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Gospel

Jerusalem Bible © 1966 by Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Company Inc.

On the first day of the week, at the first sign of dawn, they went to the tomb with the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb, but on entering discovered that the body of the Lord Jesus was not there. As they stood there not knowing what to think, two men in brilliant clothes suddenly appeared at their side. Terrified, the women lowered their eyes. But the two men said to them, ‘Why look among the dead for someone who is alive? He is not here; he has risen. Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee: that the Son of Man had to be handed over into the power of sinful men and be crucified, and rise again on the third day?’ And they remembered his words.

When the women returned from the tomb they told all this to the Eleven and to all the others. The women were Mary of Magdala, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James. The other women with them also told the apostles, but this story of theirs seemed pure nonsense, and they did not believe them.

Peter, however, went running to the tomb. He bent down and saw the binding cloths but nothing else; he then went back home, amazed at what had happened.

(Luke 24:1–12)

Did you know?

Points of interest and Catholic lore

Exploring the Word

Spend some time reading over the many Scripture texts used in the past three days, especially those of the Easter Vigil liturgy, which trace the relationship between God and God’s people. The first three tell the story of creation, the promise to Abraham and the deliverance of Israel from bondage. The extracts from the prophets give voice to God’s love for God’s people. The New Testament readings reflect on the final and definitive act of God—the passing over of Jesus from death to life and our sharing in this mystery through baptism. These are the ‘mighty works’ of God on behalf of the people.

Making connections

Opportunities for group discussion and personal prayer

Sharing the tradition

A closer look at the Scripture of the day, to see how it makes more explicit God’s word to us through the teachings of Jesus Christ

There is an essential unity in the three days of the Triduum, which begins with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, including the washing of the feet, and culminates in the Easter Vigil, featuring the Service of Light, late on Holy Saturday night.

The newly baptised neophytes now enter the period of mystagogy or post-baptismal catechesis.

This is a time for the community and the neophytes together to grow in deepening their grasp of the paschal mystery and in making it a part of their lives through meditation on the Gospel, sharing in the Eucharist and doing the works of charity.

(RCIA, §234)

Symbols and images

The first day of the week, Sunday, has a special significance for Christians because of the resurrection of Jesus. It is known as the Lord’s Day and was set aside from earliest times as the day for the community of believers to gather for the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist.

Living the Word

Practical ideas for group leaders to employ in connecting Scripture and daily life, with suggestions for music and environment

Use a candle, preferably the one given to the elect at their baptism, and yellow flowers to recall the resurrection. Sing an Easter song. You could use adaptations of the prayers used during the baptismal liturgy of the Vigil—for example, the invitation in the RCIA at §227.

Gospel

Jerusalem Bible © 1966 by Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Company Inc.

… When they reached the place called The Skull, they crucified him and the two criminals also, one on the right, the other on the left. Jesus said, ‘Father forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.’ Then they cast lots to share out his clothing.

The people stayed there watching him. As for the leaders, they jeered at him. ‘He saved others,’ they said ‘let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.’ The soldiers mocked him too and when they approached to offer him vinegar they said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’ Above him there was an inscription: ‘This is the King of the Jews.’

One of the criminals hanging there abused him. ‘Are you not the Christ?’ he said. ‘Save yourself and us as well.’ But the other spoke up and rebuked him. ‘Have you no fear of God at all?’ he said. ‘You got the same sentence as he did, but in our case we deserved it; we are paying for what we did. But this man has done no wrong. Jesus,’ he said, ‘remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ ‘Indeed, I promise you, ‘he replied, ‘today you will be with me in paradise.’

It was now about the sixth hour and, with the sun eclipsed, a darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. The veil of the Temple was torn right down the middle; and when Jesus had cried out in a loud voice, he said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ With these words he breathed his last …

(Luke 22:14–23:56 heavily abridged)

Did you know?

