WEDNESDAY PRAYER- 23rd June, 2021

Psalm 15

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.
I say to the Lord: ‘You are my God. My happiness lies in you alone.”
I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel,
who even at night directs my heart.
I keep the Lord ever in my sight:
since he is at my right hand, I shall stand firm.
And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;
even my body shall rest in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead,
nor let your beloved know decay.
You will show me the path of life, the fullness of joy in your presence,
at your right hand, happiness for ever.

LITANY OF PRAISE:

Preserve me God, I take refuge in you!

SCRIPTURE READING:  Ephesians 4:11-16
Some, God has appointed to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, or pastors or teachers. They are to order the lives of the faithful, minister to their needs, build up the frame of God’s body, until we all realise our common unity through faith in the Son of God . . . On him all the body depends; it is organised and unified by each contact with the source which supplies it; and thus, each limb receiving the active power it needs, it achieves its natural growth, building itself up through charity.  The word of the Lord.

REFLECTION:  (Michel Quoist)
This evening at the stadium the night was stirring, peopled with ten thousand shadows. And when the floodlights had painted green the velvet of the great field, the night intoned a chorale, filled by ten thousand voices.
The master of ceremonies had given the signal to begin the service. The impressive liturgy moved forward smoothly. The ball flew from celebrant to celebrant, as if everything had been minutely planned in advance. It passed from foot to foot, slipped along the field, and flew away overhead. Each was at his post, taking the ball in turn, passing it to the next one who was there to receive and pass again. And because each one did his part in the right place, because he put forth the effort required, because he knew he needed all the others, slowly but surely the ball gained ground and made the final goal!
In this world, Lord, we each have our place. You, the far-sighted coach, have planned it for us. You need us here, our brothers need us, and we need everyone.
It isn’t the position I hold that is important, Lord, but the reality and strength of my presence. What difference whether I am forward or back, as long as I am fully what I should be?
Here, Lord, is my day before me . . . Did I sit too much on the sidelines, criticising the play of others, my hands in my pockets? Did I play my part well?  And when you were watching our side, did you see me there? Did I co-operate with my team without seeking the limelight? Did I play the game to obtain the victory, so that each one should have a part in it? Did I battle to the end in spite of set-backs, blows and bruises? Was I troubled by the demonstrations of the crowd and of the team, discouraged by their lack of understanding and their criticisms, made proud by their applause?
Did I think of praying my part, remembering that in the eyes of God this human game is the most religious of ceremonies?
I come in now to rest in the dressing-room, Lord.
Tomorrow, if you kick off, I’ll play a new position. And so each day . . .
Grant that this game, played with all my brothers, may be the imposing liturgy that you expect of us, so that when your last whistle interrupts our lives, we shall be chosen for the championship of heaven!

INTERCESSIONS:  Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer

CLOSING PRAYER:  Glory be to the Father . . .

WEDNESDAY PRAYER

Feast of St.Anthony – 13th June 9th June, 2021 

Psalm 88
I will sing forever of your love, O Lord; through all ages my mouth will proclaim your truth.
Of this I am sure, that your love lasts for ever,

that your truth is firmly established as the heavens.

The Heavens proclaim your wonders, O Lord;

the assembly of your holy ones proclaims your truth.

For who in the skies can compare with the Lord

or who is like the Lord among the sons of God?

Justice and right are the pillars of your throne,

love and truth walk in your presence.

Happy the people who acclaim such a king,

who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face,

who find their joy every day in your name,

who make your justice the source of their bliss.

LITANY OF PRAISE:

Blessed be the Lord for ever.

SCRIPTURE READINGIsaiah 61:1-3

The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken; to proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to those in prison; to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord, a day of vengeance for our God, to comfort all those who mourn and to give them for ashes, a garland; for mourning robe, the oil of gladness, for despondency, praise.

The word of the Lord.

REFLECTION:   a) (St.Anthony of Padua)

A person who is filled with the Holy Spirit speaks several languages. These several languages are the various ways of witnessing to Christ, such as humility, poverty, obedience and patience, with which we speak when we practise them towards our neighbour. Language comes alive when it speaks by deeds. Enough of talking; let actions speak.

b) (Leonard Foley OFM)

The Gospel call to leave everything and follow Christ was the rule of Anthony’s life. Over and over again, God called him to something new in his plan. Every time Anthony responded with renewed zeal and self-sacrificing to serve his Lord Jesus more completely.

                His journey as the servant of God began as a very young man when he decided to join the Augustinians, giving up a future of wealth and power to be a servant of God. Later, when the bodies of the first Franciscan martyrs went through the town, he was again filled with an intense longing to be one of those closest  to Jesus himself: those who die for the Good News.

                So Anthony entered the Franciscan Order and set out to preach to the Moors, but an illness prevented him from achieving his goal and he returned to Italy. The call of God came again at an ordination where no one was prepared to speak. The humble and obedient Anthony hesitatingly accepted the task. Anthony’s sermon was astounding to those who expected an unprepared speech and knew not the Spirit’s power to give people words.

