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Sermons

During the Bishop's Conference of Scotland suspension of the celebration of all public liturgy to combat the spread of the covid-19 corona virus, Fr. Mark's sermons and prayers for intercessions will be posted here.

2nd Sunday of Advent – Year B, 6 December 2020

Gospel, Mark 1:1-8
Today’s Gospel focuses on the very beginning of Jesus ministry as seen through the eyes of, and proclaimed by the prophetic voice of John the Baptist.
When we talk about beginning we are not talking about the sudden arrival of Jesus as though he had not previously existed but instead we are talking about his public ministry coming more to the fore. Jesus Christ always was and always will be, he is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, and his coming into our world was in but a moment of time but it remains an ever-present reality.
John the Baptist clearly comes out of the Jewish prophetic tradition, and the prophet Isaiah spoke about him in the first reading where we heard: “A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness a way for the Lord…’
John, as we know did live in the wilderness and lived a very humble and simple life but the important thing to focus on is his message. This is a message of repentance. This is a message which remains just as relevant today as it did when first proclaimed by John over 2,000 years ago.
John’s main focus therefore, was to free people from the oppressive burden of sin as he called on them to change in two ways.
Firstly there was the need to change one’s behaviour and so live a different kind of life, a life which is not negatively influenced by the ways of the world.
Secondly there was the need to change one’s mind and so begin to think differently. These two ways work together to bring about a radical change of life which becomes God-focused.
This change was symbolised in the act of baptism – going under the water to die to sin and emerging above the water to open sky.
John’s baptism was by water only but through Jesus Christ, we are baptised with the Holy Spirit, and it is the Holy Spirit who will prompt our need to make radical changes in our lives.
To undertake this radical change requires each of us, individually, to courageously undertake a self-examination of the kinds of lives that we live. It requires a need and a desire to change the more negative aspects of our lives.
The paths that each of us follow in this life are not all straight: they can meander, they can be strewn with obstacles, all designed to stop us arriving at our destination, our goal.
Our aim therefore, through prayer, and through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, is to overcome the meandering paths and the obstacles, as we allow our Lord to be our guide on the straight path.
St. Peter reminds us that: “The Lord is being patient with you all, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to change [there] ways.”
Yes, the Lord is being patient with us all but this should not be understood to mean that we can take our time about the changes we need to make. As has been made clear over the last few weeks, the time for change is now, because we do not know the day or the hour of the Lord’s coming.
And why would we want to delay positive change anyway, especially when we hold on to the hope of eternal life?
When we take our faith seriously we will always want to: “Prepare a way for the Lord…” as we ‘do our best to live lives without spot or stain so that [we] will find peace’.

Intercessions

The Father offers us forgiveness if we turn to Him; and so we bring to Him all our needs.
For the Church: That all who guide and lead us in the Church may express in their lives the truths of the Gospel.
For the world: That all those who are seeking the truth may use this time of preparation to find Christ’s life and love.
For our country: This Tuesday we will be celebrating the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On this day, let us remember all unborn children, especially those recently conceived. That safety, protection and love would be granted to them, and that we the Church, with the intercession of Our Lady, would take on the call to support these precious children of God.
For our community: That we may take our faith seriously as we prepare a way for the Lord in our lives.
For the dead: That they may see the glory of God.

Lord our God, Your people wait in hope for the day when Your glory will be revealed. Sustain us on our journey and keep us true to Your ways. We ask this through…