Points of interest and Catholic lore

Exploring the Word

So much of what is at the heart of Christianity is present in today’s long gospel reading:

Making connections

Opportunities for group discussion and personal prayer

Sharing the tradition

A closer look at the Scripture of the day, to see how it makes more explicit God’s word to us through the teachings of Jesus Christ

Passion Sunday, also called Palm Sunday, was already being celebrated in Jerusalem before the year 400. Processions with palms followed the path of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. In following this custom today, we are not simply reenacting the events of that day but also uniting ourselves with Christ’s journey to the cross and resurrection. We celebrate that victory over death and sin and share his suffering so that we may also share his resurrection and the new life it won.

Symbols and images

Two symbols dominate the celebration of Christ’s Passion: the palms and the cross. The palms symbolise Christ’s triumph, and the cross is the means by which that triumph is achieved.

Living the Word

Practical ideas for group leaders to employ in connecting Scripture and daily life, with suggestions for music and environment

As we emerge from COVID, and as we reflect as a community on the experiences of the past two years, two special Masses will be celebrated by Archbishop Peter A Comensoli in May to recognise and remember some of those whose lives have been especially affected by the pandemic.

Mass of Thanksgiving for Health and Aged-care Workers

Sunday 1 May 2022
(Feast of St Joseph the Worker and May Day)
St Patrick’s Cathedral

Employees in the aged- and health-care service sectors are invited to attend this Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, with hospitality to follow.

Parishes are also encouraged to mark this event in their own communities by focusing prayerfully on the contributions and the needs of aged- and health-care workers during their own Masses on the weekend of 30 April and 1 May.

Some suggestions to engage parish communities during Mass

Intercessions for health- and aged-care workers

We pray for all those in our health- and aged-care systems who bring comfort and healing to the sick, the frail and the dying. May God protect and uphold them in their important work, and may they be encouraged and well supported in their calling to serve the most vulnerable among us.

Lord, hear us.
Lord, hear our prayer.

We pray especially today for all those in our health- and aged-care systems who are suffering from trauma or burnout in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the added demands that this crisis has placed on them. May our God of peace and mercy bring healing to the healers, meeting them in their deepest need.

Lord, hear us.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Blessed are you, Lord, God of mercy,
Who through your Son gave us a marvelous example of charity
and the great commandment of love for one another.

Send down your blessings on these your servants,
who so generously devote themselves to helping others.

When they are called on in times of need,
let them faithfully serve you in their neighbour.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Suggested parish bulletin notice

Mass of Thanksgiving for Health and Aged-care Workers, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Sunday 1 May

As we emerge from COVID, and as we reflect as a community on the experiences of the past two years, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli will celebrate a special Mass at St Patricks Cathedral at 11am on Sunday 1 May to recognise and remember all those who serve our community in the health- and aged-care systems.

Employees in the aged- and health-care service sectors are invited to attend this Mass, with hospitality to follow.

We will be marking this event in our own parish during Masses on the weekend of 30 April and 1 May by focusing prayerfully on the contributions and the needs of aged- and health-care workers.

Mass to Commemorate Those Who Have Died during the COVID Pandemic

Sunday 22 May 2022
St Patrick’s Cathedral

‘He will wipe away all tears from their eyes; death will be no more, and sadness and crying and pain will be no more. The first things have passed away.’

—Revelation 21:4

In recognition of the significant impact of COVID in our families and communities, Archbishop Peter will celebrate a memorial Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Sunday 22 May for all those who have died during the COVID pandemic (including but not limited to those who have died from COVID). This Mass will be offered for all the departed who could not be mourned properly or whose lives could not be celebrated suitably because of pandemic restrictions.

You are invited to submit the name(s) of those you would like remembered during the Mass by filling out the following form. The names will be placed in a basket, which will be placed at the base of the altar, to be prayed for during all Masses over the weekend of 21–22 May.

Parishes are also encouraged to mark this event in their own communities during their Masses on the weekend of 21–22 May by focusing prayerfully on those who died during COVID.

Some suggestions to engage parish communities during Mass

Intercessions for those who have died during COVID

We pray for the sick of our parish and for all who have asked for our prayers.
We pray for those whose anniversaries we remember at this time and all those who have died recently. We pray especially today, across our Archdiocese, for all those who have died during the COVID-19 pandemic. May they know fullness of eternal life in God’s kingdom.

Lord, hear us.
Lord, hear our prayer.

