CAFOD PRAYERS for Thursday 7th January 2016

Opening Responses

O God who called all life into being,
the earth, sea and sky are yours.
Your presence is all around us,
every atom is full of your energy.
Your Spirit enlivens all who walk the earth,
with her we yearn for justice to be done,
for creation to be freed from bondage,
for the hungry to be fed,
for captives to be released,
for your kingdom of peace to come on earth.

Scripture​1 John 4:19-5:4
19We love because he first loved us. 20 Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.
5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, 4 for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith.

Setting the Gospel scene

In Luke’s ordering of events, Jesus had just been baptised in the Jordan and had had his testing time in the wilderness. He then went back to Galilee and started his “work”, at first around the Lake – his headquarters – and then, in today’s reading, back in Nazareth.
Jesus did not go to the large towns and cities (there was more chance of being arrested there too soon) but to the villages, where he found the poorest and most marginalised people – women, those dispossessed of their land rights, the sick, those abused by the powerful and “the lost sheep of Israel”.
The “good news” of God could not come from the splendid palace of Antipas or the wealthy neighbourhoods where the priestly elite lived. The seed of God’s reign would find fertile soil in the peasants and fishermen and the poor of Galilee. Jesus’s itinerant life amongst them was a living symbol of his freedom and his faith in the reign of God.
​Paraphrased from “Jesus – An Historical Approximation” ​by Jose Pagola

Gospel Luke 4:14-22

14 Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15 He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”

Reflection from “Tell Me Your Name: Images of God in the Bible” ​​by A.E. Zannoni

For Luke, the baptism of Jesus is God’s decisive intervention in our history. In the Jordan, Jesus saw and experienced the Holy Spirit and, under its auspices, began his ministry. In the power of the Spirit, Jesus was driven into the desert and, in its power, he returned to Galilee.
Jesus now stands in the synagogue in Nazareth and applies Isaiah’s prophecy to himself, claiming to be God’s anointed one, the Messiah, the Christ, completely penetrated by the Spirit. This is another Epiphany Gospel.


Prayer to close the meeting



Lord, we have opened our eyes to the needs of your people and your world. We are mindful that bringing about your Kingdom begins with each one of us, at this time, in this place. We go out from this place, renewed, inspired and guided by your presence in our hearts.

In our journeying. in our celebrating:

guide our ways, Lord.

In times of plenty, in times of pain:

guide our ways, Lord.

In our concern for the world, in our search for justice:

guide our ways, Lord.

In our care for each other,
in our response to God’s call:

guide our ways, Lord.

In our fellowship, in our sharing:

guide our ways, Lord.

In our seeking, in our hoping:

guide our ways, Lord.

We make our prayer in Jesus’s name. Amen.

A Blessing for each other at the start of the year

Go out and be light.
May your word burn like the word of the prophets.
May your defence of the poor and suffering,
the victims of injustice and oppression,
be a transforming power for our world.
May your voice, your feet, your hands,
become those of Christ,
building up the reign of God in our human history.
And may God, the Creator, Redeemer and Breath of Life, bless us. Amen.
​Adapted from “Just One Year” (ed. Timothy Radcliffe)

Continue to pray with CAFOD

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