intercessory prayer

Intercessory Prayer

intercessory prayer

13th Sunday In Ordinary Time

Fr. Paul Patrick, O.M.I.

Preached: June 27, 2021

  • Introduction

Today’s reading from the 5th chapter of Mark’s Gospel presents us with a beautiful and touching scene. In this scene, a father goes out from his house to find Jesus. After finding Him, he asks for healing for his dying daughter. The Gospel account concludes with Jesus coming to the man’s home, healing his daughter and raising her to life.

  • Intercession

This story is a textbook example of intercessory prayer – the father goes to Jesus to ask for healing not for himself but on behalf of his daughter. The word “intercession” comes from the Latin word intercessio and literally means to plead/ask on behalf of another.

  • Intercessors in the Church

We have a long and rich history in the Church of both being intercessors on behalf of other people in the community and praying through the intercession of the saints and Mary.

For example, many Italians are familiar with praying through the intercession of St. Anthony when they misplace something. We sometimes mistakenly say “Pray to St. Anthony” which might give the impression that the given saint is the one working a little miracle when in fact, the saint is merely an intercessor like the father in today’s Gospel interceding before God on our behalf.

The same is true with the Blessed Virgin Mary – when we pray in this way, we really are asking Mary’s intercession before the Lord in the same way as the saints.

  • Intercessory Prayer during the Liturgy

Oftentimes when we come for Mass you will hear the intention of the Mass being prayed for during the Prayers of the Faithful. Many times the person we offer the Mass for may be deceased or not present. This is another form of intercessory prayer which is fairly common in many parts of the world where someone offers the Mass for a loved one or a family member who is deceased or in need of prayers.

  • Good intercessory prayer

Good intercessory prayer is two fold: It asks for God’s blessing on the one we ask for, and also moves us to develop our relationship and love for that person we pray for. In the Gospel account, we see how Jesus’ healing of the father’s daughter had lasting positive and physical impact on the family – the daughter lived.

In the same way, when we pray on behalf of others, it must go hand in hand with good works and physical affirmations of our faith – otherwise as St. James tells us “Faith without good works is dead” (James 2:14-26) Let us remind ourselves to pray for those we love as well as for those we do not love as we should, so that it may lead us to deepen our concrete love of neighbor.



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Be An Instrument Of Mercy, Peace And Healing


Second Sunday of Easter – Year C

Fr. Mark Gatto

Date Preached: April 28, 2019

Like Thomas, we come to Mass each week so that we can touch Jesus and believe.  The first appearance of the Risen Lord Jesus, Thomas is not there with the others and so misses Jesus and does not believe.  The following week, Thomas is there with the others and so he touches Jesus and he believes.  He makes that great profession of faith, “My Lord and my God.”

We come to Mass each week so that we can touch Jesus and believe.  But, our faith calls us to act.

When the Risen Lord Jesus appears to the Apostles, he says to them, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  We come to Mass to touch Jesus and have faith.  But, then we are sent out by Jesus into the world.

What are we sent to do?

During Easter we listen to the Acts of the Apostles which tells of the experiences of the first believers after the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Today, we heard that people were laying the sick in the street hoping that Peter’s shadow might fall on them.  The Christian community, the early Church, was an instrument of healing.  It made the mercy and healing of Jesus visible and concrete.

Jesus sends us out to be instruments of healing, instruments of peace, to bring God’s mercy into our world.

This past Easter Sunday morning, we saw a terrible act of terrorism in Sri Lanka.  Several suicide bombings, some in Catholic Churches, killing hundreds and injuring more.  The images remind us of the division, the hatred, the brokenness within the world.

Even within our families we find divisions, jealousies, even hatred.  It is clear that our world, our communities, our families, are in need of healing, in need of peace, in need of mercy.

