24 Sunday A: Liturgical Prayers

Greeting
The God of forgiveness, mercy and life
be always with you.
R/ And also with you.
Introduction by the Celebrant
A. Forgive: Enter God's World

We are all familiar with the saying: "To err is human, to forgive is divine." Perhaps we forget the second part too easily: by forgiving one another, we do what God does all the time for us. If we cannot forgive we have not learned to love deeply and we are still far from the gospel. We begin this eucharist by asking pardon from the Lord and from one another.

B. A New Lease on Life

Most of us have experienced how difficult it is to forgive. It is almost impossible. In Old English it means "give to the uttermost," "extremely," "as far as you can go." Isn't that what it really is, going all the way? Who can forget the hurt? Yet we should. Who doesn't see and feel the scars and keep the memories? And yet we shouldn't. Think of God: when he forgives, the evil belongs to the past. It is gone.

God keeps no accounts. He wants us to think only of the future. Jesus did not condemn but gave new chances. Let us ask for the Lord's attitude now in this eucharist.
Penitential Act
Let us look at the Lord Jesus
how he forgave people.
(PAUSE)
Lord Jesus, you forgave Peter
after he had denied you:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Jesus Christ, you did not condemn
the woman caught in adultery;
you simply told her to sin no more:
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you prayed your Father
to forgive even those who had crucified you:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Forgive us, too, Lord, and keep doing so
every time we sin against you.
Dispose us to forgive others always.
Lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen.
Opening Prayer
Let us pray that we may learn to forgive
the way the Lord forgives
(PAUSE)
All-loving Father,
you are good and patient,
compassionate, loving, and merciful with sinners like us.
You forgive us all our debt of sin.
Let your pardon brings us much joy and hope
and induce us to forget and forgive readily
the debts, often so small, that others owe us
because of the wrongs they have done to us.
You have restored us to life:
help us to make others live by our pardon,
that they may feel a bit of your goodness in us.
We ask this through Jesus our Lord. R/ Amen.
Liturgy of the Word

First Reading Introduction: Forgive and God will forgive you
Even by the end of the Old Testament, the believer knew that God does not forgive those who cannot forgive others. Forgiveness is a demand of the covenant.

Second Reading Introduction: Like Christ, no one should live for himself
By baptism, we belong to Christ. Like him, we should live and die not for ourselves but for others.
Gospel Introduction: Forgive from the heart
If we do not know how to forgive, God will not forgive us, says Jesus. The kingdom of God will not come among us if we cannot forgive.

General Intercessions
Let us pray to our merciful God that we his people who have experienced his forgiveness may bring the joy of reconciliation to the world. Let us say: R/ Lord, help us forgive from the heart.

- For the Church, the people set free by the blood of Christ, that we may not be divided in factions but live together in tolerance and peace, let us pray to the Lord: R/ Lord, help us forgive from the heart.

- For all Christian Churches, long divided by grudges and pride, that we may be brought together in the unity of one gospel and one love of Christ, let us pray:R/ Lord, help us forgive from the heart.

- For those who are committed to causes of justice and human liberation, that they may not only accuse and protest but also recognize and uproot sin in their own hearts, let us pray: R/ Lord, help us forgive from the heart.

- For married couples who live side by side without much love and without communicating, that they may come to forgive, to understand and to appreciate one another again, let us pray: R/ Lord, help us forgive from the heart.

- And for us gathered here, people with our failures and foibles, that we may learn from the Lord to be merciful as he has been to us, that we may forgive one another from the heart, let us pray: R/ Lord, help us forgive from the heart.

Lord, you are so good that all our evil becomes like nothing. Let us, little and frail people, speak to one another your words and deeds of forgiving love, on account of Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
Prayer over the Gifts
God our Father,
in these signs of bread and wine
we celebrate the death of your Son
that brought us forgiveness and life.
Let the table of the eucharist be to all of us
an occasion and place where we learn
to accept one another, even with our frailties,
and to share the same bread and the same Lord
in friendship and peace.
We ask you this through him
who reconciled in himself all factions,
Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer

At the very heart of the eucharistic celebration, we say: "This blood will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven." The Lord Jesus brought us forgiveness by his death. Let us thank God for his forgiveness and forgive one another in the Lord.
(The Eucharistic Prayer of Reconciliation I [ICEL] is recommended.)


Invitation to the Lord's Prayer

In Our Lord's words we pray:
forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
May we not pray those words
only with our lips, but also with our hearts.
R/ Our Father...


Deliver Us
Deliver us, Lord, from every evil
and grant us the inner peace
which comes from doing your will
even when it is hard to do so.
Keep us free from discouragement
and help us to spare no effort
in bringing your love and healing to all.
Lead us forward in joyful hope
toward the full coming
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
R/ For the kingdom..
Prayer for Peace
Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles:
I leave you peace, my peace I give you.
Look not on our sins, and help us
not to look on the sins of others,
for we all need the peace
of your forgiving love
and of each other's pardon.
Grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom
where you live for ever and ever. R/ Amen.

The forgiving peace of the Lord
be with you always. R/ And also with you.
Invitation to Communion
This is Jesus, the Lamb of God
who was slain for our sins.
On the cross he prayed for those
who sought his death.
Happy are we to receive him
and to learn from him
to bring reconciliation and peace.
R/ Lord, I am not worthy...
Prayer after Communion
God our Father,
you have created us anew
through the Bread of life of your Son
and through the forgiveness he keeps bringing us.
Help us also to restore to life
our brothers and sisters who wait for our pardon
and open our hearts
to receive their forgiveness with gratitude.
Let us be a community
where we raise up one another
to the joy of your life and your healing love.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. R/ Amen.
Blessing
Today God has spoken clearly to us,
people for whom it is difficult
to overlook failures,
to give new chances,
to forgive from the heart.
"Become like me,
forget and forgive,
heal and care,
and you will be healed yourselves."
May God be with you and bless you:
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.

Let us walk with one another
in the forgiving peace of the Lord. R/ Thanks be to God.