Speak Lord: Risen and Ascended One

Ascension shrewsbury

The eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them.

When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated. Jesus came up and spoke to them.

He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.’

Matthew 28:16-20

With the Ascension the physical presence on earth of Jesus in his humanity comes to an end – until the Second Coming.

In the meantime the real presence of Jesus is mediated in symbol and Sacrament. He is present in the Church and her continuing of his ministry; in the Sacraments, and in a particular way his presence abides in the transformed elements of Bread and Wine that communicate the entire Christ.

For Sacrament and symbol to be effective we need to minister them authentically and we need to receive them fruitfully. Otherwise they betray the one they re-present, and/or leave us untouched,  or at least unmoved, by the one who is Love and seeks to draw us ever-deeper into lives of love.

  • How do you seek to respond to the call of the Lord to his Church to ‘make disciples’?
  • Which commands of the Lord do you find most sympathetic?
  • And which most challenging?

Bring your response to the Lord in prayer.

Stained glass in St Mary’s Church, Shrewsbury. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

Taste and See: Fruits and mission

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Almighty ever-living God,
who restore us to eternal life in the Resurrection of Christ,
increase in us, we pray, the fruits of this paschal Sacrament
and pour into our hearts the strength of this saving food.
Through Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion for the 6th Sunday of Easter.

The 6th Sunday of Easter was the last before the Sundays of Ascension and Pentecost which deepen the focus on the mission and responsibility of the disciples, even as they tell of the Mysteries of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

We are gifted by God with faith, the promise of eternal life, and the gifts of the Spirit – but not only for our personal enrichment. These gifts are shared for the benefit too of those we are called to serve.

  • How has the Lord resourced you for the good of others?
  • In what way are you helped to serve the mission of Christ?
  • In what ways are you hampered?

Figs. Aix en Provence. (c) 2014, Allen Morris

Taste and See: Communion

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Philip went to a Samaritan town and proclaimed the Christ to them. The people united in welcoming the message Philip preached, either because they had heard of the miracles he worked or because they saw them for themselves. There were, for example, unclean spirits that came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town.

When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, and they went down there, and prayed for the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit, for as yet he had not come down on any of them: they had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Acts 8:5-8,14-17

In the passage above we hear of Samaria and Jerusalem together receiving the good news of communion in Christ, and working together to share and build up the communion of the Church.

At the heart of Catholic Christianity is communion – communion in Christ and with the Church.

We are not Christian if we are alone with Christ for Christ is not Christ alone with himself.

We are not Church in our community, united with Christ, but outside of the communion of the Church – for the Church is the community of faithful, one in all places and at all times.

Finding and living this communion is rarely easy – for, like us, other Christians and other communities in the Church, are ‘peculiar’! But as Christ’s love embraces each of us and seeks to draw us to something beyond our uniqueness, uniting us in love and service of God and neighbour.

  • With whom do you find communion challenging?
  • For what aspect of communion are you most grateful?

Medieval Floor tile. Palais des Papes, Avignon, France. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: As we journey on…

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Grant, almighty God,
that we may celebrate with heartfelt devotion these days of joy,
which we keep in honour of the risen Lord,
and that what we relive in remembrance
we may always hold to in what we do.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Collect for 6th Sunday of Easter

The above prayer, prayed at Mass yesterday, reminds that what we celebrate should inform our lives. One image for our lives is that of pilgrimage from this fallen and marred world to the perfection of life wholly united with God in heaven.

The Lord himself provides the nourishment and the direction that we need to continue on that journey, and salve for when we fall, and fresh guidance for when we get lost.

  • What challenges do you find on your journey at present?
  • What helps you to keep seeing to move forward?

Pilgrim. Hereford Cathedral. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Make us new

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Philip went to a Samaritan town and proclaimed the Christ to them. The people united in welcoming the message Philip preached, either because they had heard of the miracles he worked or because they saw them for themselves. There were, for example, unclean spirits that came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town.

When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, and they went down there, and prayed for the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit, for as yet he had not come down on any of them: they had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Acts 8:5-8,14-17

The First reading at Mass today, the 6th Sunday of Easter, witnesses to the spread of the Gospel beyond Jerusalem.

Samaria was the centre of what was perceived by Jews as the centre for a breakaway corrupted version of Judaism. Now it is at the forefront of the spread of Christianity, which reveals the fulfilment of God’s promises made through Judaism and now beginning to be proclaimed to the whole world.

Samaria is renewed by the preaching of Jesus by Philip and sustained in her faith by the ministry of Peter and John, through whom she receives the Spirit.

  • Why and how do you accept the word of God?
  • What difference does the gift of the Spirit make to your life?

Mount Gerizim, Nablus (centre of ancient Samaria), Palestine. (c) 2012, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Calling us to glory

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Cry out with joy to God, all the earth or Alleluia!

Cry out with joy to God all the earth,
O sing to the glory of his name.
O render him glorious praise.
Say to God: ‘How tremendous your deeds!

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth or Alleluia!

‘Before you all the earth shall bow;
shall sing to you, sing to your name!’
Come and see the works of God,
tremendous his deeds among men.

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth or Alleluia!

He turned the sea into dry land,
they passed through the river dry-shod.
Let our joy then be in him;
he rules for ever by his might.

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth or Alleluia!

Come and hear, all who fear God.
I will tell what he did for my soul:
Blessed be God who did not reject my prayer
nor withhold his love from me.

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth or Alleluia!

Psalm 65(66):1-7,16,20

The psalm sung at Mass tomorrow rejoices in the glory of God.

Sometimes the beauty and the glory of the natural world seems not only to be ‘there’ but to be there active in response to the wonder of its making!

The psalmist calls us to join with all of Creation in the glorification of God.

How wonderful of God to reveal something of himself in the glory of His creation.

And, as described in the last two verses, how wonderful of God to reveal himself again and again in the thriving of human kind.

  • To what good does God call or draw you today?

Valley North of Llyn Ogwen, Snowdonia. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Loving heart

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Reverence the Lord Christ in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have. But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who slander you when you are living a good life in Christ may be proved wrong in the accusations that they bring. And if it is the will of God that you should suffer, it is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong.

Why, Christ himself, innocent though he was, had died once for sins, died for the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life.

1 Peter 3:15-18

The Sacred Heart is one of most treasured images of Jesus in the Western tradition. The second reading on Sunday, the 6th Sunday of Easter, reminds that we are ourselves called to have hearts that, in sacred exactly  are certainly holy.

Our hearts become holy in Christ when we have there love for him and love for our neighbour.

That love is deepened when imperfect we humbly draw on Christ’s love for us and on the love of others so we may continue to attempt what is good and best. And it is deepened to when, as Peter notes, we sometimes are called to share in Christ’s suffering even for the good we do.

Kensal Green Cemetery. (c) 2008, Allen Morris