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21 Sunday B: Liturgical Prayers

1. Are You on My Side?
2. We Have Made a Choice
3. Though Not Perfect, It Is Beautiful Inside 

Greeting (see Second Reading)
Christ loved his Church;
he gave himself up for her
to make her holy and immaculate;
he nourishes us and cares for us.
May his love and peace be always with you. R/ And also with you.

Introduction by the Celebrant
1. Are You on My Side?
After Vatican II many were affected by the deeper insights in the Gospel and our faith which the Spirit had given to his Church: most were the result of deeper study or simply rediscoveries of neglected truths. To most people the renewal after the Council was like a deep breath of fresh air; but some went away sadly from the Church. They could not take it; there was no room for growth in their faith. Today Jesus asks us too: Can you grow in your faith? Do you choose me and my Church or do you stick to your own ideas? He invites us: choose me, grow in my life and my love.

2. We Have Made a Choice
Ever since we were baptized we belong to Christ as our Lord and Savior and brother. Have we ever made our baptismal choice a conscious, personal option for Christ? Our presence here at the Eucharist implies that we have done so. Do we confirm that choice by our everyday Christian living, in our dealings with those around us in love and justice and forgiveness? When our faith is put to the test do we renew our choice and say: “Lord, to whom else shall we go? You are the Lord of my life.”
3. Though Not Perfect, It Is Beautiful Inside

Why do we stay in the Church even though we see glaring defects in its structures and members? For me personally I’d like to answer: because I also see its numerous qualities and beauty. The Church brings me its message of life and especially, I see the Lord present in it. It is my Church because I find my Lord there. He is present there in the Eucharist, he is present there in the community. And I know it is a Church on the way and so it cannot yet be perfect. For me the Church does not have to be perfect, for it is a Church of people and leaders who struggle and try, and so the Lord is there.


Penitential Act
1. Are You on My Side?
We have to acknowledge with shame
that we have often preferred ourselves,
our interests, ideas and comforts
to those of God and of our neighbor.
We ask now for forgiveness.
(PAUSE)
Lord Jesus, you put before us
good and evil, your Gospel and our own ways,
and you tell us to choose:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Jesus Christ, you put before us
yourself and your message of life
and you ask us: Do you too want to go away?
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you put before us
the bread of life, and you tell us:
“Take this, all of you, and eat it.”
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Have mercy on us, Lord:
we know that you accept us and forgive us.
Make us accept you with all our heart
and lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen.
2. and 3.
Let us ask the Lord to forgive us
our doubts and hesitations
and our lukewarm efforts to follow him.
(PAUSE) 
Lord, to whom else shall we go,
for you have the message of everlasting life.
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Jesus Christ, to whom else shall we go,
for you go with us our weary way through life.
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.

Lord, to whom else shall we go,
for you are among us with your love
and your patient forgiveness.
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Have mercy on us, Lord, 
and forgive us all our sins.
Give us a living, loving faith
and lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen.

Opening Prayer
Let us pray to God for the courage
to be faithful to him always 
(PAUSE)
Faithful God of the covenant,
in the daily choices we have to make
give us the courage to opt always
for your Son and his ways
and to remain close to him.
Bless the difficult road we sometimes have to take
without seeing where it will lead us.
Keep us from making half-hearted decisions
where we have not enough faith, and
to accept all the consequences of our choice.
Keep us always faithful
through Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.

First Reading: God’s People Choose the Lord
God’s people is conscious that it owes its freedom and its country to God’s liberating love. The Hebrews choose to link their destiny to that of God and to serve him loyally.
Second Reading: The Covenant of Marriage
In marriage, the partners choose one another for lifelong love and fidelity and give themselves to one another as Christ gave himself for the Church.
Gospel: Do You Choose Me?
The upsetting words of Jesus place a choice before the disciples. Many leave. Peter, apparently speaking in the name of all the apostles, expresses his firm faith in the Lord.

Intercessions
Let us pray to God, our Father in heaven, who is the source and meaning of our lives, and let us say: R/ Lord, your kingdom come.
– That the Gospel of the Lord may keep striking the ministers of the Church as an ever-new message, and that they may proclaim it with conviction and warmth, let us pray: R/ Lord, your kingdom come.
– That those who have been chosen to serve the Lord in the priesthood or the religious life may continue to give themselves to others in joy and faithfulness to God and people, let us pray: R/ Lord, your kingdom come.
– That those who promised faithfulness to each other in marriage may continue growing in love and reflecting God’s love for his Church, let us pray: R/ Lord, your kingdom come.
– That none of us may run after false gods out of cowardice, indifference or shallowness; that we may not be self-serving but learn to live for others, let us pray: R/ Lord, your kingdom come.
– That those who find no purpose in life may discover a God to love and adore through the life of faith, hope and love they see in our Christian communities, let us pray: R/ Lord, your kingdom come.
Lord God, you have chosen us as your people. Keep us faithful to your love in freedom and trust, that you may be our God now and for ever. R/ Amen.

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
the death of Jesus, your Son, was the price
you paid for our freedom.
In these signs of bread and wine
he gives himself again to us
as our food and drink of life.
In his strength, let us go his way
to you and to people
as flesh and blood for others,
in faith and hope in your kingdom
that will stand for ever and ever. Amen.

Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer
We praise God for having chosen us in Christ to be his holy people, and to praise God in the name of all that is.

Invitation to the Lord’s Prayer
God has chosen us
to be his sons and daughters.
With Jesus, we recognize his love
and call upon him as our Father: R/ Our Father...

Deliver Us
Deliver us, Lord, from every servitude
of sin and evil
and forgive us our infidelities.
Make us free to serve you and one another
in love and justice,
as we wait in joyful hope
for the growth of your kingdom among us
and for the coming in glory
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. R/ For the kingdom...

At the Breaking of Bread (A. Schilling)
We break the bread of Jesus Christ.
He himself was broken – by people like us.
Much happiness and hope
are still being broken by people.
We share the bread of Jesus Christ,
for he has shared his life with us
and much is being healed
when each of us
breaks our bread and life with others.

Invitation to Communion
This is our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Lamb of God, who said:
‘‘Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood
have eternal life in them.”
Happy are we if we can say to him:
‘‘Lord, to whom else should we go?
You have the message of eternal life.” R/ Lord, I am not worthy...

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
in response to your love,
we have chosen you at baptism
as the God of our lives.
In the strength of this Eucharist
help us to renew day after day
this commitment to you and your kingdom.
Let your Son build up with us
a community of peace and service,
and when it is slow in coming
reassure us that in your own good time

the seed will bear fruit
that lasts for ever and ever. R/ Amen.

Blessing
We experience in life
that we have to make a lot of choices.
When it is an important matter
our first consideration should always be
what does God want me to do?
In the light of the gospel,
what decision should I take?
The choice is not always easy or clear.
May God give you light and courage,
and may he love and bless you:
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen. 

Let us go and make every act of life
a choice for the Lord.
R/ Thanks be to God.

Commentary
Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say about this ‘hard saying’. “The first announcement of the Eucharist divided the disciples, just as the announcement of the Passion scandalized them: ‘This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?’ (Jn 6:60) The Eucharist and the Cross are stumbling blocks. It is the same mystery and it never ceases to be an occasion of division. ‘Will you also go away?’ (Jn 6:67): the Lord’s question echoes through the ages, as a loving invitation to discover that only he has ‘the words of eternal life’ (Jn 6:68) and that to receive in faith the gift of his Eucharist is to receive the Lord himself.” (n. 1336 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church).