Taste and See: the one who comes to call

DSC08577 Shrewsbury 2016a.jpgBehold, I stand at the door and knock, says the Lord.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door to me,
I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.

Alternate Communion Antiphon: 16th Sunday
of Ordinary Time.

Revelation 3: 20

How the Lord loves and cherishes us.

He is our Lord and Saviour, and yet again and again he comes humbly to us inviting us to offer him hospitality.

And he comes bringing us gifts that far outweigh what we are able to offer him: love; peace; hope…

Christ, light of the world. Shrewbsury Abbey. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

Taste and See: gifts we offer…

DSC03009 bread 2017 JerusalemO God, who in the one perfect sacrifice
brought to completion varied offerings of the law,
accept, we pray, this sacrifice from your faithful servants
and make it holy, as you blessed the gifts of Abel,
so that what each has offered to the honour of your majesty
may benefit the salvation of all.
Through Christ our Lord.

Prayer over the Offerings for 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The above prayer, heard at Mass on Sunday, makes it clear that the Offertory is not just the bread and the wine presented from the assembly and placed upon the altar. Joined with them are the spiritual offerings of each and every  person present – if we have made them.

Some of these spiritual offerings will be our achievements; some will be our failures, humbly acknowledged; still others will be our acts of faith and trust regarding the challenges and trials that we think lie ahead of us. All these are offered at the altar, united with the gifts of bread and wine and, ultimately with the self-offering of Christ through his incarnation, ministry, and his Passion and Death.

Breads, Jerusalem. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

 

Taste and See: The Kingdom

DSC04342.jpgJesus put another parable before the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off. When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, the darnel appeared as well. The owner’s servants went to him and said, “Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?” “Some enemy has done this” he answered. And the servants said, “Do you want us to go and weed it out?” But he said, “No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn.”’

He put another parable before them, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.’

He told them another parable, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’

In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfil the prophecy: ‘I will speak to you in parables and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world.’

Then, leaving the crowds, he went to the house; and his disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain the parable about the darnel in the field to us.’ He said in reply, ‘The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the darnel, the subjects of the evil one; the enemy who sowed them, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels. Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that provoke offences and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Listen, anyone who has ears!’

Matthew 13:24-43

Gospel for yesterday, the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

The Kingdom is to be found in a field overrun with weeds; a plant run wild; and in bread making!

So is its opposite, surely… but as yet can we be sure we can tell the difference.

Bread oven, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Stratford upon Avon (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Wonder of wonders

Notre Dame de la Major Angel, Arles, 2014

There is no god, other than you, who cares for every thing, to whom you might have to prove that you never judged unjustly; Your justice has its source in strength, your sovereignty over all makes you lenient to all. You show your strength when your sovereign power is questioned and you expose the insolence of those who know it; but, disposing of such strength, you are mild in judgement, you govern us with great lenience,for you have only to will, and your power is there.By acting thus you have taught a lesson to your people how the virtuous man must be kindly to his fellow men, and you have given your sons the good hope that after sin you will grant repentance.

Wisdom 12:13,16-19

The First reading at Mass today hymns the wisdom, mercy and justice of God.

And the author of the word, quite properly, seems overwhelmed at the goodness of the God that he contemplates.

Perhaps in the modern era we over-concentrate on God in ordinary, and neglect the extraordinariness of God. Both are necessary, and we’ll never get the balance right: but for today maybe we can spend time with Wisdom and be newly amazed and awestruck.

Angel from Notre Dame de la Major , Arles, France. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Loving Father.

Arles.jpg

O Lord, you are good and forgiving.

O Lord, you are good and forgiving,
full of love to all who call.
Give heed, O Lord, to my prayer
and attend to the sound of my voice.

O Lord, you are good and forgiving.

All the nations shall come to adore you
and glorify your name, O Lord:
for you are great and do marvellous deeds,
you who alone are God.

O Lord, you are good and forgiving.

But you, God of mercy and compassion,
slow to anger, O Lord,
abounding in love and truth,
turn and take pity on me.

O Lord, you are good and forgiving.

Psalm 85:5-6,9-10,15-16

 

The Responsorial Psalm at Mass tomorrow, the 16th Sunday of the Year, comes from the heart and mind of the child of God who is grateful for all that his Father has done for him

And if he can see what God has done, surely everyone else will too. For that the psalmist hopes, but closes again, eager to know again the love and mercy of God for him.

Light and stone. Roman Theatre, Arles, France. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.

 

 

Speak Lord: Our help, our hope.

423.jpg

The Spirit comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our hearts knows perfectly well what he means, and that the pleas of the saints expressed by the Spirit are according to the mind of God.

Romans 8:26-27

The second reading at Mass on Sunday, the 16th in Ordinary Time, offers us the encouragement of knowing that our prayer does not rely on our ability to find the right words.

Prayer is an expression of our communion with God, our love for him. And our prayer finds inspiration from that communion, that love, which is the Spirit who comes to animate us..

Detail of grave marker, Cimetière des Roumiguières, nr Grasse, France. (c) 2007, Allen Morris.

 

Speak Lord: Surprise us

DSC07352.jpgJesus put another parable before the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off. When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, the darnel appeared as well. The owner’s servants went to him and said, “Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?” “Some enemy has done this” he answered. And the servants said, “Do you want us to go and weed it out?” But he said, “No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn.”’

He put another parable before them, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.’

He told them another parable, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’

In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfil the prophecy: ‘I will speak to you in parables and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world.’

Then, leaving the crowds, he went to the house; and his disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain the parable about the darnel in the field to us.’ He said in reply, ‘The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the darnel, the subjects of the evil one; the enemy who sowed them, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels. Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that provoke offences and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Listen, anyone who has ears!’

Matthew 13:24-43

The Gospel this Sunday, the 16th in Ordinary Time is made up of a variety of parables, each speaking of the Kingdom, and each seeming to focus on something different.

In the first (though you’d scarcely guess it from the explanation appended later) there seems to be caution about rushing to judgement and decision; in the next the virtue of weeds is applauded; and in the third the corruption that is leaven is praised.

The Kingdom is a wonderful fruitful and lively thing – but maybe as yet it seems none of us is likely to see it quite as God does…

Detail from grave marker. National Arboretum. (c) 2016, Allen Morris