The Lord reassures us today: My plans for you are peace and not disaster. When you call to me, I will listen to you and I will bring you home. May the Lord of peace and hope be with you. R/ And also with you.
Introduction by the Celebrant
A. Hope in a New WorldSome parts of Scripture, like today's readings, speak of calamities and disasters as signs of an old world decaying and Jesus coming in judgment. Today's television and other media bring into our homes the disasters and violence and suffering of the whole world; and people ask: where all this is leading us. These are signs for us today that the world in which we live is decaying, but we should not overlook the signs of hope too in a fairer and more unified world, the crumbling of tyrannies on the right and the left. These are, like budding branches on a tree, signs of hope in a new world that is growing, and in the coming of God among us, his people. Let us celebrate this hope in this eucharist.
B. My Plans for You Are Peace
Today the liturgy speaks to us of God's judgment and the end of time. When and how the very end will come is known to God alone. But this we know for sure: the end time has begun with Christ, when he became one of us in his humanity, died and rose from the dead. With him among us now we live our faith even in the trials of life, not in fear but in the firm hope that God's love and justice will triumph and that Christ will complete in us in God's good time what we try to build up as we trust in him. For we are people of hope in a loving and saving God. Let us express this hope in this eucharist.
If we are afraid, our love is still weak. Let us ask forgiveness from the Lord that we have not kept alive our hope and vigilance. (PAUSE) Lord Jesus, you will come with great power and glory. Keep us from fear. Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
Jesus Christ, you will gather your chosen ones from the ends of the earth: Keep us faithful and vigilant. Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you are near, standing at the door to make us enter. Keep us in your love. Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
Have mercy on us, Lord, forgive us our sins, and make us see how close you are to us. Lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen.
Let us pray for trust in God and in his future. (PAUSE) God our Father, through your Son you told us not to worry about the day or the hour when the old world will be gone, for you alone know when it will happen. Open our eyes to the sign of Jesus' coming and make us see him already walking by our side. Keep us faithful in hope and vigilant in our love for you and our concern for one another. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. R/ Amen.
Liturgy of the Word
First Reading Introduction: God Will Raise His Faithful To the faithful Jews, upset on account of persecutions, the prophet speaks a message of hope: God will save you. Even if you lose your life, God will give you eternal life.
Second Reading Introduction: We Are Saved by Christ's One Sacrifice
Offering his sacrifice once and for all, Jesus has overcome sin and given us the power to live God's life.
Gospel Introduction: See the Signs of the Lord's Coming
In mysterious terms, Jesus speaks of the difficult coming of his full kingdom in this world. Jesus will bring it to completion in us.
Let us pray with the fullest trust to the God of peace and hope who waits for us at the end of life's road, and let us say: R/ Lord, we place all our trust in you.
- For the Church, that the people of God may proclaim with trust and joy their unshakable faith in eternal life and the eternal dimension of all we do, let us pray: R/ Lord, we place all our trust in you.
- For Christians everywhere, that by their commitment to justice and peace they may bring all people together in one community of hope and faith, and that by their commitment to one another they may prepare the way for the full coming of Christ, let us pray: R/ Lord, we place all our trust in you.
- For those who are afraid of death, old age, or life's trials, for all people without courage or hope, that they may learn to trust in God and that we may stand by their side, let us pray: R/ Lord, we place all our trust in you.
- For this community here and now, that we may inspire one another by our living faith and indestructible hope, and that by our love and service the Lord may live among us, let us pray: R/ Lord, we place all our trust in you.
Lord God of life and death, we do not know the hour of your coming, but we are certain that your love will never fail us. Keep us vigilant in hope and help us to welcome you now in one another, that you may welcome us in your eternal home for good and for ever. R/ Amen.
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God, in this bread and this wine we make ourselves available to you. We do not ask for a life without risks and problems but for the courage to commit ourselves to your project for the world. When we are downhearted because this task surpasses our forces, remind us that your Son stays with us to bring your kingdom to completion. For he is our Lord for ever. R/ Amen.
Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer
The eucharistic prayer speaks of our resurrection to everlasting life and our entrance into Christ's glory when he comes to meet us. After the consecration we acclaim him as the Lord whom we expect in hope.
Invitation to the Lord's Prayer
God is our saving Father. To him we pray with the fullest trust in the words of Jesus himself: R/ Our Father...
Deliver us, Lord, from every evil and grant us full trust in your future. Do not allow us to delay your plans. Do not let us grow bitter or skeptical when your promise of harmony and justice take time to become a reality, but keep alive in us the dream that weak people can carry out your project, as we wait 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, the Lamb of God, who sacrificed himself once and for all to gather us together as God's people. Happy are we to be invited to share in the supper that prepares us for the everlasting feast in the kingdom of God. R/ Lord, I am not worthy...
Prayer "Stay with Us"
This paraphrase of a text in the night prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours could be prayed by all if it is in the people's leaflet, or the leader says it slowly and meditatively. The priest concludes with the Prayer after Communion.
Stay with us, Lord, when evening comes and the sun is setting. Stay with us and with all people. Stay with us in the evening of our day, in the evening of life, in the evening of the world. Stay with us with your love and kindness, with your word and your sacraments, with your consolation and blessing. Stay with us when to us comes the night of affliction and fear, the night of doubt and temptation, the night of painful death. Stay with us and all who are yours in time and in eternity. R/ Amen.
Prayer after Communion
Lord, God of hope, you have saved us in the past, you give us your Son in the present and our future lies in your hands, yet you entrusted it also to us. As the fruit of this eucharist, help us to seek this future as a challenge to be creative and to build up a new world by the power of Jesus Christ, who will complete your work in us and who lives with you and with us for ever. R/ Amen.
We should not wait for the full coming of Christ in fear and trembling but in hope. God is not out to catch us in a weak moment, for he is a saving and loving God. Neither should we expect him passively for he has given us a new world to build, to bring it his justice, friendship and peace. It is a task that is above our strength, but which we can carry out if we live the gospel as a community, with the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.
Let us go as people of hope who trust in the Lord. R/ Thanks be to God.