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Resources for Family Mass

4 June, 2017 • Gospel: John 20:19-23
Theme: The disciples receive the power of the Holy Spirit to enable them to continue the mission of Jesus: The Holy Spirit is in Me!

 

Sacred Space: Cut-outs of white doves, peace lily, art representing tongues of fire …

 

Homily: This Sunday’s Gospel tells us about the time that Jesus visits the apostles again and performs two actions.

     The first action is concerned with peace and the second action is concerned with the Holy Spirit. Often when we are worried or anxious about something we can find it difficult to relax and trust that things will work out. This is a natural reaction when we feel that we are not in complete control of what will happen next. Sometimes we need to be able to let go and let God. Jesus was aware of this and when he arrived to visit his disciples he offered them the sign of peace. This helped them to relax and be a little less anxious, to have trust and to be calm enough to embrace what was to come. It is only when we are really at peace with ourselves that we can think clearly, pray well and do good for others. Fretting and being stressed does not help us in life, it is indeed a human limitation, but allowing stress and anxiety to take over is not a positive, nor is it good for us.

     Having shared the sign of peace, Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit on the apostles. Spiritus is the Latin word for breath and here we see Jesus breathing the Holy Spirit into the people who were going forward to share the Good News, carrying on his ministry here on earth. The disciples knew this was not an easy task and so do we. When we speak about God or add to a conversation in terms of our faith, it can be difficult when others do not agree, perhaps do not respect religious beliefs or simply discount God. We have the breath of God in us too. We have been blessed with the Holy Spirit during our baptism and then again confirmed with the Holy Spirit. Knowing that we are graced with the Holy Spirit is a wonderful gift and one that causes us to be strong and stay connected to our faith. This is not always easy as the world is quite a secular place, but we have been baptised to go and share the Good News! How often do we share it?

 

Prayer of the Faithful

1.  Loving God, thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to burn in our hearts of faith, hope and love.

2.  Gentle Jesus, bless us with courage and an ability to go and spread the Good News no matter how small or large the opportunity to do so is.

3.  Holy Spirt, continue to guide us on the path of love and light towards the Kingdom of God.

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11 June, 2017 • Gospel: John 3:16-18
Theme: God’s Love

Sacred Space: Rublev’s icon of the Blessed Trinity

 

Homily: Today is Trinity Sunday. This is a very blessed day. We bless ourselves with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit each time we pray. Today in a special way we are called to enter into that blessing in a most mindful way. When we touch our foreheads we are touching our head, our thinking, our mind. When we touch our chest we are holding our heart, our humanity and our humility and when we touch our shoulders we are asking the holy Spirit to guide us, to surround us and to embrace us.

     ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.’ Many years ago at a world cup game, a person held up a banner with ‘Jn 3:16-18’ written on it. The TV camera caught it and a discussion ensued as to whether this was a match score prediction, someone trying to meet another person at a set time or what! It turns out that it was someone just saying that God gave us Jesus, and this was an incredible selfless act to show us how much we are loved. After his death and resurrection Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit. Selfless love is shown to us each moment in our lives. Remember the numbers from John 3:16-18 sending you that eternal message of love.

 

Prayer of the Faithful

1.  Loving Father, we thank you for your saving love and ask that we become more gracious each and every day.

2.  Gracious God, we ask for the virtue of patience with ourselves and with others as we try in all of our humanity to live a good and fruitful life.

3.  Spiritual God, send your Spirit to our times of weakness and sin. Help us to embrace your love in an all-consuming way.

 

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18 June, 2017 • Gospel: John 6:51-58
Theme: ‘I am the Bread of Life’

Sacred Space: Journey symbols, sacrament of reconciliation symbols

 

Homily: Today’s Gospel story is about Jesus speaking about us loving and trusting him to lead us to the Kingdom of God. If we follow Jesus’ lead we are on the right track. We might fail several times and that it part of the human condition, but we need to humble ourselves and be reconciled with God once more. We are called into right relationship with God through the sacrament of reconciliation and this healing sacrament is available to us, to empower and strengthen us.

     The food we eat gives our bodies the energy they need to keep working. If we didn’t feed our bodies they would stop working. Eventually our bodies would become very sick without food to feed it. That’s why we sometimes describe food as ‘life giving.’

     Over the past couple of Sunday’s Jesus has described himself several times as ‘bread.’ In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls himself ‘the bread of life’ and tells us that whoever eats this bread will live forever. As he often does, Jesus is using language to help make his point. Just like bread is something that helps our bodies to live and grow, Jesus is reminding us that the way to keep our spirits strong and alive is to follow his example. Jesus is food for our souls in the same way that real bread is food for our bodies. 

     This is one of the most amazing passages in all of Scripture. For the Hebrews, flesh and blood meant the full person, so Jesus chooses this dramatic way to reveal the extraordinary intimacy of his relationship with us.

     We know that bread nourishes us, so Jesus uses that term to describe himself. But ‘living’ bread is an effort to reveal more deeply how deeply Jesus nourishes us. Jesus offers us a relationship in which we will be supported, embraced and feel safe. We need that life-giving relationship more than ever today. The next time you receive Holy Communion, pray about, to and with Jesus. Jesus feeds your spirit and soul, allow Jesus to fill you up with his love.

 

Prayer of the Faithful

1.  Loving Jesus, we thank you for giving yourself to us, blessed and broken. We embrace your love on our journey of faith.

2.  Forgiving Jesus, forgive our floundering faith as we heap humanity upon humanity and strive for humility of heart.

3.  Gentle Jesus, we pray for the Holy father as he leads us in your name.

 

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25 June, 2017 • Gospel: Matthew 10:26-33
Theme: Jesus forewarns his disciples to be prepared for trials and suffering

Sacred Space: Symbols of love

 

Homily: This Sunday’s Gospel is telling us how precious we are in God’s eyes. Jesus uses the birds of the sky and the hairs on our heads to help us appreciate how loved we are. This is in order to help us deal with the rejection and sometimes abuse that we experience when we work for God or do something that is in God’s name. It is not always easy to ‘stand up for God’, sometimes we end up feeling alone and insignificant. But here Jesus is letting us know how worthy and wonderful we are, how significant and special we are. Neither is it always easy to take this all-embracing unconditional love on board, but Jesus has whispered these words to us and they are there for all eternity to empower and protect us on the road ahead. Saint John Paul II always used the words ‘Be not afraid’, and even on his deathbed they were his final words. This Gospel shares this sentiment with us in a very poignant way. Every hair on your head has been counted, you are loved, always.

 

Prayer of the Faithful

1.  Jesus, you are our bread of life, our nourishment and our strength, thank you for your saving grace and unconditional love.

2.  Jesus, we ask you to allow our humanity to embrace your love in a real, mindful and graced way, so that we may follow you more freely and love you more dearly.

3.  Jesus, we pray for each other and we pray for those we have fallen out of right relationship with, especially family members and neighbours. Empower our ability be be in right relationship with those that we set out to love.

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Orla Walsh is a Deputy Principal in

St Vincent’s Secondary School,

Dundalk, Co Louth

Email walshorla@icloud.com

 

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