- RESOURCE: At Home with the Word 2018, LTP, pages 96-99..
- RESOURCE: Scripture Backgrounds For The Sunday Lectionary, LTP, pages 38-39.
- RESOURCE: Living Liturgy™ Spirituality, Celebration, and Catechesis for Sundays and Solemnities 2018, Liturgical Press, Online Pages 68-71.
- RESOURCE: The Word On The Street, Sunday Lectionary Reflections, litpress.org, pages 27-28.
- RESOURCE: Sacred Reading,The 2018 Guide to Daily Prayer, Apostleship of Prayer, pages 88.
- RESOURCE: Lectio Divina, Magnificat, February 18, 2018
- RESOURCE: Magnificat Reflections, February 2018, pages 262, 267-272.
- RESOURCE: Give Us This Day Reflections, Daily Prayer for Today’s Catholic, February, 2018, page 258-259; 262-263;
- RESOURCE: Homily For First Sunday Of Lent, Father James Hogan.
- RESOURCE: Holy Father’s Intention For The Month Of February 2018 —The Apostleship of Prayer
- RESOURCE: KNOM Radio Mission’s Monthly Bulletin’s, One-Liners in Faith For February 2018
- RESOURCE: Suggested Prayer of the Faithful: Faith Catholic Online; Daily Prayer 2018; OCP; Magnificat; Liturgical Press.
- RESOURCE: General Intercessions On First Sunday of Lent, February 18, 2018 – Cycle B – Saint Peter Parish, Kirkwood
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AT HOME WITH THE WORD® 2018
February 25, 2018 SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT
READING I Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am!” he replied. Then God said: “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.”
When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the LORD’S messenger called to him from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham!” “Here I am!” he answered. “Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the messenger. “Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.” As Abraham looked about, he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So he went and took the ram and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.
Again the LORD’S messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said: “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing all this because you obeyed my command.”
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19 (9)
R: I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
I believed, even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted.” Precious in the eyes of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones. R. 0 LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your handmaid; you have loosed my bonds. To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. R. My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, 0 Jerusalem. R.
READING II Romans 8:31b-34
Brothers and sisters: If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?
Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who acquits us, who will condemn? Christ Jesus it is who died — or, rather, was raised—who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.
GOSPEL Mark 9:2-10
Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.
As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.
Practice of Hope
In response to his experience of God’s glory at the Transfiguration, Peter wants to build tents to house Jesus, Elijah, and Moses. We, too, can be awestruck when God reveals to us his great and magnificent love, but God never allows us to stay on the mountaintop. Rather, he asks us to descend with him and, in hope, get to work building his kingdom. s Have you had a mountaintop” experience of God? Write down what occurred and how you felt. What do you think God was trying to communicate to you through this experience? s During Lent, invite your family to brainstorm a way to tangibly make life better for someone in your neighborhood or parish community. s Ignatian Volunteer Corp (IVC) provides the opportunity for mature men and women to work for justice and serve the needs of the poor in their community while being supported in deepening their faith. To find out about IVC and its locations, visit http://www.ivcusa.org/.
Download more questions and activities for families, Christian initiation groups, and other adult groups at http://www.ltp.org/tproductsupplements.aspx.
On first view, today’s First Reading and Gospel appear to have little in common: Abraham nearly sacrifices his son and Jesus is transfigured before two of his disciples. When we dig deeper, however, we discover in both readings a profound message about God’s mercy and faithfulness in times of trouble.
The First Reading comes from a story that our Jewish friends call the Akedah, the binding of Isaac. It is referred to in the prayers of Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the Jewish calendar year. On this day Jews all over the world pray that God will overlook human sinfulness and remember the compassion that he had for Abraham in sparing his son, because Abraham was willing to fully obey God. Ultimately, the story reminds us of our need to depend fully and without question on the tender mercies of God.
In addition to some superficial similarities between the sacrifice of Isaac and the Transfiguration (both are set on a mountain, and in both a voice from the heavens speaks) they both teach about God’s restorative love and mercy. To recognize this in the Transfiguration story we need to remember that in Mark’s Gospel the Transfiguration episode comes directly after Jesus tells his disciples that he must be killed before he returns in the Father’s glory. The transfigured Jesus on the mountain prefigures this return, evidence of God’s faithfulness to Jesus and to anyone who is fully obedient to God’s will.
The Second Reading reinforces the teaching of the other two readings: Paul speaks with wonderment about the greatness of God’s love for us—so great that he would sacrifice his own son for our salvation.
- Rereading the First Reading and the Gospel, find as many similarities and divergences as you can between the two stories.
- Reflect on the Second Reading as a commentary on the rewards of suffering as a disciple of Jesus. What message do you draw from it?
- What phrases or images in today’s Responsorial Psalm might help you cultivate greater trust in God’s love for you?
At Home with the Word® 2018, LTP, pages 96-99.
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SCRIPTURE BACKGROUNDS FOR THE SUNDAY LECTIONARY
SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT The Beloved of the Lord
GENESIS 22:1-2, 9A, 10-13, 15-18 The sacrifice of Isaac focuses more on Abraham’s obedience to God’s desire than it does on the sacrifice itself. God had promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. All hope of the promise’s fulfillment rested on Isaac, who embodied all that Abraham loved and all that would ensure his posterity. Isaac was not just any son. He was Abraham’s only son, the one “whom you love.” Without Isaac, Abraham’s own meaning and identity would cease. This makes God’s demand a true test of faith.
Abraham immediately demonstrates his readiness by responding, “Here I am!” As Abraham is about to sacrifice his only son, the Lord’s messenger intervenes. Abraham is praised for being willing to sacrifice “[his] own beloved son” simply because the Lord so desired. Because of his willingness and obedience to God’s word, Abraham is blessed abundantly with many descendants, and becomes the means by which “all the nations of the earth shall find blessing.” This Sunday we focus on God’s willingness to offer his only beloved Son for the salvation of all humanity. Just like Abraham’s love of God, God’s love for all creation was the motivating factor that enabled the ultimate sacrifice of his Son.
PSALM 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19 (116:9) Trust in the face of great suffering and pain is the central message of this psalm. The antiphon portrays God as a God of the living. Trust in God, no matter how difficult and challenging, always has life-giving consequences. Walking before the Lord brings assurance that we will always walk “in the land of the living” (9). The psalm verses emphasize how “Precious in the eyes of the Lord / is the death of his faithful ones” (15). God works at loosening the bonds of death from “your servant, the son of your handmaid” (16). This bountiful love moves the psalmist to praise the Lord, to offer sacrifices, and to “pay” his vows in the sight of all. With Abraham, Isaac, and Jesus, our desire should always be to trust the Lord no matter how difficult, knowing this to be the path that leads to life.
