Today’s gospel – Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple – and the alternative from Year A – his dialogue with the Samaritan woman – have a major theme in common. Access to the divine presence is not confined to temples, churches or any other building. “True worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth,” Jesus said at the well of Siloam (4:24). “Destroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up,” he said in the Temple. The locus of mercy is now the risen One in whom “everything in heaven and everything on earth” is reconciled (Col 1:20 ) and whose presence fills the whole of creation.
The week’s prayer focus
Whenever the cross seems to us a stumbling-block or folly, give us, Lord, eyes of faith to see your power and wisdom at work to raise us up.
These intercessions are offered for selected use at Sunday Mass in the parish alongside those that express local needs and concerns.
Dear friends, for faithful believers Christ crucified is neither an obstacle nor madness, but the power and wisdom of God. In faith let us turn to God and call upon his wisdom and power.
- We pray for church personnel in poor and under-resourced dioceses. May they be blessed with a wealth of generous co-workers and volunteers. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for the people of Syria. May their terrible suffering persuade the leaders of the warring parties to agree to a ceasefire and allow the supply of humanitarian aid. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for children being exploited by international traffickers and abusers. May those who campaign for effective child protection be given the support they need. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for Caritas Australia and its partners in Jordan. May our support for Project Compassion enable them to continue providing vital education services. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for women around the world. May International Women’s Day add momentum to their hope for full recognition of their humanity and the contribution they make to the global community. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for the refugees and asylum seekers still detained on Manus Island and Nauru. May they be set free from their bondage to political rivalry in Australia. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for the elect preparing for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and eucharist at Easter. May they be inspired by the faith life of the whole parish community. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- We pray for ourselves. May the disciplines of Lent bring to light our addiction to wasteful habits and free us to care for the earth, our fragile and common home. (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 to the new and heavenly Jerusalem. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
God of all the ages, you gave your people of old the Law of the Covenant and brought it to fulfilment in Jesus Christ your Son. Hear our prayer and keep us true to your name. We ask this through the same Christ our Lord.