1st Sunday of Advent – Year B, 29 November 2020

Gospel, Mark 13:33-37
The verses of Mark’s Gospel which are just before those proclaimed today reflect on the End Days when heaven and earth, as we know them, will pass away.
The words of the Gospel are the words of Jesus; they are radical words, words which create a new and alternative way of being human. These are words which will never pass away.
These words of the Gospel, which we hear proclaimed week in, week out, are words we are all called to take into our hearts as we strive to live by them in all their fullness.
When the End Days come the destruction of this, the old world will destroy many people who have promoted the evil which exists here, and who prosper through that evil.
For the followers of Jesus however, this destruction is a reality to embrace because it will bring with it a new way of being – it will herald the advent of God’s kingdom where everything will be made new.
It is necessary therefore, to both work and watch i.e. to be both a servant and a doorkeeper.
As ‘servant’ we will each have work to do to promote the new way of being, and as ‘doorkeeper’ we will all have to be on the watch i.e. to remain alert and conscious of the lives we are living as we await the Lord’s coming.
Jesus said: “Be on your guard, stay awake…” The command to work and the command to watch therefore are imperatives. The last “Stay awake!” is a shout to the whole of humanity, a shout which is clearly calling on all people to change their ways, and to embrace the Gospel.
As Christians there is a need for us to understand that this is not a temporary way of being. We cannot be Christians on a Sunday for example, and then live a worldly life for the rest of the week.
The challenge for each of us is to see Jesus’ words and his commands as a permanent way of being in this world as we strive to remain engaged in God’s work thus preparing ourselves, and being open to, the arrival of the new world in which all things will be recreated and brought back to the original perfection which existed before Original Sin entered our lives.
We are well aware that this season of Advent is a season for reflection. It is an annual event in our calendar when we will strive to take the time to consider the kinds of lives we are living and how we are undertaking God’s work in the midst of our everyday lives. It is a time to repent of our old and worldly ways as we consider what the birth of Christ actually means for us.
Jesus’ coming into our world and taking on our humanity wasn’t simply an historical event, something to be celebrated and then forgotten for another year, instead it is an ever present reality which we would do well to reflect upon each and every day.
In the first reading we heard it said: “You, Lord, yourself are our Father, Our Redeemer is your ancient name.”
Jesus’ coming into our world, ‘a man like us in all things but sin’, was the moment when those words became a reality. Our Redeemer was born for us; he suffered and died for us, so that we might see in him the reality of God’s love for us all.
Stay awake then, because the Lord is coming! His arrival is in every moment, and when we the watchers see him, then we will become workers for, and in, his kingdom.

Intercessions

In this season of Advent, and with a spirit of patience and peace, we turn to our Heavenly Father in prayer.
For the Church: That all those who live, teach and preach the word of God may always be inspired by the example of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.
For the world: That all those suffering from injustice may be given hope and encouragement to persevere.
For our country: That all those oppressed by materialism and greed may find their salvation in Christ.
For our community: That we may ‘Stay awake’ as we make ourselves ready for the second coming of the Lord.
For the dead, remembering especially those whose names are inscribed in the Book of Remembrance:
That they may rise to new life with the Lord on the Last Day.

God our Father, help us to receive Your word with faith and grant us the grace to live as you would have us live.. We ask this through…

Christ the King – Year A, 22 November 2020

Gospel, Matthew 25:31-46
The United Kingdom has some of the most beautiful crown jewels in the world, and as you’ll know, they are kept securely in the Tower of London. In my opinion the most outstanding is the “State” or “Imperial Crown”. The crown contains over 2,800 diamonds, plus pearls, sapphires, emeralds and rubies, and it weighs in at just over one kilogram. The three outstanding jewels are the “Black Prince’s Ruby”, the “St. Edward’s Sapphire”, and the “Cullinan Diamond”.
This crown, as with all crowns, represents both status and power and therefore clearly symbolises sovereignty and authority.
Today’s solemnity focuses on kingship - the kingship of Jesus Christ.
There are many images of our Risen Lord adorned with a crown which is very much a human interpretation of how we imagine he is in Heaven, seated on a throne and adorned with jewels.
I heard an analogy recently which helps us to consider where the jewels that adorn Jesus’ crown come from. In this analogy it was said that every good work that we undertake in this life provides one more jewel for his crown! A beautiful thought!
In the Gospel reading Jesus says that when he comes again in glory there will be a separation in which those who undertook good works are separated from those who didn’t do anything to help another person.
The feeding of the hungry, the clothing of the naked, the visiting of the sick and so on are all works of mercy which all people are supposed to undertake, and most especially if those people profess to be Christians. These works of mercy are sometimes called corporal works of mercy and include anything which helps our neighbour with their physical and material needs. There are spiritual works of mercy too which include, comforting the sorrowful, forgiveness, and prayer both for the living and the dead.
In the first reading we hear the account of the Lord as the good shepherd who takes care of his sheep.
It is He who looks for the lost, brings back the stray, bandages the wounded and makes the weak strong. To this account of God’s love we are called to respond as we follow the example of the Good Shepherd. We are all called to take responsibility for our lives and understand that the commandment to love is what we are all invited to follow.
In love, God does not reject us, but in freedom, we have the possibility of rejecting God and His invitation to love. It is our actions in this life therefore, which will be determine how we will be judged on the Last Day.
At this end of the Church’s year and as we prepare for Advent, we are invited to reflect on the past year as we consider how God has been with us, giving us His grace; and how we have used that grace for His greater glory.
Have there been times throughout this year where God’s love has brought us healing? Have there been times we’ve shown God’s love to others in the way in which we’ve supported them? And perhaps the most important question to reflect upon: do we thank God for this love?
This feast of Christ the King is a celebration of God’s love, and an opportunity to recognise God’s love with praise and thanksgiving, so that, through the works of mercy we undertake we can adorn Christ’s crown with abundant jewels, certain that we will hear him says to us: “Come, you whom my father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world.”

