4th Sunday of Ordinary Time (B)

Gospel

Mark 1: 21-28

Jesus and his disciples went as far as Capernaum, and as soon as the Sabbath came he went to the synagogue and began to teach. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.

In their synagogue just then there was a man possessed by an unclean spirit and it shouted, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus said sharply, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him. The people were so astonished that they started asking each other what it all meant. ‘Here is a teaching that is new’ they said ‘and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.’ And his reputation rapidly spread everywhere, through all the surrounding Galilean countryside.

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Praying with the Gospel

You might like to ponder this miraculous healing using your imagination in prayer.

First, enter into this time of prayer gently.  Try to become calm as you read the text slowly a few times.

Then carefully set the scene…  pay particular attention to Jesus as he teaches…  note how his teaching makes a deep impression on the crowd…  why is this? … what impact does he have on you? …

Then, watch as he deals with the man in the synagogue…  ‘I know who you are’, says the evil spirit.  Who is Jesus for you? …

The people respond to the healing with astonishment.  How do you respond? … What do you make of Jesus’s authority? …

Jesus’ words are manifested through powerful deeds so that his fame spreads throughout Galilee.  As you listen to Jesus and watch his actions, what do you sense arising within you? …

Do you feel that Jesus may want to speak with you now?  What do you wish to say to him?  Give what time you can to this dialogue from the heart.  You can trust this ‘Holy One of God’…

Then end this time of prayer by slowly making sign of the cross.

(Adapted from St Beuno’s Outreach in the Diocese of Wrexham)

Concluding Prayer

Lord our God,
help us to love you with all our hearts
and to love all people as you love them.
Through Christ our Lord.Amen.


3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time (B)

Gospel

Mark 1: 14-20

After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’

As he was walking along by the Sea of Galilee he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net in the lake – for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make your fishers of men.’ And at once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on a little further, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they too were in their boat, mending their nets. He called them at once and, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the men he employed, they went after him.

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Praying through the Gospel

I read this text quietly from the heart. I allow words or phrases to touch me.
I let myself be drawn by what moves me.
It is the living Word, the Good News that Christ himself gives…

As I read, I might be impressed by the response of the disciples to the call of Jesus from the shore. It is whole-hearted.
Perhaps I am struck by the pace of the text.
Jesus says the time has come, and calls on the people to repent and believe.
He calls the disciples and they follow immediately.
I ponder on the ready trust they show in Jesus and on the trust he shows in them…

I might like to reflect upon the same Christ calling my name from the shore of my own life.
How does his voice sound?
Does it ring clear, or does it have to compete with other voices demanding my attention, investment, and commitment?
How does this voice console me? …

I end my prayer by pondering this message of Good News.
I talk to Christ in my own words, asking that it sink down into the deepest part of my heart and soul; that I might really believe and trust…

(Prepared by St Beuno’s Outreach in the Diocese of Wrexham)

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Concluding Prayer

Your sovereign rule, O God,
draws near to us
in the person of Jesus your Son.
Your word summons us to faith;
your power transforms our lives.

Free us to follow in Christ’s footsteps,
so that neither human loyalty
nor earthly attachment
may hold us back from answering your call.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.Amen.


2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time (B)

Gospel

John 1: 35-42

As John stood with two of his disciples, Jesus passed, and John stared hard at him and said, ‘Look, there is the Lamb of God.’

Hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. Jesus turned round, saw them following him and said, ‘What do you want?’ They answered, ‘Rabbi,’ – which means Teacher – ‘where do you live?’ ‘Come and see’ he replied; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him the rest of that day. It was about the tenth hour.

One of these two who became followers of Jesus after hearing what John had said was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. Early next morning, Andrew met his brother and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ – which means Christ – and he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked hard at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas’ – meaning Rock.

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Pondering the Gospel

John the Baptist pointed the disciples towards Jesus as the one they should follow. Who have been the people in your life who have pointed you in a new and life-giving direction?

Jesus invited the disciples to come and see how he lived. How have you come to learn how Jesus lived? How has this attracted you to follow him?

Andrew did not keep the good news to himself but invited his brother to join him in following Jesus. In what ways do you invite others to encounter Jesus?

(Adapted from Fr John Byrne OSA in Intercom Magazine)

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Going Deeper

Today is the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, and this year’s theme is ‘Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating migrants and refugees’.

In his message to mark the day, Pope Francis spoke of our responsibility, as individuals, communities and Church, to welcome everyone, particularly those who have been forced to leave their home in search of a better future.

‘Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age … This is a great responsibility, which the Church intends to share with all believers and men and women of good will, who are called to respond to the many challenges of contemporary migration with generosity, promptness, wisdom and foresight, each according to their own abilities.’

Pope Francis has spoken often of our ‘brotherly responsibility’ towards our fellow human beings, and how our welcome ought to be a response to the Lord’s supreme commandment to love the other, the stranger, as ourselves. We all have opportunities to do this in our communities.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites the disciples to ‘come and see’ where he lives. He welcomes them into his home and they stay with him for the rest of the day. The example of Jesus encourages us to be welcoming, to extend a warm invitation, and to spend time with others in friendship.

(Tríona Doherty, Athlone, Co Roscommon, Ireland)

Prayer

From our earliest days, O God,
you call us by name.
Make our ears attentive to your voice,
our spirits eager to respond,
that, having heard you in Jesus your anointed one,
we may draw others to be his disciples.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.

(c) 1998 International Committee on English in the Liturgy Corporation.


Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

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Gospel  (Matthew 2: 1-12)

After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east. ‘Where is the infant king of the Jews?’ they asked. ‘We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.’ When King Herod heard this he was perturbed, and so was the whole of Jerusalem. He called together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, and enquired of them where the Christ was to be born. ‘At Bethlehem in Judaea,’ they told him ‘for this is what the prophet wrote:

And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
you are by no means least among the leaders of Judah,
for out of you will come a leader
who will shepherd my people Israel.’

Then Herod summoned the wise men to see him privately. He asked them the exact date on which the star had appeared, and sent them on to Bethlehem. ‘Go and find out all about the child,’ he said ‘and when you have found him, let me know, so that I too may go and do him homage.’ Having listened to what the king had to say, they set out. And there in front of them was the star they had seen rising; it went forward, and halted over the place where the child was. The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. But they were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, and returned to their own country by a different way.

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Blessing of Homes

The Blessing of Homes is a time-honoured custom on the Feast of the Epiphany. It reminds us that Christ is with us in the love and care we show one another in our ordinary, everyday lives together. Why not have a little celebration at home today? One custom is to trace the Cross, the initials “CMB”, and the numerals of the year on the doorway of your house (either using chalk, holy water or simply with your finger), and then share your usual Sunday meal together. “CMB” stands for “Christus mansionem benedicat” – “May Christ bless this house!”

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