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SPIRITUAL COMMUNION ADVENT SUNDAY 2020

First Sunday of Advent – Spiritual Communion



✠ In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.


Christ is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path; our light and our salvation.

Where we have not lived in the light of Christ, let us acknowledge 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,

and 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.



THE COLLECT Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,

the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ

with righteous deeds at his coming,

so that, gathered at his right hand,

they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.

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: Isaiah 63:16-17,64:1,3-8

You, Lord, yourself are our Father,

‘Our Redeemer’ is your ancient name.

Why, Lord, leave us to stray from your ways

and harden our hearts against fearing you?

Return, for the sake of your servants,

the tribes of your inheritance.

Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down!

– at your Presence the mountains would melt.

No ear has heard,

no eye has seen

any god but you act like this

for those who trust him.

You guide those who act with integrity

and keep your ways in mind.

You were angry when we were sinners;

we had long been rebels against you.

We were all like men unclean,

all that integrity of ours like filthy clothing.

We have all withered like leaves

and our sins blew us away like the wind.

No one invoked your name

or roused himself to catch hold of you.

For you hid your face from us

and gave us up to the power of our sins.

And yet, Lord, you are our Father;

we the clay, you the potter,

we are all the work of your hand.



RESPONSORIAL PSALM 79(80):2-3,15-16,18-19


God of hosts, bring us back;

let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.


O shepherd of Israel, hear us,

shine forth from your cherubim throne.

O Lord, rouse up your might,

O Lord, come to our help.

God of hosts, bring us back;

let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.


God of hosts, turn again, we implore,

look down from heaven and see.

Visit this vine and protect it,

the vine your right hand has planted.

God of hosts, bring us back;

let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.


May your hand be on the man you have chosen,

the man you have given your strength.

And we shall never forsake you again;

give us life that we may call upon your name.

God of hosts, bring us back;

let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.


Second Reading – 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ send you grace and peace.

I never stop thanking God for all the graces you have received through

Jesus Christ. I thank him that you have been enriched in so many ways,

especially in your teachers and preachers; the witness to Christ has indeed

been strong among you so that you will not be without any of the gifts of the

Spirit while you are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed; and he

will keep you steady and without blame until the last day, the day of our Lord

Jesus Christ, because God by calling you has joined you to his Son,

Jesus Christ; and God is faithful.




Alleluia, alleluia! Let us see, O Lord, your mercy

and give us your saving help. Alleluia!


The Gospel - Mark 13:33-37

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Be on your guard, stay awake,

because you never know when the time will come.

It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home,

and left his servants in charge, each with his own task;

and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake.

So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house

is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn;

if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep.

And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’


HOMILY


When our son Chris was driving down to stay with us

from the Far North,

he would phone us whilst he was at a Service Station

to say that he would arrive at a precise time.

We were amazed at the accuracy of his forecast,

until we too bought ourselves SatNavs.

I now wonder how on earth we managed beforehand.

It takes all the hard work out of navigation, the pouring over

AA Maps, and logging the details of each road to be taken.

And then the alerts about impending traffic delays,

and alternative routes to avoid them,

alerts of upcoming garages or car parks,

and, perhaps most useful of all, at least for some folk (not me!)

the Speed-Camera alert, to slow the speeding driver down

before laying himself open to a fine or more-serious prosecution.



“Stay alert” is Jesus’s advice to us in today’s Gospel reading.

At the beginning of this New Christian Year,

picturesquely-referred to as “Year B”,

we begin reading Mark’s Gospel, not at Chapter One,

but at the end of Chapter 13, near the end of the story

rather than at the beginning.

But it’s all to do with the New Year advice that Jesus has for us.

He invites us to think seriously about our future

from the perspective of faith.

He challenges us to question our destiny as human beings.

With the calamity of the pandemic

and dire warnings of the impact of climate change,

it is not just Christians who are concerned

about what the future will hold.

Today, Jesus challenges us to be “alert”, to “stay awake”

or literally from the Greek, to be “Watchful”.



The setting for Jesus’ words to his disciples is on the Mount of Olives,

overlooking the city of Jerusalem, and its magnificent temple.

Just prior to our Gospel reading this morning,

Jesus warns his disciples that the future will include

calamities, opposition and suffering.


Jesus urges his disciples,

“Be watchful! Be alert!”

Be ever-vigilant, “watchful” is the word used repeatedly here,

which in the original Greek means “stay awake!”


Jesus refers to this keeping watch

in terms used by the Roman military:-


whether in the evening

(vigilia prima – first watch for 3 hours from sunset)

or at midnight,

(vigilia secunda, - third to sixth hour of the night)

or when the rooster crows,

(vigilia tertia – sixth to ninth hour of the night)

or at dawn

(vigilia quarta – ninth hour to sunrise)


Keep watch through the dark hours of the night,

says Jesus.


This is an operation, we cannot let down our guard.

We have got to be alert at all times,

at all times ready to face & overcome the forces

that come out of the darkness of faithlessness.



This whole chapter 13 of Mark’s Gospel is a warning.

It is thought that Mark’s Gospel was written

in the decade prior to AD70.

Significant?

Yes, in that Jesus at the beginning of this chapter foretells

the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem,

whereby the very heart would be ripped out of the Jewish faithful.


But this is not just about the negative forces of evil.

Advent is a time of preparation – of getting-ready to welcome Christ.