We pray for the families and friends of all those who have lost their lives during the pandemic, and especially for those who were unable to be with their loved ones as they died, or who have been unable to gather in person at funerals because of COVID restrictions. May our God of grace and compassion be close to them in their grief, and may they find meaningful ways to remember and honour the lives of those they have lost.

Lord, hear us.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Suggested parish bulletin notice

Mass to Commemorate Those Who Have Died during the COVID Pandemic, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Sunday 22 May

In recognition of the significant impact of COVID in our families and communities, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli will celebrate a memorial Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Sunday 22 May for all those who have died during the COVID pandemic (including but not limited to those who have died from COVID). This Mass will be offered for all the departed who could not be mourned properly or whose lives could not be celebrated suitably because of pandemic restrictions.

You can submit names of those you would like remembered at this Mass via the following link:

www.surveymonkey.com/r/GZKP7QF

We will be marking this event in our own parish during Masses on the weekend of 21 and 22 May by remembering and celebrating the lives of those within our own community who have died during COVID.

Gospel

Jerusalem Bible © 1966 by Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Company Inc.

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At daybreak he appeared in the Temple again; and as all the people came to him, he sat down and began to teach them.

The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery; and making her stand there in full view of everybody, they said to Jesus, ‘Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery, and Moses has ordered us in the Law to condemn women like this to death by stoning. What have you to say?’ They asked him this as a test, looking for something to use against him. But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger. As they persisted with their question, he looked up and said, ‘If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Then he bent down and wrote on the ground again. When they heard this they went away one by one, beginning with the eldest, until Jesus was left alone with the woman, who remained standing there. He looked up and said, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir’ she replied. ‘Neither do I condemn you,’ said Jesus ‘go away, and do not sin anymore.’

(John 8:1–11)

Did you know?

Points of interest and Catholic lore

Exploring the Word

This gospel combines the themes that have been emerging during Lent: the goodness and mercy of God and the need for repentance. It is an interesting exercise to concentrate on the woman in this story. She is dragged in by the religious authorities to be used as a ‘thing’ to test Jesus. In this early phase of the encounter, Jesus does not look at the woman or acknowledge her presence but addresses his response to the crowd and to the scribes and Pharisees. It is only after they have left the scene in shame that he turns his attention to the woman and establishes personal contact with her, confirming that she is a human person and not a ‘thing’. The intimacy of his address to her as ‘Woman’ echoes the term he uses in addressing his mother (John 2:4, John 19:26). Jesus neither condemns nor condones. He simply accepts the woman as she is and invites her to a new life. It is acceptance and love that allows repentance and change to occur in others.

Making connections

Opportunities for group discussion and personal prayer

Sharing the tradition

A closer look at the Scripture of the day, to see how it makes more explicit God’s word to us through the teachings of Jesus Christ

Last week, you explored understandings of sin. Turning away from sin requires a conversion of the heart (CCC, §1430).

Interior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil … At the same time, it entails the desire and resolution to change one’s life, with hope in God’s mercy and trust in the help of his grace.

(CCC, §1431)

Baptism is the principal place for the first and fundamental conversion. It is by faith in the Gospel and by Baptism that one renounces evil and gains salvation, that is the forgiveness of all sins and the gift of new life.

(CCC, §1427)

Being a Christian demands constant re-conversion. Often we fail to live up to the promise of our new life, so we need to undergo many experiences of conversion to orient ourselves again to God.

Symbols and images

The question posed to Jesus by the Pharisees was meant to trick him. If he condoned her stoning, the act would break Roman law; if he refused to condone it, he would be holding religious law in contempt. In his response, God, in Jesus, is offering a new way. He does not condemn the sinner but invites her to leave her past behind and begin again. This imagery of forgiveness is consistent throughout the Lenten readings.

Living the Word

Practical ideas for group leaders to employ in connecting Scripture and daily life, with suggestions for music and environment

Gospel

Jerusalem Bible © 1966 by Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Company Inc.

The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the Pharisees and the scribes complained. ‘This man’ they said ‘welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ So he spoke this parable to them:

‘A man had two sons. The younger said to his father, “Father, let me have the share of the estate that would come to me.” So the father divided the property between them. A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.

