With St Paul we say today: "I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come, for the prize to which God calls us." May the strength of the Lord Jesus be always with you. R/ And also with you.
Introduction by the Celebrant
A. Throw No Stones Have you ever had the experience of hurting someone very much but that the offended person forgave you, perhaps with difficulty, and accepted your apology, and that was the end? Do you remember how relieved you felt, as if you were a new person? That is how God keeps forgiving us: he makes us new every time again. Do we live as forgiven, new people? Do we make others new by our pardon? Let us encounter again in this Eucharist our patient, forgiving Lord Jesus.
B. Look First Into Your Own Heart When they have sinned, especially when grievously, some people are afraid that God is out to catch them, like a policeman who has to implement the law. Today we learn from Jesus that God goes beyond the law, for he forgives and keeps forgiving. This is the attitude we learn from God. Look into your own heart and see that you need forgiveness. And repeatedly so. Then you will also easily forgive others. Let us ask Jesus for this attitude, even when we still feel the hurt inflicted.
During this Lent we have looked into ourselves and, hopefully, realized that we are sinners in constant need of forgiveness. Let us seek the Lord's pardon. (pause) Lord Jesus, you throw no stones at us and you don't want us to throw them at anyone: Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy. Jesus Christ, you do not condemn us for you have come to save what was lost and you want us to be free and alive: Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy. Lord Jesus, you tell us to go and to sin no more: Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy. Have mercy on us, Lord, forgive us and make us new. Lead us to everlasting life.R/ Amen.
Let us ask our Father that we may imitate his mercy (pause) God of life, this is the Good News you let us hear today through your living image, Jesus Christ: Love is stronger than death, you want the sinner to live and to become all new. Let us no longer live in the past of sin but make us free for life and for love. Give us hearts as merciful to one another as you have been lenient and loving to us. We ask you this through Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
Liturgy of the Word
First Reading Introduction: Forget The Past; Go Forward With MeTo his chosen people suffering in exile, God says: I have done great deeds of salvation for you in the past. I will do greater things for you in the future.
Second Reading Introduction: Push On To What Is Ahead
Once Paul had been "seized" by Christ, the past no longer counted, and he strained toward his future in Christ, by the strength of the Risen Lord.
Gospel Introduction: Go Away And Don't Sin Any More
The mission of Jesus is not to judge and condemn but to forgive and to give new chances in life. Isn't that our mission too?
In his love, God wants to make the world ever new. Let us entrust to his mercy our intentions and those of our brothers and sisters. Let us say:R/ Lord of life, in you we trust. • For the Church we love, that it may be in our world a place and a sign of forgiveness and reconciliation, let us pray: R/ Lord of life, in you we trust. • For those who condemn and for those who are condemned, let us pray: R/ Lord of life, in you we trust. • For broken homes and for families that are united, let us pray : R/ Lord of life, in you we trust. • For those wounded by the hardships of life and for those who keep hoping, let us pray: R/ Lord of life, in you we trust. • For those in authority, that they pay attention to the people's needs and not crush anyone with their power, let us pray: R/ Lord of life, in you we trust. • For our Christian communities, that we keep accepting everyone with understanding and compassion, let us pray: R/ Lord of life, in you we trust. Lord our God, we thank you for listening to us and for showing us your patient mercy, through Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord God, merciful Father in these signs of bread and wine we share in the forgiveness and life of your Son Jesus Christ. By his body and blood make us, limited and fallible people, your new creation, your people of hope, capable of rising above ourselves and preparing your new heaven and new earth. For we expect everything from you through Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer
hrough Jesus our Lord we thank our Father for forgetting our past and leading us to a future of love and justice and freedom.
Invitation to the Lord's Prayer
In the words of Jesus our Lord we call on our Father in heaven to forgive us as we forgive others: R/ Our Father...
Deliver us Lord, from a past of evil, from everything that estranges us from you and one another. Gather us in the solidarity and peace of one faith, one hope, one love, as people set free by your Son. May we spread your reconciliation to build up a liberated world and to wait in hope for the coming in glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. R/ For the kingdom...
Invitation to Communion
This is the Lamb of God who does not condemn us but makes with us an ever-new beginning. Happy are we to be invited to hear his words of forgiveness and to eat his bread of life. R/ Lord, I am not worthy...
Prayer after Communion
Tender and compassionate Father, we thank you for letting us share in the sacrifice of your Son that brought us your pardon and peace. Let him give to us, pardoned sinners, the strength to remain faithful to you. Let us be disciples demanding to ourselves and very merciful to others. We ask this through Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
We have heard today our Lord's invitation not to shut ourselves up in the mediocrity of our past but to set out boldly for the future with fresh generosity. This future will not be without difficulties: the Lord never promises an easy life. But he promises to be with us with the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen. Let us go in the joy and the strength of the Lord. R/ Thanks be to God.