8th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C
27th February, 2022
Sunday Church at Home
during lockdown in the Coronavirus Pandemic
How to Be a Community of the Followers of Jesus.
The lay leader makes the sign of the cross, saying:
Leader: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
All reply: Amen
Leader: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
All reply: Blessed be God for ever
Leader: People’s words flow out of what fills their heart: this is very much the theme of today’s Gospel reading and its background extract from the Hebrew scriptures that we are given in the first reading.
LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading: Sir 27:4-7
Introduction to the reading:
The Book of Sirach was written by a wise teacher who lived 200 years before Christ. It is a loose collection of wise sayings dealing with various concerns in the life of a believer. In today’s section, we hear Sirach’s thoughts about how speech is the measure of a person.
A reading from the Book of Sirach
When a sieve is shaken, the refuse remains;
so a person’s filth remains in his thoughts.
The kiln tests the potter’s vessels;
so the test of just people is in tribulation.
The fruit discloses the cultivation of a tree;
so the expression of a thought discloses the cultivation
of a person’s mind.
Do not praise a person before you hear him speak,
for this is the test of maturity.
The word of the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 92:1-2.12-13.14-15 (R. see 1a)
Let us now pray the Responsorial Psalm:
R/: It is good to give thanks to you, O Lord.
- It is good to give thanks to you, O Lord,
to make music to your name, O Most High,
to proclaim your loving mercy in the morning,
and your truth in the watches of the night.
- The just will flourish like the palm tree,
and grow like a Lebanon cedar.
Planted in the house of the Lord,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
- They will still bear fruit when they are old,
still full of sap, still green,
to proclaim that the Lord is upright.
In him, my rock, there is no wrong.
R/: It is good to give thanks to you, O Lord.
Second reading: 1 Corinthians 15: 54-58
Introduction to the reading: This is the last of our seven weeks of readings from first Corinthians. In recent weeks, we have heard Paul addressing the Corinthian converts’ questions about life after death. Paul ends his teaching on the resurrection with this hymn of triumph over death.
A reading from the First Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.
Brothers and sisters:
When the perishable puts on the imperishable,
and the mortal puts on immortality,
then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters,
be steadfast, immovable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
The word of the Lord.
You will shine as lights in the world,
holding fast the word of life.
Gospel: Luke 6:39-45
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
At that time:
Jesus told his disciples a parable:
“Can a blind man lead a blind man?
Will they not both fall into a pit?
A disciple is not above his teacher,
but every one when he is fully taught
will be like his teacher.
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye,
but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
Or how can you say to your brother,
‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’
when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye,
and then you will see clearly
to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
“For no good tree bears bad fruit,
nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit;
for each tree is known by its own fruit.
For figs are not gathered from thorns,
nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.
The good person
out of the good treasure of his heart produces good,
and the evil person
out of his evil treasure produces evil;
for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection on the Readings
The leader reads the text prepared by the priest and leads the sharing.
A young couple, Jane and Joe, moved into a new neighbourhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, Jane saw her neighbour hanging her wash to dry. “That laundry is not very clean,” she said. “She doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.” Her husband looked on, but remained silent. Every time her neighbour hung her wash to dry, Jane repeated her observations about the dirty laundry. About one month later, Jane was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to Joe, her husband: “Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?” Joe said, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.” 😊
Today Jesus is describing what should characterize the community of his followers. First, he advises that the individual disciples are not to go off teaching the faith on their own, until they are formed. They are not to be “superior to the teacher but when fully trained every disciple will be like his/her teacher.” They will have to learn from their teachers, lest they lose sight of Jesus’ teachings and introduce another way of living into the Christian community.
In this community people are treated differently. They are not to condemn, judge, or find fault with one another. They are to treat one another with compassion and forgiveness.
The spirituality Jesus is teaching is not just meant for the enlightenment and behaviour of the individual. God’s love is effective, it produces good fruit for the benefit of others.
A parent complains his teenage son does not want to be “lectured” to about religion. But the father wants to make sure his son “knows” his faith. This may very well be a time in their relationship for the father to reflect on how he communicates with his son, as well as how he listens to him. That having been said, there is also a strong faith teaching communicated just by the way the father lives his discipleship. The son will “learn the faith” by reading it in the life of his father. In this case the proverb is true: “Actions speak louder than words.”
A child is a constant recording machine of his/her parents’ lives. As the child grows, what was passed on through the parents “good fruits” may be the strength the child needs in a particularly difficult period. A good parent will be a good tree that bears good fruit – will be the good person Jesus describes who, “…out of the store of goodness in his/her heart produces good.”
