Liturgy Alive

The liturgical calendar 2020

Fourth Sunday of Lent

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MARCH 14

 

Fourth Sunday of Lent

 

  1. God Loved the World So Much…
  2. Looking Up to the Cross

 

Greeting (see Second Reading)

It is by grace that we have been saved,
not by anything of our own,
but by a gift from God.
We are God’s work of art,
created in Christ Jesus.
May the grace and light of the Lord Jesus
be always with you. R/ And also with you.

 

Introduction by the Celebrant

 

  1. God Loved the World So Much...

      If we were really aware how much God loves us, how could we remain indifferent or refuse God anything? If we deeply believe that he finds us lovable, how could we not put our trust in him? He does not force us: he just invites us: “Here is my love: would you like to accept me and my love? Would you like to share my love with others by loving them too?” What answer do we give God through Jesus?

 

  1. Looking Up to the Cross

      In our churches and in most of our homes the crucifix is given a place of honor. Does that mean that we have to love crosses? No, but it says that we believe in our crucified Lord and that we love him dearly. He saved us by his cross and resurrection. He is the sign that God loved us so much that he gave us his only Son to bring us forgiveness and life and love. It is to Jesus on the cross that we look up for strength to bear the crosses that come to us in the difficulties of life. We also look up to him for joy and happiness on our pilgrim way and for unend­­ing life beyond death. With Jesus we now celebrate the memory of his sacrifice on the cross and of his resurrection.

 

Penitential Act

Let us ask forgiveness from the Lord
for the times we have refused his love
or remained indifferent to it.
                        (pause)
Lord Jesus,
your Father loves us with so much love
that he gave you to us:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Jesus Christ, your Father sent you
not to condemn us
but to save us and all people:
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you want us to bring to others
the great love with which you love us:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

God, we rely on your love
to forgive us all our sins.
Renew us in your love
and lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen.

 

Opening Prayer

Let us pray to our Father
who brought us to life with Christ
                        (pause)
Loving and gracious Father,
you still love the world so much
that you keep giving it Jesus your Son.
May his cross be to us the sign
that you are with us
in days of misery and pain.
May we look up to him and learn from him
to open our hands and hearts to one another
and to give ourselves with our gifts.
May this help the world to see your light
and to accept the Son you have given us,
Jesus Christ, our Lord for ever. R/ Amen.

 

First Reading: God Gives His People New Chances

      Even when he punishes his people with exile, God cannot but be faithful. He uses even pagans to lead his people back to the Promised Land.

 

Reading 1: 2 Chr 36:14-16, 19-23

In those days, all the princes of Judah, the priests, and the people
added infidelity to infidelity,
practicing all the abominations of the nations
and polluting the LORD’s temple
which he had consecrated in Jerusalem.

Early and often did the LORD, the God of their fathers,
send his messengers to them,
for he had compassion on his people and his dwelling place.
But they mocked the messengers of God,
despised his warnings, and scoffed at his prophets,
until the anger of the LORD against his people was so inflamed
that there was no remedy.
Their enemies burnt the house of God,
tore down the walls of Jerusalem,
set all its palaces afire,
and destroyed all its precious objects.
Those who escaped the sword were carried captive to Babylon,
where they became servants of the king of the Chaldeans and his sons
until the kingdom of the Persians came to power.
All this was to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah:
“Until the land has retrieved its lost sabbaths,
during all the time it lies waste it shall have rest
while seventy years are fulfilled.”

In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia,
in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah,
the LORD inspired King Cyrus of Persia
to issue this proclamation throughout his kingdom,
both by word of mouth and in writing:
“Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia:
All the kingdoms of the earth
the LORD, the God of heaven, has given to me,
and he has also charged me to build him a house
in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
Whoever, therefore, among you belongs to any part of his people,
let him go up, and may his God be with him!”

 

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6.

(6ab) Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!
By the streams of Babylon
we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
On the aspens of that land
we hung up our harps.
R. Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!
For there our captors asked of us
the lyrics of our songs,
And our despoilers urged us to be joyous:
“Sing for us the songs of Zion!”
R. Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!
How could we sing a song of the LORD
in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand be forgotten!
R. Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!
May my tongue cleave to my palate
if I remember you not,
If I place not Jerusalem
ahead of my joy.
R. Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!

 

Second Reading: All Is Grace...

      By his grace God had saved his people from exile. By God’s grace again, his Son Jesus saves us from the death of sin. In God’s plan everything is a free gift of grace.

 

Reading 2: Eph 2:4-10

Brothers and sisters:
God, who is rich in mercy,
because of the great love he had for us,
even when we were dead in our transgressions,
brought us to life with Christ — by grace you have been saved —,
raised us up with him,
and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,
that in the ages to come
He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace
in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;
it is not from works, so no one may boast.
For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works
that God has prepared in advance,
that we should live in them.

 

Verse Before the Gospel JN 3:16

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

 

Gospel: Saved by the Cross of Christ

      Christ had to die on the cross to save us and to give us eternal life. For Christ came not to condemn us but to save us.