ROMANS 8:31B-34 Paul’s argument and rhetorical questions stress God’s bountiful love for humanity. Rhetorically, Paul states that if “God is for us” (31), there is nothing we need fear. Whatever God does is ultimately for our benefit. The ultimate proof of God’s love is Jesus, the offering of the “beloved Son” (Mark 9:7) “for us all” (Romans 8:32). If God was willing to gift us with the beloved, is there nothing that God would not give us? In arguments typical of his day, Paul highlights God’s bountiful love for all.
Paul goes even further by emphasizing that neither God nor Jesus would ever bring a charge or condemn “God’s chosen ones” (33). God acquits us through Jesus who died, was raised, and sits at the right hand of God interceding on our behalf. What further proof do we need of God’s bountiful love, of our God being for us?
MARK 9:2-10 Every Second Sunday of Lent the Church proclaims the Transfiguration of Jesus. This year’s account from Mark presents a select group of disciples witnessing the transfigured Jesus conversing with two towering Old Testament figures, Moses and Elijah.
The symbolic elements that the evangelist Mark incorporates into the narrative convey truths about Jesus’ identity and mission. In Jewish tradition, a person’s transformation was connected with messianic end times. Moses and Elijah are Jewish precursors to messianic times. Having these two converse with Jesus is Mark’s way of saying that both Moses and Elijah acknowledge Jesus as Messiah. The voice from the cloud, symbolic of God, proclaims Jesus as “my beloved Son,” thus linking Jesus with Isaac in the First Reading. God directs all of us to “listen to him” (7).
The disciples are fearful and confused about Jesus’ identity and mission. Mark’s Transfiguration account clearly identifies Jesus as God’s beloved, the Messiah, who would die but would be raised up. Mark uses the Transfiguration as God’s way of offering hope to Jesus’ followers as they experienced opposition and Jesus’ eventual Death. They still needed to learn how to discern God’s direction and purpose in their lives, even in the face of death. They had to learn that life, and not death, is God’s desire for all his beloved sons and daughters.
CONNECTIONS TO CHURCH TEACHING AND TRADITION
+ When God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Abraham does not cease to trust in God’s goodness. Thus, Abraham prefigures God the Father, who will sacrifice his Son for all (see CCC, 2572).
+ “Jesus wants evangelizers who proclaim the good news not only with words, but above all by a life transfigured by God’s presence” (EG, 259).
+ “The substantial conversion of bread and wine into his body and blood introduces within creation the principle of a radical change, a sort of ‘nuclear fission,’ to use an image familiar to us today, which penetrates to the heart of all beings, a change meant to set off a process which transforms reality, a process leading ultimately to the transfiguration of the entire world, to the point where God will be all in all (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:28)” (SacCar, 11).
Scripture Backgrounds For The Sunday Lectionary, LTP, pages 38-39.
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LIVING LITURGY™ SPIRITUALITY, CELEBRATION, AND CATECHESIS FOR SUNDAYS AND SOLEMNITIES 2018
SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT, February 25, 2018
Reflecting on the Gospel
Mountains have always been a place for human beings to seek the transcendent. Mountains were considered the realm of the gods from antiquity. We recall the ancient Greeks and Mount Olympus, the home of Zeus. In the Old Testament we know of Mount Sinai and Moses’ encounter with God there. In today’s gospel we hear of another encounter with the divine on a mountain, the place of the transcendent. This encounter takes place not in front of the crowds, the disciples, or even the Twelve. This encounter is special; it is unique. For this special event, Jesus takes Peter and the sons of Zebedee.
The language of this encounter is steeped in symbolism, beginning with the mountain itself, but including the white garments, the cloud, the voice from heaven, and the figures alongside Jesus. The garments Jesus wears are turned “dazzling white, / such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.” Modern ears may wonder about the word “fuller,” which is not commonly used today. The word comes from Latin, via Old English, and refers to one who cleans cloth, especially wool. In any case, Jesus’ garments were made really white. The symbolism should be clear. He is pure.
Moses and Elijah, appearing alongside Jesus, represent the Law and the Prophets. Jesus fulfills both; his ministry is in continuity with Moses and Elijah. He is not doing anything contrary to either.
Rather than rest in the moment, and simply take in the wonderment of it all, Peter breaks into the scene with an idea to make three tents, which would be places of worship, commemorating this event. His response is so often typical of our own. He wants to preserve the occasion, mark it in some way. But no sooner had he voiced this proposal than God himself, the voice from heaven, speaks in a way reminiscent of Jesus’ baptism. At Jesus’ baptism the voice from heaven was heard by Jesus alone: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11, NABRE). Now the three disciples, not present at Jesus’ baptism, hear the voice too. And with that, the episode ends. The three disciples are left alone with Jesus to come down from the mountain, struggling to understand what this experience and Jesus’ own admonition meant.
When considering the symbolism associated with this mountaintop experience, we can relate it to our own lives when we have an experience of the transcendent.
Living the Paschal Mystery
Mountaintop experiences are rare, and we cannot stay there, as much as we would like. The Scriptures give us a glimpse into that reality. Without warning Jesus was transfigured. The encounter with the divine often happens that way, without warning. And it seems that as soon as we have the encounter, it is over, and we are left to descend the mountain. We can share Peter’s desire to commemorate the event. It seems natural to erect a monument or some marker so that we may return to this place of encounter again and again. But that is not to be. The three are left wondering what the experience means, and what Jesus’ saying about rising from the dead might mean. Of course, this experience and Jesus’ saying will become clear in hindsight, after the crucifixion and exaltation.
And this is a model for us of how the paschal mystery is lived. We have peak experiences followed by moments of wonder and discernment. The Christian life is not one grand, never-ending peak experience. In fact, such experiences may be rare, even as they were for the disciples. And the Christian life is not all wonder and discernment, as meaning develops gradually and in light of unfolding events. We stay faithful to Jesus and accompany him in the peak experiences, and also in the struggle to discern meaning.
Focusing the Gospel Mark 9:2-10
Today’s gospel is Mark’s account of the transfiguration of Jesus (read each year in the Roman rite on the Second Sunday of Lent). In the vision witnessed by Peter, James, and John on the mountain, Jesus fulfills both the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah).This story is a watershed moment in Jesus’ relationship with his disciples. In this extraordinary vision, Peter, James, and John perceive the divinity that exists within Jesus, a divinity that is affirmed by the voice heard in the cloud. Though overwhelmed by fear, the three disciples realize that they have entered a new chapter in their journey with Jesus.
