CAFOD PRAYERS for Tuesday 6th February 2018

 

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Opening Prayer:

O Lord, open our eyes to your presence.

Open our minds to your grace.

Open our lips to your praises.

Open our hearts to your love.

Open our lives to your healing,

and be found among us.

                                      (David Adam)

My soul is longing and yearning,

is yearning for the courts of the Lord.

My heart and my soul ring out their joy

to God, the living God.

 

The sparrow herself finds a home

and the swallow a nest for her brood.

She lays her young by your altars,

Lord of hosts, my king and my God.

 

They are happy who dwell in your house,

for ever singing your praise.

They are happy whose strength is in you,

in whose hearts are the roads to Sion.

                                                (Psalm 83)

 

Scripture

1 Kings 8:22-23.27-30

22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven. 23 He said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart.

27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built! 28 Regard your servant’s prayer and his plea, O Lord my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today; 29 that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may heed the prayer that your servant prays toward this place. 30 Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place; O hear in heaven your dwelling place; heed and forgive.

Reflection

In John chapter 4, the Samaritan woman says, “you say that the place where the people must worship is in Jerusalem”, and Jesus replies, “woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem… the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth”.

Is Jesus echoing Solomon’s thought that “this house” could not contain the God of “heaven and the highest heaven”?

Do we put God in a box – a beautiful, precious metal box, lined with silk and with a lock and key? What does this say about our belief in God’s presence within and among us?

Mark 7:1-13

Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,

‘This people honours me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.’

You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”

Then he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honour your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, ‘Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban’ (that is, an offering to God)— 12 then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.”

(Note: This reflects the hostility between Christians and Pharisaic Judaism which was at its height when Mark’s Gospel was written in the 60s.  During Jesus’s lifetime, this opposition was not so obvious.)

Do we have a problem with man-made laws?

 

Intercessions

 

Concluding Prayer

Lord, you call us to discipleship and loving service.

May we be beacons of your light where there is darkness.

May we bring hope where there is despair,

fostering love and compassion

where there is hatred and division.

 

May we strive at all times to live simply,

finding joy in small things, content to have less,

so others might have more.

Mindful of our responsibility as stewards of creation, may we tread lightly on the earth,

respectful of all living things.

 

Rooted in faith, may we work together to make your kingdom of peace and justice a reality for all people.

       (Anne O’Connor)

Join us for Monthly Prayers at CAFOD Salford, Katherine House, every first Tuesday of the month. 

Monthly Prayers – December

Advent

Introduction

What can Advent teach us about waiting?  First of all, we who are rich must open our eyes to the poor, who have no option but to wait. We must share their patient vigil as they wait for a more just world, and their struggle to bring it about. We struggle to diminish the length of their waiting.

Why does the Lord delay?  Why do the poor still have to go on crying out for justice, 2000 years after the coming of Christ?  Why does not God bring about a world in which all of humanity may flourish now?

We do not know the answer to that, but at the very least we must live with the urgency of the question.  Perhaps one tiny element of a response is in deepening our understanding of how God comes.  Our God is not a powerful, celestial superman.  The coming of God is not like the cavalry galloping to our rescue.  God comes from within, in our deepest interiority.

During Advent, we practise patience as we wait and watch for the coming of the Lord.  Like midwives gathered around the bed, we await the birth.  But God’s coming was not just the birth of a child; it was the coming of a word.  One might even say that it was the coming of a language.

It needed hundreds of years for English to evolve to the point at which Shakespeare might write Hamlet.  The language had to be formed by poets and lawyers, preachers, philosophers and peasants, by nurses and gravediggers, before it was ready.  In a similar way, it needed thousands of years before there was a language in which God’s word could be spoken in the form of Jesus.  We needed all those experiences of liberation and exile, of the building and demolition of kingdoms.  We needed innumerable prophets and scribes and poets, struggling to find words before Jesus could be born as the Word.  The Word of God does not come down from heaven like a celestial Esperanto.  It wells up from within human language.

Waiting for the coming of God is not, then, mere passivity.  We do not only wait with the poor, we share their struggles.  We must be attentive to the experience of the poor, so that together we gestate a language in which their hopes may find expression.  Then indeed we may have words into which the Word of God may come and find a home.

          Extracted from “Just One Year”, by Timothy Radcliffe OP

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Monthly Prayers – September 2017

Opening Prayer:

Longing for light, we wait in darkness,

longing for truth, we turn to you.

Make us your own, your holy people,

Light for the world to see.

Christ, be our light!

Shine in our hearts.  Shine through the darkness.

Christ, be our light!

Shine in your church gathered today.

                                                (Bernadette Farrell)

Scripture      1 Thess 5:1-11

(The first New Testament book to be written, about 50AD)

5 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness.

So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him.

11 Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

Luke 4:31-37

31 He went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the sabbath. 32 They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority.

33 In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 “Let us alone! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm.

36 They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, “What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!” 37 And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.

Reflections  

When we have created time for sanctuary in life, then the interior landscape of our life will be more clearly revealed to us, both its bright side and its dark side.  To stay with what we see there requires courage to face, not only the light, but also the darkness of the human heart.  Such contemplation involves real pain and, to find contemplative happiness, we must be willing to wrestle with demons.  The good news is that we have sure guides to help us through this painful but rewarding process.

          From “Finding Happiness” by Christopher Jamison OSB

 

Christ is the morning star who, when the darkness of this world is past, brings to his saints the promise of the light of life and opens everlasting day.

          (The Venerable Bede)

Intercessions

For those who watch and wait and weep today.

Closing Prayer 

May the God of peace make you perfect and holy; and may you all be kept safe and blameless, spirit, soul and body, for the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  God has called you, and he will not fail you. (1 Thess 5:23-24)

And may the glory of the Lord shine upon you and scatter the darkness from before your path, that you may ever walk in his light.  Amen.             (David Adam)

 

Join us for Monthly Prayers at CAFOD Salford, Katherine House, every first Tuesday of the month.