This Second Sunday of Easter is now known as Divine Mercy Sunday.  It is a reminder of the Mercy of God.  Reminder of our need for God’s mercy.  Reminder of the power of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is essential, it is the power of God, forgiveness is necessary for there to be peace in our world, between religions, in the church, within families, in our own hearts.

Like Thomas, we come to this Mass each week to touch the Risen Lord Jesus and have our faith affirmed.  Jesus then sends us out to be instruments of peace, instruments of healing, to bring God’s mercy into our world and into our families.  Our world, our families, each of us, need healing, peace, mercy.

Each of us is called to be an instrument of peace, an instrument of God’s mercy.  Even one act of forgiveness makes the world a better place.  Have the courage to reject hatred, violence, division when our world offers you that path.  Have the courage instead to embrace the mercy and forgiveness of God.  Have the courage to be people and instruments of peace.

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More Than Just Healings – Fr. David


Fifth Sunday In Ordinary Time – Year B

Fr. David Reitzel

Preached: Feb 4, 2018

Have you ever noticed that whenever you get sick, it doesn’t matter how many good things have happened to you immediately before then, you still feel miserable? Think of a man who just won the lottery; he is ecstatic, jumps for joy, and invites his friends out for a big feast. But if only a few days later he gets the flu, goes to the hospital, and has to remain sick in bed for a week, no matter how many time he is reminded that he is a billionaire, he won’t cheer up until the sickness is gone.

Illness can sometimes put blinders on us, and we can see nothing good except that distant future when we will be better.

Well, imagine how blind and miserable the town of Capernaum must have been when Jesus arrived there. In our Gospel, it says that after Jesus healed Simon’s mother in law, word began to spread about him, and at sunset, “they brought to Jesus all who were sick and possessed by demons and the whole city was gathered around his door” (Mk 1:33). The whole city was there, the whole city wanted to see Jesus.

Imagine if everyone in Hamilton came to this church. Every street would be empty for miles, no cars, no pedestrians. There would be an eerie quiet everywhere, except in one place.

Though Capernaum is smaller than Hamilton the idea is the same. Capernaum would have been a ghost town because everyone was at one house. And what did they want, they wanted healing. Some of them wanted healing for themselves, they had been sick or possessed for years and now they found someone to bring them out of their misery.

Others wanted healing for their loved ones, they had brought their family member or friend who had been sick. This shows that the entire town of Capernaum felt the effects of sickness, everyone, old and young, was oppressed by the misery that it brings. But now they had hope, they now had a man who could bring healing and with healing came the possibility of experience the joy of life again.

So all of Capernaum was happy to have Jesus with them, but the day after all these healings something odd happens. Early in the morning, Jesus rises before anyone else, and simply leaves. He walks out of the city and doesn’t turn back.

Was his job done? Had he healed everyone in the city? It’s possible but unlikely. And even if he had, what if sickness comes back as it always does? How could he just leave these people after he had done so much good for them? I think that this odd action of Jesus reveals that, while he did bring healing to Capernaum – a great gift –he brought something even greater, something that would remain even after he left them.

This week I have been visiting with our grade schools, and frequently they asked the question, “Father, what happens to us when we die?” I then tell them that when we die our soul leaves our body. Our body stays here on earth, and then I ask them, “and where does our soul go?” Invariably the hands shoot up and they all have the same answer, “Heaven”. I say, “You are right.” But then I pause, look at them and say, “or”. It’s beautiful at that moment to see little minds at work. Then a brave hand appears in the air and says, “Father, there is another place  . . . but my mom doesn’t let me say that word”.

I tell you this because it reminds us that at the end of our lives, only one part of us lives on. In the end our bodies remain here, while our souls move forward. And on that day, what will matter most will not be the health of the body, but of the soul.

That is why Jesus leaves Capernaum. He didn’t come to just heal the body, he came to heal much more. Jesus says it himself. After Simon catches up with Jesus outside of the city, he tells Jesus, “Everyone is looking for you” (Mk 1:37). And Jesus responds, “Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message their also, for that is what I came out to do.” Jesus mission is to spread a message. He has a word to proclaim and he will not rest until it has been spoken to all the villages.

