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Father Muench Says...

Considering the opening prayer

July 20, 2022

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

I celebrated Mass this morning. As I began to pray the words of the opening prayer, I realized that this prayer was so very meaningful. This opening prayer, often called the Collect, is the prayer at the beginning of Mass that unites the prayers of the whole community, drawing us all into prayer.

This prayer today was the Opening Prayer for the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time. Today, I would like to take some time with you to consider this prayer. I hope to show you how special and unique this prayer is.

This prayer begins in praise of our God. We pray, “O God, who show the light of your truth to those who go astray, so that they may return to the right path.”

I am leading this community in prayer that our God will bring his light of truth to all those of this parish and Church. This light of truth brings the message of Jesus – the Lord’s words of peace and love – especially to those who have gone astray. The whole congregation prays that the Lord’s truth is light into the darkness that blocks so many in our community from the light of the Lord, the darkness that causes some to stray from the way of the Lord Jesus and his message.

I noticed that the purpose of my prayer was to pray for those who have gone astray. I must dedicate myself that they will return to the right path of the Lord. My place as the presider at this Mass was to pray in hope and confidence that the light of the Lord will find those who have strayed from the way of the Lord. They are truly special in my thoughts and intentions.

As I proclaimed this prayer at the Mass, I realized I was also praying for myself. There have been times when I was that stray. There were times I had allowed my life to stray from the path of my Lord Jesus. So, I must pray that the Lord would always find me, bring his truth and message, his light into my darkness, so that I will stay on the right path, the path of my Savior, my Lord Jesus.

Today’s prayer then goes on asking God “to give all who for the faith they profess as accounted Christians the grace to reject whatever is contrary to the name of Christ.”

I must continue to pray for all in this community who declare themselves as Christians, ready to walk with the Lord and establish a strong relationship and friendship with Our Lord Jesus. And so, I pray for all of those that the Lord will flood into their lives the grace and protection to reject all that is contrary to the name of Christ.

The name of Christ is a powerful symbol. As the people join with me in the celebration of the Eucharist. We are rededicating ourselves to our Lord, striving always to a life lived well in the Spirit of the Lord, dedicated always to reject all that is contrary to the way of the Lord and “strive after all that does it honor.”

My life as a Christian and disciple of Jesus – the lives of my congregations as Christians and disciples – means more than a readiness to reject all that is contrary to my Lord and Jesus. It also means doing all that we can as a parish and a community to bring constant honor and glory to the Lord.

“My sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest for her young: by your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are they who dwell in your house, forever singing your praise.”

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