Ours is a culture of discontent. Day after day we’re subjected to advertising that provokes dissatisfaction. The message is relentless. There are so many things to acquire that would make us more happy, more secure, more successful. Can Jesus’ words from long ago liberate us from this illusion? That’s the question today’s gospel poses for us. Is he offering us folly or wisdom? “Don’t be a slave of money. Don’t worry about food or clothing. Set your hearts on God’s way.” It’s easy to dismiss such talk as empty-headed, even dangerous. But could it be a grain of truth that bears a rich harvest in our hearts?
Dear friends, Jesus calls us to set our hearts on the reign of God before all else. Putting our trust in God’s providential care for all things, let us pray for the needs of the whole world.
1. We pray for Pope Francis, bishop of Rome, and all Christian leaders. Like the apostle Paul, may they be true servants of Christ and faithful stewards of God’s mysteries. (Pause) Lord, hear us.
2. We pray for societies in which the pursuit of profit has overridden the common good and care for the earth. May we all commit ourselves to practical policies of justice and inclusion. (Pause) Lord, hear us.
3. We pray for people everywhere who face oppression, danger and persecution because of their religion. May they gain the respect and freedom that is their right. (Pause) Lord, hear us.
4. We pray for all who have lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods in floods or fires across the land. May they draw strength from the support of their local communities. (Pause) Lord, hear us.
5. We pray for the work of the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse. May its enquiries bring healing for victims and renewal in all institutions caring for children. (Pause) Lord, hear us.
6. We pray for family members, helpers and employees looking after people with dementia. May they have the patience they need to uphold and respect the human dignity of those in their care. (Pause) Lord, hear us.
7. We pray for ourselves. May we not become enslaved by the never-ending desire for material possessions but be set free to live in gratitude and generosity. (Pause) Lord, hear us.
8. We pray for the recently deceased ... and for those whose anniversary of death occurs around this time. May they live forever in the light of the Lord. (Pause) Lord, hear us.
God of infinite kindness, you love us more than a mother nursing her child. Give us the courage to trust in your unfailing goodness. We ask this through Christ our Lord.