The message he speaks is not one of bodily health. He doesn’t say, “Those who believe in me will feel well.” Rather he says, “Those who believes in me will have eternal life” (John 6:47). Capernaum received this message. Jesus taught it to them in their synagogue. Jesus then healed people so that those in the city would believe his message. But it was now time for Jesus to move on.

In the weeks and months following Jesus visit to Capernaum, people likely fell ill again. The bodily health that Jesus brought could only last for a time, but the message they had received, the message of salvation, that would remain in Capernaum forever, and to those who believed, for eternity.

The experience of the people in Capernaum provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon our relationship with Jesus. All of us can probably point to moments in our life when Jesus had worked miracles, where he had brought peace and healing, maybe in a friendship, maybe in a family. Maybe we prayed for something we needed, a job, an acceptance into university, an acceptance into a nursing home, and Jesus answered our prayers.

All of the gifts of Jesus are opportunities to rejoice and give thanks, but does it lead us into a deeper relationship with Christ. Does his benefits to us in this world encourage us to listen to his message and follow his teachings more closely? Or do we only get hungry for more blessings.

As those school I visited children understood, all the good things that happen to us in this life mean nothing if they don’t prepare our souls for the next. So let’s accept Gods blessings with gratitude, but let’s make sure they lead us ever greater conversion.


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Am I Healing Or Hurting? – Fr. Mark


Fifth Sunday In Ordinary Time – Year B

Fr. Mark Gatto

Preached: Feb 4, 2018

Have you ever been broken hearted? A time in your life when you were really broken, discouraged, wondering about this life? Perhaps a sickness, a loss of a job or career, the death of a loved one, a divorce or broken relationship. Some time when all that seemed important to you came crashing down. Then perhaps you can relate to Job in our First Reading. He is a man who is brokenhearted. He speaks of “months of emptiness”, “nights of misery”, “night is long, and I am full of tossing until dawn”, “my life is a breath”. This is a man who is really struggling.

The Beginning of Mark’s Gospel shows us Jesus as one who heals. Simon Peter’s mother-in-law is sick in bed with a fever. Jesus goes in, took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then many were coming, sick with various diseases and demons. Brokenhearted humanity was coming looking for healing. Jesus is seen as one who brings healing.

When we read the Gospels, it can be easy for us to look and see how wonderful Jesus was. A great healer back then. It takes away any responsibility from us. We look for Jesus to do something or someone special other than me. But, when we see something in Jesus, we the Church are called to do the same. Do not say, Jesus did great things back then as though it is something in the past. If Jesus was one that the brokenhearted went to in order to experience healing, then we know that they were also going to the early church to experience healing. It means that today we are to be instruments of healing in our world.

Do not look around for some other person with special healing powers. You are to be one who brings healing. As Jesus was a healer, so the Church is to be a healer, and not just some special person or the priest, all of you.

Where are you to bring healing? In your own home, your family. Where you work or study. In the community. Anywhere that we find people who are brokenhearted.

Our world has many places where healing is needed, many demons that need to be cast out.

Social Media – often we see hatred, bigotry, division expressed here. How do you use social media? In a way that heals or hurts?

Demons of prejudice, violence, division are seen in politics, between races, with indigenous peoples here in Canada, in the Me Too movement. We have to cast out these demons.

Often our words can be so destructive, so divisive, so harmful. Are the words you use, words that heal or words that hurt?

Like Jesus, let us take the people who are brokenhearted by the hand and lift them up. Let us be people who bring healing to those who are hurting, let us be people who cast out demons of hatred, division, injustice.
At the end of the Mass today, you will be sent out. Go out as a church of healing.

Question for reflection as we go out: Am I bringing healing or hurt? By my words and actions with all people, all situations, am I healing or hurting?

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