SALFORD DIOCESE OFFICE FOR LITURGY

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Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Both first reading and Gospel today invite us to be “down to earth” about the Law of God. It’s very easy to become an “expert in religion” - knowing all the right answers, remembering all the right quotes, and so on. But for Moses and for Jesus, if God’s Law is to be kept anywhere, it must be in our hearts and in our everyday lives. We are not to be concerned with keeping our eyes fixed on heaven, if it means that we cannot see the poor man at our feet.

Notes for Readers

First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:10-14.

If you have ever seen those wonderful epic Old Testament films, you may well see Moses as an imposing, bearded figure, thundering God’s Word out to a vast crowd. But today’s selection seems slightly different: it’s not cajoling, and it’s not humour, but it’s something similar. There is a peculiar intimacy about this reading - almost as if Moses is letting the people in on a secret, while pleading with them at the same time. We start with a bit of thundering in the first paragraph - this is a bald, bare statement, with no compromising or watering down: read accordingly. But then the tone changes, with the phrase “beyond your strength or beyond your reach”: this is almost a kinder, more understanding Moses, who is still going to insist on keeping the Law of God exactly, but in a different way. There are two wonderful examples of things people might say: the Law up in the heavens, or across the sea - there might well be a (humorous?) lilt in your voice as you read them. But then the last sentence is the whole point of this reading: the Law is here and now: and Moses (and you) patiently explain this comforting and challenging fact.

 

Second Reading: Colossians 1:15-20.

We begin reading this letter with this great hymn praising Christ, the beginning of the Church. The hymn is in two parts: first Christ at Creation, then Christ as first in the Church. The meaning is fairly clear in this passage - Paul uses shorter phrases and sentences. One word to stress whenever it comes up is “all”: Paul is keen to emphasise that all things are in Him and belong to Him. One of the most important general rules is that whenever a reading is printed in “sense lines” (as this is) you should use those lines to give shape and pauses to the reading. (This is also why you should, if possible, always prepare from the Lectionary rather than a Sunday Missal or Missalette.)

Sea Sunday - a Day of Special Prayer for Seafarers

Loneliness, danger and separation from loved ones are just some of the problems seafarers face. Around the world, night and day, The Mission to Seafarers provides help and support to those in need. As a Christian agency, we operate in more than 230 ports caring for the practical and spiritual welfare of seafarers of all nationalities and faiths. Sea Sunday is a day set aside in the Church’s calendar to remember seafarers and to pray for them, their families and those that serve them. It began in 1975 when the three Christian maritime missionary societies – The Mission to Seafarers (Anglican), the Apostleship of the Sea (Roman Catholic) and the Sailors’ Society (Free Church) decided there should be a day in which the contributions of seafarers to the country were recognised. Sea Sunday has gone on to become an international day with services, parades and ship blessings.

 

Seafarers' Prayer

O Mary, Star of the Sea, light of every ocean, guide seafarers across all dark and stormy seas that they may reach the haven of peace and light prepared in Him who calmed the sea. As we set forth upon the oceans of the world and cross the deserts of our time, show us, O Mary, the fruit of your womb, for without your Son we are lost. Pray that we will never fail on life’s journey, that in heart and mind, in word and deed, in days of turmoil and in days of calm, we will always look to Christ and say, “Who is this that even wind and sea obey him?” Bright Star of the Sea, guide us!

Pope John Paul II

 

Sample Intentions in the Prayer of the Faithful:

 

These intentions are given as examples.  It is not intended that a parish should use all of these intentions, rather that one of them might be added to the other intentions a community prays for this Sunday.

 

Let us pray for all seafarers, that we who depend so much on their work may not take them for granted but pray for them and offer practical support. Lord, in your mercy … or Lord, hear us …

 

Let us pray for the work of the Apostleship of the Sea and the practical and spiritual help given to seafarers, that it may be blessed by the Lord who calmed the winds and waves. Lord, in your mercy … or Lord, hear us …