Throughout Israel’s history, God revealed his presence to Israel in the form of a cloud (for example, the column of cloud that led the Israelites in the desert during the exodus [Exod 15]). On the mountain of the transfiguration, God again speaks in the form of a cloud, claiming the transfigured Jesus as his own Son.
As they make their way down the mountain, Jesus urges the three not to tell anything of what they had just seen. Whatever they would say would only confirm the popular misconceptions and false expectations of an all-powerful Messiah who comes to avenge Israel’s humiliation and restore Judaism’s political fortunes. The mission of Jesus the Messiah is to proclaim the kingdom of God through the cross and resurrection, concepts Peter and the others still do not grasp.
Focusing the First Reading Gen 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Today’s first reading is a preview of the Easter Vigil: the story of Abraham and Isaac is the second of the Old Testament readings assigned for the night watch of Jesus’ resurrection. For Christians, the story beautifully parallels the sacrifice of Christ on the altar of the cross. While God’s demand of Abraham seems cruel, it is important to understand that human sacrifice was common in the desert religions of Abraham’s time, and even into the times of the kings. The distraught Abraham is doing what was expected of him by his time and culture. Abraham’s faith and trust in this one God became the basis of a new relationship between humankind and our Creator: a relationship built not only on faith, but also on compassion, justice, and freedom.
Focusing the Responsorial Psalm Ps 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19 (116:9)
One can hear the relieved Abraham offering today’s responsorial psalm. Even in the midst of his anguish and suffering, at a time when his faith was tested to the limit, the psalmist continues to trust in the Lord (as the devastated Abraham did). The psalmist recommits himself to the service of the God who has saved him and will fulfill his “vow”: his public offering of thanksgiving for the saving work of God in his life.
Focusing the Second Reading Rom 8:31b-34
In his letter to the Romans, his great treatise on baptism, the embattled Paul offers a hymn celebrating the great love of God “who did not spare his own Son / but handed him over for us all.” With Christ as our intercessor at God’s right hand, Paul preaches, who on earth do we need to fear or cower before?
Model Penitential Act
Presider: Confident of God’s constant mercy, let us begin our prayer by calling to mind
our sins. [pause] Confiteor: I confess . . .
On the mount of the transfiguration, Peter, James, and John realize for the first time the divinity possessed by Jesus. That same spirit, that same “divinity,” shines within and through them and us, as well. The Spirit of God dwells within us, enabling us to realize our own potential for generosity, compassion, and gratitude—and, in the light of Christ’s transfiguration, to recognize that same goodness in others.
- In Mark’s story of the transfiguration, Peter does not know what to say or how to react to the incredible scene he has witnessed. All he can offer is the weak suggestion of setting up three booths or shrines to commemorate the event (similar to the custom of building such structures as part of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles or Booths). But the transfigured Christ asks more of us than memorials of wood and stone, brick and mortar: He seeks to be a living presence that illuminates human hearts and transforms human history. He asks those who follow him to mirror that presence in their own lives of “transfiguring” despair into hope, sadness into joy, anguish into healing, estrangement into community.
- The transfiguration is a vision that holds glorious promise—but a vision that will only be realized at a heavy price. Accepting the God of blessing and joy is one thing, but when God asks us to give readily and humbly and sacrificially to others, to forgive others without limit or condition, we hesitate and begin to back away. The weeks ahead call usto descend the mountain with the “transfigured” Jesus and to take up our crosses—be they physical, emotional, economic, or intellectual—and realize the sacred goodness and value within each one of us to bring the glory of Easter into our lives and the lives ofthose we love.
Penitential lifestyle: Have you ever had to make a very difficult decision, and you finally made your choice and gathered up all the courage you had to go through with your decision? Then at the very last minute someone tells you to do something different and causes you to doubt your decision! Wouldn’t you be a bit annoyed? Wouldn’t you just want to go ahead with your choice and be done with it?
I imagine that’s a bit of what Abraham went through in today’s reading. It’s obvious that Abraham displayed great faith by unquestioningly following God’s irrational command to slaughter his son. However, the nineteenth-century philosopher and theologian Søren Kierkegaard points out that Abraham’s true obedience was shown in that last moment when God called out to him to stop. At that moment, Abraham obeyed just as unreservedly and immediately as he had done at the first command. Without questioning why God had made him go through all the anxiety of preparing for such a terrible act, without wondering why, when he had almost fulfilled God’s will, he was commanded to do just the opposite. Without hesitation, Abraham obeyed quickly and willingly. Kierkegaard says that Abraham was able to do this only through an intimate relationship with God.
Lent is a time when we can strengthen our intimate relationship with God through acts of penance so that we can have this kind of unreserved faith. However, just as a relationship cannot grow unless we tend to it daily, we must commit to a penitential lifestyle that we nourish with more intense disciplines in this penitential season. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1435–37, gives us practices we can do daily to live this penitential lifestyle: “gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right, by the admission of faults to one’s brethren, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one’s cross each day” (1435). We also turn more readily to God when we celebrate the Eucharist, read Scripture, pray the Liturgy of the Hours and the Lord’s Prayer, do spiritual exercises and pilgrimages, and make sacrifices.
Penitential rite: Part II of the RCIA provides an optional rite for those already baptized who are preparing to be received or to celebrate confirmation and Eucharist. Although this rite is parenthetically called “scrutiny,” it is different than what is celebrated with the unbaptized elect on the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent. RCIA 463 cautions that those scrutinies for the elect should not be combined with this penitential rite for the baptized. A better recommendation is to omit this optional rite for the baptized and instead encourage them to participate in the parish’s regularly scheduled penitential liturgies and reconciliation services.
About Liturgical Music
Music suggestions: Today’s readings give us many options for songs that correspond directly to the Scripture texts of the day. One traditional hymn text is “ ’Tis Good, Lord, to Be Here” by Robinson and Bird, which you might consider using as a song of praise after Communion or as a song for sending forth. Brian Wren’s text set by Ricky Manalo, CSP, in “Transfiguration” (OCP) gives the assembly a way to place themselves with the disciples on that holy mountain. Grayson Warren Brown’s strong hymn “If God Is for Us” (OCP) sets today’s second reading to a powerful gospel melody that may work well as a gathering or song during the preparation of gifts.
Living Liturgy, Spirituality, Celebration, and Catechesis for Sundays and Solemnities 2018, LTP, pages 68-71.
