The question is asked in bad faith, but the answer given in sincerity and truth. Jesus' antagonists challenge him to name the greatest commandment of the Law. In reply Jesus invents no new rule. He yokes together two texts already familiar to his foes. The Law told them to love God unreservedly and their neighbour as themselves. What makes Jesus' reply original is the testimony of his own life - a life of unconditional faithful love for the God he addressed as "Abba, Father" and for all people, even his enemies. We give thanks for the Spirit of Jesus who brings such love within our reach.
The week's prayer focus
"This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12). Fill us, dear Lord, with the joy and peace of heart that flow from love freely given.
These intercessions are offered for selected use at Sunday Mass in the parish alongside those that express local needs and concerns.
Dear friends, to follow Jesus is to put into practice the great commandment of love. Let us open our hearts in love and enfold all of creation in prayer.
- We pray for the whole human family. By the power of God's Spirit, may hate be turned into love, anger into mercy, and fear into peace. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for those whose homelands have been ravaged by war, famine or natural disaster. May all who have sought refuge elsewhere be given the shelter and sustenance they long for. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- For the members of all Christian churches, that the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation will prompt deep reflection on our faith and fresh impetus for Christian unity, (pause for silent prayer) let us pray to the Lord.
- We pray for the weak and vulnerable in our midst. May the ancient biblical command to care for the stranger, the widow and the orphan stir us to reach out and support them. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for all who work in the financial services sector, especially senior executives and members of boards. May they observe professional ethics to the full in all their business dealings. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for individuals and agencies that seek to improve men's health. May they win their trust and be able to accompany them, especially those at risk of taking their own lives. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray in thanksgiving for all the saints who have gone before us and for the many ways they lived the gospel to the full. May their example inspire us to follow Christ more closely. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for ourselves. May we break free from the idols of the past, come to serve the true and living God, and wait in hope for the coming of Christ. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for all the faithful departed, especially the recently deceased... and those whose anniversary of death occurs around this time. May they rest in peace. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
Almighty and ever-living God, all that exists has been born of your bountiful love. Unlock the wellspring of love within our hearts and send us forth as apostles of gospel joy. We ask this through Christ our Lord.