Speak Lord: Our protector and guide

 

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Remember your mercy, Lord.

Lord, make me know your ways.
Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
for you are God my saviour.

Remember your mercy, Lord.

In you I hope all day long
because of your goodness, O Lord.
Remember your mercy, Lord,
and the love you have shown from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth.
In your love remember me.

Remember your mercy, Lord.

The Lord is good and upright.
He shows the path to those who stray,
He guides the humble in the right path,
He teaches his way to the poor.

Remember your mercy, Lord.

Responsorial Psalm for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 24:4-9

‘Remember your mercy, Lord.’? As it God would ever forget!

It is we who neglect the mercy of God, not he who deprives us of it.

As we raise our awareness and deepen our trust in God’s abiding mercy, we are able also to strive ourselves to receive and draw on its benefits.

Tuileries Gardens, Paris. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: To build your Church

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If our life in Christ means anything to you, if love can persuade at all, or the Spirit that we have in common, or any tenderness and sympathy, then be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind. That is the one thing which would make me completely happy. There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, So that nobody thinks of his own interests first but everybody thinks of other people’s interests instead. In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus:

His state was divine,
yet he did not cling
to his equality with God
but emptied himself
to assume the condition of a slave,
and became as men are;
and being as all men are,
he was humbler yet,
even to accepting death,
death on a cross.
But God raised him high
and gave him the name
which is above all other names
so that all beings in the heavens,
on earth and in the underworld,
should bend the knee at the name of Jesus
and that every tongue should acclaim
Jesus Christ as Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Second reading for the 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Philippians 2:1-11

Paul longs for a response from the Church on earth that is consistent with the message preached. He longs that we might find and live unity in Christ. He longs that each one might find their fulfilment in the building up of the Body of Christ.

Architectural detail: St Mark’s Venice (c) 2015, Allen Morris.

 

Speak Lord: merciful and patient

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Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people, ‘What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He went and said to the first, “My boy, you go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not go,” but afterwards thought better of it and went. The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, “Certainly, sir,” but did not go. Which of the two did the father’s will?’ ‘The first’ they said. Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.’

Gospel for the 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Matthew 21:28-32

The Scriptures are full of stories of those called to be faithful but who fall short and fail.

The stories are told to us who often find our ourselves in the same predicament. They are told to encourage us not to give in but to repent and to turn back to what is best. Since we listen, the story is not yet over, and so we are urged to take fresh heart.

And the Scriptures are also full of hope, born of God’s faithfulness, that through his constancy, even the sometimes inconstant have the opportunity to come to bliss.

  • What ‘no’ in your life might better become a ‘yes’?
  • And is there a ‘yes’ that would better be a ‘no’?

Detail of Terre, mer et ciel, a painting by Anna Eva Bergman. Displayed at Carré d’art, Nimes, France. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

 

Taste and See: Goodness everywhere

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The Lord is close to all who call him.

I will bless you day after day
and praise your name for ever.
The Lord is great, highly to be praised,
his greatness cannot be measured.

The Lord is close to all who call him.

The Lord is kind and full of compassion,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
How good is the Lord to all,
compassionate to all his creatures.

The Lord is close to all who call him.

The Lord is just in all his ways
and loving in all his deeds.
He is close to all who call him,
who call on him from their hearts.

The Lord is close to all who call him.

Responsorial Psalm for the 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Psalm 144:2-3,8-9,17-18

In the Psalm God is praised for how God is to all. In his relationship with his creatures the inner-ness of God is revealed.

  • What is revealed by your relationship to God, and to his creation?

Church of Nowa Huta, Cracow. (c) 2012, Allen Morris

Taste and See: The disciples’ call…

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Seek the Lord while he is still to be found,
call to him while he is still near.

Let the wicked man abandon his way,
the evil man his thoughts.

Let him turn back to the Lord who will take pity on him, to our God who is rich in forgiving; for my thoughts are not your thoughts,
my ways not your ways – it is the Lord who speaks.
Yes, the heavens are as high above earth
as my ways are above your ways,
my thoughts above your thoughts.

First reading for the 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Isaiah 55:6-9

We are called to let go of all that is false, all that is corrupt and corrupting. And we are invited to move forward in newness and wholeness, turning to the Lord.

Our moving forward is also a moving back into the ambit of God’s Original Blessing, a blessing we have not yet known in its fullness.

God made us, and saves us, and invites us to draw on his help as we learn how to be what we were first made to be…

Detail from the North Doors, Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazareth. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

 

Taste and See: the work of love

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Jesus told this parable to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner going out at daybreak to hire workers for his vineyard. He made an agreement with the workers for one denarius a day, and sent them to his vineyard. Going out at about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place and said to them, “You go to my vineyard too and I will give you a fair wage.” So they went.

At about the sixth hour and again at about the ninth hour, he went out and did the same.

Then at about the eleventh hour he went out and found more men standing round, and he said to them, “Why have you been standing here idle all day?” “Because no one has hired us” they answered. He said to them, “You go into my vineyard too.”

In the evening, the owner of the vineyard said to his bailiff, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last arrivals and ending with the first.” So those who were hired at about the eleventh hour came forward and received one denarius each. When the first came, they expected to get more, but they too received one denarius each. They took it, but grumbled at the landowner. “The men who came last” they said “have done only one hour, and you have treated them the same as us, though we have done a heavy day’s work in all the heat.” He answered one of them and said, “My friend, I am not being unjust to you; did we not agree on one denarius? Take your earnings and go. I choose to pay the last comer as much as I pay you. Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why be envious because I am generous?”

Thus the last will be first, and the first, last.’

Gospel for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 20:1-16

The owner of the vineyard challenges and perhaps upbraids the workers he finds standing idle later in the day.

They give no satisfactory answer to his questioning as to why they are idle. Were they not there when he was first offering work? Perhaps they had gotten up late with pounding heads after a night on the town. Perhaps they were just lazy.

The master though invites them to consider their situation and to trust in him that they will get a just wage for what remains of the working day.

Maybe they do not deserve what happens next. But what they get is not determined by their work but only by generosity and love. The Master is not bound by ‘justice’ or rates for the job. He is bound only by the love of his heart.

Our own hope too lies, not in our striving, or even our virtue, still less in justice and the like. Our hope lies in the compassion and mercy of God.

Give thanks!

Vineyards. Abbey of Lerins, France. (c) 2013, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Make us new

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Seek the Lord while he is still to be found,
call to him while he is still near.
Let the wicked man abandon his way,
the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn back to the Lord who will take pity on him,
to our God who is rich in forgiving;
for my thoughts are not your thoughts,
my ways not your ways – it is the Lord who speaks.
Yes, the heavens are as high above earth
as my ways are above your ways,
my thoughts above your thoughts.

First reading for the 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Isaiah 55:6-9

The future does not begin tomorrow, but today, now…

Indeed maybe it began to begin yesterday, with the first stirring of discontent with how things have been, and a sense of attraction to how things might be, perhaps also with a sense of resolution for change, and maybe also repentance.

But today, now, is for sure, the moment for the next step, a step closer to God’s will, and deeper into communion with him.

Stained glass. Worcester Cathedral. (c) 2017, Allen Morris