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THE WORD ON THE STREET
HEARING GOD SPEAK Second Sunday of Lent
Readings: Gen 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18; Ps 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19; Rom 8:31b-34; Mark 9:2-10.
“This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” (Mark 9:7)
The first thing Abraham had to do was listen to God, but Abraham also had to be willing to hear God, no matter the word spoken. And the word Abraham first heard from God, the command to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, remains even now at some level inconceivable and incomprehensible. Why would God ask Abraham to kill the child in whom the divine promises of Israel were embedded?
Yes, we know from the text of Genesis that it was a test. Abraham heard the voice of God and an outrageous request, yet the patriarch trusted God. This was a test for Abraham, not God, for God knew Abraham would obey, but Abraham’s willingness to listen would reveal the true nature of God.
The voice of God that Abraham heard was true both times. If Abraham had not heeded the voice of God initially, would he have realized that God had truly spoken a second time, when he told Abraham not to sacrifice his son Isaac? What if Abraham had listened to the first voice alone and rejected God’s directive to spare Isaac? Not only would Isaac have died, but the true nature of God would not have been revealed. There is no question that the mystery and unknowability of God are wrapped up in the narrative, but this challenging narrative demonstrates Abraham’s willingness always to be attentive and obedient to God’s will.
We do not know how fearful Isaac was or if he understood what was taking place. Ancient and medieval Jewish commentators like Philo, Josephus, and Rashi proposed that he might have been seven or twenty-five or even thirty-seven years old when the Akedah took place—but when Isaac calls out “Father!” and asks where the lamb is for the burnt offering, Abraham remains faithful, saying, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.”
Abraham’s faithfulness rained down God’s blessings on him, for God said to Abraham, “Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you.” Yet Abraham’s obedient listening had an impact far beyond his own family and people, for he was also promised that “by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.”
Jesus, too, always heard the voice of God the Father and remained obedient to it. For Jesus, the threat of sacrifice went beyond Isaac’s questioning to the reality of Calvary, yet Jesus trusted that God, “who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us,” will always, as Paul says, be “for us.”
Still, when Jesus in the Gospel of Mark told his apostles that he must suffer and die, Peter rejected Jesus’ word outright, even though Jesus’ narrative of suffering concluded with the resurrection. Peter and the other apostles rejected God’s way of suffering and sought the glory that they knew was the essence of God. And it was. For “six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.” These chosen apostles stood in the midst of glory, terrified, and heard, like Abraham, the voice of God: “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”
But the God who showed them a vision of heavenly glory and spoke to them out of the glory was the same God who spoke to them when Jesus said that he would suffer and die. When you listen to God, you do not get to pick just the “good stuff,” the words that appeal to you: God asks that you listen always.
But trials, tests, and suffering are not the end of the story. Paul asks us in Romans, “What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?” The end of the story is God’s glory, but it requires hearing God’s voice in the midst of trials, suffering, pain, and loss, even when it seems to be God’s voice commanding the suffering. Be patient and listen again, for the voice of God desires only our blessing.
Ponder the times you have listened for God’s voice. When have you heard it? Where do you hear it most clearly? In Scripture, among your friends, in church? What do you hear God saying to you?
The Word On The Street, Sunday Lectionary Reflections, Liturgical Press, pages 27- 28.
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SACRED READING, THE 2018 GUIDE TO DAILY PRAYER
Sunday, February 25, 2018 Second Sunday of Lent
Know that God is present and ready to converse. “Father of Light, speak to me today by your Word.”
Read the gospel: Mark 9:2—1o.
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean.
Notice what you think and feel as you read the gospel.
Three of his disciples are present on the mountain when Jesus is transfigured. Even his clothes turn bright white. Elijah and Moses appear and talk with Jesus. Peter doesn’t know what to do, and God himself provides Peter with the answer: “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him.” Jesus tells them to keep this incident secret until after his has risen, and the disciples are left to wonder what that means.
Pray as you are led for yourself and others.
“Lord, I am sure that I am just as clueless as you move and work around me. Open my ears to listen to you and open my eyes to your glory. Help me to pray for those you have given me . . .” (Continue in your own words.)
Listen to Jesus.
I love you as my Father loves me, and the Father’s love is my glory. Make a dwelling for me in your heart, beloved; abide in this tremendous love and enfold others as you go. What else is Jesus saying to you?
Ask God to show you how to live today.
“School me in love, Lord—I am listening. Let me receive it, and let me give it—the pure love of God. Amen.”
Sacred Reading, The 2018 Guide to Daily Prayer, Apostleship of Prayer, pages 95-96.
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LECTIO DIVINA — A PRAYERFUL READING OF SACRED SCRIPTURE
The Gospel for the Second Sunday of Lent – Mark 9:2-10
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A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH Bishop Robert Barron
Second Sunday of Lent
A tendency on massive display in our culture is the reduction of religion to ethics. Very much in the spirit of Immanuel Kant, many people today feel that everything else in religion—art, liturgy, prayer, mysticism, the sacraments, etc.—finally centers around and leads back to morality. How often we hear some version of the following: “Well, as long as you’re a good person, what does it really matter what you believe or how you worship God?”
Mind you, I don’t mean to speak, even for a moment, against upright behavior, but if you had asked one of the Church Fathers or medieval masters what Christianity is finally all about, they would definitely not have said ethics. They probably would have said theiosis (if they spoke Greek) or deificatio (if they spoke Latin). Both terms mean “deification,” or becoming conformed to the divine nature. An adage constantly on the lips of the Fathers was Deus fit homo ut homo fieret Deus (God became man that man might become God).
One thinks of this theme quite readily when one meditates upon the Transfiguration of the Lord. The word used in the Greek of the New Testament to describe what happened to Jesus on Mount Tabor is metamorphose (going beyond the form). For that brief shining moment on the mountain, God revealed the transfigured humanity that will mark the denizens of heaven: beautiful, elevated, dazzling, outside the confines of space and time. Saint Thomas Aquinas said that the Transfiguration is meant to give all followers of Christ, making their way through the difficulty of this life, a burst of hope. Deification is what awaits us! Magnificat, February 25, 2018, page 362.
Second Sunday of Lent
“He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all will give us everything else along with him.” Somehow Abraham intuited this divine mercy in responding to God’s command to slaughter his son Isaac. Only this assurance could compel Abraham to such extremes of obedience. Similarly, in the Transfiguration God reveals to Peter, James, and John a glory they could never otherwise imagine. It will require the slaughtering of the Son. “Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful.” Our faithfulness to Christ’s Passion guarantees the handing over of unfathomable life. Magnificat, February 25, 2018, page 367.
