Liturgy Alive Friday, February 17, 2012
Lord our God,
we believe in you with all our being.
Let this faith never be a lifeless belief
in abstract truths outside ourselves,
but a deep personal commitment
to your Son, Jesus Christ.
Give us the courage, we pray you,
to live for our brothers and sisters
and if need be to lose our life for them
and for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
who lives with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Liturgy of the Word
First Reading Introduction
Today, we have in the first reading one of the most important passages of James: faith demands commitment—or, as Jesus will say in the Gospel, consistent discipleship. "Faith without works is a dead faith," a mere belief in theoretical tenets. Sometimes, James is opposed to Paul—that was Luther's main difficulty—because Paul says we are saved by faith, not works. Both take "works" in a different sense. "Works" for Paul is the observance of the Jewish practices of the old Law, from which the Christian is liberated, but for the follower of Christ, says Paul, faith works through love, through adherence to Christ. So, let our faith shine in works of love and service.
Being a disciple of Jesus implies journeying with Jesus on the way of the cross. Christians, followers of Christ, are people marked with the cross. We make the sign of the cross not merely symbolically when we pray but also in real life, whether we like it or not. We have to learn to accept the cross with Jesus.
– For the community of the Church, that our leaders may inspire us by their faith and that we may bring our joy and peace to a world in dire need of hope and love, we pray:
– For the communities of our families, that parents may inspire their children by their living faith and help the young to become honest seekers of justice, truth, and Christian hope, we pray:
– For all of us here, that our faith may prompt us to live and practice what we believe and that we may have enough faith in one another to build up together a real Christian community, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
God our Father,
with bread and wine, we express our faith
in the paschal mystery of Jesus, your Son.
Let this faith recognize him here among us
and fill us and our meager works
with his consistent and persevering power,
that we may live as we believe
and hold on to Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
you have begun your good work in us
because you believe in our capacity
of living the life of your Son.
Let him bring it to completion,
that it may be a life filled with goodness and love
and that the world may have become a bit better
because we have lived in it.
Let this Eucharist lead us to you,
our God, for ever and ever.
What, indeed, is the use of our faith if we do not live by it? What is the use of believing in love if we do not love? What is the use of believing in forgiveness if we cannot forgive? Live as you believe, with the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.