Intercessions

Let us pray to God our heavenly Father for our many needs, confident that He will hear our prayer.

For the Church: That every member of the Church will renew their faith and commitment to Christ the King, and rejoice to make his love known.
For the world: That all those who make our laws and those who must enforce them may follow the example of Christ in justice and peace.
For our country: That the Christian community will extend its love to those most in need of love and that its members will witness to Christ through the care of the weakest in their midst.
For our community: That through the works of mercy we undertake we can adorn the crown of Christ with abundant jewels.
For the dead, remembering especially those whose names are inscribed in the Book of Remembrance: That they may share in Christ’s promise of victory over death.
God, our Father, we thank and praise You for the glory of Your only-begotten Son, Christ our King. Grant us the grace to serve him faithfully all our days. We ask this through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A, 15 November 2020

Gospel, Matthew 25:14-30
If we’ve ever seen a brick layer at work we will know that he or she has to start with a firm foundation upon which the first bricks are laid. Subsequent layers of bricks rely on the first layer and on each other for strength. Therefore it doesn’t matter whether a brick is at the bottom of a structure or at the top; each brick is of equal importance to maintain the integrity of the structure being built.
This analogy is true of a community of faith too, for we should all rely on each other, and view each other as vital to the whole community structure of which the key stone, that which holds everything together, is our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
We know that God is our Creator and we His humble creatures and, just like the man in the Gospel reading who gave talents i.e. riches, to his servants, God gives each and every one of us gifts, or responsibilities or directions.
And just like the man who returned from his journey and required an account from his servants, so too will God require an account from us to determine how we have used the gifts, or responsibilities or directions which He has given to us.
We will know that this account given to God will come either when we die, or on the Last Day when the Lord will come again in glory. Both these moments, the day of our death and the Last Day, remain unknown to us, therefore we cannot think we have time to act properly. This follows on from last week’s Gospel reading and the parable of the bridesmaids through which we learned there is a need for each of us to be continually in a state of preparedness.
St. Paul reminds us that we are all children of the light and children of the day and so if we live wisely, as children of the light, then we won’t be caught out.
And so the question remains: ‘how are we going to use the gifts, responsibilities or directions God has given to us?
Are we going to invest them wisely as the first two men in the parable did, and so be seen as ‘good and faithful servants’; or are we going to be like the third servant, ‘wicked and lazy servants’ who, out of a sense of fear, bury what they have been given?
Each of us, no matter how meagre we think our gifts may seem, has a vital role in God’s plan, therefore it is hugely important to be wise with what we have, i.e. to invest what we have, because this will determine our eternal future in the Kingdom of God.
Many people might see the parables which appear in the Gospel of Matthew as threats, truly something to engender fear of God and, retribution at the end of time, but these views would not fit in with what we believe about Jesus Christ as our loving, compassionate and merciful Saviour.
What is needed then is a change of attitude. Accepting the love, compassion and mercy of God, the parables can be seen for what they really are: ways to guide and encourage us as we journey in the light, and as children of the light, to our heavenly homeland where our loving God awaits us with open arms.

Intercessions

The Lord is generous to all people, giving strength, encouragement and hope. We bring before the Lord all our needs confident of a generous and merciful response.
For the Church: That all Christians may use their gifts wisely and well, and for the good of their neighbour in need.
For the world: That all people will strive to live in harmony and peace, receiving all they need to flourish and grow.
For our country: That all who are suffering from ill-health, from depression or anxiety may know the comfort and support of family and friends.
For our community: That the love, compassion and mercy of God may encourage and guide us as we journey to our heavenly homeland.
For the dead, remembering especially those whose names are inscribed in the Book of Remembrance:
That they be ready to enter into their Master’s everlasting happiness.