Jesus the Beautiful One
I believe that what you desire will be given to me by him who promised he would not delude the wish of whoever desires what is good.
My right hand is not able to describe in figures the One who represents all form. Take away everything from before you, that he who is hidden within everything might be found alone in your vision. Blessed is the one from before whose view earth…has been taken away, and in the Father of his soul for its duality there will be a journey in simplicity….
0 mystery, wonder makes marvelers of those who walk in the light of the Lord in a clear and beautiful place! Where has everything gone from before me so that only the Lord of all is visible? Where I am I do not know, because my heart is ravished by the beauty of the Beautiful One.
Blessed is the one who embraces you and even when asleep inhales your sweet fragrance. Blessed is the one who sits and watches your splendors united to him like the sun’s rays to its sphere. Blessed is the one who sees his food changed into your likeness, who tastes it with his palate and it is changed into the delight of your sweetness. Blessed is the one who sees you mingled with his drink and he drinks and his heart exults in your favor. Blessed is the one who enters within himself and sees you in a wonderful vision and he marvels at the beauty of your wondrous mysteries which spring up from within him.
JOHN OF DALYATHA — John of Dalyatha († 780) was a monk from a monastery near the Turkey-Iraq border. Magnificat, February 25, 2018, page 372.
HOW THE CHURCH HAS CHANGED THE WORLD
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GIVE US THIS DAY REFLECTIONS
Taking the Risk
“Here I am:” Abraham’s answer to God is both prophetic and painful. He is ready to trust, not in the promises made Sunday through Isaac, but in the Promise Maker himself, believing, as we all must when an incomprehensible disaster occurs—
especially when we lose those who seem so necessary to our present and our future—that God has other ways of keeping his promises. God takes the risk that Abraham will respond obediently; Abraham takes the risk that God will provide. Neither will fail each other.
Abraham takes up the most poignant weapons with which he is to fight his way into obedience to God: the wood with which he will make a fire for the burnt offering of his son, and the knife with which he will kill Isaac—and along with him, kill the hopes of his posterity “My father” . . . “My son” are the painful heartbeats of the climb up Mount Moriah. We like the end of the story: the sacrifice stayed, the ram substituted for Isaac. We would much prefer to have just the salvation and blessing part without the testing—but that is not God’s way, then or now.
It is well to remember that God did not want the sacrifice of Isaac or any other child (considered an abomination in Israel [cf. 2 Kgs 3:27] ), and especially his own Son. What killed Jesus is what continues to crucify today: disregard for human life and human dignity, lust for power, materialism, violence. What gives life is faith and love.
Every disciple in every age has to learn what Peter, James, and John learned on the Mountain of the Transfiguration: Following Jesus is not about comfort and security but about daring to hammer the tent pegs of our lives into the mystery of Christ, with a readiness to strike camp and move on when he calls.
VERNA HOLYHEAD, adapted from Welcoming the Word. Verna A. Holyhead, SGS († 2011), was an Australian Sister of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St. Benedict. Give Us This Day® Daily Prayer for Today’s Catholic, Liturgical Press, pages 258-259.
February 25-28 Second Week of Lent
Within the Word Dress to Impress
Lent began with sharp words against public display of the three pillars of holiness: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving (Matt 6:1-6, 16-18). Tuesday’s Gospel retrieves that melody, playing it underneath the dissonant chords represented by the practices of Jewish religious experts (Matt 23:1-12). Even these flawed teachers can help disciples learn God’s requirements, since Jesus came to perfect, not destroy, the Mosaic Law.
In Matthew 23 Jesus presents us with the challenge of resolving the clash between God’s merciful justice and human rules alleged to protect Torah practice. He warns of the dangers of dressing to impress, of taking the seats of honor in banquet halls and synagogues, and of public regard for the title “Rabbi” (teacher). Each represents an excess.
For most of us, seats of honor and public regard for titles are more easily understood than the widening of phylacteries and lengthening of tassels. Phylacteries are square leather boxes containing passages from Torah, bound around the arm by leather straps. Ordinarily they are worn only for prayer. Some phylacteries from the first century survive, as do some mantles (cloaks). Few of the mantles have tassels, though we know Jesus himself wore a cloak with tassels (Matt 9:20-21; 14:35-36). Thus Jesus cannot be against these external signs of love for God’s Torah. It is the abuse of such signs to win admiration that creates false notes which destroy the harmony of the community.
Was there some odd form of competitive tassel lengthening in the first century? Or does widening of the phylacteries refer to attaching several of the square boxes to the leather band? Archaeology has not given us any examples. As a storyteller Jesus may be setting up an absurd or comic character to make his point rather than actually describing daily life. Piety is not for show or self-promotion. Even those whose learned teaching is necessary (“those who sit on the seat of Moses”) are not immune to these human tendencies. Significantly, Jesus does not address them but his followers: “you are not to be like such people.” We may not dress like observant Jews or even have seats of honor in our places of worship, but we might still be “off key” when it comes to performing our Christian duties.
Moreover, verbal respect is certainly less a visual display than fancy dress or highly visible seating. Yet three times Jesus warns against the honorific titles accorded teachers: “rabbi” (v. 8), “father” (v. 9), and “master” (v. 10). Why make a fuss over terms of respect for teachers, something found in many cultures? Only God, “the Father in heaven,” and Jesus as “master” deserve the honor of being exalted over the brothers and sisters who are God’s children.
The final verse of Tuesday’s Gospel marks the dramatic crescendo that concludes this composition: “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted” Jesus’ own example of humility—becoming human, suffering and dying on the cross because “God so loved the world . . “—should inspire his disciples. We see such witness in saints like Teresa of Calcutta and John XXIII. We see it in Pope Francis and so many others who take to heart Jesus’ words: “the greatest . . . must be your servant.”
PHEME PERKINS — Pheme Perkins is professor of New Testament at Boston College, a widely published author, and actively engaged in parish Bible studies and adult faith formation.
Give Us This Day® Daily Prayer for Today’s Catholic, Liturgical Press, pages 262-263.
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Homily For First Sunday Of Lent, February 18, 2018
Father James J. Hogan, Missoula, Montana
Genesis 9: 8-15; 1 Peter 3: 18-22; Mark 1: 12-15 1 Lent B ‘18
Francis, the bishop of Rome, has suggested we change the current wording of the Lord’s prayer from “lead us not into temptation –” to — “do not let us fall into temptation.” His point is that God does not lead humans into temptation!! Neither does some malevolent spiritual figure named “Satan.”
