Eucharistic reflections in preparation for the Eucharistic Congress. June 2008.

Reflection # 6

November, 2007

by Peter Thompson

General Intercessions:

The general intercessions otherwise known as the prayers of the faithful will conclude the Liturgy of the word.

Here we join our hearts and minds together with our voices to lift up our supplications to the Lord God. These are not our private or personal  prayers but the prayers of the whole Church, bringing broad and universal needs before the throne of God.

In the book of Revelation Ch. 5: 8 it speaks of the prayers of the faithful being as incense held in vessels of gold before the throne of the Lamb. Faith in God's word helps us to look beyond what we see and believe that God hears our prayers. Hebrews 11:1 says. Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for and conviction about things we do not see.

When we invoke God's help in the vast areas of concern, such as world peace, an end to abortion, good government, the needs of the poor and the sick, that God would supply vocations to the priesthood and religious life and many other needs. Do we believe that God hears our prayers and is in fact answering them even as we pray?

Remember the scripture I just quoted in Revelation 5 ,our prayers are, as we speak held before the throne of God. This is the inerrant word of God and therefore true and trustworthy.

Do we truly trust God or do we answer merely out of rote? The Lord is not hard of hearing neither is he reluctant in his desire for the fulness of his will, that his kingdom would truly reign on earth as it does in heaven. Wars continue, injustice, poverty, sickness, and a host of other ills. Yet we must persevere in prayer. Why: because in the mystery of God's plan we are joining our sufferings with the suffering of Christ for the sake of his body, the Church. See Col. 1:24.

If all prayer ceased upon the face of the earth, the darkness of sin and evil would leap forward to consume its victims.

We, invited by Christ hold back and indeed push back the darkness that seeks to destroy God's creation. Not in our own power but in God's power that he chooses to manifest through us in spite of our unworthiness. Eph. 6: 10 reminds us that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers and principalities the evil spirits in regions above: Yes Satan exists, he is a created being and is surrounded by millions of demons, fallen angels whose purpose is the destruction of our souls through evil. CCC # 391 plus other references in the Catechism.

We in faith united to Christ together with the  hosts of Angels and Saints in heaven are in a continuous battle and one of the weapons God has given to us is prayer.

Our prayers, prayed in faith and with sincerity are not only holding back the forces of darkness but are winning the battle, and we look forward with hope to the day the Lord Jesus returns again in glory.

Come Lord Jesus. "Maranatha".

The Offertory:

Before we enter into a deeper explanation and understanding of the prayers and actions of the Offertory it would be well to look at the offering of our possessions and treasure for the support of the Church. One of the precepts of the Church is that we are bound to support the needs of the Church. That is the body of Christ. How can we expect to be able to receive the gifts of God in the Eucharist and other Sacraments if we fail to care for the physical needs of our parish community.

Generally speaking, we as Catholics do not willingly support the Church. We often reluctantly put in our Loonie  and think that this is sufficient.

St. Paul tells us that, "the Lord loves a cheerful giver". Do I rejoice that God gives me the opportunity to share the wealth that He has given to me to build up his body the Church. Some years ago at a conference the speaker, a Father Tom Forrest, a Redemptorist missionary priest told us that the mission Sunday collection from the whole Catholic world was less than one Protestant denomination in the USA gave to the work of foreign missions. The average donation in Canada from all Catholics towards the support of foreign missions is .25 cents per person annually. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

I have had the joy of serving repeatedly in Africa over the past decade and I am always impressed by the joy with which people give in Africa. Singing and dancing as they come forward to give what little they have. Often an egg or a loaf of bread, a chicken, or if they have nothing they still come forward to present themselves as an offering to God.

In my own life I can repeatedly testify to the Lord's faithfulness to me, in meeting my needs ( not my wants)  as I learned to trust him in financial matters and to tithe. That is to give 10% of ones income to the Lord.The Old Testament law of tithing is no longer in effect but it is a good yardstick to help us go beyond our comfort level. Heb. 13:5 is a sober reminder to keep myself free from the love of money and be content with what I have for God has said never will I leave you, never will I forsake you, therefore I can say with confidence, the Lord is my helper I need not be afraid.

So give generously and God who sees all will respond, full measure, pressed down and flowing over.

I am signing my name to this segment as I want it to be clear that these are the words of a parishioner and not the Pastors words.

Peter Thompson