God our Father, hear us as we call on Your help, and gather all people into the peace of your kingdom, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A, 8 November 2020

Gospel, Matthew 25:1-13
In most societies marriage is about making a free choice, usually out of love, to be with one person for life. In some parts of the world however, arranged marriages still take place in which the bride and groom don’t have a free choice.
That said, it is a known fact that arranged marriages last longer, and this is because the families who arrange the match look at compatibility in the most important areas of life such as beliefs, personality, life goals and so on.
Whether a marriage is by free choice or arranged there is still a need for a couple to be fully prepared before they undertake the solemn commitment that is marriage.
As the Church’s year draws to a close the focus of the readings anticipates the end times, when Jesus Christ will return in glory to judge the living and the dead.
We know that the Church is the bride of Christ and so all its members are encouraged to prepare fully for that second coming in glory whenever that might be.
The Kingdom of Heaven is often compared to a wedding or a banquet whereby it is considered a thing of joy to be given entry, and a thing of sadness and regret to be excluded.
Today’s Gospel reading focuses on the ten bridesmaids who, in a sense, represent us who are members of the Church, and so, as with the bridesmaids, we will all have to deal with the same issues of preparation, personal responsibility and free choice as we await the Lord’s coming, as we await to determine if we are going to be amongst those included in the heavenly banquet.
In the Gospel story we hear that five bridesmaids are foolish, and five are sensible.
What makes the difference between the foolish and sensible bridesmaids is that the sensible, or wise, bridesmaids had planned ahead. They had prepared themselves, they had taken responsibility for their actions, and they choose to use their energy on being ready for the coming of the bridegroom.
Jesus’ focus isn’t on the unwillingness of the sensible bridesmaids to help the foolish, but on the way in which the foolish are in a predicament of their own making.
The foolish bridesmaids learnt a difficult lesson but it was too late and so they found the doors to the wedding feast closed against them.
The reward of being prepared is admittance to the wedding feast, admittance to the kingdom of Heaven, and so the sensible bridesmaids, those who did prepare themselves, and who took responsibility for their own destinies, find themselves within the wedding hall before the doors are closed.
This is our quest, our goal – to be admitted into the heavenly banquet – but we don’t do this in isolation. We are here for each other to encourage one another as we prepare together to meet the Lord.
Yes, there is still a need to take personal responsibility for our own actions but when we choose God’s kingdom as our ultimate destiny we can encourage and support each other with words of faith.
And so, rather than being frightened by the possibility of exclusion from heaven, we are encouraged by the invitation we have already received to persevere in our lives of faith.
We are also encouraged with the assurance that so many have already gone before us and are already enjoying the wedding feast of the Lamb. “With thoughts such as these” St. Paul tells us, ‘[we] should comfort one another’.

Intercessions

Let us come before the Lord with confidence for we know He loves us, and offer our prayers for the needs of the Church and of the world.
For the Church: At the beginning of a week dedicated to reflection and prayer on our relationship with communities of faith, we ask the Lord to keep all Christians ever respectful of all those who seek Him in truth, and who strive to live according to a code of right conduct.
For the world: May all those who have turned away from the Gospel be guided to rediscover the wisdom of God’s word.
For our country: May all those who live with sadness in their hearts find consolation and strength in the Lord’s resurrection from the dead.
For our community: May we encourage and support one another as we persevere in our lives of faith.
For the dead, remembering especially those whose names are inscribed in the Book of Remembrance: May they be admitted to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Lord, grant us Your wisdom, that we may live according to Your will. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Solemnity of All Saints – 1 November 2020

