TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY YC

PRIEST      On this Home Mission Sunday we have the joy of celebrating the forgiving heart of God. The great parable of the Prodigal Son is given only in Luke’s Gospel – the Evangelist of Mercy.  But this parable carries insight into the very heart of God, a heart constantly open to forgive us no matter what, a heart ever on the watch for our homecoming, ever straining and yearning to see our return. This Gospel inspires us to be a community of God’s heart, always seeking out the lost and bringing them home to their Father and our Father! Let us then open our hearts not only to receive His mercy, but also to offer this great mercy and forgiveness to those who have hurt us. 

READER         When we do not trust the constant forgiveness of God,
When we doubt His unconditional acceptance of us

                                                     LORD HAVE MERCY

                              When we will not forgive others who have us hurt,
When we will not fling wide open the gates of God’s Mercy
When we are not Ambassadors of Reconciliation

                                                     CHRIST HAVE MERCY

When despite the forgiveness God freely gives us
we will not forgive ourselves
When we cling onto guilt and refuse to be healed 

                                                     LORD HAVE MERCY

PRIEST        May the God who is Prodigal in His Mercy forgive us
                         May Jesus, the Elder Brother, carry us home to our Father;
                         May the Holy Spirit grant us the Joy of being reconciled
                                              And bring all the world to everlasting life

                                                    AMEN!

Patronal Mass of Rededication 2019

Mass for the Patronal Feast of St Nicholas of Tolentino concluding our 170th Anniversary Year

ENTRANCE LITURGY

PROCESSIONAL SONG African

ENTRANCE HYMN No 458

AT THE BAPTISMAL FONT – Renewal of Baptismal Promises

PRIEST: As we conclude our celebration of 170 years of mission and witness, we recommit ourselves to God’s future for our parish of community and mission. Baptism is the foundation of our Life in Christ. Signed by the Cross of Christ and immersed in the Sacred Waters, we die to ourselves and rise with Christ, to live for Him, for each other and for our world; from the Fount of Living Water we drink deeply of the Holy Spirit, and cry out ‘Abba! our Father!’. From every tribe and nation, race and people we are gathered into the one Family of all God’s Children.

READER: Will you now renew your commitment as the People of the Water:
Do you renounce all evil in the world and in your own hearts?
Do you commit yourselves to living the holiness of the Beatitudes?

PEOPLE: We do renounce all evil, seeking to live the Holiness and Love of Christ.

READER:     Will you love God your Father with all your heart and strength?
Will you accept afresh the New Life won for you
                         by the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, brother to all Humanity?
Will you open afresh your life to the Power and Gifts of the Spirit
that we might continue the Mission of the Church here long into the future?
Will you live faithfully as a member of God’s Holy Church,
                         building together a Universal Communion of love for all the nations?

PEOPLE: Signed by the Cross of Christ, we will live our Baptism in love for the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the heart of the Church. 

PRIEST: Divine Trinity, bless anew the water of this Font
and renew the Grace of Baptism in each member of this Parish.
Empower us for our mission: to build our community in love and service
and so witness to the love of Christ in the heart of the Inner City,
In the Name of the Father, + the Son and the Holy Spirit…

PEOPLE: AMEN!

All are sprinkled with Baptismal Water as a sign that we seek to live our Baptism anew.

MEANWHILE ALL SING No 407

GLORIA                                        African Gloria

OPENING PRAYER 

LITURGY OF THE WORD

AT THE LECTERN – Rededication to the Word                 African Song of Acclamation

The Books of the Word are brought to the Lectern, ‘the Table of the Word’. Our priest and Readers go to the Lectern to welcome the Books of the Holy Scriptures, and all rededicate ourselves to the Word Who is Life for us, Bread for our Journey.

PRIEST:      Our God is the One who speaks – a Word that creates, redeems and heals.
God speaks with such intensity that the Word was made Flesh in Jesus.
                       This Living Word is to be proclaimed in new ways
                       by this parish for years to come.
Let us always open our hearts to the Word Who is Life,
                       that the flesh of our lives will also carry the Word to the World.

READER: Will you rededicate yourselves to being the People of the Word?
Will you allow the Word to gather you as one community?
Will you welcome the Word when it challenges you to change?
Will you, like Mary, ponder the Word in your heart and make it your treasure
and like St Nicholas build your lives upon the Rock of God’s Word?