Mark is the shortest of the four gospels. He agrees with Matthew and Luke that Jesus “was led by the Spirit into the desert where he spent 40-days and was tempted by Satan.” That is the simplest, bare bones info given to us by Mark. What does it mean?
Perhaps you had your DNA checked. If so, your genetic package revealed something about your primal ancestors, but nothing about your primal instincts of self-preservation and reproduction. All forms of violence: domination, oppression and exploitation are rooted in one of these instincts.
Further your DNA revealed nothing about your most human quality– your ability to love without condition. On the evolutionary ladder that is what sets us apart from earlier primal life forms. To be fully human means to sublimate and direct those instincts to nonviolent, unconditional love.
We hear “tempted by Satan” and immediately think of a malevolent figure leading Jesus, or us, to be less than fully human. To claim “the devil made me do it” is simply wrong. Like all of us, Jesus was pulled by his basic, primal instincts of self-preservation and reproduction. He had to make a choice, as we all must do. Be controlled by those basic instincts and be less then fully human. Or sublimate them and become fully human. He made his choice! Mark tells us it was not easy for Jesus, as it is not easy for us, to make that choice. “Forty-days” is a long time.
After his forty-day sojourn in the desert, Jesus returned to “Galilee proclaiming the good news.” He said, “This is the time of fulfillment.” “Repent and believe the gospel.”
This is serious business. Listen to him. The word “repent” (metanoia) means a change of mind and heart. That means be open to and embrace your own possibilities. All of us have within us the possibility of sublimating our primal instincts and becoming fully human.
“This is the time of fulfillment” for us! — Lent! The Greek word Jesus used for “the time” is “kairos.” “Kairos” means the opportune time, the right time, a time not to be missed. Lent is a great and gentle voice calling and inviting us to be open to and embrace our own possibilities.
So remember this. To be fully human means sublimating the power of those basic, primal instincts into nonviolent, unconditional love. Those who submit to those primal instincts choose to remain more like those un-evolved life forms, and less than human.
Our destiny is to become fully human and live in union with that Gracious Mystery we name God. I appreciate the suggestion offered by Francis of Rome. The love of that Gracious Mystery for us is far more than we are able to comprehend. Certainly that Gracious Mystery does not “lead us into temptation.” The same Spirit of God that led Jesus into the wilderness empowers us and will continue to do so until we make the same choice he made.
We are living in a national situation all of us helped to create. Our government and economic system are badly out of balance. We have elected incompetent people to leadership roles. Many of us, perhaps including you, are concerned our situation is only getting worse. Don’t be discouraged. The social/political/cultural moment in which we live will be an unexpected blessing if we refuse to allow our primal instincts to control us. We have the ability to sublimate the enormous power of those instinctual drives into unconditional, nonviolent love. Be positive and be confident! That Gracious Mystery we name God will never abandon us as we struggle to become more fully alive and more fully human.
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Blessing for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation
Pope Francis has decided to institute in the Catholic Church an annual “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” to be celebrated on September 1. Pope Francis explains: As Christians, we wish to contribute to resolving the ecological crisis which humanity is presently experiencing. In doing so, we must first rediscover in our own rich spiritual patrimony the deepest motivations for our concern for the care of creation. We need always to keep in mind that, for believers in Jesus Christ, the Word of God who became man for our sake, “the life of the spirit is not dissociated from the body or from nature or from worldly realities, but lived in and with them, in communion with all that surrounds us” (Laudato Si’, 216). The ecological crisis thus summons us to a profound spiritual conversion: Christians are called to “an ecological conversion whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them” (ibid., 217). For “living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience” (ibid.).
A Prayer by Pope Francis
from the Encyclical Laudato Si’
Father, we praise you with all your creatures.
They came forth from your all-powerful hand;
they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love.
Praise be to you! Son of God, Jesus, through you all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother,
you became part of this earth,
and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.
Today you are alive in every creature in your risen glory.
Praise be to you! Holy Spirit, by your light
you guide this world towards the Father’s love
and accompany creation as it groans in travail.
You also dwell in our hearts and you inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to you!
Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love,
teach us to contemplate you in the beauty of the universe,
for all things speak of you.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is.
God of love, show us our place in this world as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth, for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good,
advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
0 Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life, to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your kingdom of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you! Amen.
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HOLY FATHER’S PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR FEBRUARY 2018:
APOSTLESHIP OF PRAYER REFLECTION FOR FEBRUARY
Say “No” to Corruption
That those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist the lure of corruption.
Fr. Blazek’s Reflection
The abuse of power for personal benefit, corruption, is a problem across all human history. Bribery is often involved. One hears sadly of corrupt narcotics officers working for the mob, or of favors granted at various places of employment for a kickback, or at high levels of government for a public works contract. The Holy Father has taken a firm stand against such immoral and illegal activity, asking us to pray that those tempted to corruption may be delivered from illicit enticements.
This is also a very Ignatian intention: the founder of the Jesuits knew that riches, power and pride were all closely interrelated. The enemy of our human nature leads us to think our gifts and abilities are our own or that having some power might bring us material, social or spiritual wealth. Sadly, in this progression many of us fall prey to the sin of pride, thinking ourselves better than others, or even placing our will above the Lord’s in fashions small and large.
The struggle against corruption is a priority for Pope Francis. On a visit to the Italian city of Cesena last October he characterized corruption as the “termite of politics” and contrary to the common good. In that pastoral visitation listeners applauded his challenge to reject “even the most minimal form of corruption.”
Later that same year the Holy Father called corruption a “smog” that “pollutes” society. Pope Francis invites Catholics to be “crafty,” having a “healthy lack of trust” for those promising easy riches. Such craftiness, he enjoined, calls for careful self-examination in the face of temptation, and a healthy prayer life.
Points for Meditation
Have I been tempted by the lure of riches, be they material, financial or social? Am I in business relationships or friendships with individuals who are abusing power and influence? How might I challenge them, or extricate myself from these webs?
Ephesians 4:20-24 That is not how you learned Christ… as truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.
Prayer of the Month
Prayer for deliverance from evil of Pope Saint John Paul II:
Immaculate Heart! Help us to conquer the menace of evil, which so easily takes root in the hearts of the people of today, and whose immeasurable effects already weigh down upon our modern world and seem to block the paths towards the future! From famine and war, deliver us. From nuclear war, from incalculable self-destruction, from every kind of war, deliver us. From sins against the life of man from its very beginning, deliver us. From hatred and from the demeaning of the dignity of the children of God, deliver us.
