How appealing it is to read today that Jesus felt pity for a leper and couldn’t wait to cure him! How readily we can identify with Jesus’ compassion for this unfortunate outcast! We may, however, misread Jesus’ emotion to suit ourselves. A less common and less comfortable version has Jesus angry rather than sorry. Angry, perhaps, at the hold of the demonic on this poor man. Or angry that by curing him, he will have to go into seclusion to avoid being hailed as a mere wonder-worker. Is Mark giving us an early clue to Jesus’ messianic fate as an outcast on the cross?
The week's prayer focus
For all who are judged “unclean” and made to feel unworthy of a place in the community, that they may hold fast to their dignity and not lose faith in themselves.
These intercessions are offered for selected use at Sunday Mass in the parish alongside those that express local needs and concerns.
Dear friends, by promptly healing the leper Jesus reveals his desire to bring wholeness to those who seek it. Let us pray in faith for the healing of our wounded world.
- We pray for Christian communities around the world, that they may prove to be safe havens of healing and peace for all who are afflicted in body, mind or spirit. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for individuals and minority groups forced to exist on the fringes of society, that they may be made welcome and allowed to take their rightful place at the table of life. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for the indigenous peoples of Australia and the Torres Strait, that the tenth anniversary of the parliamentary apology may be an occasion of healing and new hope. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for the church in Australia, that this week’s observance of Ash Wednesday and the national days of fasting and reparation will bear fruit in the complete change of heart called for by Jesus. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for all who will celebrate the Lunar New Year this week, that they will safely join families and friends to give thanks for past blessings and to welcome whatever the New Year promises. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for all who manage or make use of social media, that they will uphold values of truth, respect and non-violence in all their communications, (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for all who have fled or are still trapped in places of brutal violence, destruction and tyranny, especially in Myanmar and Syria, that their cries for help will pierce our hearts. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for ourselves, that we will be inspired by the example of St Paul to do everything for the glory of God and for the good of others. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for the recently deceased . . . and for those whose anniversary of death occurs around this time, that they will be admitted into the company of the saints and enjoy the banquet of eternal life. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
Holy and all-powerful God, hear the prayers of your people. Have mercy on all that you have made. Heal our hearts and heal our world. We ask this through Christ our Lord.