‘When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch, so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants who put him on his farm to feed the pigs. And he would willingly have filled his belly with the husks the pigs were eating but no one offered him anything. Then he came to his senses and said, “How many of my father’s paid servants have more food than they want, and here am I dying of hunger! I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your paid servants.” So he left the place and went back to his father.

‘While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly. Then his son said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the calf we have been fattening, and kill it; we are going to have a feast, a celebration, because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found.” And they began to celebrate.

‘Now the elder son was out in the fields, and on his way back, as he drew near the house, he could hear music and dancing. Calling one of the servants he asked what it was all about. “Your brother has come” replied the servant “and your father has killed the calf we had fattened because he has got him back safe and sound.” He was angry then and refused to go in, and his father came out to plead with him; but he answered his father, “Look, all these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed your orders, yet you never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends. But, for this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property—he and his women—you kill the calf we had been fattening.”

‘The father said, “My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours. But it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found.”’

(Luke 15:1–3, 11–32)

Did you know?

Points of interest and Catholic lore

Exploring the Word

The religious leaders at the time of Jesus felt that there was no place for sinners in God’s kingdom. This parable shows that there is always hope and a promise of forgiveness for those who repent and turn again to God, and that God never tires of seeking the lost. The father allows his youngest son the freedom to choose his way and make his own mistakes, but he keeps the door of welcome open. Through his journey, this son comes to realise that his fulfillment lies with his father and returns. At this point, the elder son changes places with the younger and becomes the one who is alienated and outside the feast. The reaction of the father is consistent: he goes outside to meet his elder son, now the lost one, to tell him, ‘All I have is yours.’ The reward is for both the righteous and the repentant sinner.

Making connections

Opportunities for group discussion and personal prayer

Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. Forgive me.

Sharing the tradition

A closer look at the Scripture of the day, to see how it makes more explicit God’s word to us through the teachings of Jesus Christ

The unhappiness of both the sons in this parable is ultimately traceable to their distancing themselves from their father. The Church names this distancing from God as sin.

Sin is an offence against reason, truth and right conscience; it is a failure in genuine love for God and neighbour … It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity.

(CCC, §1849)

Sin is a personal act … Sin gives rise to social situations and institutions that are contrary to divine goodness.

(CCC, §§1868, 1869)

Symbols and images

God’s abundance is again portrayed in the image of the great feast—the kingdom of heaven is open both to the righteous and to the sinner who repents. God’s boundless forgiveness and loving welcome of the penitent are at the core of this parable.

Living the Word

Practical ideas for group leaders to employ in connecting Scripture and daily life, with suggestions for music and environment

Gospel

Jerusalem Bible © 1966 by Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Company Inc.

Some people arrived and told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices. At this he said to them, ‘Do you suppose these Galileans who suffered like that were greater sinners than any other Galileans? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen on whom the tower at Siloam fell and killed them? Do you suppose that they were more guilty than all the other people living in Jerusalem? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did.’

He told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it but found none. He said to the man who looked after the vineyard, “Look here, for three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?” “Sir,” the man replied “leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it: it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.”’

(Luke 13:1–9)

Did you know?

Points of interest and Catholic lore

Exploring the Word

This gospel is really about the loving care and patience of God. It was commonly believed that a loving God could not be responsible for terrible calamities that befell people, but that these events must somehow be a result of their own sinfulness. Jesus takes the opportunity to say that the recent deaths of both Galileans and inhabitants of Jerusalem did not mean that they were any more sinful than others. They were no more deserving of death than anyone else. Indeed, we must not look to the sinfulness of others but to our own need for repentance.

The parable of the owner of the vineyard tells of God’s infinite patience in dealing with the sinfulness of humans. Despite our failings, God will graciously allow us time to produce our best fruit. The theme of this gospel—God’s forgiveness and care—will be taken up in the gospels of the next two weeks.

Making connections

Opportunities for group discussion and personal prayer

Sharing the tradition

A closer look at the Scripture of the day, to see how it makes more explicit God’s word to us through the teachings of Jesus Christ

Knowing how to explain the problem of suffering and evil in a world created by a good and loving God has always been a dilemma for people of faith. How can God allow terrible things to occur, especially to the innocent?

