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  • Writer's picturePhil


For friends at Holy Trinity, Winchester, and for other friends.

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

Our commitment to God is best demonstrated

in our service of those in most need.

Where our love of neighbour and of God has been less than it should,

let us confess our sins in penitence and faith:

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.


Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace to people of good will.

We praise you, we bless you,

we adore you, we glorify you,

we give you thanks for your great glory,

Lord God, heavenly King,

O God, almighty Father.

Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son,

Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,

you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us;

you take away the sins of the world,

receive our prayer;

you are seated at the right hand of the Father,

have mercy on us.

For you alone are the Holy One,

you alone are the Lord,

you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,

with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.


Almighty ever-living God,

increase our faith, hope and charity, and make us love what you command, so that we may merit what you promise. 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.

FIRST READING - Exodus 22:20-26

The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell the sons of Israel this:

‘“You must not molest the stranger or oppress him,

for you lived as strangers in the land of Egypt.

You must not be harsh with the widow, or with the orphan;

if you are harsh with them, they will surely cry out to me,

and be sure I shall hear their cry; my anger will flare

and I shall kill you with the sword, your own wives will be widows,

your own children orphans.

‘“If you lend money to any of my people,

to any poor man among you, you must not play the usurer with him:

you must not demand interest from him.

‘“If you take another’s cloak as a pledge,

you must give it back to him before sunset.

It is all the covering he has; it is the cloak he wraps his body in;

what else would he sleep in? If he cries to me,

I will listen, for I am full of pity.”’


I love you, Lord, O God, my strength.

My God, is the rock where I take refuge;

my shield, my mighty help, my stronghold!

The Lord is worthy of all praise.

When I call I am saved from my foes.

I love you, Lord, O God, my strength.

Long life to the Lord, my rock!

Praise be the God who saves me,

He has given great victories to his king,

and shown his love for his anointed.

I love you, Lord, O God, my strength.

SECOND READING - 1 Thessalonians 1:5 - 10

You observed the sort of life we lived when we were with you,

which was for your instruction,

and you were led to become imitators of us, and of the Lord;

and it was with the joy of the Holy Spirit that you took to the gospel,

in spite of the great opposition all round you.

This has made you the great example to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia

since it was from you that the word of the Lord started to spread –

and not only throughout Macedonia and Achaia,

for the news of your faith in God has spread everywhere.

We do not need to tell other people about it:

other people tell us how we started the work among you,

how you broke with idolatry when you were converted to God

and became servants of the real, living God;

and how you are now waiting for Jesus,

his Son, whom he raised from the dead,

to come from heaven to save us from the retribution which is coming.


Alleluia, alleluia!

Open our heart, O Lord,

to accept the words of your Son.


GOSPEL - Matthew 22:34-40

they got together and, to disconcert him, one of them put a question,

‘Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?’

Jesus said, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart,

with all your soul, and with all your mind.

This is the greatest and the first commandment.

The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself.

On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also.’


Do you fully understand the rules and regulations covering the Pandemic?

I’m sure I don’t.

I have a certain amount of knowledge

when it comes to the pastoral offices,

Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals;

but there are so many minutiae of ever-changing regulations

which vary week to week, region to region.

Some are constant, social distancing, hand hygiene, face-masks.

These important regulations are the basis of all the others.

If the basic regulations are not followed,

keeping the other ones has little value.

In the time of Jesus, there were all sorts of religious regulations

that governed people’s lives.

The experts in Jewish Law calculated that there were 613 regulations that people had to keep.

A question often asked of the experts in Jewish Law was,

‘How can the Jewish Law be summarized in a sentence or two?’

A Lawyer asked Jesus such a question

about the greatest commandment.

It wasn’t genuine; it was a trick.

In the best Rabbinic tradition, Jesus gave him a considered reply.

The first commandment He quoted

was the core prayer recited by observant Jews twice a day,

the Shema Israel. ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one’

That this is the greatest commandment

which His trickster could not deny, after all,

as Jesus and His disciples did,

so did this Lawyer recite these words twice a day

as a reminder to love God “with all your heart, soul and mind”.

And then He adds – “love your neighbour as yourself”.

The Shema Israel is more than just the greatest commandment.

It is a reminder to the praying Jewish follower

that love of God in itself is not enough,

it has to spill over into action.

But it contains quite a lot of words, like this homily!

There is a story told of a famous Rabbi

who died just before Jesus was born.

His name was Hillel.

He was asked by a convert

to explain to him the Torah, the Law of Moses

whilst standing on one foot.

Hillel summed it up in as few words

as his standing-on-one-foot -stance would allow:

"What is hateful to you,

do not do to your fellow:

this is the whole Torah;

the rest is the explanation;

go and learn.”

Jesus says we cannot really love our neighbour fully,

unless we give first place to God in our lives;

However our failure to love our neighbour

demonstrates that God is not our first love.

Jesus’s answer is in line with Hillel,

‘What is the essence of the Jewish Law with all its regulations?’

The answer Jesus gave went beyond what was asked.

He didn’t just give the greatest commandment,

but the second greatest as well.

Jesus says, ‘Love of God, spilling over into love of Others -

This is the nub of it all’.

