Taste and See: Good for all

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The Jews were complaining to each other about Jesus, because he had said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ ‘Surely this is Jesus son of Joseph’ they said. ‘We know his father and mother. How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’ Jesus said in reply, ‘Stop complaining to each other.

‘No one can come to me unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets: They will all be taught by God, and to hear the teaching of the Father, and learn from it, is to come to me. Not that anybody has seen the Father, except the one who comes from God: he has seen the Father. I tell you most solemnly, everybody who believes has eternal life. ‘I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the desert and they are dead; but this is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that a man may eat it and not die. I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.’

Gospel for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
John 6:41-51

Are there those who the Lord does not call to himself?

Some Christians have thought so – but it is not the Catholic instinct. Our sense is that God offers salvation to all: his love is for all.

  • What might make you or others resist his call and his love?

Image derived from Votive Candle stand. Kings Lynn Minster. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

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Taste and See: New horizons

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Elijah went into the wilderness, a day’s journey, and sitting under a furze bush wished he were dead. ‘O Lord,’ he said ‘I have had enough. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’ Then he lay down and went to sleep. But an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.’ He looked round, and there at his head was a scone baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. But the angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat, or the journey will be too long for you.’ So he got up and ate and drank, and strengthened by that food he walked for forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

First reading for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Kings 19:4-8

Elijah, restored by love and care, is now on a journey back to God. His journey of 40 days and 40 nights will bring him to a new and deeper appreciation of God’s presence. His journey echoes Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness, and the 40 days that Jesus will spend there overcoming temptation and beginning his mission of revealing God’s love and mercy to Israel and to the world.

Goreme, Turkey. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: compassion and care

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Elijah went into the wilderness, a day’s journey, and sitting under a furze bush wished he were dead. ‘O Lord,’ he said ‘I have had enough. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’ Then he lay down and went to sleep. But an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.’ He looked round, and there at his head was a scone baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. But the angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat, or the journey will be too long for you.’ So he got up and ate and drank, and strengthened by that food he walked for forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

First reading for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Kings 19:4-8

Elijah has done all things well and it has taken all he has to offer. His only mistake is to think he has to do it all himself, alone.

With what tenderness and the solicitude the angel of the Lord takes care of him.

  • Who cares for you?
  • What signs of God’s care have you recognised?

Elijah and the angel. Frederick Leighton. Walker Gallery, Liverpool. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: help us praise you…

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Taste and see that the Lord is good.

I will bless the Lord at all times,
his praise always on my lips;
in the Lord my soul shall make its boast.
The humble shall hear and be glad.

Glorify the Lord with me.
Together let us praise his name.
I sought the Lord and he answered me;
from all my terrors he set me free.

Look towards him and be radiant;
let your faces not be abashed.
This poor man called, the Lord heard him
and rescued him from all his distress.

The angel of the Lord is encamped
around those who revere him, to rescue them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
He is happy who seeks refuge in him.

Psalm for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 33(34):2-9

Words of praise can come easy to us, but if they are to be prayer they need to connect with our lives and no just be put on our lips by the Liturgy.

They might connect with our lives by becoming our grateful thanks for what God has done. Or they might be words that remind us of God’s goodness and encourage us to trust –even as, in this moment, we feel a lack of God’s saving love.

But connect we must…

  • Where has God been blessing for you?
  • Where do you ask for that blessing now?

Mosaic. Cathedral of Spilled Blood. St Petersburg, Russia. (c) 2015, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: to us and to all

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Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God who has marked you with his seal for you to be set free when the day comes. Never have grudges against others, or lose your temper, or raise your voice to anybody, or call each other names, or allow any sort of spitefulness. Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.

Try, then, to imitate God as children of his that he loves and follow Christ loving as he loved you, giving himself up in our place as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God.

Second reading for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ephesians 4:30-5:2

Love does not always express itself peacefully! Sometimes it moves us to anger and to great passion. But that anger, and that passion, if it is love, should be for the sake of others, for their care and benefit, and not for ourselves.

We need to remember that we do not best make friends by making enemies!

Reilquary of the Black Virgin, Montserrat. (c) 2003, Allen Morris

 

Speak Lord: Stir us up

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The Jews were complaining to each other about Jesus, because he had said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ ‘Surely this is Jesus son of Joseph’ they said. ‘We know his father and mother. How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’ Jesus said in reply, ‘Stop complaining to each other.

‘No one can come to me unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets: They will all be taught by God, and to hear the teaching of the Father, and learn from it, is to come to me. Not that anybody has seen the Father, except the one who comes from God: he has seen the Father. I tell you most solemnly, everybody who believes has eternal life. ‘I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the desert and they are dead; but this is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that a man may eat it and not die. I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.’

Gospel for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
John 6:41-51

How often we seek to make what we know and are familiar with te sure foundation of our lives. Yet only the eternal God can be that.

Our stubbornness can so easily stop our listening.

  • What helps you listen with an open heart?

16th C Enamel Plaque. Collection of the Louvre. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: What is it?

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The whole community of the sons of Israel began to complain against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness and said to them, ‘Why did we not die at the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we were able to sit down to pans of meat and could eat bread to our heart’s content! As it is, you have brought us to this wilderness to starve this whole company to death!’

Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Now I will rain down bread for you from the heavens. Each day the people are to go out and gather the day’s portion; I propose to test them in this way to see whether they will follow my law or not.

‘I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel. Say this to them, “Between the two evenings you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have bread to your heart’s content. Then you will learn that I, the Lord, am your God.”’

And so it came about: quails flew up in the evening, and they covered the camp; in the morning there was a coating of dew all round the camp. When the coating of dew lifted, there on the surface of the desert was a thing delicate, powdery, as fine as hoarfrost on the ground. When they saw this, the sons of Israel said to one another, ‘What is that?’ not knowing what it was. ‘That’ said Moses to them ‘is the bread the Lord gives you to eat.’

First reading for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Exodus 16:2-4,12-15

It is commonly held that the Hebrew ‘manna’ is derive from the Hebrew ‘munna’ which means ‘what is it?!’

What it is is God’s love made visible. For this we give thanks. We ‘eucharist’!

16th C Enamel. Louvre, Paris. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.