The world we live in often seems very far from the one promised us by faith. Our experiences of evil and suffering, injustice, and death, seem to contradict the Good News; they can shake our faith and become a temptation against it

(CCC, §164)

As Christians, we believe that the only answer to these profound questions lies in faith in the risen Christ, who overcame death and evil.

Symbols and images

The vineyard was often used in Scripture as a symbol of Israel, God’s people. God is depicted as the owner of the vineyard, who attends to it with great care—planting, cultivating, feeding and pruning the vines to make them fruitful and abundant. Israel will be judged on what fruit it bears or fails to bear. So too will we be judged on how fruitful our lives are.

Living the Word

Practical ideas for group leaders to employ in connecting Scripture and daily life, with suggestions for music and environment

Gospel

Jerusalem Bible © 1966 by Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Company Inc.

Jesus took with him Peter and John and James and went up the mountain to pray. As he prayed, the aspect of his face was changed and his clothing became brilliant as lightning. Suddenly there were two men there talking to him; they were Moses and Elijah appearing in glory, and they were speaking of his passing which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were heavy with sleep, but they kept awake and saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As these were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what he was saying. As he spoke, a cloud came and covered them with shadow; and when they went into the cloud the disciples were afraid. And a voice came from the cloud saying, ‘This is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him.’ And after the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. The disciples kept silence and, at that time, told no one what they had seen.

(Luke 9:28–36)

Did you know?

Points of interest and Catholic lore

Exploring the Word

One of the overriding themes of Luke’s Gospel is Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. Just a few verses on from this text, Jesus ‘resolutely took the road for Jerusalem,’ and his resolve is foreshadowed here in the conversation he is having with Moses and Elijah as they speak of ‘his passing which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem.’ Jesus is revealing not only his true identity to his chosen companions but also his destiny: the ‘passing over’ of his death and resurrection, by which his divinity will be definitively revealed to all. Through that event, all that the law (represented by Moses) and the prophets (represented by Elijah) stood for will be accomplished. Peter misunderstands and thinks that the event on the mountain is the end of the story—he wants to erect tents there. He has not yet grasped the need to continue with the journey to Jerusalem. As a Christian, one cannot simply remain on the mountain in contemplation of divinity; one must also come down from the mountain and take the earthly road of living the faith to its ultimate conclusion.

Making connections

Opportunities for group discussion and personal prayer

Sharing the tradition

A closer look at the Scripture of the day, to see how it makes more explicit God’s word to us through the teachings of Jesus Christ

Prayer is a vital necessity … if we do not allow the Spirit to lead us, we fall back into the slavery of sin.

(CCC, §2744).

The tradition and life of prayer for Christians is richly explored in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In this period of purification and enlightenment, it is appropriate to spend some time assisting the elect to identify forms of prayer that will sustain and strengthen their faith into their future life as members of the Church.

Part Four of the catechism provides extensive material on places, forms and styles of prayer.

Symbols and images

The cloud symbolises the presence of God. It reveals the divine presence but also conceals it, thus protecting the witnesses from the full power of God’s glory. Moses encountered the same phenomenon (Exodus 24:15). Another favourite symbol for the presence of God in the Hebrew Scriptures is flame or smoke—for example, in the burning bush (Exodus 3) or on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19).

Living the Word

Practical ideas for group leaders to employ in connecting Scripture and daily life, with suggestions for music and environment

Gospel

Jerusalem Bible © 1966 by Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Company Inc.

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit through the wilderness, being tempted there by the devil for forty days. During that time he ate nothing and at the end he was hungry. Then the devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to turn into a loaf.’ But Jesus replied, ‘Scripture says: Man does not live on bread alone.’

Then leading him to a height, the devil showed him in a moment of time all the kingdoms of the world and said to him, ‘I will give you all this power and the glory of these kingdoms, for it has been committed to me and I give it to anyone I choose. Worship me, then, and it shall all be yours.’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Scripture says:

You must worship the Lord your God,
and serve him alone.’

Then he led him to Jerusalem and made him stand on the parapet of the Temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said to him ‘throw yourself down from here, for scripture says:

He will put his angels in charge of you
to guard you,

and again:

They will hold you up on their hands
in case you hurt your foot against a stone.’