From every kind of injustice in the life of society, both national and international, deliver us. From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us. From attempts to stifle in human hearts the very truth of God, deliver us. From the loss of awareness of good and evil, deliver us. From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us, deliver us.
Accept, 0 Mother of Christ, this cry laden with the sufferings of all individual human beings, laden with the sufferings of whole societies. Help us with the power of the Holy Spirit to conquer all sin: individual sin and the “sin of the world,” sin in all its
manifestations. Let there be revealed, once more, in the history of the world the infinite saving power of the Redemption: the power of merciful Love! May it put a stop to evil! May it transform consciences! May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of Hope!
Saint of the Month — St. Blaise Martyr, February 3rd
St. Blaise is numbered among the “14 Holy Helpers” or “Auxiliary Saints.” These holy men and women are said to be particularly helpful intercessors for particular needs, in the case of St. Blaise, healing from illnesses and infirmities of the throat.
It is a marvelous custom in the Church to receive a blessing of the throat on his memorial, imposed by the priest or deacon with two crossed candles pressed across the necks of the faithful.
St. Blaise was martyred in 316. After an interrogation and a severe scourging, he was imprisoned and ultimately beheaded.
Daily Offering Prayer
God, our Father, I offer You my day. I offer You my prayers, thoughts, words, actions, joys, and sufferings in union with the Heart of Jesus, who continues to offer Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit, who guided Jesus, be my guide and my strength today so that I may witness to Your love. With Mary, the mother of our Lord and of the Church, I pray for all Apostles of Prayer and for this month’s intentions proposed by the Holy Father. Amen.
Traditional Offering Prayer
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, and the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and of all Apostles of Prayer, and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month.
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Copyright 2018: Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network Item #500
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KNOM RADIO MISSIONS ONE-LINERS for FEBRUARY 2018,
RESOURCE: KNOM Radio Mission’s Monthly Bulletins, provided the following One-Liners in Faith For February 2018
“That those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist any lure of corruption.” — Pope Francis’ monthly prayer intention for February 2018
God expects you to be a construction worker, not part of the wrecking crew.
On this day:
Mend a quarrel. Dismiss a suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter to someone who misses you. Encourage someone. Keep a promise. Examine your demands on others. Express your gratitude. Overcome a fear. And show someone you love them.
And do it again, and again, and again…
Lord, give bread to the hungry — and hunger for You to those who have bread.
Lord, I want to make it a new year. New ideas and dreams, a new approach to You in prayer, a new way of loving my family. A new enthusiasm in my work, a new generosity reaching out to the needy, a new attitude of helping my church, or my school, or my town. Lord, not just a celebration or a party with noisemakers for me. Help me to make this a genuine new year.
The hope of this season is a passion for the seemingly impossible. Our hope is rooted in the promise of God. With God, nothing is impossible.
Life can be understood when you look back. But life must be lived forward.
May God continue to provide for you as the New Year is on the horizon. May He bless you abundantly!
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SUGGESTED INTERCESSIONS FOR SUNDAY The Second Sunday of Lent – FEBRUARY 25, 2018
(Each local community should compose its own Universal Prayer, but may find inspiration in the texts proposed here.)
FOR THE CHURCH
For our church, that, in our prayer and work together, “the earth shall find blessing” in Us,
That the Church will stand before the world without stain or blemish, holy and obedient to God’s Word,
For Christians who listen to Jesus and find nourishment in God’s word,
For all members of the Church as we continue our Lenten journey, may the Lord lead us to a deeper conversion from sin, and may we experience more deeply his mercy and compassion,
That the Holy Spirit may inspire all members of the Church to reach out with mercy and forgiveness to those who have wronged us,
For the Church, may her voice of justice for the oppressed throughout the world lead more people to the fullness of communion with her,
For Pope Francis, may he have the gift of fortitude in his efforts to help all people see the love, compassion and mercy of God,
For Church leaders, may God guide them in their ministry as together we continue to build the future of our Church,
For all members of the Church, may we continue to reach out to people throughout the world to share the Good News of the Gospel,
For those who shepherd our Church, may they be strengthened by our prayers as they continue to lead the faithful in the ways of Jesus,
For the faith to understand the role of suffering in Christian life,
For the humility to acknowledge our personal and collective sins,
For the pope, bishops, pastors, and all who exercise leadership over communities of faith,
For all who suffer at the hands of entrenched financial, commercial, and political interests,
For the Church, that she continue to work to address systemic hunger in the world,
For the raising up of gifted persons to lead the Church and society toward peace and unity,
FOR THE WORLD
For all nations and peoples, that they may work together to recreate our world in the justice and peace of God,
For governments that defend religious freedom and human rights,
For the whole world: that our days may truly become the acceptable time of grace, salvation, and peace,
For heads of state and elected leaders, may they be led by the Spirit as they work for justice and peace above personal gain and ambition,
That world leaders may heed God’s call to mercy as they work to secure lasting peace among the nations,
For those who govern, may Christ lead them to undertake their duties with fairness and truthfulness,
For elected officials, may the Spirit inspire them to work to protect the dignity and sanctity of all life from conception through natural death,
For lawyers and judges, may the Holy Spirit give them wisdom and understanding,
For our political leaders, bless them with courage to enact laws protecting the dignity of each person from conception to natural death,
For our nation’s leaders, may God grant them wisdom and fortitude in their support of programs that protect and promote life in all its stages,
For those who serve a prophetic role in Church and society,
For our country’s leaders, that they will seek to lead lives of integrity,
For those who serve in public office, that they may know their role as servants,
For civic leaders who persevere to do right,
For world leaders, that they strive to aid the homeless living in the streets throughout the world,
For our leaders, that they will model mercy,
For prophets who courageously stand alone to draw attention to corruption and evil,
FOR THE OPPRESSED / ANY NEED
For mothers and fathers who have lost a child through violence,
For those who have yet to hear the good news of the Gospel, especially those who live under oppression,
For sinners and the neglectful: that in this season of reconciliation they may return to Christ,
For those who are downhearted or are burdened with difficulties: that they may experience the transfiguring power of God,
That those who suffer for their faithful witness to the message of Christ may be strengthened by the Holy Spirit and our prayers for them,
For those who work to help the poor, may their efforts be blessed as they bring joy and dignity to those they serve,
For caregivers struggling with overwhelming responsibilities, may they obtain respite and be consoled by the knowledge that God is with them,
For the neglected and the lonely, may they come to know the uplifting presence of God through the tender care and compassion of others,
For a recovery of the importance of the Ten Commandments in secular culture,
For the victims of our sins whom we tend to ignore,
For the practice of respect, of all to all, in our society,
