17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.  When he found a pearl of great value, he went out and sold everything he had and bought it.

Matthew 13:45-46

Begin with a few moments of quiet.

The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered.

This is a 5 minute facilitated meditation on opening ourselves to the presence of God within, particularly in the context of our current confinement

Alternatively use this method of entering quiet:

Invite all present to sit comfortably.

When sitting comfortably, take three deep breaths, as you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.

Now return to breathing normally and make the sign of the cross:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Invite each person present to take a few moments to reflect on:
Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?

Allow time in quiet for this and then, after a few moments, invite those present to share on this, if they are comfortable to do so.
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.

Prayer for Healing- Eric Nordhoff

Introduce the Gospel

On this Sunday we celebrate the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Our conviction is that God loves us wholly, in the double sense that God loves us fully and completely and God’s desire is that grace should touch every dimension of our lives. Anyone who has made the discovery of faith, like the merchant in search of fine pearls, will know what is meant: it is so wonderful that it leads to a discipleship costing not less than everything. It can be daunting, of course, but it leads to life in abundance (Jn 10:10).

Read the GospelMatthew 13:44-52
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea that brings in a haul of all kinds. When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in a basket and throw away those that are no use. This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the just to throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.

‘Have you understood all this?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom things both new and old.’

Reflect on the Gospel

Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge. Use the quietening music again if you wish

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

This week we are presented with different images of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Take one of those images and sit with it in your reflection time. Try to picture the scene depicted. Ask yourself:
What do I like about this image?
What do I find disturbing about this image?
What is the image saying to me in my context?

At a later stage, if you want, do the same exercise on another one of the images or ask yourself:

Why did I choose that first image over the others?
What is it that attracted me over the others?
What does this say to me?

Finish this part with a Prayer

God of eternal wisdom, you alone impart the gift of right judgement. Grant us an understanding ear, that we may value wisely the treasure of your kingdom and gladly forgo all lesser gifts to possess that kingdom’s incomparable joy.
We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer of the Faithful

In the Mass, the prayer of the faithful are the people’s response to their reflection on the Scripture readings and are spoken to God in the second person. The following have been prepared by Roisín deJong, Greystones Parish for our Masses on this weekend.

Begin:  Lord You are kind and compassionate. We present our prayer to You for our Church, our community and ourselves.

For the Church, Your Children: …pause… that we may prioritise seeking Your Kingdom in our lives and use all our talents to help grow Your Kingdom on earth.   Lord hear us

For our leaders, both in the Church and in government: …pause… that You will give them wisdom in exercising their leadership and judgement.  Lord hear us

For all who are working to defeat Covid 19:…pause… that You will give strength to all healthcare workers, inspire those researching treatments and cures, and help all who face daily challenges because of the disease  Lord hear us

That we may always be mindful of the words of St Paul and take comfort from them in difficult times: …pause… That in all things the Spirit works for the good for those who love God. Lord hear us

For all who need healing, physical, mental and emotional:…pause… that Your healing Spirit will ease their suffering, restore them to health, and guide all who are caring for them.  Lord hear us

For our own intentions: name those intentions you specifically want to mention 
Lord hear us

For all who have died  ………. name those people you specifically want to remember 
Lord hear us

Gathering Prayer:

God of the covenant, faithful and true, you offer us both love and a way of living. As we embrace your love for each of us, help us so to live that we may be fully alive with your Good News. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Take a moment now to bring to mind those you want to share peace with, family, friends, those where your relationship is broken.

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

Additional Resources

Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Readings in Written or on Video

The Spirit of God is seeking to create a newness in our lives, that calls us to a fresh wholeness that requires much letting go of what we have known, and co-creating with God an undreamt-of future for our church, for our world and for ourselves. This does not mean forgetting the past, which has brought us to the present.

The Gospel life is about a new future in God. In an incarnational, evolutionary universe nothing is complete and God is still creating. We are a central part of this creation which is happening in our midst.