Whenever there is to be a Royal visit at any place or any time,

watchfulness has to be in place.

Everything has to be “just-so”; tidy as never before,

clean as never before;

and security, watchfulness, alertness to potential problems or worse,

has to be in place.

With royalty, this will probably be just a one-off visit.


But with Jesus – He’s always liable to arrive,

often in the guise of the poor, the sick, the hungry

(as we found out last week)

we must so live, that it does not matter when he comes!

This understanding gives us the great task of making every day

fit for Him, being at any moment ready to meet Him face to face.



So – a NEW YEAR RESOLUTION, an easy one to remember,

and a difficult one to keep; Live each day as if it were your last.

Put procrastination behind you;

do today what you would prefer to do tomorrow,

especially an act of kindness, or making contact with someone you haven’t seen for a while or who you think might be poorly or lonely.

Be watchful - look for Christ and serve Him in the vulnerable,

in the person in whom He comes to you today,

tomorrow, or whenever.



THE NICENE CREED


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,

(All bow) 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.





THE PRAYER OF THE FAITHFUL


In these days, we watch for you, O Lord:


That the leaders of nations should always work for peace and work to bring

an end to hunger, violence, and oppression. Lord, graciously hear us.


For immigrants and refugees fleeing places of unrest and oppression,

may they find a place of welcome and rest for their journey. For the world’s

persecuted peoples, especially China’s Uyghur minority, the Rohingya,

and the Yazidi. Lord, graciously hear us.


For the poor, the lonely, the marginalized, and disenfranchised,

and that those of us who face fewer challenges may be more generous

to others. Lord, graciously hear us.


For all who are experiencing spiritual dryness, that our hearts will remain

open to God’s saving presence in our personal lives.

Lord, graciously hear us.


For all who suffer from unkind words and remarks, that we may respond

with kindness and patience. Lord, graciously hear us.


For our enemies and those who would persecute us, and that we may

always rely on the power and goodness of God to bring peace and justice

to our world. Lord, graciously hear us.


For the sick, especially those with COVID-19. During this pandemic,

may people everywhere receive the patience, vigilance,

and understanding necessary to keep safe during to the current surge

of COVID-19. Lord, graciously hear us.

That the pandemic may be brought under control, and we pray for the

doctors and researchers working to perfect vaccines and effective

treatments. Lord, graciously hear us.


That God would give us grace to show patience and kindness in caring for

one another as we remain challenged by COVID-19.For all those who give

of themselves so that others may be helped – doctors, nurses, healthcare

workers, police, firefighters, ambulance drivers, child-care workers,

mental health professionals, counsellors, and countless others. May they

receive God’s protection as they serve. Lord, graciously hear us.


For those who have lost loved ones recently, especially to the coronavirus:

May God console them and grant them peace. Lord, graciously hear us.


We ask Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of the Church,

to offer our prayers with her own, as we say


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.


O Lord our God, make us watchful and keep us faithful

as we await the coming of your Son our Lord;

that, when he shall appear, he may not find us sleeping,

but active in his service and joyful in his praise…

Merciful Father,

accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Let us lift up our hearts.

We lift them up to the Lord.


Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give him thanks and praise.


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,

through Christ our Lord.


For he assumed at his first coming the lowliness of human flesh,

and so fulfilled the design you formed long ago,

and opened for us the way to eternal salvation,

that, when he comes again in glory and majesty

and all is at last made manifest,

we who watch for that day may inherit the great promise

in which now we dare to hope.


And so, with Angels and Archangels,

with Thrones and Dominions,

and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven,

we sing the hymn of your glory,

as without end we acclaim:


Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.

Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.

Glory be to thee, O Lord most high!

Blessed is he that cometh 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.


Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles:

Peace I leave you, my peace I give you,

look not on our sins,

but on the faith of your Church,

and graciously grant her peace and unity

in accordance with your will.

Who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.



SPIRITUAL COMMUNION


My Jesus, I believe that you are present

in the most Blessed Sacrament.

I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul.

Since I cannot now 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.


O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament

have left us a memorial of your Passion,

grant us, we pray,

so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood

that we may always experience in ourselves

the fruits of your redemption.

Who live and reign with God the Father

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.



O Jesus, I am listening. I desire a sacred dialogue with you

that I may hear the call of deep relationship. Let me hear your voice, O Jesus.


O Jesus, I am listening. I am open to the influence of the Word

who has power to provide bread for the whole world.

May I be transformed by this Word and become a giver of bread. Let me hear your voice, O Jesus .


O Jesus, I am listening. I receive on my table the Bread of your Word.

With Mary, I understand how this Word is the hope of our time,

the river in the desert and I ask Mary

to help me also, like her, to be a Christ-bearer. Let me hear your voice, O Jesus.



Profit us, Lord, we pray, for even now,

as we walk amid passing things,

you teach us to love the things of heaven

and hold fast to what endures.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


ASKING JESUS’S BLESSING

May the almighty and merciful God,

by whose grace we have placed our faith

in the First Coming of his Only Begotten Son

and yearn for his coming again,

sanctify us by the radiance of Christ's Advent

and enrich us with his blessing.

May he make us firm in faith,

joyful in hope and active in charity,

so that, rejoicing now with devotion

at the Redeemer's coming in the flesh,

we may be endowed with the rich reward of eternal life

when he comes again in majesty.

And may the blessing of Almighty God,

the Father, 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.


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 go forth in peace;

thanks be to God.







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