For an increase of charity among us as we observe this Lenten season,
For children who comb through garbage dumps for food and useful waste,
For a greater appreciation of the food we have and enjoy in the company of family and friends,
For those held back in life by poor self-esteem,
For the victims of slavery exhibited in human trafficking and forced military service of children,
For those convicted of crimes so serious that they will not know human mercy,
For teenagers who run away from home and fall into harmful activities,
For families broken apart by materialism,
For those struggling to break free from addiction to opioids, may they find hope and healing in Jesus and his Church on their path to recovery,
For those affected by the shooting in Parkland, Florida, and for all those who have experienced violence in their lives, may God give them strength in their faith and consolation in the healing support of caregivers as they recover from their physical and emotional wounds,
For the families and friends of those killed in the shooting in Parkland, Florida, may God make his presence known to them in their pain and grief, and may they be upheld through the compassionate support of others,
FOR THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
For parents and guardians in our community, that their children may discover in their
love and care for them the loving providence of God,
For members of this community who serve others, especially those who minister to new immigrants,
For married couples and those preparing for marriage, may they grow in love and fidelity and always be able to forgive each other,
For our catechumens and candidates, may their Lenten period of preparation bring them to the fullness of Easter joy,
For the members of this parish, that our words and actions today may be pleasing to the Father,
For those who are estranged from their families, may God provide healing and reconciliation with their loved ones,
For teachers, catechists, and all who seek to impart wisdom and character to others,
For husbands and wives who betray their spouse through infidelity,
FOR THE ASSEMBLY
For the grace this week to see the presence of Jesus in
all the circumstances and situations of life,
That we in this faith community may open our minds and hearts to God’s will for us,
For this faith community, may we have the grace of humility, and express a spirit of repentance and gratitude for all that God has given to us,
For each of us, that during this season of Lent we may become more rooted in prayer and come to trust the Lord more fully,
For our parish community, may we be blessed with the joyful return to the Church of our absent brothers and sisters,
That this season of Lent will be a time of deeper conversion for our parish.
For the ability to see only Jesus in the people and events of our lives,
For the grace to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent and throughout the year,
FOR THE SICK
For the sick, the suffering, and the dying, that they may know, in our care and compassion for them, the healing presence of the risen One,
For the suffering among us, may they draw strength from the compassionate love of family and neighbors,
For all who are sick in our community, may they come to know the healing mercy of Christ,
FOR THE DECEASED
For those who have died, may they be embraced by an unconditional loving God in heaven,
That our faithful departed may be at peace in the splendor of heaven,
For those who have died, may they behold the glory of God in the heavenly kingdom,
For our beloved dead, may they come to dwell in the house of the Lord,
For those who have died, may they be welcomed into God’s heavenly kingdom,
For all the faithful departed, may they praise God for all eternity with the choirs of angels,
For those who have died, may they be welcomed home into the loving arms of our Father,
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RESOURCE: INTERCESSIONS FOR NATURAL DISASTERS FOR U. S ET AL
Universal Prayers for Victims of Recent Natural Disasters
3) For those whose homes and businesses have been destroyed by floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, forest fires or other natural disasters, that, as they struggle to rebuild, they will experience the loving assistance of communities of faith, let us pray to the Lord …
4) For all rescue workers and volunteers, that they will be blessed with energy and courage as they help their brothers and sisters who have been injured or left homeless by recent natural disasters, let us pray to the Lord …
5) For all of us, that we will reach out in love to those who are suffering due to the recent earthquakes, floods and tornadoes, let us pray to the Lord …
Universal Prayers for Opioid Crisis:
1) For members of the health professions, first responders and civic leaders, may the Holy Spirit inspire them to work together to help all those who are affected by the scourge of addiction, let us pray to the Lord.
2) For those struggling to break free from addiction to opioids, may they find hope and healing in Jesus and his Church on their path to recovery, let us pray to the Lord.
3) For those who have died because of their addictions, may they now rest in the peace and joy of God’s love through all eternity, let us pray to the Lord.
Universal Prayers for the Shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas
1) For the innocent victims killed in the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and for all who die as a result of violence, may they find perpetual peace and joy in heaven, let us pray to the Lord.
2) For the families and friends of those who were killed or wounded in the shooting in Sutherland Springs, and for all those who have experienced violence in their lives, may they be comforted by the love of God and the compassion of all members of our Church, let us pray to the Lord.
3) For members of churches everywhere, may God help us find practical and meaningful ways to overcome dysfunction, evil and violence in our world, let us pray to the Lord.
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Faith Catholic Online; Daily Prayer 2018; OCP; Magnificat; Liturgical Press.
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General Intercessions for First Sunday Lent
18 February, 2018 – Cycle B
Presider: Sisters and brothers, the experience of Jesus in the wilderness of temptation and Divine help from angels touches us as we face our own temptations and cry to God for help.
- That those who live in material, moral, and spiritual destitution will hear the message of God’s love as proclaimed this Lent by the Church; We pray to the Lord.
- For greater care for all living beings: that inspired by God’s covenant with every living creature, we may be good stewards of the eco-systems that support life in all its forms on earth; We pray to the Lord.
- That we may show greater concern for the needs of others, and by our fasting and self-discipline, be moved to provide and care for all in need; We pray to the Lord.
- For all who are facing their own “wild beasts”: that we may know God’s presence and strength as we face selfishness, greed, anger, the traps of opioid addictions and all the actions and attitudes which destroy life; We pray to the Lord.
- For those preparing to enter the Church at Easter who will come forward today for the Rite of Election: that they will be blessed in these days of preparation; We pray to the Lord.
- For the sick of our parish and all who have or are recovering from the flu: that God will restore their energy and protect others from illness, including . . . .
- For those affected by the shooting in Parkland, Florida, and for all those who have experienced violence in their lives: may God give them strength in their faith and consolation in the healing support of caregivers as they recover from their physical and emotional wounds; We pray to the Lord.
- That all of our beloved friends and relatives whom the Lord has called home will rest eternally in the Lord’s presence, especially . . . . For the innocent victims who died at Douglas High School in Parkland, and for all who have died from violent actions: may they find perpetual peace and rest in the comforting arms of the Lord. And in a special way today we remember
5pm Jerri Rabe 7:30am –
9am Tom Hilgeman 11am our St. Peter Parish Family
5pm Dan O’Leary
for whom this Mass is offered; We pray to the Lord.
Presider: Gracious and merciful God, create in us a clean heart and steadfast spirit that we may repent and turn away from all evil. Hear the prayers we bring you as we begin our Lenten journey. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.