Readings and Reflections

 

St Peter’s/St Joseph’s Bidding Prayers


4th / 5th July 2020

 

Priest:
As we gradually come out of lockdown, we can thank God for the way in which he has accompanied each one of us, helping us to carry our burdens.

Reader:
We pray for those who have been extraordinarily generous over these past months:   May they receive a reward for their generosity.
Lord in your mercy.

We pray for those struggling with health issues:   May they be able to share their anxiety with the Lord, and receive his consolations.
Lord in your mercy.

We pray for our children:   Many will have had their education disrupted by not being able to go to school.   May they learn valuable life lessons.
Lord in your mercy.

We pray for our parish:  Next week we can gather once more for Mass.   May our hunger for the Eucharist be satisfied.                                   

Lord in your mercy.  

We commend to the loving mercy of the Father in heaven those who have died recently and those whose anniversaries occur at about this time: May they be consoled in the arms of their saviour.                                          

Lord in your mercy.
Jesus wants to become part of our lives and he invites us to become a part of his.   Let us talk to him in our hearts about where we can find him.
 [After a pause]                                                                              

Lord in your mercy.

 

Mary carried Jesus in her womb and cared for him as he grew.   We can ask her to intercede on our behalf.                                               

Hail Mary….

 

Priest:   Father in heaven, you sent us Jesus to be our help and our strength.  We make these prayers today in his name for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. 

Amen.

 

 

Reflection for 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time


Sunday, 5th July 2020

If you do not have a copy of the missalette, you can find today’s readings at www.universalis .com

 

The donkey is often referred to as a “beast of burden” as for generations they have been used to carry heavy loads.   However, through much of human history, human beings have been accustomed to carrying heavy weights.   Alas, in many societies, it has been the women who have done much of the carrying.   And children too.   Until only 200 years ago people had to go to the well or the river and fetch water to the house.   Again a task often relegated to women and children.

 

When we think of a yoke, we imagine a contraption for harnessing animals together to perform agricultural tasks.   However, at the time of Jesus, human beings used yokes as well, for example, to help them to carry two heavy buckets of water.   Yes, many of the hearers of Jesus’ message would identify with the concept of being weary and overburdened.

 

Thank goodness lockdown is beginning to ease.   Over the last three long months we have been burdened, not with physical weights, but by a plethora of cares and worries.   Coming out of lockdown is a worry too.  Thus the words of Jesus in the Gospel today will be of much comfort to us.

Jesus is the one who wishes to accompany us on our journey through life.   An indirect benefit of the pandemic has been a sense that Jesus is close to each one of us.   We have had more quiet for prayer and in our solitude, more moments to share with him what is happening to us in our lives.   Perhaps we have had moments where we have felt so close to Jesus that it seems to us that he is helping us to shoulder all of our anxieties. 

 

However, it is not just a one way street.   Indeed, Jesus is there to accompany us and to help us carry our burdens, but he invites us as well to help him shoulder his yoke, which he promises will be sweet and light.

 

So how is Jesus inviting us to help him.   His “burden” is represented by the cross which was laid on his shoulder on his way to Calvary.    The first person to help him shoulder this yoke was Simon of Cyrene.      He did not do this voluntarily, but was constrained to do it by the Roman soldiers.  It seems that this

experience changed his life and he became a Christian.   He became for all generations a symbol for those called to respond to this passage.

Jesus took this weight upon his shoulders to represent the weight of the sinfulness of the whole world.   Through his death and resurrection all of our rebelliousness against God is forgiven, forgotten and taken away.   The work of salvation accomplished by Jesus required his sacrificial death on the cross and was validated by his glorious resurrection.

 

In the gospel today we are being invited to assist him in this task.   There will be moments in our lives when we feel called by God to endure some situation not simply for our own spiritual growth, but to assist Jesus in his work of carrying away the burden of sin.  I’m sure many of us will remember as children being invited to offer up something as a sacrifice for the good of someone else.   We have to be careful here, so as not to be negative or destructive.   During the pandemic we have witnessed the generosity of many, putting themselves at risk in order to care for others.   If we desire them, these opportunities will come our way.   We can know we are doing the right thing, once we feel a gentleness of heart.   When Jesus invites to help him shoulder his yoke, it will feel freeing!   Let us be liberated in this way.

 

Next weekend, at long last, we are able to have Mass again.   Unfortunately, it is difficult to socially distance in St Joseph’s, so the three weekend Masses will all be in St Peter’s – but at the usual times (Saturday Vigil at 5.30pm, Sunday at 9.30 and 11am).   I thought I would get a break from having to write out my homilies.   No such luck, however!   To begin with, at Mass there will be no homily and no bidding prayers.   So I will continue to write these and print them so people can take them away with them.   If you would like these delivered to your home, please let me know.