Begin with a few moments of quiet.
The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered.
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.
Introduce the Gospel
On this Sunday we celebrate the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus had the gift of saying things directly and plainly, with a power to penetrate all our defences and lead us
to a new awareness. Today’s message puts before us the paradox of the Gospel: we gain life by letting go of it.
If I put my happiness, my being loved, at the centre of my life, then I will surely fail, even though to be loved and to be happy are really important.
If on the other hand I put the happiness of others first and love them unconditionally, then I too will know unselfish love and deep happiness. This is the very insight and wisdom that Jesus puts before us as the key not just to love but to life and within that, the key to authentic discipleship precisely as a way of life.
Read the Gospel – Matthew 16:21-27
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.
Jesus began to make it clear to his disciples that he was destined to go to Jerusalem and suffer grievously at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, to be put to death and to be raised up on the third day. Then, taking him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with him. ‘Heaven preserve you, Lord;’ he said ‘this must not happen to you.’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my path, because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.’
Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life?
‘For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and, when he does, he will reward each one according to his behaviour.’
Reflect on the Gospel
Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge. Use some quietening music again if you wish
Use one or more of the following prompts to help in reflecting on this Gospel passage.
- Short-term loss is sometimes necessary for long-term gain as a student studying or an athlete training can testify.
When have you found that denying yourself proved to be worthwhile because of what you gained afterwards?
- Jesus was teaching his followers that the path of discipleship would involve pain and suffering. Peter would have none of it.
When have you found that taking up your cross brought you life, even though at the time it may have
- Jesus knew that because his good news message was not acceptable to the authorities he would suffer and die, but God would see that evil would not have the last say.
Have you seen a good news message survive even though opponents tried to stifle it?
- Jesus promised that those who suffer for the kingdom would be rewarded.
Perhaps, even in this earthly life, you have experienced reward.
Finish this part with a Prayer
O God, whose word burns like a fire within us, grant us a bold and faithful spirit, that in your strength we may be unafraid to speak your word and follow where you lead.
We make this 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 Hugh Clifford for this weekend.
Begin: What will one gain by winning the whole world but losing one’s soul
For the Church: that we will have the wisdom to renounce material self interest and truly seek to discover the will of God. Lord Hear us
For our country: that we will continue to trust in one another and, as a people, remain united in seeking the common good. Lord Hear us
For our young people: that their education will not be disrupted and that our schools and colleges will remain open through out the school year. We pray that they will be kept safe. Lord hear us
For the peoples of East Africa: that they will be able to deal with the swarms of locusts devastating their crops. That they will have sufficient food for this coming year. Lord hear us
Lord we pray that a vaccine will be developed so that this pandemic will come to an end and we will be able to return to normal life. We pray that we will have the courage to insist that our political leaders work to alleviate the grave social injustices the virus has exposed in our own country and throughout the world. 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
Teach us, Lord, that nothing is more life-giving than to love and be loved in return. 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
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.