A Walk Through Sunday Mass @ Home – March 29

Please see our worship guide for the Fifth Sunday of Lent, “A Walk-Through Sunday Mass @ Home.” I am glad that it helped you last week and I also thank you for your feedback. Just like last week, the guide contains the readings, reflection questions that you can meditate on together, prayers of the faithful and even a prayer for spiritual communion. The readings are taken from www.usccb.org. I encourage you to set up a space at home where you can pray together and create your own temporary altar using a tablecloth and some candles. Use the script provided below. I encourage you and your family members to participate – anyone who can read is able to lead the various parts. The purpose is to help you worship at home with your family. I encourage you to conclude the worship by asking Our Lady of Guadalupe to intercede for us and for the world. Prayer is given at the end of the worship guide.

– Fr. Devdas

A Walk-Through Sunday Mass – March 29, 2020

Sign of the Cross:
Leader: ┼ In the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.

All: Amen.

Leader: Grace and peace to you from God our Father
and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be God forever.
The response is: Blessed be God forever.

All: Blessed be God forever.

Leader: We gather together as a family to celebrate the Lord’s Day.
One with our sisters and brothers
and with the entire Church, let us now listen to God’s Word
and join in prayer.

All: Amen.

Litany Seeking God’s Mercy:
(Together, we acknowledge how grateful we are for the mercy of God).

Leader: As we prepare to hear about God’s love for us,
let us remember that the Lord always offers forgiveness, for God is full of gentleness and compassion
(Pause).

Lord Jesus, you take away our fear in times of trouble:
Lord, have mercy.

All: Lord, have mercy.

Leader: Lord Jesus, you heal the wounds after we hurt each other:
Christ, have mercy.

All: Christ, have mercy.

Leader: Lord Jesus, you are the life that renews the world:
Lord, have mercy.

All: Lord, have mercy.

Leader: Let Us Pray
By your help, we beseech you, Lord our God, may we walk eagerly in that same charity with which, out of love for the world, your son handed himself over to death. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

All: Amen.

Reader 1: EZ 37:12-14 (First Reading)
Thus says the Lord GOD:
O my people, I will open your graves
and have you rise from them,
and bring you back to the land of Israel.
Then you shall know that I am the LORD,
when I open your graves and have you rise from them,
O my people!
I will put my spirit in you that you may live,
and I will settle you upon your land;
thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD

Reader: The Word of the Lord.

All: Thanks be to God.

Questions to Reflect on:

  • In light of Ezekiel’s comforting words, how do you understand the presence of God, especially in dark moments?
  • I will open your graves, have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel.” What does it mean to you today?

The Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6 ,7-8

Response: With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
More than sentinels wait for the dawn,
let Israel wait for the LORD.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

For with the LORD is kindness
and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Reader 2: ROM 8:8-11 (Second Reading)
Brothers and sisters:
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh;
on the contrary, you are in the spirit,
if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you,
although the body is dead because of sin,
the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
the one who raised Christ from the dead
will give life to your mortal bodies also,
through his Spirit dwelling in you.

Reader: The Word of the Lord.

All: Thanks be to God.

Questions to Reflect on:

  • How do you experience God’s spirit dwelling within you? Does the Holy Spirit inside you seem real to you, or is it more of an abstract idea?
  • How do you describe the presence of the Holy Spirit in others in the present context and also people trying to help one another?

Gospel Acclamation:
I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord;
whoever believes in me will never die.

Reader 3: JN 11:1-45 (The Gospel)
Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany,
the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil
and dried his feet with her hair;
it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.

