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LOCKDOWN 3 MASS 9


The Fourth Sunday in Lent



LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS - Nicodemus comes to Jesus,

to shed some light on some of his questions.


In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Jesus, cleanser of temples and souls, at this mid-point in our Lenten journey,

look deep within our hearts and lives and clear away all that holds us back.

Let us confess our thoughts, words and deeds that clutter us,

and call to mind our sins….

I confess to almighty God

that I have greatly sinned,

in my thoughts and in my words,

in what I have done

and in what I have failed to do,

through my fault, through my fault,

through my most grievous fault;

therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints,

to pray for me to the Lord our God.


May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins,

and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.



THE COLLECT FOR THE DAY


O God, who through your Word reconcile the human race to yourself

in a wonderful way, grant, we pray, that with prompt devotion and eager faith

the Christian people may hasten toward the solemn celebrations to come.

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. Amen.


FIRST READING - Ephesians 2:4-10

God loved us with so much love that he was generous with his mercy:

when we were dead through our sins, he brought us to life with Christ –

it is through grace that you have been saved – and raised us up with him and gave us a place with him in heaven,

in Christ Jesus. This was to show for all ages to come, through his goodness towards us in Christ Jesus, how infinitely rich he is in grace.


Because it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith; not by anything of your own, but by a gift from God; not by anything that you have done, so that nobody can claim the credit. We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life as from the beginning he had meant us to live it

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.


RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 136


O let my tongue cleave to my mouth

if I remember you not!


By the rivers of Babylon

there we sat and wept,

remembering Zion:

on the poplars that grew

there we hung our harps.


O let my tongue cleave to my mouth

if I remember you not!


For it was there that they asked us,

our captors, for songs,

our oppressors, for joy.

“Sing to us,” they said,

“one of Zion’s songs.”


O let my tongue cleave to my mouth

if I remember you not!


O how could we sing

the song of the Lord on alien soil?

If I forget you, Jerusalem,

let my right hand wither!


O let my tongue cleave to my mouth

if I remember you not!


O let my tongue cleave to my mouth

if I remember you not,

if I prize not Jerusalem

above all my joys!

O let my tongue cleave to my mouth

if I remember you not!


GOSPEL ACCLAMATION


Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!

God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son;

everyone who believes in him has eternal life

Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!


A reading from the holy Gospel according to John chapter 3 (vv.14-21)


Jesus said to Nicodemus:

“The Son of Man must be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent

in the desert, so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.

Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son,

so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost

but may have eternal life.

For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world,

but so that through him the world might be saved.

No one who believes in him will be condemned;

but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already,

because he has refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son.

On these grounds is sentence pronounced:

that though the light has come into the world

men have shown they prefer darkness to the light

because their deeds were evil.

And indeed, everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it,

for fear his actions should be exposed;

but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light,

so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.”

The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.



HOMILY


OK Nicodemus – I understand exactly where you’re coming from – I’ve never been able to get hold of the concept “born again” either. I agree with you – how can you return into your mother’s womb – how could I, a seventy-year old, go through all that stuff again?


Born again?….. but thrown again, that’s a different story. Recently I happened upon Jeremiah chapter 18 – where Jeremiah is given a manifestation of the Lord as a Potter, making and remaking a vessel.


Jeremiah 18:1-12 The Lord said to Jeremiah – “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, working at his wheel. The vessel he was making was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. Then the Lord said: “Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.”


Reading this, and suddenly it all made sense. My experience of throwing pots has been filled with mixed success, especially as my introduction to pottery was in using an electrically-driven wheel. But the great thing was – if I didn’t like the look of the pot that was emerging, I could throw it again.


So – not “born again”, but “thrown again” – now that I CAN understand; the Lord taking the clay of my nature and throwing it until I can become a useful, appropriate vessel for Him. I sense He’s had a few throws in my time.


So the idea that Nicodemus was reworked - I get that. Nicodemus, who was a member of the most excessively religious, legalist, and exclusive party in Judaism; the religious party most opposed to Jesus and his “liberal” interpretations of The Law of Moses.


It looks as though Nicodemus is having trouble marrying the Pharisees’ approach to faith with Jesus’ teaching, and so he comes to Jesus out of the darkness of night,

out of the darkness of Pharisaic blinkerdom,

out of their gaze, to sort it all out.


Jesus tells Nicodemus that it can’t be married…..

He will have to start again, like a rebirth, to see things from a completely new angle,

before he can begin to see things from the Jesus perspective. (3:3).

Of course, Nicodemus the Pharisee has already found religion,

so he thinks that Jesus must be referring to a physical rebirth (3:4),

and we meet him arguing the toss with Jesus over this.


Nicodemus the Pharisee seems not to accept the explanation Jesus gives,(3:11)

and we are left with the feeling that he just doesn't get it,

as Nicodemus fades away back into the darkness from whence he came.

……at least until chapter 7 when John portrays Nicodemus as a defender of Jesus' right to a fair trial (7:50-51); and in chapter 19, when Nicodemus “comes out” as a friend of Christ, and helps Joseph of Arimathea to bury Jesus with honour.


