‘Indeed, how good is the Lord; bless his holy name.’ (Invitatory antiphon).
Covid-19 was an unknown virus when it first swept through the world, killing many along its path. Thankfully people also recovered from it. The world doesn’t have huge knowledge about the virus, though more is known now, than in previous weeks. To date, there is no vaccine available to rid the world of the virus, so citizens are cautious. Many continue to hope and pray as research continues. People are requested to be ever more cautious about maintaining physical distance, hand hygiene, wearing face masks, and cough and sneezing etiquette; now that restrictions are being lifted.
Contact among the general public was limited for months for fear of contagion. Countries found themselves in a new situation due to the lack of availability of medication for the corona virus. Slowly the world re-opens.
THE WORD OF GOD
Today’s readings from the first Book of Kings (2 Kings 25:1-12) and the Gospel (Mt 8:1-4) are proclaimed at Mass via the webcam or read from the Old and New Testament.
The Gospel (Mt 8:1-4) proclaims Jesus’ healing of a person with leprosy. The man suffered for many years with this condition. Leprosy consisted of a variety of skin problems. Its worst fact was that it isolated the person from family, friends and neighbours, because the disease was contagious. The man encountered Jesus as he came down from the mountain with his followers. He approached Jesus humbly, unsure of whether Jesus would take time to see him. The man bowed down before Jesus, showing his reverence for him. By saying to Jesus ‘Sir, if you want you can make me clean’ the leper shows his faith. He believes Jesus can heal him if he so desires. He is dependent on God’s compassion. The leper is trustful of Jesus and his mercy and in Jesus’ power.
Jewish law forbade touching such people. People with leprosy were quarantined from society. People avoided contact with them. Therefore Jesus was breaking all rules when he touched the man.
But Jesus was bigger than the rules and he was compounded by love and mercy and faith in God’s power. Jesus showed his compassion by saying these words in response to the man, ‘I want to, be clean again.’
Imagine how delighted the man felt that Jesus wanted to cure him?
Jesus noticeably refused to take advantage of the opportunity for publicity. Jesus is not interested in getting credit from others for what he has done. He abides by the Law of Moses by asking the leper to go and show himself to the priests and to offer sacrifice.
SEEK GOD’S LOVE IN THE GROW IN LOVE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAMME
This Scripture provides opportunity to chat about the person of Jesus as a healer and his encounter with the man with leprosy. Children are introduced from the junior classes to the miracles of Jesus. God worked through Jesus to heal the sick, make the deaf hear, the blind to see and the people who were lame to walk.
Disciples also are open to being healed by Jesus. This Sacred scripture shows the way for the disciple to approach Jesus for healing.
Children might identify being healed and forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation at which they are reconciled with God and one another.
Today the covid-19 experience might spring to the mind of children. They are aware of what it means to be isolated and being socially distant. They experience the challenges of such a situation and the way it impacts on daily life. There is a possibility that some children may feel anxious and fearful about leaving their house and family again as they listen to warnings on the media.
One of the verses from m the Bible that might be helpful and children will recognise is, ‘Do not be afraid.’ Jesus often spoke these words and children might recall them as they take a moment to reflect.
They explore the idea of the man approaching Jesus, bowing to him and encountering him. Children recognise that each time they pray they encounter Jesus. They can also encounter him in other ways through people and events. In prayer, children might choose to sit quietly in the presence of God or say a formal prayer. They might pray for themselves and one another; for the sick and for those who care for them; for those who are doing research to discover a vaccine; to ask for help for the people of the world to live a healthier lifestyle.
They might reflect on the fact that Jesus broke the Law in order to heal him.
Children recognise the trust the man placed in Jesus. He was in need and asked for what he wanted but he left the choice of acting to Jesus. Children might explore how the man might have felt if Jesus didn’t cure him. Would he have been angry? Or would he have felt more isolated? What might the man have said to Jesus?
The children might reflect on the requests they make on family and friends. How do they react when they don’t get something they want? When they do get something they want and ask for how do they react?
In fact, because Jesus had so many followers with him the man knew Jesus could have avoided him. His faith led him to know Jesus could cure him. Jesus was humble also in his approach. He expressed his desire to cure the man, ‘Of course, I want to.’
The man showed confidence in himself and Jesus, so his dignity was upheld. Jesus showed great love for this man. In the encounter it was the man that mattered totally to Jesus, not the crowds. The man knew that he was loved and that Jesus cared for him. The children identify with this love and care in daily life as they are loved by those who care for them. They can think about these people and ask God to bless them.
In curing this man, Jesus also obeyed the Jewish Law. He told the man not to tell anyone. He didn’t want to draw notice to himself by people giving him credit for what he had done. But he acted in accordance with the Law by telling him to go and show himself to the priests and to offer sacrifice.
Resources on the VERITAS website are available including the Children’s Grow in Love e-book to support the teaching of the miracles of Jesus.
READ from Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
‘Jesus Cures a Leper’ (Mt 8:1-4), ‘God is love’ ( 1John 4:7-8), Psalm 18:2, Psalm 23, ‘Jesus Teaching about Prayer’ ( Mt 6:5-14), ‘jesus heals a man who was deaf’ ( Mk 7:32-5), ‘Jesus heals a man who was blind’ (Mk 8:22-25).
SING from Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé:
‘The Great Commandment’, ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’, ‘Céad Míle Fáilte Romhat’, ‘Wherever You Go’, ‘Lay your hands’,
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.
INVITATION TO HOLY COMMUNION
Celebrant: Behold the Lamb of God,
behold him who takes away the sins of the world.
Blessed are those who are called to the supper
of the Lamb.
People: Lord, I am not worthy
that you should enter under my roof,
but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.
DEASGNÁTH NA COMAOINEACH
CUIREADH CHUIG COMAOINEACH NAOFA
Sagart: Seo é Uan Dé, seo é an té
a thógann peacaí an domhain. Is
méanar dóibh siúd a fuair cuireadh
chun séire an Uain.
Pobal: A Thiarna, ní fiú mé go dtiocfá
faoi mo dhian,
ach abairse an focal
agus leigheasfar m’anam.
‘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).
‘ O let my tongue cleave to my mouth, if I remember you not.’ (Psalm 136:6).
From LAUDATO SI’, ‘A PRAYER FOR OUR EARTH’
‘O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. ‘. (Laudato Si’, no. 246).
‘O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.’
Sr Anne Neylon