Today the liturgy reflects upon the antagonism that people of faith may face in this world, but more especially on love, which is more powerful than hatred, because it comes to us from God.
Confession and Kyrie.
We confess our sins that have obscured Christ’s presence in this world.
Lord, you have ascended into heaven. Lord, have mercy.
Lord, you are praying for us to your Father. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, you give eternal life to all who trust in you. Lord have mercy.
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
Gloria in excelsis
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
O God the king of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: we beseech you, leave us not comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before; who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
First Reading Acts 1:15-17. 20-26
Matthias is chosen to restore the number of apostles to twelve.
Psalm 103: 1-2, 11-12, 19-20 The Lord has set his sway in heaven.
A festival hymn of praise.
Second (Epistle) Reading 1 John 4:11-16
The heart of the Christian faith is love: God’s love for us and our love for one another.
Gospel John 17:11-19
Our vocation today is to be true to God’s name.
We hear quite a lot about “the world” in John’s gospel; in today’s passage no less than seven times. And most times in John’s gospel “the world” means something negative. It surely means more than the physical environment in which we find ourselves. Everything that God has made is made good. So this ‘world’ that Jesus speaks of so negatively must be something a little more subtle.
The important distinction that Jesus makes is between being ‘in’ the world as against being ‘of’ the world. We are creatures, living out our lives within the created order in the world. But being ‘of’ the world is something that we can and must avoid. So finding our way through daily life requires constant evaluation and discernment. The Gospel will often put us at odds with the society in which we live, because we as Christians, as a Church, won’t just be able to go with the flow wherever it takes us. As Christians we can, and indeed should, affirm all that is good and true. But sometimes the current of society pulls away from what is good and true, and if we are unknowingly swept by it, we will surely become ‘of’ the world. Knowing what is good and true is not always easy, and, both as individuals and as a Church, requires God’s help to know what’s what. In today’s Gospel, from John 17, Jesus’ great prayer, known as ‘The Priestly Prayer of Christ’ and which corresponds in the Fourth Gospel to the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ in Matthew , Mark and Luke - he asks that the Father ‘consecrate us in the truth’. Our lives in the world must always be founded on the truth that Christ has revealed to us, the truth that he himself has received from the Father. This is always the yardstick for all our judgements.
It might help if we could see our lives in the light of the mystery of Christ’s Ascension. By his ascending to heaven in his full humanity, he has opened up for us the possibility that we too might one day be there with him. We should not be of the world, because we ultimately belong in heaven, in the presence of God, as St. Augustine teaches us in his sermon on John’s gospel. Our lives in the world are pilgrimages towards that final goal.
So we are to sit lightly to the things and people we encounter and live among. If we put our hearts and trust completely in our present life then we shall certainly be “of the world” and not fit for the life beyond. But there is an opposite danger, which is that we can seek to become so detached from the life around that we lose touch with reality. If we refuse to accept that we are in the world – with all the complexity and struggles that this often brings – we are much less likely to be able to receive God’s saving power in our lives. Living fully in the world in the way Christ has taught us provides us with a way of avoiding these two extremes, and will be a way of being consecrated in truth.
In our age, matters of objective reality have increasingly come under attack. In secular terms, morality and even truth itself, have s come to be seen as a subjective, personal and private matter. But truth matters, both in our personal life, and in our public life. Fact checking has sadly become more necessary and widespread in recent time. We must not become so used to the lies and misinformation spoken by politicians and others in public life that we just shrug our shoulders as if to say “well, what do you expect?” For Jesus Christ said of himself, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”, and so to be a follower of Jesus is to be committed to being a person of truth, of integrity, for that is the way to the Life Jesus shares with us even in this life, before we reach it in its fullness in heaven.
Credo: The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
See notice sheet + Her Majesty the Queen + Novena of Prayer for the Coming of God’s Kingdom
of Justice and Peace
THE CHURCH The unity of all Christians. Our Bishop Christopher, and Karowei, Bishop of Woolwich.
THE WORLD Members of governments in every land. Those living in the midst of war and violence, Palestine Gaza East Jerusalem Israel - Myanmar All refugees and asylum seekers. NATO and the crisis for Ukraine. – Future of the Union. Covid pandemic cases and deaths vaccination programmes. Pray for India – and for those parts of our world where western Aid is being cut back as a result of the pandemic. Pray for WaterAid. Those who have lost their jobs and those whose jobs are at risk. – New DUP Leadership and the people of Northern Ireland, and Ireland facing threats to the peace achieved by the Good Friday Agreement. Prudence in ‘Opening Up,’ from tomorrow onwards.
THE PARISH AND LOCAL COMMUNITY Those working for the emergency services and all risking their lives in the service of others
THE BEREAVED, THE SICK AND THOSE IN NEED AND THE DEPARTED. see weekly sheet.
“Spiritual Communion” is recommended at any time we cannot physically receive the Sacrament of the Lord’s Body and Blood. It means that God gives us the grace of the sacrament in response to our real desire to receive it. This does not mean that we can get on just as well without receiving Holy Communion, but rather, if the opportunity of receiving it is denied to us for whatever reason, God will not withhold its grace and blessing from us. Here is a form of prayer we can use.
Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits you have given me, for all the pains and insults you have borne for me. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I ask you to come spiritually into my heart. O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen.
Soul of Christ, sanctify me:
Body of Christ, save me:
Blood of Christ, invigorate me:
Water from the side of Christ, wash me:
Passion of Christ, strengthen me:
Cross of Jesus, protect me:
Good Jesu, hear me:
Within your wounds, hide me:
Never let me be separated from you:
From the deadly enemy, defend me:
In the hour of my death call me
and bid me come to you
that with all your saints I may praise you
for ever and ever. Amen.
Eternal God, giver of love and power, your Son Jesus Christ has sent us into all the world to preach the gospel of his kingdom: confirm us in this mission, and help us to live the good news we proclaim; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
May God the Father, who has given to his Son the name above every name, strengthen us to proclaim Christ Jesus as Lord.
May God the Son, who is our great high priest passed into the heavens, plead for us at the right hand of the Father.
May God the Holy Spirit, who pours out his abundant gifts upon the Church, make us faithful servants of Christ our King.
And may almighty God bless us, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit Amen.
Copyright notice: As well as my own words I have drawn on material from internet sources including websites of The Church of England and The Dominican Friars, electronic sources including those of Redemptorist Publications, and on printed sources including Days of the Lord The Liturgical Press, Minnesota and This is the word of the Lord Bible Reading Fellowship . Some Copyright material is included from Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England (2000) and The Christian Year: Calendar, Lectionary and Collects(1997, 1998, 1999) copyright © The Archbishops’ Council.
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