18 Sunday C - Liturgy

Greetings
There is only Christ:
he is everything
and he is in everything.
He has brought us back to true life.
May his grace and peace be with you.
R/ And also with you.
Introduction by the Celebrant
 
A. What Are We Living for?
What do we consider most important in life? The message of today confronts us with this question. And it is basic for our Christian living. Are there more important things for us than money, goods, and power? Do we find love of God and neighbor, friendship and affection, and concern for each other greater and lasting and worthy of living for? What is the answer we give Jesus today?
 B. What Brings Us Happiness That Lasts?
We all need the things that are necessary for life, but our human experience keeps reminding us again and again of what Jesus told us in the Gospel long ago: accumulating riches does not bring happiness! The joy of living does not depend on full granaries or fat bank accounts. The quality of life and its joy depend rather on how much we love the Lord and one another and on how far we can share what we have. That is how we become rich in the sight of God. In this Eucharist we ask our Lord that he bring us joy and happiness along with his friendship.

Penitential Act
 
A. What Are We Living for? 
With empty hands and hearts we stand before the Lord
and ask him to forgive and heal us.
(pause)
Lord Jesus, you were born in poverty.
When we look too much for a life of comfort,
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
Jesus Christ, you had no stone
on which to let your head rest.
When we put our security in the things we have,
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, your concern was
God's honor and the joy of people.
When we fail to share with those in need,
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
Have mercy on us, Lord,
and forgive us our greed
and our overconcern for material things
Make us generous in sharing
and lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen.

B. What Brings Us Happiness That Lasts?
Too often we have put our happiness and life
in things that are very perishable.
Let us ask the Lord to forgive us.
(pause)
Lord Jesus, you are our life
and you want us to live for values that last:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
Jesus Christ, you are rich in mercy
and you want us to be rich in forgiveness and love:
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you brought us freedom
and you want us to be free from greed
and free for God and people:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
Have mercy on us, Lord,
and free us from the slavery of sin.
Make us put our trust in you
and lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen.

 
Opening Prayer
Let us pray
that we may use this earth's goods wisely
in the service of God and people
(pause)
Father, you care, and so in you we trust.
Our hearts are divided,
yet we have to provide care and security
to those we love.
Do not allow greed to blind us
so as to pile up goods we do not need
and things that do not really matter.
Make us generous sharers of what we have
with the hungry and the poor,
that we may become rich in your sight.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
Liturgy of the Word
First Reading Introduction: What Will Remain In The End?      The author of the first reading speaks from sad experience: possessions and human endeavors alone do not guarantee happiness. He does not give a solution, but poses the problem very poignantly.
Gospel Introduction: Our Riches Is God
      Our riches are to be found in God; possessions give us no security, for only God can give lasting happiness.

Homily Prayer:
 

Lord, forgive us for the times when we make prayer
an occasion for getting you to tell our brothers
to give us a share of our inheritance,
as if you were some kind of high court judge or arbitrator of our claims.
“The ultimate purpose of trade and industry is to serve our fellow human beings by creating goods and services to meet their needs.”  …George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury
Lord, we pray that your Church may always be the voice of Jesus in our modern world,
challenging our contemporaries to watch and be on their guard
against avarice of any kind,
and reminding them that our lives are not made secure by what we own,
even when we have more than we need.
“Materialism has failed as an ideology in the East, but it has certainly triumphed as a matter of practice in the West.  … President Havel of Czechoslovakia
Lord, we thank you for those few world leaders who are the voice of Jesus in our day,
calling us to watch and be on our guard  against avarice of every kind.
The continued greed of the wealthy nations will certainly call down on them the wrath of the poor, with consequences no one can foretell.” … Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio
Lord, the wealthy nations of the world have had good harvests from their land,
they have pulled down their barns and built bigger ones,
storing their grain and their goods in them.
They think that they have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come
and so they can take things easy, drink and have a good time.
But the time will surely come when the poor nations of the world
will demand to be treated as members of the human family,
and that great hoard of goods, whose will it be then?
The  Cross is the power of truth. It exposes the ultimate futility of relationships based on fear, manipulation and violence.  …Bishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle
Lord, we remember a time when something terrible happened to us
– a death in the family;
– we were humiliated in front of our friends;
– we discovered how jealous we were.
Truly our souls were being demanded of us.
We realized then that we are not made secure by what we own,
that the treasures we store up for ourselves are really worthless.
We thank you that at that moment we felt poor and very vulnerable,
but also very rich because we knew that you looked on us with love.
“Hell is not to love any more.”   …Dorothy Day
Lord, the worst experience in the whole world
is to have a demand made for our souls
and then to realize that we have stored up treasures for ourselves
in place of making ourselves rich in your sight.
“By admitting death into our lives we enlarge and enrich them.”  …Etty Hillesum, Jewish woman who died in a concentration camp, 1943
Lord, remind us always of that dread moment when you will say to us:
This very night demand will be made of your soul.”
When our horizons are not limited by the big barns
in which we have stored our grain and all our goods,
we can become truly rich.
“We cannot allow the politicians to cloud our vision and promote their disruptive policies, as it would lead to our destruction.”   Lloyd Best, Trinidad economist
Lord, help us to stand up to leaders whose main interest is building big barns
in which to store all their grain and goods,
thinking they have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come,
when all the time they are destroying the tolerance
that has made us a wealthy nation in your sight.
 
