Sunday Week 5 of Lent (B)


The image of the seed in the Gospel reminds us of the process of death that comes before new birth. Sometimes our contribution to the work for justice seems so small in comparison to the changes that need to take place in the world of disadvantage.

The important step is taken when we begin to die to our selfishness and look beyond our needs to those of others. In this way we plant seeds of hope for a better future.
A thought attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero, who gave his life in the service of justice and his people in El Salvador, places our contributions in perspective:

‘We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete…
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water the seeds already planted,
Knowing that they hold future promise.’

The Lenten prayer space could have plants at different stages of development to reflect the reality of the work of development. The spirit of the Eucharist could be extended by offering some hospitality using tea/coffee and other products from fairly trading companies.
Baskets of seeds could be also passed through the Church inviting people to take one and plant it as a sign of commitment to the work of development with the following prayer printed as a card:

As this seed dies in the ground to allow its fruit to blossom and grow, may the energy we spend on our own needs be channelled to help others. Let new life be born in us and may we emerge this Easter sprouting leaves of justice, truth, forgiveness and peace.


Abaniya Awet (16 years old)

Abaniya’s family fled to Barrarut in 1998. They did so because they were very scared of the Militia who used to raid the villages, burn homes, kill and abduct the children. Life in Barrarut was very difficult at first. Initially, they were put up with relatives. Now that they have returned to their home Majaga (Abaniya’s mother) is much happier as she can feel more selfrelianthere. To support herself and her children she grows a little of her own food and works for other farmers. Her husband is living in Barrarut. He has two other wives.
It is very common in the post-war situation in South Sudan for women to be the head of a household. Abaniya gets up at 6am every day and sweeps and fetches water. She then washes, takes some tea and comes to school which is very close by.
Her favourite subjects are Maths and English. She would like to be a nurse when she finishes school.

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Third Sunday of Lent B

Jesus got really angry with those who were taking advantage of others in the temple area. The injustice in the world today should make us so angry that we get actively involved in highlighting particular causes and looking for solutions to them. Many ask the question ‘where is God in all this?’ During the week this might be a question that can be circulated to all groups in the parish for some discussion so that ideally the whole community is ‘buzzing’ with the topic.

You may seek an opportunity to sign a petition to be sent to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission or the United Nations Organisation to encourage those in authority to lobby more on behalf of the displaced people throughout the world but particularly in Somalia and South Sudan. You might also make a small donation to Trócaire or to an aid agency at the same time.

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Second Sunday of Lent B

Wilfrid Owen an English Poet, was killed in action at the end of the First World War in 1918. Benjamin Britten set to music some of Owen’s incisive anti-war texts alongside the Latin texts of the Requiem Mass in his challenging War Requiem. One of the poetic extracts is a re-telling of the Abraham/Isaac story, the first reading today:

…An angel called out of heaven, Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad, Neither do anything to him. Behold, A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns; Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him. But the old man would not so, but slew his son, And half the seed of Europe, one by one. As a Church, as a society and as a family, we ask forgiveness for failing to act in time and in an effective manner to prevent or acknowledge the abuse of children. By our failure to sacrifice the ‘Ram of Pride’, more children suffered abuse and further pain was inflicted on some when they came to tell their story. The effects of this will continue to influence the lives of those caught up in the ripples of this social sin as they find themselves in a prison of memory that they wish to escape. We can also interpret this piece in the light of our failure to act with energy on behalf of the displaced people of Somalia and South Sudan where abuse of women and young girls is prevalent. The extract from the Owen poem and the scripture reading from Genesis 22 might be set side by side with the Trócaire picture of Khalid (above) behind the barbed wire so that the real challenge of making sacrifices might become evident to us.

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First Sunday of Lent B

In God’s Word today, the rich image of the rainbow is a symbol of hope and trust in the loving God who is faithful and constant.

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Who is feeling the pinch most?

  The present world economic turmoil is like that biblical mourning veil in Isaiah covering all peoples since there is such an air of gloom about.

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