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O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
at the Jordan you revealed Jesus as your Son:
may we recognize him as our Lord
and know ourselves to be your beloved children;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Psalm 40.1-4, 7-10
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me out of the roaring pit,
out of the mire and clay;
he set my feet upon a rock and made my footing sure.
He has put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God;
many shall see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.
Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
who does not turn to the proud that follow a lie.
Sacrifice and offering you do not desire
but my ears you have opened;
Burnt offering and sacrifice for sin you have not required;
then said I: ‘Lo, I come.
‘In the scroll of the book it is written of me
that I should do your will, O my God;
I delight to do it: your law is within my heart.’
I have declared your righteousness in the great congregation;
behold, I did not restrain my lips,
and that, O Lord, you know.
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.
As soon as Jesus and his disciples left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.’ And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.
When I was a teenager it was not uncommon for the language of the Church to revolve around whether, or not, someone had ‘found’ Jesus. I always thought this was a rather strange attempt to sound more modern and in touch with younger people. I thought it strange because it immediately struck me that those asking the question were implying that Jesus was lost.
Like so many other catchphrases, this one came and went and the fashionable way of speaking about Jesus changed. Then, years later, as I was journeying through the period of retreat that preceded my ordination, I was asked by a very serious young man whether I had ‘found’ Jesus. Given the circumstances in which we were sharing, this seemed an absurd question to be asking anyone, but I was also reminded of my earlier reaction to this question: ‘Why? Is he lost?’
In today’s reading we hear of Simon and his companions hunting for Jesus because everyone was searching for him. The fact that Jesus had withdrawn for a time of prayer does not seem to have occurred to anyone. Instead there was a demand for instant gratification. The crowds had heard and seen Jesus in action, and they wanted more. Instead of hearing, seeing and understanding the Good News that he had brought into their midst, and then accepting the challenge of sharing that Good News with others, they sought to keep Jesus with them, as though he were their own personal property.
Each and every one of us is invited to join in the search for Jesus, but not because he is lost, but because it is we who are lost. Jesus is ever-present, walking the paths we tread, ready to guard and guide us, should we take the life-changing step of opening our eyes and ‘finding’ him alongside us.
The Good News that is Jesus Christ came into this world some two thousand years ago, and has remained with us ever since. The nature of his presence has changed. He is no longer a walking and talking human embodiment of God, but he is still with us. He empowers and encourages us through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is constantly striving to lead us into a closer relationship with his, and our, loving heavenly Father. Jesus is not lost … we are the ones who are walking through this life aimless and rudderless.
You may have encountered those who ask the question: ‘Have you found Jesus?’ Perhaps you are one of those who ask that question. Today’s reading encourages us to revisit and reshape those words. Rather than asking whether someone has ‘found Jesus’ we should be asking: ‘Have you allowed Jesus to find you?’ There’s a thought to sustain and strengthen us as we seek to be faithful disciples and apostles in this age of instant gratification, and trendy catchphrases!
Prayers of intercession
Let us pray for the healing of all ills in the Church and in the world.
May the Church ever proclaim the message of salvation and bring to others the new life which is in Christ. May she receive in love all who come to her with their needs.
We pray for all who are worn down by the weight of responsibility, those who are under stress in their work and their relationships. Give them the wisdom to draw apart, the grace to be still and find new strength in the presence of God.
Bless us in our families, and with our friends and neighbours, to care for the sick and help the weak.
Have compassion on those who are suffering from illness or injury, bring them relief and give skill to all who work for healing. Comfort and uphold those who care for the sick in their own homes.
We give thanks for the departed who are free from pain and weakness and are made whole in the life of heaven. May we in our time be granted the same mercy.
We pray in the name of Christ, the divine Healer.
Prayer for the week
Loving Father, we pray for all
who are any way troubled at this time.
Give relief to those in pain,
friendship to those who are alone,
reassurance to those in doubt or distress of mind;
and may our love be so strong that seeing need
we may never pass by on the other side.
We make our prayer in the name of Jesus Christ,
our loving Lord and Saviour.
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. Amen.
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.