Jesus gave Nicodemus a new outlook on life and in faith;

Nicodemus in return risked his position in Jewish society

in giving honour to Jesus right to the end.


The discussion with Jesus in the darkness led Nicodemus into the dawn of hope;

all part of the Potter’s throwing again of the very clay of his nature,

re-working Nicodemus into the sort of person that was to benefit the Early Church .


Like Nicodemus, we are challenged to see life through new eyes,

through the eyes of Christ,

in the clarity of the Holy Spirit

and with the vision of Our Father, the Creator of life and innovation itself.

PHNC.



THE APOSTLES’ CREED


I believe in God, the Father almighty,

Creator of heaven and earth,

and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died and was buried;

he descended into hell;

on the third day he rose again from the dead;

he ascended into heaven,

and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;

from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and life everlasting. Amen.



THE PRAYER OF THE FAITHFUL - A Litany for Mothering Sunday


On this day when we remember our mothers,

let us offer our prayers to Jesus, the son of Mary.


Because on this earth we are all sons and daughters of Eve,

let us pray for the whole world and the church universal,

that we might behold each other as brothers and sisters.

Lord in your mercy.

Hear our Prayer.


As Rebecca gave birth to Jacob, and in so doing she gave birth

to a whole nation, let us pray for our own nation,

and for all in authority.

Lord in your mercy.

Hear our Prayer.


As Rachel’s son Joseph was mistreated, beaten, and wrongly jailed,

we pray for all in this world who are in trouble of any kind.

We pray for the poor, the hungry, the imprisoned,

and the victims of war and all who live in terror’s wake.

Lord in your mercy.

Hear our Prayer.


As Hannah, the mother of Samuel, went to the House of the Lord

to pray with earnest integrity, we earnestly pray for those

who belong to this Church of Holy Trinity;

Lord in your mercy.

Hear our Prayer.


As Naomi took Ruth into her home, we pray for those

who act as mothers. We pray with gratitude for all those who give

the gift of love and nurturing.

Lord in your mercy.

Hear our Prayer.


As Elizabeth gave birth in old age, and as she saw her son John the Baptist

carried off to persecution, we pray for all those who are sick,

those who are suffering, and those with any need, especially. . .

Lord in your mercy.

Hear our Prayer.


And, as the Blessed Virgin Mary stood by the cross

and watched her son die,

we pray for the dead and the dying.

Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord,

and let light perpetual shine upon them.

May they rest in peace, and rise in glory.


We ask Mary to pray with us, as we with her bring our care

for our world in the grip of this pandemic;

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,

blessed art thou among women,

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.


Lord Jesus, who wishes to gather your people as a mother hen

gathers together her brood, we offer to you our prayers.

Accept our gratitude for all who mother,

bless all who mother,

and give all mothers your comfort and strength.

And help all of us, brothers and sisters,

to be your family on earth, as we shall be in Heaven.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.



Let us lift up our hearts.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.


It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,

always and everywhere to give you thanks,

Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

For you have given your children a sacred time

for the renewing and purifying of their hearts,

that, freed from disordered affections,

they may so deal with the things of this passing world

as to hold rather to the things that eternally endure.

And so, with all the Angels and Saints,

we praise you, as without end we acclaim:


Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.



At the Saviour’s command

and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say:


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.


For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours

now and for ever.



Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,

grant us peace.


SPIRITUAL COMMUNION


My Jesus, I love you above all things.

How I long to receive you with my brothers and sisters

at the table you have prepared.

Since I cannot at this moment receive you in bread and wine

according to your promise in the sacrament of Holy Communion,

I ask you to feed me with the manna of your Holy Spirit

and nourish me with your Holy presence.

I unite myself wholly to you.

Never permit me to be separated from your love.



Loving God, I have come to worship you.

Help me to remember that you are here with me.


Eternal God, in Christ you make yourself a guest.

Amid all my cares and concerns

make me attentive to your voice

and alert to your presence,

that I may know your love surpasses all else;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


Sit for a moment in silence


My Jesus,

I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.

I love You above all things,

and I desire to receive You into my soul.

Since I cannot at this moment

receive You sacramentally,

come at least spiritually into my heart.

I embrace You as if You were already there

and unite myself wholly to You.

Never permit me to be separated from You.



ASKING GOD’S BLESSING


Direct, O Lord, we pray, the hearts of your faithful,

and in your kindness grant us your servants this grace:

that, abiding in the love of you and our neighbour,

we may fulfil the whole of your commands;

and the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son,

and the Holy Spirit, come down upon us

and remain with us for ever. Amen.


THE ANGELUS


The angel of the Lord brought tidings unto Mary. And she conceived by the Holy Ghost.


Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.


Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it unto me according to thy word.


Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.


And the Word was made flesh. And dwelt amongst us.


Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.


Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


Let us pray. We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts,

that as we have known the Incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ

by the message of an angel, so by his Cross and Passion

we may be brought unto the glory of his Resurrection;

through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.







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