                Anthony should be the patron of those who find their lives completely uprooted and set in a new and unexpected direction. Like all saints, he is a perfect example of turning one’s life completely over to Christ. God did with Anthony as God pleased – and what God pleased was a life of spiritual power and brilliance that still attracts admiration today.

He who popular devotion has nominated as finder of lost objects, found himself by losing himself totally to the providence of God.

INTERCESSIONS:   Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer

CLOSING PRAYER:  (St.Anthony of Padua)

A fish is not hurt by the constant pounding of the sea,

nor is faith destroyed by life’s adversities.

Lord Jesus Christ, may we sing the song of your praise, rejoice only in you, live modestly, abandon our worries, and tell you all our needs,

so that in the refuge of your peace,

we can live in the heavenly Jerusalem, with your help,

who are blessed and glorious for eternal ages. Amen.

WEDNESDAY PRAYER- 2nd June, 2021

PSALM OF PRAISE:  Psalm 116
Alleluia! O praise the Lord, all you nations,
Acclaim him all you peoples!

Strong is his love for us;

He is faithful for ever.

LITANY OF PRAISE:
Our response to our prayers of praise and thanks is:
We praise you, we bless you, we thank you!
SCRIPTURE READING: John 13:1-5
Before the festival of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father, having loved those who were his in the world, loved them to the end.
They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, and he got up from the table, removed his outer garments and, taking a towel, wrapped it around his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. . . .

The Gospel of the Lord

REFLECTION:  (Richard Leonard S.J.)

John, in his Gospel, writes that Jesus gathers his disciples at the Passover, but records nothing of the action of Jesus at the meal but focuses on what happened after it was over. John is the only Gospel to tell us how Jesus got up from the table and washed the feet of his disciples.

                While that washing of a guest’s feet was a custom in Jesus’s day, a Jewish host certainly never did it. Indeed, not even Jewish servants usually performed this act. If possible, it was the task of the least in the house, one for the Gentile, or non-Jewish servant. The household code tells us that it was not done regularly, but only on those occasions where guests who had completed a long trip were received into the home at journey’s end.

                By doing this act, Jesus announces the end of the road for weary travellers. For him and his disciples, the journey they had embarked upon years before was about to take a final turn. Indeed, it was to be a definitive rite of passage. And in doing so, Jesus also demonstrated what he had preached – that anyone who wants to be first must be the last of all and servant of all. In this ritual action, he walks the talk and does the job of the most-lowly slave in the house.

                Because dusty, weatherworn feet were objectionable in Jesus’s day, I like to think his action at the Last Supper also reveals that, as Christ welcomes us to his table, he also says there is not a part of any of us that is untouchable or shameful, that nothing is beyond God’s loving touch – not one part – and that our God, revealed in Jesus, “gets down and dirty” so that, following his lead, we can rise up to claim our dignity as his disciples and commit ourselves again to acts of loving service that sets other people free. “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet”.

                By celebrating the Eucharist, we pray that Christ will continue to “Easter in us” and that there is no service too small, no act of kindness too insignificant, and no moment of love inconsequential in our service of all God’s people. We look for opportunities to take up the commission to serve all those who feel spent with the brokenness of their lives. And when we do this, we discover it has an extraordinary effect on us. With our brothers and sisters whom we serve, we can recognise the face of the rising Son and praise God together on our knees.

INTERCESSIONS:

Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer

CLOSING PRAYER:

Let us break bread together on our knees.

Let us break bread together on our knees.

When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising Son,

O Lord, have mercy on me.

WEDNESDAY PRAYER-26th May, 2021

Psalm 145/146
Alleluia!  My soul give praise to the Lord;
I will praise the Lord all my days, make music to my God while I live.
Put no trust in the powerful, mere mortals in whom there is no help.
Take their breath, they return to clay
and their plans for that day come to nothing.
They are happy who are helped by Jacob’s God,
Whose hope is in the Lord their God,
Who alone made heaven and earth, the seas and all they contain.
It is the Lord who keeps faith for ever,
who is just to those who are oppressed.
It is God who gives bread to the hungry, the Lord, who sets prisoners free,
the Lord who gives sight to the blind,
who raises up those who are bowed down,
the Lord who protects the stranger and upholds the widow and orphan.
It is the Lord who loves the just but thwarts the path of the wicked.
The Lord will reign for ever, Zion’s God, from age to age.  Alleluia !