PEOPLE: WE REDEDICATE OURSELVES TO BEING BOTH LISTENERS AND DOERS OF THE WORD, PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL WITH OUR LIVES SO THAT THE WORD WILL BE MADE FLESH IN US.

FIRST READING Jeremiah c1: vv 4-10

RESPONSORIAL PSALM                               No 892

SECOND READING                                    Romans c8: vv 14-25

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION  African 

GOSPEL Luke c4: vv 16-21

HOMILY

RENEWAL OF COVENANT WITH THE POOR

PRIEST:   As in the past, so into the future God entrusts to our parish the care
of the poor of the city. The Holy Spirit calls and empowers us to rededicate ourselves as a community to that same caring for the poor and marginalised, excluded and rejected. Challenged to work for a True Jubilee of Justice and Peace for our world by remaining true of our Covenant with the Poor, and inspired by God’s great Lover of the Poor, St Nicholas, we accept again the challenge of our Jubilee 2000 Covenant:
to hold in prayer the poor and conflict-torn of the world;
to recognise the causes of poverty, war and racial conflict and so campaign;
to find renewed energy for inspired action to bring about peace and justice;
to welcome the stranger among us and struggle with them for freedom. 

Do you reaffirm this Covenant with the Poor?

People: WE REAFFIRM OUR PARISH COVENANT WITH THE POOR:
WE WILL CONTINUE TO REACH OUT IN COMPASSION TO THE POOR OF OUR STREETS AND CITY, WELCOMING & LISTENING TO THE STRANGER;
WE REDEDICATE OURSELVES AND OUR PARISH TO THE STRUGGLE
FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY FOR ALL THE PEOPLES OF THE EARTH.

INTERCESSIONS    AFTER EACH INTERCESSION, ALL SAY

RENEW YOUR PEOPLE  IN LOVE…

LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST

OFFERTORY      No 473, then the Consecration of our Icon of St Nicholas and the Blessing       of the St Nicholas Bread (during Incensing) chant ‘Laudate Omnes Gentes’

EUCHARISTIC ACCLAMATION
                              Sanctus:                           No 559
                              Consecration:    No 560                                   

PEACE    No 922

COMMUNION                                      No 245 (‘Ubi Caritas’) African Song, No 882

AT THE TABLE OF THE EUCHARIST Rededication as the Community of the Bread and the Cup

After sharing the Eucharist together, the Clergy stand once more at the Altar Table and lead us in an Act of Rededication as the People of the Eucharist.

PRIEST:   At the centre of every Catholic church stands the Table of the Lord.
May generations to come gather around this Eucharistic Table
to share the Breaking of the Bread, and to drink deeply
                    of His transforming love in the One Cup.
The Eucharist is the Sacrifice of Christ that has broken down the barriers
dividing us from each other; it is the centre of our lives,
                    the love that gathers us from every race, culture and language
                    into a Universal Community, a People of joyous diversity, the People of God;
the power which nourishes us and sends us in mission to our world.
As in the past, so into the future God entrusts to our parish the care

READER: Will you commit yourselves afresh to being the People of the Eucharist, working in the years and decades that lie ahead of us as a parish
for the unity of the One Bread and One Cup  among yourselves and with Christians of every tradition?
Will you commit yourselves afresh to being the People of the Eucharist, to break bread of justice, share the cup of suffering with the poor, welcome the stranger and the outcast to our Tableand bring healing to our divided society?

PEOPLE: WITH GRATEFUL HEARTS WE WILL BECOME THE LIVING
                       EUCHARIST IN THE HEART OF THE WORLD, SERVING UNITY.

READER: Will you commit yourselves afresh to being the People of the Eucharist,
                     by hungering for Christ’s presence and thirsting for Christ’s love …
                     by expressing that love by humble service of the poor and broken
of your world? 

PEOPLE: WITH GRATEFUL HEARTS WE WILL DEEPEN OUR LOVE FOR CHRIST,
WHO WASHED OUR FEET AT THE FIRST EUCHARIST AND TOLD US TO DO LIKEWISE.

