23 Sunday C - Liturgy

1. Conscious Discipleship
2. Look Before You Leap

Greeting
The Lord comes among us and calls us to follow him without conditions. May we listen to his call and may he always be with you. R/ And also with you.

Introduction 

1. Conscious Discipleship
At first sight it looks contradictory that on the one hand Jesus presents his message and even himself as an invitation, a free offer that we can either accept or reject; and on the other hand as a strict demand.
Today’s gospel sheds light on this paradox: Yes, what he offers us is a present, and no one is forced to accept it. We remain free, but if we accept it, it will be demanding. Jesus and his kingdom are to be put above even our dearest relationships and desires. So, we have to think twice before we accept. But we must know that with him and by his strength we can answer his call, however difficult, and we will be happy. He gives us that invitation and strength in this eucharist.

2. Look Before You Leap
People who want to get ahead in life keep looking forward to the future. They reflect, they consult, they plan, and they evaluate their methods, taking nothing for granted. This is, or ought to be, the attitude of Christians. They know that the Christian life is serious. They do not take their faith for granted. They ask themselves: What is God’s will and plan for me, today, in my state of life? Where am I going? Am I following Christ my Lord the way he wants me to? Do I identify with him? Do I make myself free from the things that keep me from following him? And do I follow him also when the cost is high?

Penitential Act
Let us ask pardon from the Lord for not always having had the courage to follow him all the way. (PAUSE)
Lord Jesus, if we do not learn to carry your cross with you we cannot be your disciples. Lord, give us courage. Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
Jesus Christ, if we are not willing to go with you all the way we cannot be your disciples: Christ, give us your strength. Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy. Lord Jesus, unless we are willing to give up all that we are attached to, we cannot be your disciples. Lord, give us your liberating power. Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
Lord, in your patient mercy forgive us our cowardice and our sins. Journey with us on the road and lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen.

Opening Prayer
Let us pray for God’s Spirit that we may follow Jesus consistently (PAUSE) God our Father, we have accepted your invitation to follow your Son Jesus as his disciples. Let your Spirit give us the wisdom and strength to take our faith seriously and to accept our task in life with all its consequences. Let the Spirit help us to go your Son’s way without fear or discouragement, for we are certain Jesus will lead us to you, our loving God for ever and ever. R/ Amen.

General Intercessions
Let us pray to Jesus our Lord that we may be disciples who follow him resolutely, and let us say: R/ Lord, be our light and our strength. – For all those in positions of leadership in the Church and in the world, that God’s Spirit may enlighten them and give them courage, let us pray: R/ Lord, be our light and our strength. – For all those who are seeking God with a sincere heart, that they may find him; for all those who try to discover what God wants them to do, that the Lord may give them insight and wisdom, let us pray: R/ Lord, be our light and strength. – For those called by the Lord to special ministries of service in the community, that they may have the courage to put no limitations on their generosity, let us pray: R/ Lord, be our light and strength. – For those disillusioned or discouraged by adversity and suffering, that they may encounter convinced Christians who may inspire them, let us pray: R/ Lord, you are our light and strength – For all of us here, that we may commit ourselves to Jesus our Lord as he commits himself to us, let us pray: R/ Lord, be our light and strength.

Lord Jesus Christ, let your thoughts and life, your faithfulness and courage be ours, that we may follow you without reservations on the way to the Father and to people, now and for ever. R/ Amen.

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God, in these gifts of bread and wine we bring ourselves before you and you let your Son give himself to us. May we learn from him to make ourselves free for people and for you and to seek your will in all we do. May we follow your Son in his trials and his glory, now and for ever. R/ Amen.

 Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer
We now join Jesus in his sacrifice. He willingly sacrificed everything for the love of the Father and of people. Let us join him in his attitude, for we are his disciples today.

Invitation to the Lord’s Prayer
With Jesus our Lord we pray to the Father that his will and intentions may be ours. R/ Our Father...

Deliver Us
Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us the wisdom of discovering your will in everyday life. In your mercy, set us free from all attachments and fears that keep us from hearing the call of your Son to follow him. Help us to prepare in hope and joy for the return in glory among us of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. R/ For the kingdom...

Invitation to Communion
This is Jesus the Lord, who left his glory to become the Savior of people. This is Jesus the Lord who invites us to join our destiny with his and to follow him all the way. R/ Lord, I am not worthy...

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God, in this eucharist you have enlightened us with the word of wisdom of your Son and given us his bread of strength to follow him without hesitation. Fill us with the wisdom and strength of your Spirit to go with Jesus through the desert of pain and the cross for the sake of bringing life and joy to our brothers and sisters in need and for giving glory to you, our God for ever and ever. R/ Amen.

Blessing
As on other Sundays, we have again been confronted today with Jesus and his message. These put our life under the criticism of the Good News. You are my disciple? Very good. But do you speak up for people trampled upon? Do you give time and attention to people in need? Can you accept hardships for the sake of others? Such are the marks of the real disciple. We have reflected on these marks and we ask God to give us strength. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen. Go in peace and follow the Lord. R/ Thanks be to God.