Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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An edited photo from a stained glass window in the sacristy at St Mary’s, Billerica.

Collect:

Keep your family safe, O Lord, with unfailing care, that, relying solely on the hope of heavenly grace, they may be defended always by your protection. 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.

This week’s collect refers to the Church as the Lord’s family. The affective dimension of family life helps us see the constant concern which God always has for the Church. Also, this prayer tells us that we need to find our strength in God’s grace and not in money, political influence, brute force, or public esteem. This prayer seems to indicate that the more we trust in ourselves, the less we can trust in God’s protection.

Prayer over the Offerings:

O Lord our God, who once established these created things to sustain us in our frailty, grant, we pray, that they may become for us now the Sacrament of eternal life. Through Christ our Lord.

This prayers recognizes that the bread and wine of the Offertory are inherently necessary for the sustenance of human life. That Christ instituted the Seven Sacraments as the means by which we are to offer worship to the Father shows forth the incarnational character of the Christian religion. By the hypostatic union the Second Person of the Holy Trinity was conjoined to our human nature for our redemption. Put simply, God in His love for the world became man. God’s use of physical elements continues in the liturgy of the Church. In the same way, the sacramental signs of the Church make present the actual realities they signify. The Sacraments bring us to eternal life.

Prayer after Communion:

O God, who have willed that we be partakers in the one Bread and the one Chalice, grant us, we pray, so to live that, made one in Christ, we may joyfully bear fruit for the salvation of the world. Through Christ our Lord.

The petition that “we may joyfully bear fruit for the salvation of the world” sounds, to me, like a summary of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. The fruit for salvation is the New Evangelization. For us to serve the New Evangelization we have to be joyful because disciples are not attracted by misery. We are made ready for this work by worthy reception of the Sacraments of the Church.

I would love to hear your responses/thoughts to the prayers of the 5th Week of Ordinary Time, please share them in the comments.

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