LITURGY OF BLESSING AND MISSION

THE BLESSING AND MISSION 

Commissioning and Sending our Community for another year of Service and Witness to the Lord

RECESSIONAL   No 854

On Being Prophets

With the Twentieth Sunday of the Year we celebrate Jesus the Prophet who knows the cost of witnessing to the truth – so often rejection and persecution. He challenges his disciples (that is, us!) to make difficult choices that many, including those close to us, will not understand. He calls us to have the courage to stand for justice, equality, inclusion of all no matter what opposition or vilification we might experience. The fire He brings to the Earth is the purifying fire of God’s love poured out in the Holy Spirit – a Spirit that renews the face of the earth. Dare we share the Spirit’s work? If we are true to Jesus and the Gospel, if we resolutely stand by the poor and rejected, if we uphold the right of the LGBT+ community to be true to themselves and their identity – then we too must expect to pay the price of discipleship, the cost of being true to our baptism, when we were anointed as Priests of creation, Builders of the Kingdom and Prophets of God’s all-inclusive and universal love. Often that ‘persecution’ will come from those close to us in the family that is the Church!

For the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady

FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION OF OUR LADY Resurrection Glory – His or ours?

Jesus famously said of His Father and also of his disciples: ‘Everything I have is yours and everything you have is Mine!’ He also said ‘I have come to bring you Life in all its fullness’.
The Assumption of Our Lady is the fulfilment of these words. His Resurrection, however wonderful, would be a meaningless miracle had it not been also our resurrection, our coming to the fulness of Life. The Assumption is Mary, our sister, our fellow disciple as well as our mother, the great ‘type’ or exemplar of the what it is to be Church, shining with the glory of the Resurrection we all will share. Like so much about Mary, it is not that she is uniquely privileged but rather that God shows us through her all that we are called to become. Her Assumption is the pledge of Christ’s promise to ‘Raise you up’ to Eternal (ie fullness of) Life. His Victory over death is truly ours because it is hers!

Reflection for the Feast of Transfiguration

FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION IS ALSO HIROSHIMA DAY! Tuesday marks one of the great Feasts of the Lord – His Transfiguration on the mountain of glory – when Jesus’ humanity shone with glory of God and the Father’s voice spoke of Abba’s great love for His Son, Jesus, and the cloud of divine glory (the Holy Spirit) overwhelmed the three apostles. The Glory of God is humanity fully alive: this is what we behold on the mountain, and His Glory is also ours, embedded within our humanity. The Spirit overshadows us so that we too might be ‘fully alive’ and life-giving. It is one of the most tragic ironies that Hiroshima was destroyed by the first Atomic Bomb on this day – destruction and death on a Day of Life! Two days later an all Catholic Air Crew dropped the second Atom bomb, destroying the city and people of Nagasaki, the most Christian and Catholic city of the Orient. Centuries before it was the site of many Catholic Martyrs, crucified for their Faith – in 1946 hundreds of thousands were crucified in nuclear holocaust! Lord that we might transfigure your world with a divine peace and humanity and never again unleash to dark cloud of nuclear destruction of sisters and brothers, of our environment and future generations.

Reflection upon Readings of the Vigil Mass of Pentecost

PENITENTIAL READING: Genesis 11: 1-9

The early chapters of the Book of Genesis speak both of the beauty and goodness of creation and how our sin disfigures that creation. They also trace how sin begins with the small act of self-will by Adam and Eve but grows to a level of destructiveness that engulfs all in the Flood. The story of Babel and its tower, which follows the end of the Flood, shows well how humanity has not learnt, and our continued self-will and rebelliousness leads even to the divine gift of language becoming a source of division rather than unity. On Pentecost Day, the nations are reunited in the Market Place by the Universal Tongue of faith … the Holy Spirit heals Babel’s babble of division into a new unity.

FIRST VIGIL READING: Exodus 19: 3-8. 16-20

Our God is the God of Covenant Love. From Noah and Abraham to Moses and Joshua,  God is binding the Divine Presence and Plan to the story of a People journeying in Faith. At Sinai the Covenant is witnessed in cloud, fire and storm. But this Covenant reaches its most intense expression as the the apostles, disciples and Mary experience the fullest outpouring of Love in the form of the Mighty Wind of Divine Energy and God’s Love being burned into the hearts and melting them into Unity in Pentecost’s Upper Room.  

SECOND VIGIL READING: Isaiah 61: 1-3, 6, 8-9

Jesus was to quote this wonderful Prophecy of Isaiah when he describes his own ministry in the Synagogue of Nazareth. It expresses not only his work in the world – raising up the poor, enlightening rich and poor alike when we are blind to each other plight, serving freedom and human rights everywhere – but also the work of every Christian, and every Christian community anointed by the Spirit. The Spirit seeks to renew and heal the face of the wounded earth and all its peoples – to bring about the endless Jubilee of justice, mercy and joy, the ‘Year of Favour’.

