4 Oct
26th Week in Ordinary Time
Neh. 8:1-4a, 5-6, 7b-12
Ps. 19:7-10
Lk. 10:1-12
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There is a joy in the journey. There is a light we can love on the way. So goes a song by popular Christian singer/song writer Michael Card. For most of us, joy is only to be found when we've reached our destination when we've passed our examinations, gained our promotions, or managed to convert someone to the faith. It is difficult to be joyful while still trudging on our way: when struggling to love our enemies or for a more just and godly society. Realizing how far we are from God's vision for us and our world, we sometimes feel discouraged and are tempted to give up. Such were probably the feelings of the people in our first reading today who wept mournfully after listening to the Law.

And yet there is a joy in the journey. A married couple can experience great joy at the news of a welcome pregnancy even before the baby is born. There is great excitement when children are promised a gift even before they receive it. There can be joy in expectation, when there is great desire and trust that promises will be fulfilled. That is why Nehemiah and Ezra could exhort the people to rejoice and to continue with their charitable works to make the joy of the Lord their stronghold.

In the words of the late Archbishop Oscar Romero: It is wrong to be sad. Christians cannot be pessimists. Christians must always nourish in their hearts, the fullness of joy.

Lord, give me joy.

Eternal Father, I offer You everything I do this day; my thoughts, words, joys and sufferings. Grant that, vivified by the Holy Spirit and united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, my life this day may be of service to You and to others. I also pray that all those preparing for marriage discover in Sacrament the source of Christ's grace for living a fithful and fruitful love. Amen.

That we may recognise and revere the cultural and spiritual riches of the different ethnic groups and religious minorities present in every country.

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P R A Y I N G    W I T H    T H E    C H U R C H    

INTENTION : That we may recognise and revere the cultural and spiritual riches of the different ethnic groups and religious minorities present in every country.

This month we are invited to give thanks to God for the variety of gifts he has given to humankind. There is hardly a country in the world today which is not marked by the coming together of different cultural traditions. It ought to be recognised that religion has influenced cultures and is the soul of a particular culture. Vatican II also mentions the good that is to be found in the rites and customs of peoples, recognising this as having been sown by God's Word (LG 17). In fact, Christians belong to many different cultures which have been deeply marked by the Christian faith.

In order to appreciate these cultural and religious riches we are called to make an effort to understand and appreciate all that is good in another person and in that person's culture. We are invited to look upon our fellow human beings with the eyes of God who created man in his own image and likeness and who saw all that he had made and found it very good. We are therefore encouraged to consider prayerfully how God is at work in all peoples.

In this context our prayer will be that the ongoing dialogue between the Gospel message and cultures may produce fruits of true freedom, joy and peace for the whole of humanity.

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