WEDNESDAY PRAYER 24th March 2021 

Psalm 83
How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, God of hosts.
My soul is longing and yearning, is yearning for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my soul ring out their joy to God, the living God.
The sparrow herself finds a home and the swallow a nest for her brood;
She lays her young by your altars, Lord of hosts, my king and my God.
They are happy who dwell in your house, forever singing your praise.
They are happy whose strength is in you,
in whose hearts are the roads to Zion.
As they go through the Bitter Valley, they make it a place of springs.
They walk with ever growing strength,
they will see the God of gods in Zion.
O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer, give ear, O God of Jacob.
Turn your eyes, O God, our shield, look on the face of your anointed.
One day within your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.
The threshold of the house of God I prefer to the dwellings of the wicked.
For the Lord God is a rampart, a shield; he will give us his favour and glory.
The Lord will not refuse any good to those who walk without blame.
Lord God of hosts, happy the one who trusts in you!
Lord, we place all our trust in you!

Jesus said:  I am the resurrection. Anyone who believes in me, even though that person dies, will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this ?

The gospel of the Lord.
REFLECTION:  (Henri Nouwen)
Human beings are forever wanting to see signs: marvellous, extraordinary, sensational events that can distract them a little from hard reality. We would like to see something marvellous, something exceptional, something that interrupts the ordinary life of every day. That way, if only for a moment, we can play hide-and-seek. But to those who say to Jesus: ‘Master, we should like to see a sign from you,’ he replies: ‘It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign! The only sign it will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah remained in the belly of the sea monster for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights’.

               From this one can see what the authentic sign is: not some sensational miracle but the suffering, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The great sign, which can be understood only by those who are willing to follow Jesus, is the sign of Jonah, who also wanted to run away from reality but was summoned back by God to fulfil his arduous task to the end. To look suffering and death straight in the face and to go through them oneself in the hope of a new God-given life: that is the sign of Jesus and of every human being who wishes to lead a spiritual life in imitation of him. It is the sign of the cross: the sign of suffering and death, but also of the hope for total renewal.

                The core message of Jesus is that real joy and peace can never be reached while bypassing suffering and death, but only by going right through them. We could say: We really have no choice. Indeed, who escapes suffering and death? Yet there is still a choice. We can deny the reality of life, or we can face it.  Jesus lived his life with the trust that God’s love is stronger than death and that death, therefore, does not have the last word. He invites us to face the painful reality of our existence with the same trust. This is what Lent is all about.

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


You have the words of eternal life, Lord. You are the food and drink, you are the Way, the Truth and the Life. You are the light that shines in the darkness, the lamp on the lampstand, the house on the hilltop. You are the perfect Icon of God. In and through you, I can see the Heavenly Father, and with you, I can find my way to him.  Be my Lord, my Saviour, my Redeemer, my Guide, my Consoler, my Comforter, my Hope, my Joy and my Peace. To you I want to give all that I am. Let me give you all – all I have, do and feel. It is yours, O Lord. Please accept it and make it fully your own.  Amen.


Psalm 144
I will give you glory, O God my King, I will bless your name for ever.
I will bless you day after day and praise your name for ever.
The Lord is great, highly to be praised, his greatness cannot be measured.
Age to age shall proclaim your great works,
shall declare your mighty deeds, shall speak of your splendour and glory, tell the tale of your wonderful works.
They will speak of your terrible deeds, recount your greatness and might. They will recall your abundant goodness; age to age shall ring out your justice.
The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love. How good is the Lord to all, compassionate to all his creatures.
All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord, and your friends shall repeat their blessing.
They shall speak of the glory of your reign and declare your might, O God.
The response to our prayers of praise and thanks is:
Glory to you, O God my King!
You pore over the scriptures, believing that in them you can find eternal life; it is these scriptures that testify to me, and yet you refuse to come to me to receive life! Human glory means nothing to me. Besides, I know you too well: you have no love of God in you. I have come in the name of my Father and you refuse to accept me; if someone else should come in his own name you would accept him. How can you believe, since you look to each other for glory and are not concerned with the glory that comes from the one God?  The Gospel of the Lord
REFLECTION: (Henri Nouwen)
I have gradually become aware how central this word – glory – is in John’s Gospel. There is God’s glory, the right glory that leads to life. And there is human glory, the vain glory that leads to death. All through his Gospel John shows how we are tempted to prefer vain glory over the glory that comes from God. Human glory is always connected with some form of competition. Human glory is the result of being considered better, faster, more beautiful, more powerful or more successful than others. Glory conferred by people is glory which results from being favourably compared to other people. The better our scores on the scoreboard of life, the more glory we receive. This glory comes with upward mobility. The higher we climb the ladder of success, the more glory we collect. But this same glory also creates our darkness. Human glory, based on competition, leads to rivalry; rivalry carries within it the beginning of violence; and violence is the way to death. Thus, human glory proves to be vain glory, false glory, mortal glory.
How then do we come to see and receive God’s glory?  In his Gospel, John shows that God chose to reveal his glory to us in his humiliation. That is the good, but also disturbing, news. God, in his infinite wisdom, chose to reveal his divinity to us not through competition, but through compassion, that is, through suffering with us. God chose the way of downward mobility. Every time Jesus speaks about being glorified and giving glory, he always refers to his humiliation and death. It is through the way of the cross that Jesus gives glory to God, receives glory from God, and makes God’s glory known to us. The glory of the resurrection can never be separated from the glory of the cross. The risen Lord always shows us his wounds.


Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer

CLOSING PRAYER:  (Henri Nouwen)

Lord, how often have I lived through these weeks of Lent without paying much attention to penance, fasting and prayer? How can I really celebrate Easter without observing Lent? How can I rejoice fully in your resurrection when I have avoided participating in your death?  Yes, Lord, I have to die – with you, through you, and in you – and thus become ready to recognise you when you appear to me in your resurrection. I see clearly how little I have died with you, really gone your way and been faithful to it. O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen.


Psalm 41
Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.
My soul is thirsting for God, the God of my life; when can I enter and see the face of God?
My tears have become my bread, by night, by day, as I hear it said all the day long: “Where is your God?”
These things will I remember as I pour out my soul;
how I would lead the rejoicing crowd into the house of God,
amid cries of gladness and thanksgiving, the throng wild with joy.
Why are you cast down, my soul, why groan within me?
Hope in God, I will praise him still, my Saviour and my God.

The response to our prayers of praise and thanksgiving is:
Praise to You, my Saviour and my God!
SCRIPTURE READING:  1 Peter 2:9-10
You are a chosen race, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, a people to be a personal possession to sing the praises of God who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were a non-people and now you are the People of God; once you were outside his pity; now you have received pity.
The word of the Lord.
In times of crisis and tribulation, when we are shaken out of our sclerotic habits, the love of God comes out to purify us, to remind us that we are a people. Once we were not a people; but now we are God’s people. The closeness of God calls us together. “Thou hast made me known to friends whom I knew not,” says the poet Rabindranath Tagore. “Thou hast brought the distance near and made a brother of the stranger”. This time for action asks us to recover our sense of belonging, the knowledge that we are part of a people.
What does it mean to be “a people”?  This category draws on and expresses many sources: histories, linguistic, cultural (especially in music and dance), but above all, a collective wisdom and memory. A people is held together by that memory, treasured in history, custom, rites (religious or not), and other bonds that transcend the purely transactional and rational.
At the beginning of the story of every people is a quest for dignity and freedom, a history of solidarity and struggle. For the people of Israel, it was the exodus from their slavery in Egypt. For the Romans, it was the foundation of a city. For the nations of the American continent, it was the struggle for independence.
Just as a people comes to an awareness of its shared dignity in times of struggle, in war and hardship, so, too, a people can forget  that awareness. I people can become oblivious to its own history, In times of peace and prosperity, there is always the risk that the people might dissolve into a mere mass, with no unifying principle to bind them.
When this happens, the centre lives at the expense of the margins, people divide into competing tribes, and the exploited and disrespected might burn with resentment at the injustice. Rather than thinking of ourselves as members of a people, we have competition for dominance . . . and so the people no longer see the natural world as their inheritance to be nurtured; the powerful seize and extract all they can from it, while putting nothing back.  Indifference, egotism, a culture of complacent well-being, and deep divisions within society, spilling out into violence – all these are signs that a people has lost awareness of its dignity. It has ceased to believe in itself.
Every now and then, however, great calamities awaken the memory of that original liberation and unity, Times of tribulation offer the possibility that what oppresses the people – both internally and externally – can be overthrown, and a new age of freedom begin.

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

CLOSING PRAYER:  Glory be to the Father . . .