But Jesus answered him, ‘It has been said:

You must not put the Lord your God to the test.’

Having exhausted all these ways of tempting him, the devil left him, to return at the appointed time.

(Luke 4:1–13)

Did you know?

Points of interest and Catholic lore

Exploring the Word

Jesus’ fast of forty days in the wilderness recalls the stories of Elijah and Moses, and his temptation recalls the severe testing to which the people of Israel were subjected when they too wandered in the desert. Israel was found wanting and succumbed to the temptations, worshipping false gods, but Jesus uses the word of God to defeat the power of evil: ‘Man does not live on bread alone’ (Deuteronomy 8:13); ‘You must worship the Lord your God’ (Deuteronomy 6:13). In testing Jesus, Satan is testing God himself and is dismissed from the story with the words ‘You must not put the Lord your God to the test’ (Deuteronomy 6:16). Jesus has reversed Israel’s experience in the desert and become the founder of a new people.

Making connections

Opportunities for group discussion and personal prayer

Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.

Sharing the tradition

A closer look at the Scripture of the day, to see how it makes more explicit God’s word to us through the teachings of Jesus Christ

The whole season of Lent–Easter–Pentecost has a fundamental integrity and unity to it, despite being divided into forty- and fifty-day time frames, set each side of the Easter celebration. The word Lent is derived from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning ‘spring’ and was associated in the northern hemisphere with the seasonal change from winter and the lengthening of the days. The forty-day period of fasting and almsgiving in preparation for Easter was not firmly set until the fourth century and had strong catechumenal and baptismal overtones, as this was the final preparation time for people seeking baptism. This focus has been revised in recent years, and of course the current catechumens have become part of that process.

Symbols and images

In the Scriptures, the desert or the wilderness is a place of great deprivation and hardship. We sometimes hear of people undergoing a ‘dark night of the soul’ or a ‘desert experience’. It can be a time of testing. Often these experiences, however, lead to a new understanding of God or a renewed faith, in much the same way that God led God’s people through the wilderness to the Promised Land.

Living the Word

Practical ideas for group leaders to employ in connecting Scripture and daily life, with suggestions for music and environment

First reading

Ecclesiasticus 27:5–8
The test of a man is in his conversation.

Responsorial psalm

Psalm 91(92):2–3, 13–16
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.

Second reading

1 Corinthians 15:54–58
Death is swallowed up in victory.

Gospel acclamation

Philippians 2:15–16
Shine on the world like bright stars; you are offering it the word of life.

Gospel

Luke 6:39–45
Can the blind lead the blind?

Images from the Word

Liturgical notes

To bring to completion the prayer of the People of God, and also to conclude the entire Communion Rite, the priest sings or says the Prayer after Communion, in which he prays for the fruits of the mystery just celebrated.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal, §89

Having completed our Sunday celebration of the Mass, we are blessed to take the fruits of the celebration into our world. Our God relies upon us to be ambassadors of his work in our world. It will be by our faith-filled service to our brothers and sisters that it will be possible for God to be present to our world.

‘Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age, says the Lord.’

—communion antiphon

First reading

1 Samuel 26:2, 7–9, 11–13, 22–23
Do not lift your hand against the Lord’s anointed.

Responsorial psalm

Psalm 102(103):1–4, 8, 10, 12–13
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Second reading

1 Corinthians 15:45–49
The first Adam became a living soul; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.

Gospel acclamation

John 13:34
I give you a new commandment; love one another as I have loved you.

Gospel

Luke 6:27–38
Love your enemies.

Images from the Word:

Liturgical notes:

In the celebration of Mass

is found the high point both of the action by which God sanctifies the world in Christ and of the worship that the human race offers to the Father, adoring him through Christ, the Son of God, in the Holy Spirit.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal, §16

As the Mass is the action of Christ and of the Church, we are both blessed by the action of Christ and join with Christ in giving true worship to God. Christ may be the Alpha, but Christ relies upon the Church to live appropriately so that he may be present as the Omega. Our God stands in need of our lives of holiness so that his plan for salvation may be achieved.

‘Lord, I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God, who is coming into this world’

—communion antiphon

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