God’s love is -

tangible in Jesus Christ,

tangible in the Mass,

tangible in The Word,

tangible in the world…..

God’s love shared with us,

and in response our love for our neighbour should follow.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises

took this commandment to love God with all our being

very seriously, and suggests how we might engage with it.

He invites us to ask the Lord in prayer

to awaken within us

a realisation of the gifts we have received from God,

and for us to be truly grateful for what we have received.

How lavishly God has poured His love upon us!

As we respond in love to God’s love and gifting,

we should then be moved to love all those whom God loves,

our neighbours, including the unlovable, and all of God’s creatures.

Follow Ignatius’ example.

Talk to the Lord, pray….and ask Him to identify with you

what makes you lovable in His eyes;

what your gifting is, where you are better than you think,

where you are not as good as you thought…

and thus enjoy God’s love for you in loving the gift that is yourself.

God wants nothing more and nothing less than you.

He loves what He has made!

As you respond in love to God’s love for you,

so you will be moved to love, truly and deeply..

…. and pray!...Prayer is the relationship

that will help you love God more-deeply;

create some quiet space in each day,

even if it is just a moment amidst a busy schedule.

Put yourself in the same space as God,

a precious moment of silence,

undistracted for even a minute,

just to enjoy being with God,

sitting trustingly,


with the One who actually DOES accept you for who you are!

…..and remember, you are part of a Community of faith,

which has a duty to support you

as much as you have a loving responsibility

towards all others alongside of you journeying with Christ

PRAYER (from Jesuit Stations)

“I love You, Jesus,

may my love for You be above all things.

I am truly sorry whenever I have offended You

in my offence towards others.

Never permit me to separate myself from You,

even when my love seems weak.

Lord Jesus, I am Yours….”


I believe in one God, the Father almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,

the Only Begotten Son of God,

born of the Father before all ages.

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;

through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven,

and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,

he suffered death and was buried,

and rose again on the third day

in accordance with the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory

to judge the living and the dead

and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son,

who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,

who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins

and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead

and the life of the world to come. Amen.


For the Church: that we may manifest our love of God

and neighbour in words that express our commitment

and in deeds that show our commitment to Christ

For a spirit of compassion: that our hearts may feel the pain of others

and reach out to all who are suffering or in need

For refugees, immigrants, and all who live in a strange land, particularly children: that we may reach out to them,

treat them as brothers and sisters, and assist them in their transition

For leaders of governments: that God will guide them in developing

immigration policies that respect the dignity of each person

and draw forth their gifts to better our society

For new priorities in our communities:

that guided by a preferential option for the poor,

our plans and activities ensure that everyone is included in our community life

For all who have the coronavirus and for those who care for them:

that God will heal and restore the sick

and help those who are assisting them to be instruments of God's healing love

For all with mental illness: that God will comfort them

and inspire leaders with ways to expand treatment

and assistance for them

For all suffering financially: that God will move leaders of government

and business to develop opportunities to avoid eviction,

provide for healthcare, and expand employment opportunities

For the growth of peace: that God will touch the hearts

and change the minds of all who are leading people into warfare,

and give them the courage to enter into dialogue and establish ceasefires

Almighty God, you have taught us through your Son

that love is the fulfilling of the law:

grant that we may love you with our whole heart

and our neighbours as ourselves;

Merciful Father,

accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Let us give thanks to the Lord our God,

for it is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right and just that we should give you thanks and praise,

O God, almighty Father, for all you do in this world,

through our Lord Jesus Christ.

For though the human race is divided by dissension and discord,

yet we know that by testing us you change our hearts

to prepare them for reconciliation.

Even more, by your Spirit you move human hearts

that enemies may speak to each other again,

adversaries may join hands, and peoples seek to meet together.

By the working of your power it comes about, O Lord,

that hatred is overcome by love,

revenge gives way to forgiveness,

and discord is changed to mutual respect.

Therefore, as we give you ceaseless thanks

with the choirs of heaven,

we cry out to your majesty on earth,

and 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.

In union, Dear Lord, with the faithful at every Altar of Your Church,

where Your blessed Body and Blood are being offered to the Father,

I desire to offer You praise and thanksgiving.

I present to You my soul and body,

with the earnest wish

that I may ever be united to You.

And since I cannot now receive You sacramentally,

I beseech You to come spiritually into my heart.

I unite myself to You, and embrace You

with all the affections of my soul.

O let nothing ever separate me from You.

Let me live and die in Your love. Amen.

Grant, O Lord Jesus Christ, that as the hem of Your garment,

touched in faith, healed the woman who could not touch Your Body,

so the soul of Your servant may be healed by like faith in You,

whom I cannot now sacramentally receive;

through Your tender mercy, who lives and reigns with the Father

in the unity of the Holy Spirit ever one God. Amen.


Lord, you stand at the door of my heart and knock.

You wait for me and only I can let you in.

I believe and trust in you and ask you now

to fill me with presence.

Feed me with your body and unite me in your blood,

that I may be your blessing to a world in need.

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

and the Holy Spirit, come down us

and remain with us for ever. Amen.


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. Amen.

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

And the Word was made flesh. And dwelt amongst us. Hail Mary. Holy Mary.

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.


Let us bless the Lord

Thanks be to God.

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