WEDNESDAY PRAYER 24th March 2021
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!
LITANY OF PRAISE:
Lord, we place all our trust in you!
SCRIPTURE READING: John 11:25-26
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.