simple white fading png image
notre dame montreal

Worship Prayers and Bible Resources

Third Sunday before Lent - Year B

Liturgical Colour - Green


The episode from the Gospel of Mark today is beautiful and yet disturbing. There is a lovely story of Jesus healing Peter's mother-in-law. We don't know anything about Peter's wife, but at least we do know that he was married. Moreover when Peter has a problem in his home he turns to Jesus for help and finds the answer to his needs. Jesus is concerned about the needs we have in our ordinary lives. he does not heal the woman to grab attention it is just a sign of his natural desire to help.

The funny part of the story can be seen when we are told that when she was well she got up and served them. We can almost hear Peter saying,
'How are you feeling then, better? Well go and get the kettle on would you, and how about some sandwiches?'

But there is a serious side to the flow of events. Jesus cares, the woman finds strength and she serves. So many people simply recover from one illness and then move on to tell us endlessly about their next complaint. She desires to be well so that she can be of use. How many more people would be healed if they sought health to enable them to continue to serve others?

Give to us or take from us, conform our will to yours. May we not desire health or life except to spend them in service of you. Use all that we have to proclaim the good news of your kingdom, to cure the sick and relieve your suffering children, to the praise and glory of your holy name. Amen.

Opening Verses of Scripture  Isaiah 40:31

Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Collect Prayer for the Day — Before we read we pray

Almighty God, who alone can bring order to the unruly wills and passions of sinful humanity: give your people grace so to love what you command and to desire what you promise, that, among the many changes of this world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Common Worship

Eternal God, whose Son went among the crowds and brought healing with his touch: help us to show his love, in your Church as we gather together, and by our lives as they are transformed into the image of Christ our Lord.

First Bible Reading   Isaiah 40:21-31

Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, 
   and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one 
and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? 
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Second Reading   1 Corinthians Chapter 9:16-23

For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel. Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

Gospel Reading Mark 1:29-39

As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her.So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he travelled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

Post Communion Sentence

Merciful Father, who gave Jesus Christ to be for us the bread of life, that those who come to him should never hunger: draw us to the Lord in faith and love, that we may eat and drink with him at his table in the kingdom, where he is alive and reigns, now and for ever.


In the passage from Mark today we read about Simon, this is of course the apostle who would later be named Peter. So we know that Peter was married and that he had to live with his mother-in-law, however we have no evidence that this influenced his decision to leave home and follow Jesus. We know nothing of Peter’s wife, we just know that on this occasion the unnamed mother-in-law is ill. Jesus cares about her, heals her, her temperature drops and she serves them. It is stated in a very matter of fact manner that the woman is healed so that she can get back to doing what she does, looking after the men. Of course once one healing has been completed, inevitably the word gets round and we are told that in the evening people came and brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. Indeed we are told that the whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. Observance of sabbath law is reflected in the fact that people waited till the evening to bring their sick and deranged to Jesus. The sabbath ended at sunset, so such work was acceptable in the evening.

Inevitably the disciples must have thought with this episode, on the outset of Jesus ministry, that they were on to a good thing. Here was somebody with a real talent and if the healing power of Jesus was exploited in the right way, then there was a way of making a real impression. Imagine sickness being a thing of the past, everybody being made well and the disciples starting off a divine sort of BUPA. But things soon fail to go according to plan. Peter gets up next morning and finds Jesus not at all ready to go and do more healing. Instead Jesus is off by himself and tells them that he must move on to go and preach.

After leaving the town, Jesus went through all of Galilee proclaiming the good news and expelling demons. Recovery from sickness and freedom from demons were visible signs of the inner healing which Jesus proclaimed. Yet he knew that our deepest need is not for health, but for meaning and hope. Healings were not the purpose and Jesus would not spend his time organising things efficiently for maximum healing benefit. We can only imagine how people would have felt when Jesus stopped healing and went off to preach. However I can guess that those people would probably have felt very much like we feel when we seek God’s healing upon other people or ourselves and they do not get well and it seems that God’s mind must be on other things.

