‘Indeed, how good is the Lord; bless his holy name.’ (Invitatory antiphon).
These days of Covid-19 with restrictions placed on the activities people are accustomed to attending on a weekly and/or a daily basis, cause a sense of anxiety to some. To others, it all feels like one long break. To those committed to going to the gym, the hairdresser, holidays and weekends away, sports training and matches, drama and music lessons, Mass, devotions and the sacraments, there is a big gap and a loss in their lives. What is really disconcerting is the fact that no one knows when they will return again to what they think is the familiar. We wait in hope.
In the first reading today we read Elijah is waiting for God on the mountain. God wasn’t in the wind, or the earthquake or the fire. He was in the gentle breeze. Elijah waited. God came in God’s own time and way. God is the ‘God of Surprises.’
Today’s readings from the first Book of Kings (1 Kings 19:9, 11-16) and the Gospel (Mt 5:27-32) are proclaimed at Mass via the webcam or read from the Old and New Testament.
The first reading, 1 Kings 19:9, 11-16 tells of God’s encounter with Elijah. The path that Elijah took is similar to the one taken by Moses (Exodus). Elijah arrived at Horeb, another name for Sinai. Yahweh passed by Elijah.
There was a mighty wind but Yahweh was not in the wind. After the wind there came an earthquake; but Yahweh was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire; but Yahweh was not in the fire. After the fire there came the sound of a gentle breeze.
When Elijah heard the gentle breeze, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then a voice addressed him: ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He answered, ‘I am filled with jealous zeal for Yahweh Sabaoth’ and he gave him three reasons why.
Yahweh spoke to Elijah and told him to go back to the wilderness of Damascus. He instructed him to do three things; to anoint Hazael king of Aram, Jehu king of Israel, and Elisha to succeed himself, Elijah as prophet.
I wonder what it might feel like to have a ‘jealous zeal’ for Yahweh.
In the Gospel, Jesus continues to point out the way of love, while challenging certain behaviours. God is love. God calls each one to right relationship with God, self, neighbour and environment. We cannot be ‘silent witnesses to injustices.’ As the people are confronted by Jesus, Pope Francis confronts every person in the whole world in Laudato Si’ about ‘what is happening to our common home.’ (LS, pp. 17-36). Pope Francis offers the people an integral ecology.
SEEK GOD’S LOVE IN THE GROW IN LOVE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAMME
There is opportunity here for children to revisit the story of Moses in the Book of Exodus to recall; God’s encounter with Moses; how God appeared to Moses in the burning bush; how Moses covered his face at the encounter; how God gave The Ten Commandments to Moses on Mt Sinai as a means of keeping the covenant God made with them; the covenant, that God would be their God and they would be God’s people. Also children recall how God appeared to Abraham, Mary and St Joseph. They recognise how God is present to each person today.
As prayer is a communication with God, children can explore the encounter Elijah had with God and where and how God revealed Godself to Elijah. Children can take a moment in prayer and seek God’s presence in the silence of their heart. Perhaps they may hear God ask them a questions as he asked Elijah? ‘What are you doing here?’ They can explore other places, events and people where they might meet God. God is present in the Word of God and in the Eucharist. They might engage in the Examen prayer during the day, accessible on the website.
Yahweh tells Elijah to go back and anoint Hazael, Jehu and Elisha. Children identify anointing as belonging to God’s family firstly, in Baptism. The young people are sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation. In the Old Testament they will recall how David was anointed at leader. Children will explore the ritual of anointing in the sacraments.
The Gospel will prompt the children to recall promises they make in life, the Lenten promise and the promises they make to God and each other. Once again they recall Jesus teaching on love. God gave the commandments to Moses and the people so they could love God and one another. They might if in Sixth class read the lesson entitled ‘Christian Marriage’ and read ‘Marriage in the Catholic Church’ in their Grow in Love e-book.
Resources on the VERITAS website are available to support the story of Moses, prayer, Eucharist, Sacrament of Confirmation, the Ten Commandments.
READ from Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
‘God Calls Moses’ (Ex 3:1-16), ‘The Covenant at Sinai’ (Ex 19:3-8), ‘The Ten Commandments’ (Exodus 20:1-17), ‘The Story of Ruth’ (Ruth 1:1-17).
SING from Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé:
‘The Salvation Song’, ‘Take Off Your Shoes’, ‘The Great Commandment’, ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’, ‘Céad Míle Fáilte Romhat’, ‘Wherever You Go’.
PRAY with Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
SIGN OF THE CROSS
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
COMHARTHA NA CROISE
In ainm an Athar, agus an Mhic agus an Spioraid Naoimh. Áiméan.
ST PATRICK’S BREASTPLATE
Christ be with me,
Christ be beside me,
Christ be before me,
Christ be behind me,
Christ be at my right hand,
Christ be at my left hand,
Christ be with me, wherever I go,
Christ be my friend forever and ever.
Críost I mo dhiaidh.
Críost ar mo lámh dheas.
Críost ar mo lámh chlé.
Críost I mo chuideachta is cuma cá dtéim.
Críost mar chara agam, anois go buan. Áiméan.
Celebrant: Kyrie, Eleison
All: Kyrie, Eleison.
Celebrant: Christe, Eleison
All: Christe, Eleison.
‘Through the loving mercy of our God, the Rising Sun has come to visit us.’ (Benedictus antiphon).
‘Remember your mercy, O Lord; according to the promise you made to our fathers.’ (Magnificat antiphon).
‘Hear my voice when I call, O lord have mercy on me, and answer. My heart says to you, I seek your face, O Lord.’ (Psalm 26:8).
‘We can be silent witnesses to terrible injustices if we think we can obtain significant benefits by making the rest of humanity, present and future, pay the extremely high costs of environmental deterioration. ‘. (Laudato Si’, no.36).
‘O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.’
Sr Anne Neylon