Today dawn services and morning marches attract a vast array of Australians. Few will make their way to a church service, yet for those of faith praying together on this day is of paramount importance. Here at Mass we are plunged into the mystery of suffering and death and are raised to a life of undying love. Here the tears of the world become a font of living water. Here a divided war-torn world is healed and made one. Here, in the words of the Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation II, “hatred is overcome by love, revenge gives way to forgiveness, and discord is changed to mutual respect.”
Dear friends, on this national day of commemoration we are mindful of our one true Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who chose to lay down his life that we might rise to life with him. Let us turn to the Father of Jesus and entrust our fractured world into his care.
1. We pray for all defence and auxiliary personnel who lost their lives while on duty in theatres of war, especially members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. May they live forever in the peace that only Christ can give. (Pause) Lord, hear us.
2. We pray for all who have been wounded or traumatised by their active service in places of violent conflict. May they find healing in body, mind and spirit. (Pause) Lord, hear us.
3. We pray for parents and all family members who grieve for loved ones lost to them because of war. May they be consoled by the love that conquers even death itself. (Pause) Lord, hear us.
4. We pray for all who have been killed in hostilities now forgotten or denied, especially native peoples caught up in the frontier wars of colonisation. May they and their descendants be given the recognition that justice demands. (Pause) Lord, hear us.
5. We pray for Pope Francis and all who are engaged in diplomacy around the world. May their dedication to respectful negotiation and dialogue yield a rich harvest of peace. (Pause) Lord, hear us.
6. We pray for ourselves and all taking part in commemorative services today. May today’s activities strengthen our resolve to eliminate the inequalities and exclusion that become breeding grounds for resentment and violence. (Pause) Lord, hear us.
7. We pray for those who are trapped in endless brutal conflicts, especially in the Middle East. May their cries of pain and suffering pierce the hearts of hardened killers. (Pause) Lord, hear us.
8. We pray for the tens of millions who been driven from their homelands because of war. May they find refuge, safety and a pathway to new life. (Pause) Lord, hear us.
God of mercy, on the day he rose from the dead your Son met his disciples with a greeting of peace. Hear our prayer for peace today as we remember and regret the terrible cost of war. Bless us and our world with your Spirit of peace. We ask this through Christ our Lord.