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O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
defend your Church from all false teaching
and give to your people knowledge of your truth,
that we may enjoy eternal life
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Hear this, all you peoples;
listen, all you that dwell in the world,
You of low or high degree,
both rich and poor together.
My mouth shall speak of wisdom
and my heart shall meditate on understanding.
I will incline my ear to a parable;
I will unfold my riddle with the lyre.
Why should I fear in evil days,
when the malice of my foes surrounds me,
Such as trust in their goods
and glory in the abundance of their riches?
For no one can indeed ransom another
or pay to God the price of deliverance.
To ransom a soul is too costly;
there is no price one could pay for it,
So that they might live for ever,
and never see the grave.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
Jesus went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.
Throughout the history of the Church, money has been a constant bone of contention. Many see the Church as overflowing with riches, while others would argue that this is not the case. The issue of generous giving to the life, mission and ministry of Christ’s Church also causes much diversity of opinion, even conflict. There are some Church communities that donate to charitable causes in a sacrificial way, while there are others that hoard and hide their resources for the proverbial ‘rainy day’. Throughout the history of the Church, money has been a constant bone of contention, and things are no different in the here and now!
In today’s reading we are offered just three verses from Luke’s gospel. In these three verses we are offered a road map for the modern Church, a road map which should be taken seriously and not glossed over as three verses that provide a moment of relief in the serious narrative.
Firstly, we read of Jesus and his disciples going through the cities and villages. This journeying is being done in God’s name for we also read that they are: proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. This is our calling as well. We are all called to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. We are all called to bring that Good News into the lives of all whom we meet with joy and enthusiasm. We are called to live out every moment of every day as missionaries for Christ, and we are called to remain focused on that work.
Secondly, there is a recognition that those who do the work of God need to be sustained. Those who receive the Good News are also called, called to respond in generosity of spirit and in generosity of the wealth they have been fortunate enough to accrue.
Thirdly, the job of proclaiming the Good News and supporting those who take the mission of Christ’s Church seriously is a joint calling for us all. The diversity of those named in this short reading as providing for the needs of Jesus and his disciples demonstrates that call in the lives of us all. No matter what our social status, we are called to support and sustain Christ’s Church and Christ’s mission and ministry in this world.
Sadly, too many people are overcome with greed and self-interest when it comes to parting with their money. They make excuses for not supporting the Church, excuses which they then promulgate as the truth.
It cannot be denied that the Church holds many valuable assets. It cannot be denied that many of those assets do not sit easily alongside Jesus’ call to set worldly wealth to one side and to trust in God. But, Jesus’ call is for all of us. We all need to pray for the strength to trust in God’s bounty and God’s grace as we honour the greater commitment that has been laid upon our shoulders … the commitment to proclaim and bring the Good News into the lives of all.
Prayers of intercession
Let us pray to God for mercy on the Church and on all people.
Sustain your Church with faith in the power of Christ. Keep it free from the legalism that quenches the Spirit. Grant to all Christian people the assurance that Christ lives in them.
Look with mercy on the world where injustice is often done in the name of law. Fill all people with the spirit of generosity and openness to others. Restore the outcast and despised to acceptance in their societies.
In our family life, keep us always ready to receive in your name those who need our love. Give us the grace freely to forgive those who offend us in our work or social life.
Have mercy on all who are caught in debt that they cannot escape. Help them in their need and grant mercy to their creditors. Accept the sorrow of penitent sinners.
We pray for those who have died, that they may receive through the mercy of Christ forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. May we in our time be saved through faith and depart in peace.
As sinners who know their need for mercy, we pray in the name of Christ.
Prayer for the week
Into the hands of your love and mercy,
O God our Father,
we commit our lives this day:
our work and the tasks that await us;
our homes and the members of our families;
our loved ones and especially those in need.
Give to us your guidance,
your strength and your protection,
according to our needs
and throughout this and every day
keep us abiding in your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Lord’s Prayer
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.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore. Amen.