Gospel, Matthew 5:1-12
A constant issue I have with today’s celebration of All Saints is how it has been hijacked by the secular world’s interpretation of it. Last night’s vigil should have been one of rejoicing in those saints of God who are in heaven.
Instead a satanic, ritualised version in which the dead are conjured up has become the norm for years now.
“It’s only a bit of fun” I hear people say. That may be so but it doesn’t detract from the fact that Christians who get involved in celebrating it in this way are turning away from the Truth i.e. turning away from God.
I know it is difficult to stand up to the secular world today because it seems to be that the majority of the people in our country don’t follow God in any way, shape or form, and so those who do are in the minority but we must strive to show the world that there is a different and better way of living.
In the Gospel reading, (through the Beatitudes), Jesus speaks of values which Christians and non-Christians alike can use as a template for living better lives but again they go against the prevailing values of today’s society.
However we need to understand that: It is people who seek the truth who are on the right path.
It is those who refuse to be caught up in the prevailing violent, antisocial behaviour of our society who have chosen the correct course.
It is those who are focused on God and on their families who are heading for God’s kingdom.
It is because the Gospel values are so contrary to many of the aims of our society they can be considered revolutionary in nature but revolutionary in a hidden, quiet and gentle way.
Therefore we are encouraged to grow in our understanding of the immense and enduring love of God and never to underestimate its value. We are to strive to live those values even in the midst of being mocked or persecuted for doing so.
St. John, in the second reading, points out that a world which refuses to acknowledge God is a world which will not acknowledge those who follow God’s ways.
And so we see that we need that Spirit of courage, which God provides, to help us overcome our fear or our reluctance to be open about the faith we profess.
In the first reading St. John’s vision of heaven not only mentions those people marked with a seal on their foreheads, of which there were a hundred and forty-four thousand, but ‘a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language’. “These are the people who have been through the great persecution…”
And so today, All Saints Day, we are remembering all those ordinary people who did have the courage to live the ideals which Jesus sets before us. They are the people who brought the Gospel joy to the lives of others. They are people who brought hope to those in despair, and courage to those who feel like giving up. They are the multitude of unsung heroes whose praises will never be sung publically but whose lives have touched the world and made it a better place for us to live in.
Are we going to join them even in the midst of ridicule or persecution?
If so; then: “Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you… [on account of Jesus].”
“Rejoice and be glad, for reward will be great in heaven.”

Intercessions

We come before our heavenly Father with great confidence because we are able to unite our prayers with those of the great company of saints.
For the Church: That Christians throughout the world may find joy in the communion of saints, giving praise to God as one family.
For the world: That those who are suffering because of their faith may be strengthened by the word and promises of Christ.
For our country: That all people may endeavour to follow the Gospel values as they strive to turn away from the prevailing values of our society.
For our community: That we may have the strength and courage to stand up for the faith we profess.
For the dead; remembering especially those names inscribed in the Book of Remembrance: That they may rejoice in the company of saints for ever.

God our Father, hear the prayers of Your children which we make through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A, 25 October 2020

Gospel, Matthew 22:34-40
We were told by our government this week that a five tier system of restrictions is to be put in place in Scotland to deal with COVID. I wonder how we are meant to remember all the tiers and which of the restrictions apply to us, especially in such quickly changing circumstances!
It reflects, in a sense, the struggle the Jewish people of Jesus’ time had in keeping the Law.
At that time there were, (we are told), over six hundred Laws which the Jewish people were meant to adhere too, and it was the role of the Pharisees to ensure they were all followed to the letter, even if, (as was often the case), the Pharisees were not so careful about keeping them themselves.
Last week we learned how Jesus was able to silence the Pharisees and the Herodians who had come to trap him. And this week we hear how the Pharisees make another attempt at trapping Jesus by asking him to state which of the Laws was the greatest.
To choose one Law as the greatest was an immediate challenge to Jesus because, after all, all the Laws came from God and so should have been considered of equal value.
Some of these Laws are detailed in the reading from Exodus today in which the Lord makes clear to Moses some of the ways in which the people were to deal with their neighbour. There was to be no harshness toward widow or orphan, no usury, no injustice and so on.
As we heard, Jesus didn’t choose one commandment but instead focused on the two which encapsulate all the others when, in answer to the question posed Jesus said: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart…” and, “you must love your neighbour as yourself.”
It is love then, which is the underlying structure upon which is built, and on which hang, the whole of the Law, and the Prophets also.
If we can accept that love of God is an inner reality i.e. that which exists in our hearts, then we can turn that love into action – action which bears witness to the fact that we love our neighbour.
We have to accept too, that we are all equal in God’s eyes therefore race, creed, colour and so on have no place in the way in which we are meant to express our love for God through our love for our neighbour.
In a truly Christian heart there is no place for racism, for anti-Semitism, for anti-Islamic feeling; in fact there is no place for any inequality or injustice which are so prevalent in our world today.
In his letter to the Thessalonians St. Paul commends the Thessalonians for becoming imitators of him and his disciples so much so that the people became great examples to many more people, and in this way were evangelising through the truly Christian lives they lived. In their hearts they had a real love for God which was reflected in the way in which they lived and in the way in which they behaved towards others.
As I said at the beginning: it is not easy to remember a five tier system of restrictions. In contrast, it is very easy for us to remember the two greatest commandments. As true Christians then, let us put our faith into action as, following the example of the Thessalonians, we become great examples of faith to inspire others to follow the same path: that path in which we ‘become servants of the real, living God’.

