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Sunday 18th August 2019 ::: READING AT MASS WITH REFLECTION

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Vestment: Green
Today’s Rosary: Glorious Mystery
Theme of the Sunday: The Prophet: A Bothersome ManThe gospel tells us that we must not be afraid of division caused by the word of God, which comes from the reaction of the “old world” that is trying desperately to remain alive. The first reading gives the example of Jeremiah, a timid, sensible man whom God entrusts with proclaiming a hard message that goes against the wishes of the king and of the army. He was persecuted, but God was at his side and freed him. Anybody who becomes a true announcer of the word of God will be persecuted too. The second reading invites us all to be strong and to do our best to overcome our difficulties, like athletes in a race.

A reading from the Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 38:4-6.8-10)
“You bore me, a man of strife and contention to the whole land” (Jer 15.10).
In those days: The princes said to the king, “Let this Jeremiah be put to death, for he is weakening the hands of the soldiers who are left in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm.” King Zedekiah said, “Behold, he is in your hands; for the king can do nothing against you.” So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern of Malchiah, the king’s son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes. And there was no water in the cistern, but only mire, and Jeremiah sank in the mire. Ebed-melech  went  from  the king’s house and said to the king, “My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they did to Jeremiah the prophet by casting him into the cistern; and he will die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city.” Then the king commanded Ebed-melech, the Ethiopian, “Take three men with you from here, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.”
The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM  Psalm 40: (R. 14b)
 Lord, make haste to help me!
I waited, I waited for the Lord,
and he stooped down to me;
he heard my cry. R/.
He drew me from the deadly pit,
from the miry clay.
He set my feet upon a rock,
made my footsteps firm. R/.
He put a new song into my mouth,
praise of our God.
Many shall see and fear
and shall trust in the Lord. R/.
Wretched and poor though I am,
the Lord is mindful of me.
You are my rescuer, my help;   
O my God, do not delay. R/.

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews  (Hebrews  12: 1-4)
“Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.
Brethren: Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
The word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA  John 10.27
Alleluia. My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me. Alleluia.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 12:49-53)
“I have come not to give peace, but division.”
At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptised with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; for henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
The Gospel of the Lord.

Do not lose sight of Jesus.
Our faith in the power of Jesus Christ helps us in life, especially in difficult times.
We pray in faith to the Lord for his grace for the needs of the Church and world.

FOR THE LEADERS OF THE CHURCH, (pause) let them grow strong in faith, which is built on Christ, a son a rock, so that nothing will disturb or shake their trust in God.
Lord, in your mercy; strengthen our faith we pray Oh Lord.

FOR THOSE WHO WORK FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, (pause) let them continue to bring to our attention and action the plight of those who are oppressed because they stand up to unjust systems and governments.
Lord, in your mercy; strengthen our faith we pray Oh Lord.

FOR THOSE WHO SUFFER FAMILY DIVISIONS BECAUSE OF THEIR FAITH, (pause) let their love for Christ and his Church be so manifest in their lives that those who now reject them will learn soon to accept them and their Christian belief.
Lord, in your mercy; strengthen our faith we pray Oh Lord.

FOR A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF OUR FAITH, (pause) let us keep our eyes fixed always on Christ, who gave himself up for our sake, so that we mighty share with him in his Father’s glory. Lord, in your mercy; strengthen our faith we pray Oh Lord.

We pray in silence for our own petitions,  to God, who knows our needs.

Father, you have given us the gift of faith, and in faith we make our prayers to you.  Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Today’s Reflection
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says: “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were burning already!” and then he adds: “Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” Talking about division, how easy is it for you stand for Christ when you are out with friends? Do you think Nollywood would change their attitude towards bad language and violence because Jesus points a finger of accusation at them? Do you think executives would be comfortable dining with Jesus at Aso Rock? And do you think the house of Assembly would cheer and applaud if Jesus were to give the nation a televised “State of the Nation” address? The world that hated him then would hate him now and for the very same reasons. Truth is fire. It will burn, make people uncomfortable, and bring division.

Personal Devotional
So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight round your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate. Ephesians 6:14
-Lord, forgive my high handedness in dealing with my fellow Christians.
-I ask for strength O Lord to embrace all people in love and contentment.
-Lord, help me accept the gifts of others as an addition to your heavenly home.
-Pray against the spirit of envy and jealousy.

Let Us Pray
Lord, may we at all times keep our focus on you so that, like Stephen, we can be inspired and have the power to stand faithfully to share the good news of your salvation. We pray in the name of the risen Lord. Amen.

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