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 here. and return when you are ready.
Introduce the Gospel
How we respond to pressure can vary very much from person to person. In John’s Gospel, there are two related stories of people being healed, one in chapter 5 and the other in chapter 9, today’s reading. The man at the pool, in chapter 5, eventually betrays Jesus. In today’s reading, the man born blind resists pressure and even grows on the strength of it. Part of his energy comes from his experience—
no matter what others may say about Jesus, he himself once was blind and now he sees! His courageous attachment to what he knows from his personal encounter with Jesus leads eventually to a full act of faith.
Read the Gospel – John 9:1-41
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.
The blind man went off and washed himself, and came away with his sight restored.
As Jesus went along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, for him to have been born blind?’ ‘Neither he nor his parents sinned,’ Jesus answered ‘he was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
‘As long as the day lasts
I must carry out the work of the one who sent me;
the night will soon be here when no one can work.
As long as I am in the world
I am the light of the world.’
Having said this, he spat on the ground, made a paste with the spittle, put this over the eyes of the blind man, and said to him, ‘Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (a name that means ‘sent’). So the blind man went off and washed himself, and came away with his sight restored.
His neighbours and people who earlier had seen him begging said, ‘Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?’ Some said, ‘Yes, it is the same one.’ Others said, ‘No, he only looks like him.’ The man himself said, ‘I am the man.’ So they said to him, ‘Then how do your eyes come to be open?’ ‘The man called Jesus’ he answered ‘made a paste, daubed my eyes with it and said to me, “Go and wash at Siloam”; so I went, and when I washed I could see.’ They asked, ‘Where is he?’ ‘I don’t know’ he answered.
They brought the man who had been blind to the Pharisees. It had been a sabbath day when Jesus made the paste and opened the man’s eyes, so when the Pharisees asked him how he had come to see, he said, ‘He put a paste on my eyes, and I washed, and I can see.’ Then some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man cannot be from God: he does not keep the sabbath.’ Others said, ‘How could a sinner produce signs like this?’ And there was disagreement among them. So they spoke to the blind man again, ‘What have you to say about him yourself, now that he has opened your eyes?’ ‘He is a prophet’ replied the man. However, the Jews would not believe that the man had been blind and had gained his sight, without first sending for his parents and asking them, ‘Is this man really your son who you say was born blind? If so, how is it that he is now able to see?’ His parents answered, ‘We know he is our son and we know he was born blind, but we do not know how it is that he can see now, or who opened his eyes. He is old enough: let him speak for himself.’ His parents spoke like this out of fear of the Jews, who had already agreed to expel from the synagogue anyone who should acknowledge Jesus as the Christ. This was why his parents said, ‘He is old enough; ask him.’
So the Jews again sent for the man and said to him, ‘Give glory to God! For our part, we know that this man is a sinner.’ The man answered, ‘I don’t know if he is a sinner; I only know that I was blind and now I can see.’ They said to him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ He replied, ‘I have told you once and you wouldn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it all again? Do you want to become his disciples too?’ At this they hurled abuse at him: ‘You can be his disciple,’ they said ‘we are disciples of Moses: we know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.’ The man replied, ‘Now here is an astonishing thing! He has opened my eyes, and you don’t know where he comes from! We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but God does listen to men who are devout and do his will. Ever since the world began it is unheard of for anyone to open the eyes of a man who was born blind; if this man were not from God, he couldn’t do a thing.’ ‘Are you trying to teach us,’ they replied ‘and you a sinner through and through, since you were born!’ And they drove him away.
Jesus heard they had driven him away, and when he found him he said to him, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied ‘tell me who he is so that I may believe in him.’ Jesus said, ‘You are looking at him; he is speaking to you.’ The man said, ‘Lord, I believe’, and worshipped him.
‘It is for judgement
that I have come into this world,
so that those without sight may see
and those with sight turn blind.
Hearing this, some Pharisees who were present said to him, ‘We are not blind, surely?’ Jesus replied:
‘Blind? If you were,
you would not be guilty,
but since you say, “We see,”
your guilt remains.’
Reflect on the Gospel
Take some time now to reflect on what you have read.
There are many approaches to this. Over the coming weeks, we will offer some different approachs. Use a method you are used to or use the one we offer.
When taking a gospel story for prayer, it is often helpful to break the story up into its individual sections. Each section represents a movement, an interaction between the characters. This is particularly true of a long story such as the one we have today.
There are six different scenes in this story. Any one of them could be the focal point for your prayer.
Try to identify the movement in the section you take for prayer. The objective is to discover the Good News in the story. The Good News is that the story of grace is deeper than the story of sin, both in the
gospels and in our lives.
One could also note the different characters in the story, for each of them could be a character with whom you can identify. In this story we have Jesus, the blind beggar, the disciples, the neighbours, the blind man’s parents and the Pharisees.
Finish this part with a Prayer
God our Creator, show forth your
mighty works in the midst of your people. Enlighten your church, that we may
know your Son as the true light of the World and through our worship confess him as Christ and Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, holy and mighty 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. The following have been prepared by parishioners for our Masses on this weekend.
We open our prayer by addressing God directly: The man born blind courageously sticks to what he knows from his personal encounter with Jesus and this leads him to his act of faith. We turn to You in prayer for our world and ourselves, in a trust coming from our experience of You in our lives:
For the Church, as we find new ways of being church in these days: …pause…
that we may find ways to share the light of the Gospel with all who we encounter even through our social distancing. Lord hear us
For all who are affected by coronavirus, through illness, isolation or anxiety: pause
that they may experience Your transforming touch and grow in their trust of You to bring about a new beginning and an abundant life. Lord hear us
For those who are guiding our nation at this time …pause…
that they may have sustained energy and continue to make wise decisions. Lord hear us
For all who are working in healthcare: …pause…
that they experience Your love for them through our support of their efforts and requests in these days. Lord hear us
For all who are working to combat the spread of the disease: …pause…
that You will inspire them with new ways to eradicate diseases and guide them in developing treatments and vaccines. Lord hear us
For insight and openness to caring for our environment: …pause…
that, as we see the improvements in our environment as a result of the reduced emissions across the globe, we may increase our understanding of how to protect Your creation from further harm.
Lord hear us
For your 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
Faithful God, you call us to be faithful even in times of trial. Teach us to embrace the challenge of faith today, that we may have the courage to grow and give courage to others by our witness. 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.
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.
Fr. Denis McCabe offers a 20 minute reflection on the Gospel – Click Here
Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Gospel – Click Here