So the sisters sent word to him saying,
“Master, the one you love is ill.”
When Jesus heard this he said,
“This illness is not to end in death,
but is for the glory of God,
that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill,
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples,
“Let us go back to Judea.”
The disciples said to him,
“Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you,
and you want to go back there?”
Jesus answered,
“Are there not twelve hours in a day?
If one walks during the day, he does not stumble,
because he sees the light of this world.
But if one walks at night, he stumbles,
because the light is not in him.”
He said this, and then told them,
“Our friend Lazarus is asleep,
but I am going to awaken him.”
So the disciples said to him,
“Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.”
But Jesus was talking about his death,
while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep.
So then Jesus said to them clearly,
“Lazarus has died.
And I am glad for you that I was not there,
that you may believe.
Let us go to him.”

So, Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples,
“Let us also go to die with him.”

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus
had already been in the tomb for four days.
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away.
And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,

“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

When she had said this,
she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying,
“The teacher is here and is asking for you.”
As soon as she heard this,
she rose quickly and went to him.
For Jesus had not yet come into the village,
but was still where Martha had met him.
So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her
saw Mary get up quickly and go out,
they followed her,
presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there.

When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him,
she fell at his feet and said to him,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping,
he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said,
“Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”
But some of them said,
“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man
have done something so that this man would not have died?”

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him,
“Lord, by now there will be a stench;
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
“Did I not tell you that if you believe
you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,

“Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me;
but because of the crowd here I have said this,
that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice,
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands,
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”

Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.

Reader: The Gospel of the Lord.

All: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Questions to Reflect on:

  • Why do you think Jesus is “deeply moved in spirit and troubles” to the point of weeping after he talks to Mary and Martha? What could have grieved his heart so much, even though it seems that he planned to raise Lazarus from the dead all along?
  • What lessons can we find in the fact that Jesus is weeping with his friends in their pain? How do you understand suffering in the context of COVID-19?

Homily:
We are in the fifth week of Lent. As we are faced with many challenges and fears, the Church invites us to reflect on the concept of “everlasting life.”  We can now see the progression in themes throughout Lent, from the thirst for living water through the desire to be healed of our spiritual blindness, and to our ultimate desire to share in eternal life with the Risen Lord. 

The first reading is a powerful example of God’s promise and our hope in His promise. The prophet Ezekiel lived and preached at a time when people faced many challenges and hardships. Their city had been destroyed, the Jerusalem Temple had been desecrated, and their land had not yielded enough food to feed them. The people were discouraged and disappointed and started asking “was God with them” and “would He remain faithful to His covenant and promises?” God, knowing their pain and suffering, spoke to the people through Ezekiel, “I will open your graves, have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel.” What this means is that God will do everything, even the impossible, to protect His people from any harm; God only wants our trusting faith in Him. I know our faith is being challenged in unusual ways right now; the reading invites us to remain strong and close to the Lord, especially during these unpredictable times.

St. Paul, in the second reading, assures the early Roman Christians of eternal life for those who believe. Those early Christians were facing death by persecution, similar to us today, facing hardship and uncertainty. Paul assured those early Christians that the same Spirit Who raised Jesus from the dead and Who dwells within us will give life to our mortal bodies. The Spirit Who guided and guarded Jesus from harm will protect us as well. Paul recognized the Resurrection of Jesus as a reality, the basis of our Faith, and the root of our hope in sharing Jesus’ Resurrection.

For John, in today’s Gospel, the raising of Lazarus was the final and greatest sign of Jesus, the Deliverer. Paul offered the people a symbolic narrative of Jesus’ victory over death at the cost of His own life and a sign of His approaching Resurrection. Describing this great miracle, the Church assures us that we, too, will be raised into eternal life after our battle with sin and death if this world is over. Thus, resurrection hope is the central theme of the Scripture readings for the Fifth Sunday of Lent. The readings assure us that our faith in Jesus, who is “the Resurrection and the Life,” promises our participation in that Resurrection and new life.

