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Resources for Family Mass

2 April • Gospel: John 11:1-45

Sacred Space: Symbols of compassion and empathy



This Sunday’s Gospel is about Lazarus being raisedfrom the dead. Jesus was called by Mary and Martha, the two sisters of Lazarus. Jesus had seemed so slow in responding totheir cry for help and support. On the outside it seemed as if he was far too late. But with Jesus, we find out, it is never too late. Even when we are convinced that all is lost, even when Lazarus had been dead for four days, even when we are ready to give into the power of death and loss, Jesus shows us that there is no loss, no tragedy, no power on earth or under the earth, that can place us beyond the reach of his unconditional love. We see in the passage how Jesus was moved by Mary and Martha’s tears; he was genuinely sad at seeing them weep for the loss of their brother. Here we see the humanity of Jesus as well as the divinity of Jesus. He wept like any of us would at the loss of someone we loved, yet he was able to bring Lazarus back to life because of Lazarus’ faith and the faith of his sisters. This Gospel tells the story of Jesus’ love for his family and also his power over death through faith in God.


Prayer of the Faithful

1.  Loving Father, we thank you for helping us see further than the horizon.

2.  Thank you for empowering us with eyes to see and ears to hear your message of eternal love.

3.  Gentle Spirit, grant us the gift of compassion on others. Help us to show real empathy and compassion on those in need.

3.  Merciful Jesus, grace us with your touch of healing and love. Let us be open like an empty vessel thirsting for you each and every day.




9 April • Matthew 26:14-27:66


Sacred Space: Bible, symbols of the Old Testament


Homily: ‘Judas betrays Jesus'

This week’s Gospel is a difficult one to read. Betrayal is a desperate feeling, a desperate deed and a desperate loss ofhope. During the passion our hearts break for Jesus. In the middle of all the battle of good and evil is compassion. Jesus did not blame anyone: he does not blame Pilate, it’s more those above him. For the soldier who arrests him and has his ear cut off – Jesus offers healing and further compassion. He looked at Peter with forgiveness and forgave the people beside him on the cross. It is compassion to the end. When we see and experience real compassion, we see and experience God. Jesus epitomises compassion. His entire ministry did. Life is so much better with compassion. Can we engage with compassion in how we deal with each other? How can we work to feel real compassion for our friends and indeed our enemies?Jesus showed us how to do exactly that. So together let us try to care with genuine compassion, authentic care and real love. Judas betrayed his teacher, his friend and the one who loved him. How can we do the exact opposite?


Prayer of the Faithful

1.  Lord God, show me compassion in myself and in others. Help me to grow in love and compassion.

2.  Merciful God, help me to be open to any act of compassion no matter how small or short-lived I feel it is.

3.  Saving God, grace me with an openness to forgiveness of myself and of others. In forgiveness I experience pure compassion.



16 April • John 20:1-9


Sacred Space: Water/ Symbols of new life/Salt to represent our thirst for living water.


Homily: ‘The empty tomb is a sign of the resurrection of Jesus’

In this week’s Gospel we have the experience of the empty tomb as the sign of Jesus’ resurrection to life. Mary Magdalene saw the stone rolled back; can you imagine, a huge stone and it had been rolled back? She must have been overcome with disbelief. Mary ran to the disciples and the‘disciple whom Jesus loved’ went with Peter. When they got to the tomb and went in, there were no questions or answers to be heard. The disciples knew that Jesus had risen from the dead and everything he had told them was filled with clarity. They saw, they understood and they believed. Before this moment we are aware that the disciples had failed to fully understand the Scriptures that Jesus would rise from the dead. Jesus’ death on the cross was a moment in history, an event. Jesus’ rising from the dead is a moment of faith. We can try to experience the empty tomb and the love and hope that it carries with it for our Christian life.


Prayer of the Faithful

1.  Lord God, we come to you as the disciples did, to experience our true faith.

2.  Gracious God, we love you and dwell in your resurrection into new life.

3.  Jesus our Lord, we bring compassion to pain and show the world our love.




23 April • John 20:19-31


Sacred Space: Candles, symbols of peace and hope.


Homily: ‘Peace be with You’

In this Sunday’s Gospel we hear the story of Jesus going to his disciples and greeting them. He greets them the same way as we will greet each other later during the Eucharistic celebration: ‘Peace be with you’. What exactly do we mean when we greet each other with those words: ‘Peace be with you’? Are we shaking hands just because we are invited to by our priest? Are we shaking hands because we don’t want to be seen as the odd one out? Are we shaking hands because we really mean it? In recent years there were disease epidemics in Ireland. There was a time when people were so worried about the spread of a particular disease priests invited people to look at each other and wish them peace instead of shaking their hands. There was something very real about this. We no longer could slide our hand into someone else’s and barely look at them while we moved on to the next person. ‘No hands’ meant we had to look at the person, look into their eyes and wish them peace. This was powerful practice and it caused us to smile and mean exactly what we were saying. Perhaps this Sunday we could have a ‘nohands’ peace-giving experience, and really mean it!


Prayer of the Faithful

1.  Lord, I dwell in your peace and work to achieve it daily in my life.

2.  Lord, you accept my failings and forgive them, thank you.

3.  Lord, empower my family and friends to experience peace in their hearts and minds. Free them from worthless worry and anxiety.




30 April • Luke 24:13-35


Sacred Space: Poem ‘Footprints’ and bread as symbols of companionship of Jesus on life’s journey.



Having read today’s Gospel story it can be suggested that we can all connect with the two people in it because, at some time in our lives, we have all experienced a time of discouragement or were in a state of anxiety about something. God knows we need and enjoy a bit of encouragement. In this Gospel Jesus gives encouragement to two of his disciples. He helps them along and lets them know that there is always hope.At first the disciples did not recognise that the person speaking with them was Jesus but when he broke bread with them they immediately realised it was indeed Jesus raised from the dead. Jesus fulfilled all his promises and beat death on a cross. He showed us that hope is always there, that he is always there walking beside us even when we don’t know it is him. Reading the Gospel today we can ask God to help us be open to the footsteps of Jesus journeying alongside us through thick and through thin.


Prayer of the Faithful

1.  Lord, grace me with the openness of hope and the ability to embrace its rays as it shines on us each and every day.

2.  Lord, help me to accept that not all crosses can be taken away, that sometime we must carry our cross with Jesus to help us and the Holy Spirit to guide us.

3.  Lord, thank you for your holy Son who showed me that death is a new beginning in hope and love.



Orla Walsh is a Deputy Principal in

St Vincent’s Secondary School,

Dundalk, Co Louth




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