Monthly Prayers for March 2016

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CAFOD SALFORD PRAYERS for Thursday 3rd March 2016

Opening Prayer
God of justice, mercy and truth,
we gather in your presence,
aware of it in all creation,
where the warmth of the sun, the strength of the wind,
the energy of the waves, the stability of the earth
all remind us of your constant love
and your power to change and challenge our lives.
God of justice, mercy and truth,
we gather in your presence,
aware that, in our world,
there is one law for the rich and one for the poor,
that the scales are weighted against many of our
sisters and brothers,
and against new nations struggling to find a balance.
God of justice, mercy and truth,
we gather in your presence,
aware of our own lives –
individually and in community –
where they measure up,
where they fall short,
where they are out of kilter,
as your plumb line shows us what is true.

Scripture – ​Jeremiah 7:23-28
These were my orders: Listen to my voice, than I will be your God and you shall be my people. Follow right to the end the way that I mark out for you, and you will prosper. But they did not listen, they did not pay attention; they followed the dictates of their own evil hearts, refused to face me, and turned their backs on me. From the day your ancestors came out of the land of Egypt until today, day after day I have persistently sent you all my servants the prophets.

But they have not listened to me, have not paid attention; they have grown stubborn and behaved worse than their ancestors. You may say all these words to them: they will not listen to you; you may call them: they will not answer. So tell them this, “Here is the nation that will not listen to the voice of the Lord its God nor take correction. Sincerity is no more, it has vanished from their mouths.”

Gospel – ​Luke 11:14-23
14 Now Jesus was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” 16 Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven. 17 But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. 18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? – for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I cast out the demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. 22 But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armour in which he trusted and divides his plunder. 23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

Reflection from the New Testament translated by Nicholas King

Like Jesus’s contemporaries, Luke’s readers have to decide who Jesus is: clearly, he meets with demons as a worthy opponent. So is he on their side or on God’s side? Jesus here makes one or two sensible observations to help answer the question, and we cannot evade the conclusion that “the Kingdom of God has come upon you”, nor the challenge: are we for him or against him? And we are warned to take the demons seriously.


Closing Prayer

God of the past,
who has fathered and mothered us,
thank you for your presence here among us.
God of the future,
who is always ahead of us,
guide our steps on the way.
God of the present,
walk with us on our journey.
God of life beyond us, within us,
send us out now,
your hands and heart in our divided world,
and bless us.
We pray in the name of Jesus, our saviour and brother.

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