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FIRST READING (click to expand)

Jeremiah 15:15-21

A reading from the book of the prophet Jeremiah.

O LORD, you know; remember me and visit me, and bring down retribution for me on my persecutors. In your forbearance do not take me away; know that on your account I suffer insult.Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts. I did not sit in the company of merrymakers, nor did I rejoice; under the weight of your hand I sat alone, for you had filled me with indignation. Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail. Therefore thus says the LORD: If you turn back, I will take you back, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall serve as my mouth. It is they who will turn to you, not you who will turn to them. And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, says the LORD. I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.

PSALM (click to expand)

Psalm 26

Vindicate me, O LORD,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
Prove me, O LORD, and try me;
test my heart and mind.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in faithfulness to you.

I do not sit with the worthless,
nor do I consort with hypocrites;
I hate the company of evildoers,
and will not sit with the wicked.

I wash my hands in innocence,
and go around your altar, O LORD,
singing aloud a song of thanksgiving,
and telling all your wondrous deeds.

O LORD, I love the house in which you dwell,
and the place where your glory abides.

SECOND READING (click to expand)

Romans 12.9-end

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Romans.

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ No, ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

GOSPEL (click to expand)

The Holy Gospel according to St Matthew 16.21-end

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.
And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.’
But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’
Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?
‘For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.




You say follow me,
but I’m not sure where you’re going.
You say follow me,
as if you’re leading me out
of the chaos and confusion,
but the closer I follow,
the thicker the clouds of darkness seem to be
and the less comfortable my life gets.
You say follow me, but insist I leave “me” behind.
You say follow me,
but wait just a minute.
Let me look you over,
examine you and ask, “just who are you?”
You say follow me,
and my heart knows it’s what I was born to do.
You say follow me,
but my head has different plans.
It sees the storm clouds you’re brewing
and the confrontation that arises
wherever you go.
My mind makes up excuses,
finds ways to dismiss you and remain in the lead.
But you say follow me,
and I see the goodness and living water that flows
from the river you’re providing.
I see the beauty of your face
and if what you say is true —
it’s the greatest story the world will ever know.
But you say follow me
and it scares me because there’s still some doubt.
But does that doubt have anything to do with you
or because I know accepting you comes at a cost,
knowing that I’ll have to die to myself
and admit I’m lost?
You say follow me.
Grant that I may be willing to take up my cross.


The Inner Voice of the Soul by John O’Donohue

There is a voice which dwells somewhere in every human heart. Ultimately it is the voice of the soul. Part of the joy in developing a spiritual life is the discovery of this beautiful gift that you perhaps never even suspected you had. When you take the time to draw on your listening-imagination, you will begin to hear this gentle voice at the heart of your life. It is deeper and surer than all the other voices of disappointment, unease, self-criticism and bleakness. All holiness is about learning to hear the voice of your own soul. It is always there and the more deeply you learn to listen, the greater the surprises and discoveries that will unfold. To enter into the gentleness of your own soul changes the tone and quality of your life. This voice of the soul is not a voice intent on its own satisfaction or affirmation; rather it is a voice imbued with understanding, forgiveness and healing.”


Discipleship prayer:

Lord Jesus, you told your disciples that, if any man would come after you
he should deny himself, take up his cross and follow you.
And the first disciples left everything to follow you
You invite us to be your disciples now
To respond to your call without counting the cost
But we are human and, instinctively, we do count the cost.

You have given us so many spiritual and material blessings.
Help us to loosen our grip around the things you have given us
Enough to share these gifts with others
And inspire us always to follow your example of generous self-giving.

In those times when we feel dispirited
and are daunted by all that true discipleship requires of us,
please grant us wisdom, persistence, strength and energy.

This we ask in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

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