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Praying at Easter

19 April, 2011

127pp. The Columba Press. To purchase this book online, go to www.columba.ie THE BOOK:This very handy little book takes the gospel readings of the Season of Easter and with a prayer and reflection links the reader with the risen Jesus and allows us to become ‘ministers of the resurrection’ where we live. THE AUTHOR:Donal Neary […]

127pp. The Columba Press. To purchase this book online, go to www.columba.ie

THE BOOK:
prayerateasterThis very handy little book takes the gospel readings of the Season of Easter and with a prayer and reflection links the reader with the risen Jesus and allows us to become ‘ministers of the resurrection’ where we live.

THE AUTHOR:
Donal Neary SJ is parish priest of St Francis Xavier’s Church, Gardiner St, Dublin and is involved with young adult ministry in Dublin.

 


 CONTENTS 

Introduction 
Easter Sunday
Week 1 
Second Sunday of Easter 
Week 2 
Third Sunday of Easter Year A 
Third Sunday of Easter Year B 
Third Sunday of Easter Year C 
Week 3 
Fourth Sunday of Easter Year A 
Fourth Sunday of Easter Year B 
Fourth Sunday of Easter Year A 
Week 4 
Fifth Sunday of Easter Year A 
Fifth Sunday of Easter Year B 
Fifth Sunday of Easter Year C 
Week 5 
Sixth Sunday of Easter Year A 
Sixth Sunday of Easter Year B 
Sixth Sunday of Easter Year A 
Week 6 
Seventh Sunday of Easter Year A 
Seventh Sunday of Easter Year B 
Seventh Sunday of Easter Year C 
Week 7 
Pentecost Sunday 


INTRODUCTION

The scripture is taken from the gospel of the day, sometimes shortened. The reflection makes some link of prayer and life with the mystery of the risen Lord.

This link is relevant – because the resurrection is for now. Jesus’ focus in his ministry was more on this life than the next; he spoke much more about this world than the next. Wherever we are lifted beyond selfish and self-centred cares, we are sharing the life of the risen Lord. We are ‘ministers of the resurrection’ where we bring about the kingdom of God – the kingdom of justice, peace, love, compassion and all the qualities Jesus embodied.

How to use the book:

  • Read the scripture – silently or aloud.
  • Notice what phrase may stay with you; let that echo in your mind and heart. Wonder about its meaning, and know that it was written by disciples or spoken by Jesus, from this side of Easter – the only Christ they knew in the early church was the Risen Lord, and this is the Lord we know.
  • The prayer is the same for each week; pray it or adapt it; and the reflection is one persons’ thoughts on the scripture.

This can be used as a reflection in liturgy, school assemblies, paraliturgies as well as in personal prayer.

Daily prayer over the Easter mystery opens us to the joy of the risen Lord, always offered to us, and to the challenge of being followers in a real sense of the risen Lord.

Donal Neary SJ

Many of the reflections have been used, with some adaptation and revision, on the website Sacred Space www.sacredspace.ie and published in Sacred Space: the prayer book (2010 and 2011 editions), Michelle Anderson Publishing Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Australia, and used here with thanks and appreciation.


Second Sunday of Easter

John 20:19-31
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’ But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’ A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but
believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’

Prayer
Lord, strengthen my faith;
In times of weakness give me confidence in your gift of faith to me,
In times of confusion, give me your gift of meaning in life,
In good times and bad, give me I ask, the joy of faith. Amen.

Reflection
In community, the disciples found faith in the risen Christ. Thomas for some reason was not with them when the Lord came. Separated from the community, he found faith more difficult. Faith in the Lord, while personal, is not a private affair. Through the faith of one, the faith of another may be strengthened. Formation in faith for the disciples had its communal dimension – together they learned and found faith in the Lord.


Week 2: Monday

John 3:1-8
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’

Prayer
Lord, strengthen my faith;
In times of weakness give me confidence in your gift of faith to me,
In times of confusion, give me your gift of meaning in life,
In good times and bad, give me I ask, the joy of faith. Amen.

Reflection
Prayer moments and times of faith are moments ‘to be born from above’. We allow cares, no matter how important to ourselves and others, to drift off for a while. We switch off the phone and the texts, and allow God become real in our lives, for he already lives in our hearts. We are born strong with God, and with God’s grace being born in us, love is born too. Prayer is our daily time to rekindle love in our lives.


Week 2: Tuesday

John 3:7-15
Jesus said, ‘Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.’

Prayer
Lord, strengthen my faith;
In times of weakness give me confidence in your gift of faith to me,
In times of confusion, give me your gift of meaning in life,
In good times and bad, give me I ask, the joy of faith. Amen.

Reflection
When we look on the cross, it’s a look of faith. The man on it is a king and the cross is a throne. It is no longer a thing of shame. Looking on it we look on love; truly, a love which suffered but its saving power is not in the suffering that led Jesus there but in his love. We are lifted up by love to look on the crucifix and see in its starkness the eternal love of God.


Week 2: Wednesday

John 3:16-21
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.

Prayer
Lord, strengthen my faith;
In times of weakness give me confidence in your gift of faith to me,
In times of confusion, give me your gift of meaning in life,
In good times and bad, give me I ask, the joy of faith. Amen.

Reflection
Prayer may be compared to a time of opening ourselves in the light of God, like sunning ourselves in the warmth of the sun, the gentle and bright light which illuminates us completely. In prayer the light of God enters totally into a person in a way which lightens the burdens of life, and which shares light with others. It can help in prayer to imagine the light surrounding you and to be reminded that this light surrounds us outside prayer also. We walk, sit, lie down, wake and sleep in the atmosphere of the light of God.


Pentecost Sunday

John 20:19-23
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’

Prayer
Holy Spirit breathe your life and love around me; Let the breath of your life fill my life. Holy Spirit, this is a prayer for your gifts —Gentleness, patience, integrity, compassion And, above all, love. Amen.

Reflection
Unity is not easy. It is not just similarity. Unity doesn’t mean we all pretend all is well. It’s living with, accepting, even enjoying differences. Some differences are too much for friendship or family but we can still value the other and not fight. The past does not disappear. As unity demands tolerance, at times it will demand forgiveness and a wish for healing and freedom. At other times if we are to get along side by side it means reconciliation, and a new relationship. The Spirit in each of us can help unity. Pray for someone you are at odds with —believe that he or she has the Spirit of God like you. It helps! This is some of the Spirit of Pentecost.


 CONTENTS

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