Intercessions

We bring all our hopes and desires to the Father, who cares for all our needs.
For the Church: That every member of the Church will renew their commitment to the commandments to love and God and to love their neighbour.
For the world: That those who hold positions of authority may never abuse their power but give themselves generously for the good of those they serve.
For our country: That those who make our laws and those who enforce them may follow the example of Christ in justice and truth.
For our community: That we may open our hearts to obey the Lord’s commandment of love, remove our fears and strengthen our response to the gospel.
For the faithful departed: That they may share in the promise of the victory of Christ.

God our Father, we offer ourselves to do Your will. Be with us now and always through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A, 18 October 2020

Gospel, Matthew 22:15-21
In these unprecedented days our civil liberties are being removed at a very fast pace and nobody seems to raise any objections! We are told by the government that it is all being done for the common good of everyone, to protect us all, and therefore we submit without question.
When did we stop being questioning, discerning people who are able to make right decisions for our own wellbeing?
I’m not going to get into the politics of what might be right or wrong with this situation but it does mirror something of the Gospel reading today.
We are reminded that the Jewish people, along with the majority of the Mediterranean peoples, were under the yoke of the imperial forces of Rome.
The people either submitted to Rome or they were prosecuted and even killed.
The Pharisees, (once again), wanted to trap Jesus, and to this end they brought along a group of Herodians i.e. people who wanted to keep King Herod in power.
King Herod only maintained his power because he was useful to the Romans: he collected the taxes for them. If Jesus spoke out about taxes it would be speaking against the Romans and would cause him to be prosecuted. On the other hand, if Jesus had submitted to the Roman tax he would discredit himself as a prophet and lose his following.
Jesus response is well known: “Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.”
With this answer Jesus is using more than just a clever way of slipping out of the Pharisees’ trap.
He makes it clear that our overriding commitment has to be to God Himself.
Of course, we need to adhere to civil authority; indeed as Christians we are to strive to be the best of citizens which entails being good, responsible citizens; people who work for the common good of the community. This is our Christian duty; and in living our lives in this way we are already giving back to God that which belongs to Him.
St. Paul refers to this where he says: “we…constantly remember before God…how you have shown your faith in action, worked for love and persevered through hope, in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
However, we cannot look to civil authority to be our moral guide.
The law of the land may include such things as the right to an abortion or the sale of weapons to oppressive regimes; but the fact that such activities are legal doesn’t make them morally right.
And if there were to be a genuine clash between our duty to civil authority and our duty to God; clearly, and without any doubt, our Christian duty has always got to be the following of God’s law and not that of the civil authorities.
God’s law must always be at the forefront of the way we speak, act and worship because, as Isaiah says: “Apart from God all is nothing.”
And so today, let us pray for those who do have to face the stark choice of obeying civil law or God’s law, that they may have the courage to follow their conscience. And let us pray for ourselves too, that we may have that same courage should the situation arise whereby we are forced to choose between the State and God.

Intercessions

Just as St. Paul and the early Christians prayed for others, so we too bring before God the needs of our brothers and sisters.
For the Church: That the Pope and all the bishops of the Church may serve God’s people with faithfulness and love.
For the world: That the leaders of the world will always have the best interests of their people at heart.
For our country: That our law makers may always place God’s law above all else.
For our community: That we may be courageous and persevering as we strive to follow our Christian conscience.
For the sick and the dying: That they may receive comfort and support from the healing Spirit of God.
Lord our God, You are our sovereign Lord; may Your kingdom come in our world, in our land, and in our hearts. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.