The visual aids of miracles and healings were carried out to make plain the message that that illness is not something which God brings about, it is contrary to his plan for us. They show that there is present in this world another power which is opposed to God. When Jesus heals, he wages war against the forces of evil which bring to us sickness and ultimately death. The healing miracles are never an end in themselves, they are pictures of what God is like, given to us to help us to discover the really important message, that God cares and wants to liberate us from evil in all of its forms. 
The ministry of Jesus was one of confrontation. We like to be people of peace and we often think of godly people as people of peace. We do well to be reminded that the ministry of Jesus was not a ministry of peace. He brought peace, but he did so by waging a constant battle against evil. The Epistle to the Ephesians Chapter 6: 12 says ‘Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power, put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devils schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the armour.’

Christians do not live in peace time, we still live in a world in which there is sickness and evil of many kinds. We must be prepared to be the hands of Christ and through us allow him to reach out and touch those whose lives need healing. It is only the compassion of Christ and the holy power of God which can bring wholeness to our broken world. Charles Royden


father Damien

Father Damien was born Joseph de Veuster in Tremeloo, Belgium, on January 3, 1840. The son of well-to-do parents, he entered the Sacred Hearts Congregation at Louvain in January 1859 and five years later was ordained a priest in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu.

While in Kohala, Father Damien wrote to the Father General that many of his parishioners had been shipped to a leper colony on Molokai and that he had "an undeniable feeling that soon I shall join them." 

On May 10, 1873, Father Damien travelled with Bishop Maigret and a shipload of lepers to Molokai. After two days Damien was willing to devote the rest of his life to the leper settlement. The bishop replied that he could stay as long as his devotion dictated. 

Father Damien accomplished amazing feats while residing on Molokai. Six chapels were built by 1875. He constructed a home for boys and later a home for girls. He bandaged wounds, made coffins, dug graves, heard confessions, and said Mass every morning. 

In December 1884, Father Damien noticed severe blisters on his feet without the presence of pain. As he suspected, the disease was leprosy. Father Damien died peacefully on April 15, 1889, on Molokai after sixteen years of undaunted dedication.



  1. Have faith in God (Tune Carlisle) 
  2. I will enter his gates & Ascribe greatness  
  3. Tell out my soul the greatness of the Lord  
  4. Lord I believe
  5. Go forth and tell! O church of God awake!



Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

Prayer encouragement in the Christian life

Prayer is a plant, the seed of which is sown in the heart of every Christian, if it is well cultivated and nourished
it will produce fruit, but if it is neglected, it will wither and die

O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, we pray thee to set thy passion, cross and death between thy judgement and our souls, now and I the hour of our death. Vouchsafe to grant mercy and grace to the living, rest to the dead, to thy holy church peace and concord, and to us sinners everlasting life and glory; for thou art alive and reignest, with the father and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

My God I desire to love thee perfectly, with all my heart which thou madest for thyself, with all my mind which only thou canst satisfy, with all my soul which fain would soar to thee, with all my strength, my feeble strength, which shrinks before so great a task, and yet can choose naught else but spend itself in loving thee. Claim thou my heart, fill thou my mind, uplift my soul, and reinforce my strength, that where I fail thou mayest succeed in me, and make me love thee perfectly.

Grant to me, O Lord, a gentle spirit open to you; a generous mind open to all others and a loving heart worthy of being your dwelling place; through Christ our Lord. Amen  John of Kronstadt, 1829-1908

Additional Material


Every time you make a choice, you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And, taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a Heaven creature or into a hellish creature -- either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is Heaven: that is, it is joy, and peace, and knowledge, and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

I try to give to the poor people for love what the rich could get for money. No, I wouldn't touch a leper for a thousand pounds; yet I willingly cure him for the love of God. -- Mother Teresa, A Gift for God