Taste and See: the strength of love

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I love you, Lord, my strength.

I love you, Lord, my strength,
my rock, my fortress, my saviour.
My God is the rock where I take refuge;
my shield, my mighty help, my stronghold.
The Lord is worthy of all praise,
when I call I am saved from my foes.

I love you, Lord, my strength.

Long life to the Lord, my rock!
Praised be the God who saves me,
He has given great victories to his king
and shown his love for his anointed.

I love you, Lord, my strength.

Responsorial Psalm for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 17:2-4,47,51

How importance is that place of security, and the relationship that provides it and is nourished by it.

In his relationship with God the psalmist flourishes and becomes a means for the flourishing of others too.

The Church recognises her privilege in his words – for she too finds her strength and her security in the Lord. She also finds her her mission, to be mother for the world, to draw others to the source of the fullness of life, to God; and to promote the health of the world by echoing the love of God in her service of the most vulnerable.

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Taste and See: Pray and….

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The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell the sons of Israel this:

‘“You must not molest the stranger or oppress him, for you lived as strangers in the land of Egypt. You must not be harsh with the widow, or with the orphan; if you are harsh with them, they will surely cry out to me, and be sure I shall hear their cry; my anger will flare and I shall kill you with the sword, your own wives will be widows, your own children orphans.

‘“If you lend money to any of my people, to any poor man among you, you must not play the usurer with him: you must not demand interest from him.

‘“If you take another’s cloak as a pledge, you must give it back to him before sunset. It is all the covering he has; it is the cloak he wraps his body in; what else would he sleep in? If he cries to me, I will listen, for I am full of pity.”’

First reading for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Exodus 22:20-26

Perhaps hearing this passage at Mass yesterday we were moved to pray for forgiveness for our failings in the area of justice and love.

It might be more appropriate yet for us to pray for those who are victim of our failings and the failings of others.

And more appropriate still for us to consider what we might do to rebalance things between us and and others.

Intercession, Wawel Castle, Cracow, Poland. (c) 2013, Allen Morris.

 

 

Speak Lord: Save our neighbour!

DSC03306.jpgThe Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell the sons of Israel this:

‘“You must not molest the stranger or oppress him, for you lived as strangers in the land of Egypt. You must not be harsh with the widow, or with the orphan; if you are harsh with them, they will surely cry out to me, and be sure I shall hear their cry; my anger will flare and I shall kill you with the sword, your own wives will be widows, your own children orphans.

‘“If you lend money to any of my people, to any poor man among you, you must not play the usurer with him: you must not demand interest from him.

‘“If you take another’s cloak as a pledge, you must give it back to him before sunset. It is all the covering he has; it is the cloak he wraps his body in; what else would he sleep in? If he cries to me, I will listen, for I am full of pity.”’

First reading for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Exodus 22:20-26

It is to be hoped that the first assertion by the Lord in this Sunday’s first reading makes the faithful sit bolt upright in their places and wonder if they have heard right, and ask, if they have, whether they can hear it again. How stark the warning is!

And how much more stark such a threat appears when it is addressed to us, than when addressed to others. Our concern for our well-being, and that of our nearest and dearest, is often much more pronounced than is our concern for our neighbours, and the stranger.

The Lord though sees no gap – it will be done to you as you do to others. Or even more harshly done to you – be harsh with a widow and I will hear her cry and run you through with a sword!

How much store the Lord places on love and care and mutuality between his children, our human family…

Best wishes. May you survive the day!

Moses. From Church of Transfiguration, Mount Tabor, Israel. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

 

Speak Lord: strengthen me for today

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I love you, Lord, my strength.

I love you, Lord, my strength,
my rock, my fortress, my saviour.
My God is the rock where I take refuge;
my shield, my mighty help, my stronghold.
The Lord is worthy of all praise,
when I call I am saved from my foes.

I love you, Lord, my strength.

Long life to the Lord, my rock!
Praised be the God who saves me,
He has given great victories to his king
and shown his love for his anointed.

I love you, Lord, my strength.

Responsorial Psalm for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 17:2-4,47,51

The psalmist knows God and knows God as good to him and as love for him. And knows all this as empowerment, as strength.

We who know how strength can be sued for good or ill, must surely wonder so what now? For the psalmist? For Israel? For me? How do we use this power, for good, for love, for God? Or do we squander it, use it hurtfully, hatefully? How do we use it?

And why?

  • Bring your thoughts to God in prayer and let his goodness be your strength for what comes next, today, tomorrow, in your life, and the lives of those closest to you…

Detail of Roman figure. Delhi, Greece. (c) 2006, Allen Morris

 

Speak Lord: Call us on, and build us up

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You observed the sort of life we lived when we were with you, which was for your instruction, and you were led to become imitators of us, and of the Lord; and it was with the joy of the Holy Spirit that you took to the gospel, in spite of the great opposition all round you.

This has made you the great example to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia since it was from you that the word of the Lord started to spread – and not only throughout Macedonia and Achaia, for the news of your faith in God has spread everywhere.

We do not need to tell other people about it: other people tell us how we started the work among you, how you broke with idolatry when you were converted to God and became servants of the real, living God; and how you are now waiting for Jesus, his Son, whom he raised from the dead, to come from heaven to save us from the retribution which is coming.

Second reading for 30th Sunday of the Lord
1 Thessalonians 1:5-10

The imitation of Christ is a work entrusted to the Church and to all Christians.

It is a work that includes a turning to Christ and from all that is not Christ; a turning from all that is not of God and a turning to all that fulfils the will of God for human life (and creation more generally) to flourish.

The imitation of Christ therefore requires a discerning faith, ready to assess what is living and lovely, and what is marked by sin and death: and an active faith ready to change the way we live so it accords with truth and love.

On these moments of choice and deepening understanding the Lord himself builds, working with us to assist us to his salvation

Medusa Head,  Basilica Cistern Istanbul. (c) 2002, Allen Morris

 

Speak Lord: God and Man for God and Man


When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees they got together and, to disconcert him, one of them put a question, ‘Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?’ Jesus said, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also.’

Gospel
for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 22:34-40

Jesus speaks of two commandments, and of course love of God and love of man, love of neighbour can be distinguished. 

But ‘love’ of God alone leads to monstrous injustice as we see in religious persecution down the years and in every culture and faith. 

And ‘love’ of neighbour only can lead to a shallowness and partiality that betrays its nobler ambition.

The two commandments need each other – to try to fulfil one without the other finally leads us nowhere.

Crucifix. Manresa House, Birmingham. (C) 2017, Allen Morris

Taste and See: God and us

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Give the Lord glory and power.

O sing a new song to the Lord,
sing to the Lord all the earth.
tell among the nations his glory
and his wonders among all the peoples.

Give the Lord glory and power.

The Lord is great and worthy of praise,
to be feared above all gods;
the gods of the heathens are naught.
It was the Lord who made the heavens,

Give the Lord glory and power.

Give the Lord, you families of peoples,
give the Lord glory and power;
give the Lord the glory of his name.
Bring an offering and enter his courts.

Give the Lord glory and power.

Worship the Lord in his temple.
O earth, tremble before him.
Proclaim to the nations: ‘God is king.’
He will judge the peoples in fairness.

Give the Lord glory and power.

Responsorial Psalm for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 95:1,3-5,7-10

To know God is to love God.

To know ourselves is to know our need for God, and to give thanks that he does not hold back with love and grace by which to help us.

To know our neighbour is to know what God loves in him and her and to honour it.

And this gives glory and power to God.

Norwich’s Church of England Cathedral. (c) 2010, Allen Morris