 

Gospel: Jn 3:14-21

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

Intercessions

Let us pray with the fullest confidence to God, our merciful Father, who loved us so much as to give us his Son Jesus Christ, and let us say:

                        R/ Have mercy on your people, Lord.

–                   For the pope, bishops, priests and religious, that they may effectively preach the redeeming value of the cross, let us pray:

                     R/ Have mercy on your people, Lord.

–                   For the whole community of the Church, that it may truly become to all people God’s sign of love, hope and forgiveness, we pray:

                     R/ Have mercy on your people, Lord.

–                   For the leaders of nations and for all leaders in politics and trade, that by their concern for justice and peace they may serve the happiness of all, let us pray:

                     R/ Have mercy on your people, Lord.

–                   For the many who are uprooted today: victims of war and oppression, prisoners, migrants and the homeless, that they may find hope in our concern for justice and feel the warmth of our love in our commitment to better their lot, let us pray:

                     R/ Have mercy on your people, Lord.

–                   For us gathered here and for all Christian communities, that the goodness and love of Jesus may be alive and visible in us because God has been good to us, let us pray:

                     R/ Have mercy on your people, Lord.

Lord our God, day after day we experience your incredible love. Hear our prayers and make us worthy of your love, through Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.

 

Prayer over the Gifts

God our Father
we bring before you the stale bread
of our cowardice and helplessness
and the sour wine of our sins.
As we join Jesus in his sacrifice,
let them become bread of grace and strength
and the wine of joy and hope.
Let your Son stay with us
to widen and deepen our love
and to go with one another
the way of friendship and life.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.

 

Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer

We now celebrate the sacrifice of Jesus: he was lifted up on the cross for us. He is the Father’s gift to us. Let us give thanks to the Father.

 

Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer

Thankful for the love he showed us in Jesus,
we now pray to the Father with all trust
the prayer of Jesus our Lord: R/ Our Father...

 

Deliver Us

Deliver us, Lord, from our sins,
from our cowardice and fear of changing
and of defending the weak.
Reassure us that you are with us
in our struggles and temptations
and that your grace can overcome all evil.
Let us go forward without fear
and prepare the full coming among us
of the kingdom of goodness and mercy
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. R/ For the kingdom...

 

Invitation to Communion

This is Jesus Christ, God’s own Son,
who was raised on the cross
to save us and to give us life and light.
Happy are we to receive him. R/ Lord, I am not worthy...

 

Prayer after Communion

Patient and merciful God,
you do not condemn us
but raised up Jesus your Son
above us and among us
to lift us up from our guilt and sorrow.
With him, and in gratitude to you
let us be grace and goodness to one another.
Help us to lift up the fallen and brokenhearted,
to bind their wounds
and to let them become fully human and free
as your sons and daughters
in Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.

 

Blessing

God has been very good to us.
All we touch is grace from him.
We have again experienced his great love
in this Eucharistic celebration.
With Jesus among us,
can we do anything less than try
to make this love tangible to one another,
particularly to those in need and sorrow?
Let God’s goodness shine in you
with the blessing of the almighty and loving God:
the Father, and the Son, and Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.

 

Go in the strength of the Lord and carry each other’s burdens.

R/ Thanks be to God.

 

Commentary:

Nicodemus understood little or nothing of what Jesus had said about the need to be "born from above," and was startled about “raising the Son of Man”. But for us today, we are able to understand the meaning of this passage: to look at Jesus "lifted up" means "to believe in him" (v. 15), keeping our eyes focused on the love that he has shown while lifted on the Cross.
On the Cross, Jesus proclaims that he has voluntarily made himself a slave for love, a servant of his brothers and sisters even to the point of dying for them and that is how he has overcome the shame of the Cross.
Today the snakes that wound, that poison our existence and endanger our life are pride, envy, resentment and unruly passions. At every moment, we come across snakes that lurk around, but above all within ourselves. They are the cravings for possessions, the frenzy of power, the desire for popularity. But the Gospel gives us this promise: Only an eye turned to Him who was raised on the Cross will heal you from the poison of death injected in the heart of the humans. One day—ensures the evangelist—"they shall look on him whom they have pierced"(19:37) and be saved.
Lent moves forward and we believe it calls on us to repentance and conversion. But Does the season of Lent talk more about our sins? Definitely no! Lent focuses on the love of God. Gospel presents a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus — As we meditate, delete the name of Nicodemus and add your own name there – as an attentive disciple. John gives us the Golden Words today that we should be written down in our hearts: "God so loved the world so much that he gave his only Son". It speaks of a God who is crazy to love us without measure.
How often have we listened to the phrase, "virtue stands in the middle”? This is the logic of the world - do not take the extremes! But when it comes to God’s love, his virtue is in the extreme. The Passion of the Christ is the passionate love.
It is up to us either to accept or reject the love and life that God gives us in Jesus. God does not ask anything of us in return. He gives us the gift of love so that we can live it and share it without measure. What more can we ask for? Lent is about looking up, recognising the love with which God loves us.

 

Liturgical Calendar 2021

Liturgical Calendar 2020
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