                    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 Light and Hope
                            and so bring all Creation to everlasting life…  

                       AMEN!

Fourth Sunday of the Year B – Holocaust Memorial Mass

PRIEST:  Today, we hear Jesus the Word begin his Ministry of Proclamation and Power in the synagogue; we celebrate Jesus’ authority – the authority of the Word made Flesh, the authority of the Word that is the Action of God. The people of his own time could recognise in their hearts the Truth he spoke – the Word of Truth that could set all free who come to him. His authority led him to confront all the powers of evil that enslaved God’s children. As today we remember the horror of the Holocaust and honour all the martyrs and victims of that evil programme of industrial-scale extermination of Jewish people and culture from Europe, let us allow Jesus to speak the Word of Truth to us this morning, set us free to challenge the powers of evil in ourselves and in our world of today…especially the evil of every form of discrimination and racism.

READER:     When we listen to too many voices for wisdom
and fail to turn to Jesus who is the Word of Truth…

                                          LORD HAVE MERCY…

When we will not confront the evil within us;
when we will not risk the freedom of Christ…

                                          CHRIST HAVE MERCY…

                          When we are too timid to confront the abuse of power
and the evil of anti-semitism, discrimination and racism
that enslaves so many in our world

                                          LORD HAVE MERCY…

PRIEST:       May the Father renew the Divine Image in us;
                          May the Son speak the Word of Forgiveness
                                    that will set us free and deliver our world from all evil;
                          May the Holy Spirit be the compassion and mercy
                                    that enlightens our heart;
                         And may our God bring all humanity and all creation to everlasting life…

                                               AMEN!

Third Sunday of the Year B – Christian Unity Sunday

PRIEST:     At the heart of this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, we listen to Christ call his disciples to follow him closely: to walk his path of unity and love, and become his light in a world darkened by oppression, injustice, conflict and divisions.  Like Jonah before Him, His word is ‘Repent…’. And Paul tells us that this is the ‘kairos’ – the appointed time and God’s call is urgent! Sadly our disunity wounds and disempowers the Church’s Mission to the world; it casts shadows upon the Light of Christ shining through us:  let us embrace the Lord’s forgiveness, that he may heal the wounds of division in His Body, the Church.

READER:        For not having the courage to leave behind
                              our familiar and comfortable traditions and divisions,
                              for being afraid to adventure with risk to a new unity

                                            LORD HAVE MERCY …

                              For being impatient with our brothers and sisters of different traditions
for not welcoming them,
and not listening to them and receiving their gifts

                                            CHRIST HAVE MERCY …

                             When we do not seek to understand forms of thought,
                             of witness to the Gospel, of spirituality and prayer  different from our own;
                             for not having the courage to blend love with the search for truth

                                            LORD HAVE MERCY …

PRIEST:      May the God of perfect unity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
                        fill us with mercy, clothe us with forgiveness,
and empower us with reconciliation,
                        that together we may heal the Church
                        and build a world of unity and peace,
bringing all to everlasting life…

                                              AMEN!