Liturgy Alive Thursday, December 15, 2011
The first reading speaks of the future glory of Jerusalem, God’s people. She had deserted God like an unfaithful bride, and God had apparently abandoned her for a while in the exile. Now he is ready to take her back and renew his covenant with her; she becomes again like a new bride. God’s new initiative of love has even room for the sinner, for it is a covenant of mercy and pity, and Jerusalem’s stability will come not from her justice but from God’s love. This will become a reality in the new people of God, the Church, which is God’s bride through Christ.
John, who prepared the road for Christ’s coming, is the greatest of prophets, yet he is the smallest in the new Kingdom of Christ, because he did not see the full reality of Christ, the God-Man, the God-with-people, and of the message of Jesus.
Lord, faithful God of the covenant,
you kept your promise
of a new and permanent union with people
through Jesus Christ, our God-with-us.
Give us grateful hearts
for accepting us with mercy and pity
as the sinners we are.
Renew us by your faithful love
and let your covenant of peace
never be shaken.
Stay always with us
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
– That God’s people may be a joyful people, for God never abandons us; may he forgive us and always begin anew with us, we pray:
– That we may be grateful people, for God brings us always forgiveness and reconciliation, we pray:
– That we may be a people who keep preparing in hope the way for the deeper coming among us of Christ, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord, faithful God,
we wish this bread and this wine to say
that we are open
to the full coming among us
of your Son Jesus Christ.
Through him, call us back
close to your heart,
restore us with a youthful love,
that people may praise you
as the God of mercy and tender love,
now and for ever.
Prayer after Communion
God of mercy and love,
in this eucharist you have shown us
what John the Baptist could not see,
that you are our God-with-us
in your Son Jesus Christ.
Strong with this faith and joy,
may we go out and prepare the way
for the full coming among people
of your future of justice and love
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
We cannot be but a people of hope. For notwithstanding our failures, God does not give up on us. He relies on us to be trailblazers for him, who cannot give up trying again and again to be good and loving people, just and merciful. That is our vocation, with the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.