General Intercessions
Let us pray now to God, the origin and final end of our riches, happiness, and joy, and let us say: R/ Lord, your kingdom come.
• For a poor and serving Church in which people try to have open hands and open hearts for all, let us pray: R/ Lord, your kingdom come.
• For more justice and equality in our world; for effective political, social, and economic reforms that allow people to enjoy the fruits of their work, material and spiritual goods, and the treasures of education and culture, let us pray: R/ Lord, your kingdom come.
• For poets, artists, and scientists, that they may help us to admire and enjoy the power and beauty of God's creation and to give praise to God, let us pray: R/ Lord, your kingdom come.
• For those who are rich and powerful, that they may learn to share; for the poor, the humble, the exploited, that they may find help and keep hoping, let us pray:R/ Lord, your kingdom come.
• For all of us, that we may learn to enjoy the things of life: friendship and affection, unity and compassion, people who inspire us, and even learn to love our enemies, let us pray: R/ Lord, your kingdom come.
Lord our God, keep us attentive to the brittleness of all things we attach ourselves to. Make us share our goods and talents and keep us trusting in you our riches and our hope, now and for ever. R/ Amen.
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
from your own gifts to us
we bring bread and wine before you.
Let them become the signs
in which Jesus gives himself to us.
May we learn from him
to use your gifts and our efforts
in the service of you and our neighbor,
that they may lead us to happiness
that lasts for ever and ever. R/ Amen.
Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer
God has made us not the owners but the stewards of his creation. Let us thank him for his goodness and offer everything to him through Jesus.
Invitation to the Lord's Prayer
With Jesus our Lord
we pray to our Father in heaven
for the things we need on the way to him: R/ Our Father...
Deliver Us
Deliver us Lord, from every evil
and set us free from all attachments
that keep us from giving ourselves
to you and to people.
Help us to live in your hands,
as we prepare in joyful hope
for the coming in glory
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. R/ For the kingdom...
Invitation to Communion
This is Jesus our Lord,
who became poor to make us rich
in grace and wisdom and love.
Happy are we to receive him
as the Father's free gift. 
R/ Lord, I am not worthy...
Prayer after Communion
God, giver of all good gifts,
we have received your Son from you.
You want us to enjoy the good things of life
and at the same time
not to let them become our masters.
Give us enough faith, Lord,
to make us see that, however much we have,
we are still poor if you are not our riches
and that we are rich, even in poverty,
when we have you and your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
Blessing
It was good to reflect together
on the relative value of the things we have.
Yes, let us enjoy without scruple
the simple, God-given things of everyday life.
But let us always remain free,
as we are liberated by Jesus our Lord;
we are never again to be enslaved
to anyone or to anything.
And let us share with one another
our friendship, our joys, our goods,
with the blessing of Almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.
Let us go in the peace and security of Christ.
R/ Thanks be to God.