Children of such good parents, are constantly “eating” the good fruit a parent provided through the example of their lives. So, a woman will explain the source of her remarkable hospitality and concern for the poor saying, “My mother always went out of her way to welcome guests, especially when they were less fortunate than we were.”
A grown son will remember, “My father used to sell boerewors rolls every second Saturday to raise money so the parish could sponsor parishioners to go on retreat. A good tree bears good fruit that never seems to stop nourishing and forming another generation of disciples.
We pray at this Mass for our hearts. We pray that our hearts remain soft and pliable in God’s hands so that they can receive the ongoing shaping that God is doing to make them the hearts of disciples. When our hearts are good, we will spontaneously produce the good Jesus speaks of, as if by second nature.
Jesus calls our attention to the quality of our hearts. “A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil.” Our individual hearts need tending. Our church heart needs attention as well. For example, our church communities do not always produce the good fruits of being welcoming and inclusive. We seem judgmental to non-members; we didn’t always connect to people as well as we could during the covid lockdowns.
On Wednesday 2nd March we begin Lent with the marking of our foreheads with ash. Lent will be a time when we do “heart work.” We will open a construction area in our hearts. Think of those construction areas we see about our cities, the “hard hat” places where serious work is going on. That’s what will be happening for us in Lent.
We are all disciples in training, waiting to be “fully trained,” when we will more perfectly reflect the life of Christ. Today we hear again the instructions of the Teacher. Jesus is also speaking of himself as our teacher when he says, “No disciple is superior to the teacher, but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his/her teacher.”
That’s our Lenten goal, that’s our hope at this Eucharist, that we will have our hearts and minds further shaped by the Teacher and as a result we will more and more become “like the teacher.”
From today’s Gospel reading:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“A good person out of the store of goodness in their heart produces good,
buy an evil person, out of a store of evil, produces evil.”
Jesus calls our attention to the quality of our hearts. Just as we tend to our physical well being, so too, we examine regularly the condition of our spiritual hearts. Our hearts need constant vigilance and tending to keep them focused on and producing the good works Jesus has called us to do.
So, we ask ourselves:
- What touched me in the readings today?
- Do we nourish our hearts with the words of Jesus, to guide them and keep them strong in his service?
- How would you describe the primary focus of your heart?
Prayer of the Faithful
God has spoken to us in the words of the scriptures: we now speak to God about our own cares and concerns as we make our prayers of intercession.
We pray for our leaders in the Church, especially the Pope and our bishops:
that they may put before us and the people of our time the message of the scriptures.
LORD HEAR US
We pray for world leaders:
may they respond with wisdom and courage in dealing with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
LORD HEAR US
We pray that our participation in the listening phase of the Synod 2023 may bring forth a spirit of renewal in the Church and unity among its members.
LORD HEAR US
We thank you for the gift of our unique talents and abilities. Help us to be eager to use these gifts to build up our Church, in our parish, in our community and in our homes.
LORD HEAR US
We pray for the second session of the Alpha course:
that all on the course may be inspired to search not only who Jesus is, but who Jesus is to them.
LORD HEAR US
We pray for members of our families and friends who have died and those whose anniversaries occur about this time,
LORD HEAR US
We pray for Rikhado Makhado, Monica Johnstone, Greg Dalton and Valli Allieri who died this week.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. AMEN
Leader: PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
you alone are the source of every good gift,
of the vast array of our universe,
and the mystery of each human life.
We praise you and we thank you for your tender, faithful love.
Everything we are and everything we have is your gift.
After having created us,
you have given us into the keeping of your Son, Jesus Christ.
Fill our minds with his truth and our hearts with his love,
that in his spirit we may be bonded together
in a community of faith,
a parish family,
a caring people.
In the name and Spirit of Jesus,
we commit ourselves to be good stewards of the gifts entrusted to us,
to share our time, our talent, and our material gifts
as an outward sign of the treasure we hold in Jesus.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
We can unite ourselves to the Eucharist through making a spiritual Communion.
By making an Act of Spiritual Communion, we express our faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and ask him to unite himself with us.
My Jesus, I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament.
I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to receive you.
But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment, feed my soul at least spiritually. I unite myself to you now as I do when I actually receive you. Amen.
Leader: Let us pray to the Father in the words Jesus our Saviour gave us:
All 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. Amen.
O God, our teacher and judge,
hear our prayer
as we gather at the table of your word.
Enrich our hearts with the goodness of your wisdom
and renew us from within,
that all our actions, all our words,
may bear the fruit of your transforming grace.
We make our prayer 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.
The leader says:
May God bless us with every heavenly blessing,
and make us always holy and pure in his sight.
May God pour out in abundance upon us the riches of his glory,
and teach us with the words of truth.
May God instruct us in the Gospel of salvation,
and ever endow us with fraternal charity.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.