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In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge. From all eternity, you are God.
Scripture Isaiah 55:10-11
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
7 Jesus said: “When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
How do these readings speak to us?
Silent reflection, using lines from today’s Psalm and the CAFOD Lent Fast Day prayer.
I sought the Lord and he answered me;
from all by terrors he set me free.
The poor called; the lord heard them
and rescued them from all their distress.
The Lord turns his eyes to the just
and his ears to their appeal.
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted.
May we implore justice through our prayer,
stand in solidarity through our fasting,
and reach out through our giving.
God of all wholeness,
revive the weary, restore the broken,
and renew the face of the earth.
See CAFOD Lent Fast Day prayer card.
Lighting the Candles
In the tender compassion of our God,
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell
in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Risen Lord, we pray that you will uphold all who are down.
Lord have mercy.
Upon the world’s poor and the unemployed,
Lord have mercy.
Upon the homeless and the refugee,
Lord have mercy.
Upon the war torn and the oppressed,
Christ have mercy.
Upon the depressed and the despairing,
Christ have mercy,
Upon the sinful and the sorrowful,
Christ have mercy.
Upon the sick and the suffering,
Lord have mercy.
Upon the diseased and the disgraced,
Lord have mercy.
Upon the lonely and the dying,
Lord have mercy.
Scripture 2 Samuel 18:9-10,14,24-25,30-19:3
9 Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. His head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. 10 A man saw it, and told Joab, ‘I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.’ 14 Joab took three spears in his hand, and thrust them into the heart of Absalom, while he was still alive in the oak.
24 Now David was sitting between the two gates. The sentinel went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and when he looked up, he saw a man running alone. 25 The sentinel shouted and told the king. The king said, ‘If he is alone, there are tidings in his mouth.’ He kept coming, and drew near. 30 The king said, ‘Turn aside, and stand here.’ So he turned aside, and stood still.
31 Then the Cushite came; and the Cushite said, ‘Good tidings for my lord the king! For the Lord has vindicated you this day, delivering you from the power of all who rose up against you.’ 32 The king said to the Cushite, ‘Is it well with the young man Absalom?’ The Cushite answered, ‘May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up to do you harm, be like that young man.’
33 The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said, ‘O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would that I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!’
19 It was told Joab, ‘The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.’ 2 So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the troops; for the troops heard that day, ‘The king is grieving for his son.’ 3 The troops stole into the city that day as soldiers steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle.
21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered round him; and he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 and begged him repeatedly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.’ 24 So he went with him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. 26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’ 29 Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ 31 And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?”’ 32 He looked all round to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’
35 While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?’ 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, ‘Do not fear, only believe.’ 37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
38 When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 When he had entered, he said to them, ‘Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.’ 40 And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha cum’, which means, ‘Little girl, get up!’ 42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
The Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth,
bless and guide you in all that you do,
confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,
and keep you in life which is eternal.
(All prayers from “The Rhythm of Life” by David Adam)
Our CAFOD campaigns team recently requested to hear from some young campaign activists. Below is the inspiring and encouraging response from Maeve McGovern about her experiences of being part of the Climate Change Marches in Manchester.
As a young person unable to vote about matters of great importance to me, I have been attending the Extinction Rebellion organised Climate Strike Marches in central Manchester. These marches have not only been great experiences that have demonstrated incredible community spirit and unity, but also have been the perfect outlet to get young voices heard where previously they have been ignored.
As a child, I’d always been told the importance of taking care of yourself and others. Throughout education I was told that God put humans on the earth to take on the role of stewards. I believe we have the capability to resolve issues when they really mean something to us, so why have issues such as Climate Change only just started being recognised as a global threat? Recent political activity not only left me baffled as to the priorities of those in power, but also left me frustrated with my inability to do anything to contribute to positive change. When I attended my first Strike for Climate March, I was swept away immediately by the momentum and the energy and stopped feeling useless instantaneously. It was an event organised by people of similar ages to me and attended by so many others who felt the same as myself and who until then, hadn’t been able to impact the decisions being made about our future. And yet there we all were. Signs waving, voices blaring in unison. People in offices in surrounding buildings would come to the windows and watch, taking time out of their routine to give us a wave from floor seven or to just witness history happening. Students would show up in their uniforms, frustrated with the idea of having to sacrifice their education, but understanding that the only future they’re going to be capable of having is one that they speak up for themselves.
However, not only were there young people there. I was so chuffed to realise that people from older generations were coming out and showing their support for the movement, chanting alongside. A beautiful moment also involved turning to my left to realise I was standing right by our Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, showing his solidarity and reassuring us that he understands our upset and lack of representation, and ensuring his support following the march. Representation that was overflowing into any social media platform, with pictures and messages of support from politicians, celebrities and influencers of all demographics.
So, within the space of a day I’d gone from having a minimal amount of hope for a cause I’d felt nobody was listening to, to feeling empowered, proud and ready to continue campaigning for our planet; God’s creation, that we were left to care for, and for which now must act to save. Granted, there is still a long way to go before ensuring some form of a positive outcome, but if you have the chance, attend a march, post it on social media, spread the word, because this is our planet and we have all the responsibility to fix it.
To campaign with CAFOD and get involved in the preparations for the global UN COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow during November of this year, then read all about “Generations Unite“, the very latest campaign action for parishes and individuals.