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5th Week of Lent, Friday, Apr 3rd

Jeremiah 20:10-13 / John 10:31-42 
The Jews rebuke Jesus: “You, a man, are making yourself God.”

One night the Philadelphia Orchestra, under the baton of Leopold Stokowski, was performing a Beethoven overture. In it, a part for a trumpet is played offstage. When the time came for the offstage trumpet, there was no sound. Stokowski was furious. Again, the time came for the offstage trumpet. Again, there was only silence. After the overture ended, Stokowski stormed off the stage to find the trumpet player. There he was, his arms pinned to his side by a burly security guard who said, “This nut was trying to play his horn while your concert was going on out there.”
In a similar way, the people were frustrating God’s plan by failing to recognize Jesus’ role in it.
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Do we sometimes frustrate God’s plan in an ignorant way, as the security guard did? “We get no deeper into Christ than we allow him to get in US.” John Henry Jowett
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At times, it may be rather easy for us to think that we are quiet good people, even in the religious sense. As long as we say our prayers, go for Mass regularly, don't break any of the 10 Commandments, then we might think that we are quite good people. Yet, the measure that we use are created by ourselves and it is by that measure that we compare ourselves with others and even judge others.
In the gospel, Jesus gave the measure by which our lives must be measured, and that is we live our lives according to the ways of God. Yes, we are called to live godly god-like lives and to do the works of God so that we become signs of God's presence in this world.

Yet, we fail because we may have been overwhelmed by the evil that we see around us and we have let it influence us so much so that we may not be even aware of the evil we commit. Also, when we are oppressed by evil-doers, we forget our divine calling and we react with evil for evil. That was the distress of the prophet Jeremiah in the 1st reading. He was surrounded and overwhelmed by evil.
Yet, he turned to God to save him and to deliver him from the hands of evil men.

May we also turn to Jesus our Saviour and Healer and ask Him to cleanse us of evil and to deliver us from evil so that we can renew our baptismal commitment and walk the ways of God.

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Liturgy

Introduction
Jesus, the Son of God, showed in his life and actions that he was no ordinary human being, even in the face of contradiction. Christians, sons and daughters of God without a capital s or d, who take their faith seriously will also meet contradiction. They cannot compromise if this would be tantamount to betrayal or dishonesty with themselves, with their faith, or with others. But they know that they are in God’s hands. And their deeds will speak for themselves. With Jesus, God’s Son, may we do the work the Father has entrusted to us.

Penitential Rite:
-we come in fear and in anguish
-we come seeking your protection and comfort
-we come seeking your mercy and forgiveness

Opening Prayer
Lord our God, you are a loyal God, ever faithful to your promises. Strengthen our faith, that with Jesus we may always keep trusting in you in spite of prejudices, ridicule or contradiction. Give us the firm conviction that you are irrevocably committed to us in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Commentary
From their tranquil life upon the Sea of Galilee, Simon, Andrew, James and John entered into an adventure that would take them to the ends of the earth. They would experience a new way of life that they had never before imagined. They would walk with the Lord and learn first hand what it means to live the good life. And in teaching others about Jesus would they become "fishers of people" as the Lord had predicted. May we never shrink from the Lord's call to leave our nets behind and follow Him. Such a choice can never leave us disappointed.

Homily Prayer:

O God, your Word-made-flesh shattered our notions of messiah and challenged our concept of the kingdom. Jesus held your face
before us and smiled... but longing prohibited the possibility of a gentle God... or a heart's desire come true. The wrappings of Mystery, meant to draw us near, became a cloak for cynicism and disbelief, instead. Many walked away praying for the dreamer... the blasphemer. O God, slow our steps. Do not allow us to walk away from your Son. When his truth falls hard upon our hearts, help us to find the impossible possible. Let us reach the heights of your Spirit that we may descend, willingly, into the Mystery that wraps us round in love. May we proclaim kinship in Christ and your presence in him... the final Word of love. Amen.


General Intercessions
–   For men and women who are persecuted because of their faith and feel abandoned, that they may find strength in prayer, we pray:
–   For all who feel deserted by God and people, that they may learn again through good people that they are in the hands of God, we pray:
–   For people who have seriously sinned, that these days of Lent they may repent and return to the Lord, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord God, the sign of your loyalty to us is that your Son comes among us. Keep us also loyal to you when we have to face contradiction because of our faith. Give us the Holy Spirit of strength who inspired your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Prayer after Communion
Our God and Father, Jesus faced opposition because he claimed to be your Son, the Son of God. May we, who claim to be your sons and daughters, lovingly do what you want us to do, that people may believe in you and your Son not so much because of what we say but because of what we are and do for the sake of Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord forever.

Blessing
How far we are still from the ideal of one heart and one mind, be it in our world, our Churches, our communities. May God bring his scattered children together and bless us, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.