Speak Lord: Our Rock

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The Lord has given me
a disciple’s tongue.
So that I may know how to reply to the wearied
he provides me with speech.
Each morning he wakes me to hear,
to listen like a disciple.
The Lord has opened my ear.

For my part, I made no resistance,
neither did I turn away.
I offered my back to those who struck me,
my cheeks to those who tore at my beard;
I did not cover my face
against insult and spittle.

The Lord comes to my help,
so that I am untouched by the insults.
So, too, I set my face like flint;
I know I shall not be shamed.

First reading for Palm Sunday
Isaiah 50:4-7

The fortitude of Jesus continues to impress . What he chose to endure – not without fear and trembling – for love of us.

His example can serve us well, drawing us to follow that example, not only in fortitude ourselves but also in determination to continue to serve others and against all odds. People in all sorts of situations, all walks of life, of every vocation…

In this Holy Week we have a further opportunity to take stock, know the love that supports and enable us, and to give thanks…

Detail of crucifixion – a carving by Stephen Foster in Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral. (c) 2006, Allen Morris

 

 

 

 

Speak Lord: Brother

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My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

All who see me deride me.
They curl their lips, they toss their heads.
‘He trusted in the Lord, let him save him;
let him release him if this is his friend.’

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Many dogs have surrounded me,
a band of the wicked beset me.
They tear holes in my hands and my feet
I can count every one of my bones.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

They divide my clothing among them.
They cast lots for my robe.
O Lord, do not leave me alone,
my strength, make haste to help me!

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

I will tell of your name to my brethren
and praise you where they are assembled.
‘You who fear the Lord give him praise;
all sons of Jacob, give him glory.
Revere him, Israel’s sons.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Responsorial Psalm for Palm Sunday
Psalm 21(22):8-9,17-20,23-24

The Psalm at Mass tomorrow is a psalm prayed by Jesus on the Cross. The psalm confronts the agony, but concludes with an act of hope, trust, that God does not abandon his chosen…

We are among those chosen, and so too are all made in God’s image and likeness. In that is our hope and also our challenge, to rise above prejudice and preference and know each one as a brother and a sister.

The Crucified. Michelangelo. The Louvre, Paris. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Servant king

DSC06119a.jpgHis state was divine,
yet Christ Jesus 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 Palm Sunday
Philippians 2:6-11

The hymn from the Letter to the Philippians, quoted by Paul, is amongst the earliest known specifically Christian songs. We have the words but not the music: though maybe in this case maybe the words are the music, music to to give rhythm and pitch and poise and beauty to our lives, as we seek to join in the song and imitate Christ in our daily living…

Mosaic from exterior of Papal Chapel, Lateran Palace. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Calm and guide our hearts…

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When they drew near to Jerusalem,
to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives,
Jesus sent two of his disciples, and said to them,
‘Go into the village opposite you,
and immediately as you enter it
you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat;
untie it and bring it.
If any one says to you,
“Why are you doing this?” say,
“The Lord has need of it
and will send it back here immediately.’”
And they went away,
and found a colt tied at the door out in the open street;
and they untied it.
And those who stood there said to them,
‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’
And they told them what Jesus had said;
and they let them go.
And they brought the colt to Jesus,
and threw their garments on it;
and he sat upon it.
And many spread their garments on the road,
and others spread leafy branches
which they had cut from the fields.
And those who went before
and those who followed cried out,
‘Hosanna!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming!
Hosanna in the highest!’

Gospel for the Procession on Palm Sunday
Mark 11:1-10

The principal Gospel reading on Sunday is, of course, the reading of the Passion, this year taken from the Gospel of Mark.

That text will be featured on this Blog over the Monday to Wednesday of Holy Week. On Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday the readings here will be taken from the principal liturgies of those days. Service as usual will resume on Easter Monday!

The above passage from Mark’s Gospel reminds of the hope that Jesus awoke in the hearts of many people. The Gospels are silent on whether these same people would form part of the crowd some days later calling for his execution, but we know from other occasions just how fickle a crowd can be, and how callous.

Passion in us is important, but not always trustworthy as a pointer to what is good and true. But it will regularly inform our actions.

  • Where has passion helped you?
  • Where has it caused you to hurt and do damage?
  • How do you seek to curb its raw power over you?

Figure for Palm Sunday Procession. Archiepiscopal Museum, Craco,. (c) 2015, Allen Morris. 

Taste and See: Jesus for us

DSC02034.jpgDuring his life on earth, Christ offered up prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears, to the one who had the power to save him out of death, and he submitted so humbly that his prayer was heard. Although he was Son, he learnt to obey through suffering; but having been made perfect, he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation.

Second reading for the 5th Sunday of Lent
Hebrews 5:7-9

Jesus works for our salvation in every mode of his being – his humanity, his divinity; his works, his prayer, his words, his silence…

  • Where and how do we engage with the source of our salvation?
  • How might you maximise the impact of this in the coming Holy Week?

Head of Christ, Louvre, Paris. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

 

Taste and See: Help!

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A pure heart create for me, O God.

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.
In your compassion blot out my offence.
O wash me more and more from my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin.

A pure heart create for me, O God.

A pure heart create for me, O God,
put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
nor deprive me of your holy spirit.

A pure heart create for me, O God.

Give me again the joy of your help;
with a spirit of fervour sustain me,
that I may teach transgressors your ways
and sinners may return to you.

A pure heart create for me, O God.

Responsorial Psalm for the 5th Sunday in Lent
Psalm 50(51):3-4,12-15

Give me again the joy of your help…

Sometimes help proffered is not welcome. It shows us up, reveals our weaknesses, injures our pride…

Ad yet when the help is accepted, and when we learn that it truly is offered with love, and that it is offered to build us up and strengthen us…

Then, sometimes, we say thank you !

Statue, Saint-Germain-l’Auxerois, Paris. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Taste and See: knowing the blocks to our unity

Lourdes tabernacle pelican.jpgWe pray, almighty God,
that we may always be counted among the members of Christ,
in whose Body and Blood we have communion.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Prayer after Communion
for the 5th Sunday of Lent

As we begin the last week before Holy Week we are invited to know our disunity from Christ and from each other, to know our sin and its consequences.

Many of us will use Holy Week to make our Lenten Confession, as we prepare for the opportunity afforded by the holy Triduum to spend quality time with Christ, being renewed and inspired by his presence to us in word and sacrament.

But this week, let’s dare to know our need, to know the hollowness and the sham, the stumblings and fumblings and sadness of us in our lives, and prepare for our confessions.

When we know that sin, and are willing to say sorry; are aware of shadow befuddling our attempts to live well and say help, then we can leave all that behind as rising to newness begins, again, in Christ. Hope is reborn, we know ourselves not only as sinners, but as sinners called by God, cherished by God, trusted by God to be part of the saving of the world, part of the fullness of heaven.

Tabernacle door. Rosary Basilica, Lourdes. (c) 2004, Allen Morris.