LITANY OF PRAISE:
Lord, our hope lies all in you!
READING: Vatican II – Constitution on the Church (para 4)

                When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was completed, the holy Spirit was sent on the Day of Pentecost to sanctify the church continually and so that believers might have access to the Father through Christ in the one Spirit.  This is the Spirit of life, the fountain of water springing up to eternal life, through whom the Father gives life to human beings dead in sin, until the day when, in Christ, he raises to life their mortal bodies.  The Spirit dwells in the church and in the hearts of the faithful, as in a temple, prays, and bears witness in them that they are his adopted children.  He guides the church in the way of all truth and, uniting it in fellowship and ministry, bestows upon it different hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs it and adorns it with his fruits.  By the power of the Gospel, he rejuvenates the church, constantly renewing it and leading it to perfect union with its spouse.  For the Spirit and the Bride both say to Jesus, the Lord, Come !  Hence the universal church is seen to be “a people made one by the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”.

REFLECTION:  (James O’Halloran SDB)

                We are asked in the church to be a community as the Trinity is a community.  This raises intriguing questions as to what kind of community the Trinity is and how we make it present in the church.  Just to choose a few challenging facts:  the Trinity is a community where there is:  a) intimate loving and sharing   b) full participation of the three members  c) absolute equality of persons  d) outreach to the other.
How do we replicate this in the Church?
Now we are created in God’s image.  In Genesis 1;26-27 we read how God created human beings ‘in our own image, after our own likeness . . . male and female . . . ‘ The statement that we were created male and female is significant. We are not meant to live in isolation.  From the beginning God’s will was that we be a community of brothers and sisters without divisions:  there can be differences that enrich, yes, divisions, no.  The message of scripture is clear: no barriers. This theme is taken up by St.Paul who declares: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for all are one in Christ Jesus.
So why must we be community?  Quite simply because God is community, and we are created in God’s image.  It is true that God is within me and I reflect an aspect of God to the world that no one else can, and it is also true that I am uniquely a cell of the body of Christ.  Nevertheless would it not be accurate to say that we are more fully like God and Jesus when we live in harmony?

INTERCESSIONSLord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer

CLOSING PRAYER:
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mould me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.

WEDNESDAY PRAYER

WEDNESDAY PRAYER 5th May, 2021

The Magnificat

My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.

He looks on his servant in her lowliness;

henceforth all ages will call me blessed.

The Almighty works marvels for me. Holy his name !

His mercy is from age to age, on those who fear him.

He puts forth his arm in strength and scatters the proud-hearted.

He casts the mighty from their thrones and raises the lowly.

He fills the starving with good things, sends the rich away empty.

He protects Israel, his servant, remembering his mercy,

the mercy promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his sons for ever.

LITANY OF PRAISE:

Holy is your name, O Lord!

SCRIPTURE READING:  Matthew 12:46-50

Jesus was speaking to the crowds when suddenly his mother and his brothers were standing outside and were anxious to have a word with him. But to the man who told him this, Jesus replied, ‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’ And stretching out his hand towards his disciples he said: ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’  The Gospel of the Lord.

REFLECTION:  (Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa OFM.Cap.)

                The title, “Mother of God” tells us about Mary. She is the only one in the world who could say to Jesus what his heavenly Father said to him: “You are my son; I have begotten you!” St.Ignatius of Antioch, in all simplicity and almost unaware of the tremendous dignity he was giving a human creature, said that Jesus is “of God and of Mary.” The title, “Mother of God” is sufficient in itself to establish the greatness of Mary and to justify the honour attributed to her. Catholics are sometimes reproached for exaggerating the honour and importance they attach to Mary, and, we must admit, the reproach has often been justified, at least for the way she has been honoured. But we never think of what God did. By making her the Mother of God, he so honoured her that no one could possibly honour her more even if he possessed, as Luther said, as many tongues as there are blades of grass: “In the title Mother of God, all honour is included; no one could say anything greater of her, or to her, even if he had as many tongues as there are blades of grass or stars in the sky or grains of sand in the sea. We must let our hearts reflect on what it means to be the Mother of God.”

                The title “Mother of God” places Mary in a unique relationship with each person of the Trinity. St.Francis of Assisi expressed this in a prayer: Holy Virgin Mary, among all the women of the world there is none like you. You are the daughter and handmaid of the most high King and Father of heaven; you are the mother of our most holy Lord, Jesus Christ; you are the spouse of the Holy Spirit. Pray for us to your most holy and beloved Son, our Lord and Master.

                Let us now see how to apply the title “Mother of God” to each one of us. Let us see how we can really become mothers of Christ. Jesus himself told us how to become his mother. It happens in two ways: by hearing the Word and by practicing it. We conceive Christ when we love him in all sincerity of heart and uprightness of conscience and we give him birth when we do works that show him to the world. This echoes the words of Jesus: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father, who is in heaven.”

                Let these words of St.Augustine spur us on to imitate the Mother of God: “His Mother carried him in her womb; may we carry him in our hearts; the Virgin became pregnant with the Incarnation of Christ, may our hearts become pregnant with faith in Christ; she brought forth the Saviour, may our souls being forth salvation and praise. May our souls be not sterile, but fertile for God.”

INTERCESSIONS:  Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer

CLOSING PRAYER:

The first decade of the Joyful Mysteries – the Annunciation.