THIRD VIGIL READING: Ezechiel 37: 1-14

The first name for the Spirit in the Bible is the ‘Ruah’, or breath or wind of God. The Upper Room of Pentecost morning was filled with the same mighty wind as that described by Ezechiel in this prophetic vision. The Wind of the Spirit breathes New Life, brings us fully alive in Christ, and enables us to be an ‘army for the Lord’ – an army of peace and healing and life-giving. Let us allow the Spirit to blow through our lives and our community.

FOURTH VIGIL READING: Joel 3: 1-5

Peter quotes from this passage when trying to explain the extraordinary event of God that is Pentecost’s outpouring of life and joy. Even the excluded ones – the slaves, the women – now receive the boundless generosity of God, as all are welcomed to share the dream of God, the Vision of the Kingdom – a world renewed in the Holy Spirit. As we dream and share the vision, so we are empowered to work in the power of the Spirit to make a new world … a world of true Jubilee!

EPISTLE READING: Romans 8: 22-27

The Gift of Tongues is one expression of the groaning of the Spirit deep within us … and deep within creation itself, as Paul tells us. Creation’s freedom and our own are bound together in the Spirit who comes to us in our weakness to be the flame of salvation and hope. In the Spirit we yearn for a freedom that is total.

NEW FEAST DAYS TO CELEBRATE

The Church has instituted two new Feasts for the Universal Church – 

[1] the Feast of Jesus Christ the High Priest, expressing that Jesus is the the Eternal Priest who offers the sacrifice of himself. This is a feast of the Priesthood of all Believers, the profound priesthood that we all share by Baptism and confirmation. It does NOT celebrate ordained priesthood. Ordained ministry serves the Priesthood of every Christian – so this Feast of Christ the Priest challenges us all to offer the sacrifice of our own lives in service of our sisters and brothers, in the service of the whole world and all creation. We are priests of Creation – giving voice to creations praise of God as the psalms so often express.

[2] the Feast of Mary, the Mother of the Church celebrates that Mary, filled with the Spirit at the Annunciation and once again at Pentecost is the model for all discipleship. God teaches us through her how to be authentic Church, how to give flesh to the Word in our present world, how to lay our lives open to the overshadowing Spirit of God, how to risk everything (as she did) for the love of God and the salvation of our world. She is out mother, our sister, the first and greatest of the disciples – may she guide us to ‘treasure the Word in our hearts’, utter our ‘Yes’ to God’s call in our lives, give Christ to our waiting world, throw wide open our lives to empowering Holy Spirit and how to walk lovingly and gently alongside our sisters and brothers in the Church and indeed all humanity.

Climate Change action – a Christian imperative!

CALL TO ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE    The  greatest threat to humanity in the 21st Century is Global Warming and Climate Change. It is a Christian ethical imperative to act now in our generation for the sake of future generations. The teenager Greta Thunberg said: 

“It is still not too late to act. It will take a far-reaching vision, it will take courage, it will take fierce, fierce determination to act now, to lay the foundations where we may not know all the details about how to shape the ceiling. In other words, it will take cathedral thinking. I ask you to please wake up and make change possible.”

David Attenborough said “ We need to fall in love again with the earth”

Pope Francis said “ God of Love, show us our place in this world as channels of your love for all the creatures of this earth” and “teach us to care for our common home.”

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

JUNE, THE MONTH OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS    A Heart broken for love of all humanity, pierced through with the lance of unconditional love and compassion. A Heart brimming over with a Universal love, an endless Mercy withheld from absolutely no-one. Behold the Man who loves us beyond the breaking of His Heart! The Divine Humanity of God, vulnerable to us, weeping for us, on fire for us. O Sacred Heart of Jesus make our hearts like unto Thine! May our Hearts be on fire for love of the world You so love!

Waiting in the Upper Room – the Great Novena

NOVENA TO THE HOLY SPIRIT This is the first and greatest Novena of Prayer in the Church’s tradition, opening ourselves and the Church to the mighty wind of the Spirit – the energy for Mission; opening to the Living Water of the Spirit welling up to Life in all its fulness; opening to the Flam and Fire of God’s Spirit that transforms us into flames of Divine Love in the heart of the world. Without the Spirit of God in us we can do nothing for God, without the Spirit of God we have no real life, without the Spirit of God we have no vision for our mission, no energy to serve the Gospel and the Kingdom. COME HOLY SPIRIT!