While the miracle of raising Lazarus from the grave demonstrates Jesus’ Divine power over death itself, it also shows His human nature. Jesus’ love for Lazarus and his sisters was profound, as the reading beautifully describes it. The sisters’ complaint that Jesus’ presence would have averted their brother’s death shows us how real their friendship and faith in Him was. The Gospel says that Jesus was “deeply moved in Spirit and troubled.” This demonstrated His love for Lazarus and his family, and for us all. The story also describes the special human quality that Jesus possessed, of openly expressing His love and concern for His people. It also shows God’s concern and care for His people. Jesus went to assist the sisters when He heard of their struggle, and when they saw the Lord, they invited Him into their home. Their pain and hardship disappeared when the Lord entered their lives. Let us invite Jesus, especially during this time of hardship and fear.

The Resurrection of Jesus is the hope and promise of our own resurrection and therefore, he asked Martha a simple question, “Do you believe this?” This week ask God to open the eyes of your hearts to see more clearly what Jesus means in your life. Today, we are faced with hardships and fears that are unprecedented for most of us. What do we do, and how do we go about it? The readings not only bring us comfort and strength but remind us to have a strong faith so that even in hardship we can proclaim as Martha did: “You are the Christ, the Son of God.”

Profession of Faith:
I believe in God…

Prayer of the Faithful:
Leader: We believe that God always hears us, and so we have the confidence to express our needs and the needs of the world and believe that we will be heard.

Response: Lord, hear our prayer.

  • For the Church, that in proclaiming God as the source of life within us we may recognize the sanctity of life within us all: We pray to the Lord.
    R: Lord, hear our prayer.

  • That leaders of the world may grow in wisdom and good judgment as they consider and discuss ways to care for the planet and all the people on it: We pray to the Lord.
    R: Lord, hear our prayer.

  • For those who have committed terrible crimes, that they may be aware of God’s promise of redemption and respond with remorse and repentance: We pray to the Lord.
    R: Lord, hear our prayer.

  • For the elect who are preparing for their initiation at the Easter Vigil, that the coming of the Holy Spirit into their lives may lead them to see the world around them through the eyes of faith: We pray to the Lord.
    R: Lord, hear our prayer.

  • For all of us, that we may roll away the stones that block us from becoming closer to God and assist others in unwrapping the burial bands that hold them in bondage: We pray to the Lord.
    R: Lord, hear our prayer.

  • For the sick and all who suffer from the Coronavirus, may they experience the love of God through our care and compassion: We pray to the Lord.
    R: Lord, hear our prayer.

  • For those who have died, especially from the Coronavirus, may they be cleansed of their sins and granted the fullness of redemption: We pray to the Lord.
    R: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: God of life, you are the source and the destiny of our lives. Kindle your Spirit within us and hear the prayers we offer through your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ 

Our Father:

A Litany for Spiritual Communion:
Leader: The response is: Lord, bring us closer to you!

All: Lord, bring us closer to you!

Leader: Lord our God,
we wish we could gather today with our parish community,
but we gather here out of love and concern for others.
You teach us that when two or three are gathered in your name,
you are there.
Together, we pray:

All: Lord, bring us closer to you!

Leader: Christ Jesus, you are present in a special way
when bread and wine are turned into your Body and Blood.
Since we cannot receive you in this way today,
We ask that you enter our hearts
so that we may receive you spiritually.
Together, we pray:

All: Lord, bring us closer to you!

Leader: Lord our God,
watch over your family
and keep us safe in your care,
for all our hope is in you.

All: Lord, bring us closer to you!

Concluding Rite:

Antiphon:
Everyone who lives and believes in me
Will not die for ever, says the Lord.

(Closing Prayer):
Leader: Let us pray (Pause).
We pray, almighty God, that we may always be counted among the members of Christ, in whose Body and Blood we have communion. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen!

Leader: May the Lord bless us
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.

All: Amen.

Leader: Go in the peace of Christ.

All: Thanks be to God.

Conclude our worship with a prayer asking Our Lady of Guadalupe to intercede for us:

Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son, as you did at the wedding in Cana.

Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.

For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.

In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.

We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.

Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Amen.