Taste and See: Being made new

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Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth. or Alleluia!

Bless the Lord, my soul!
Lord God, how great you are,
How many are your works, O Lord!
The earth is full of your riches.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth. or Alleluia!

You take back your spirit, they die,
returning to the dust from which they came.
You send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the earth.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth. or Alleluia!

May the glory of the Lord last for ever!
May the Lord rejoice in his works!
May my thoughts be pleasing to him.
I find my joy in the Lord.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth. or Alleluia!

Responsorial Psalm for Mass on Pentecost Day
Psalm 103(104):1,24,29-31,34

The renewal worked by the Spirit is not restricted to individuals or even a particular community. It has a cosmic dimension – the face of the earth is renewed.

  • Where do you see the Spirit of God at work?
  • Where might the Lord be inviting you to assist in that work?

Mosaic. Basilica of the Dormition, Sion, Jerusalem. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

 

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Speak Lord: Light for life

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When Pentecost day came round, they had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.

Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. ‘Surely’ they said ‘all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; people from Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya round Cyrene; as well as visitors from Rome – Jews and proselytes alike – Cretans and Arabs; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.’

First reading for Mass during the Day of Pentecost
Acts 2:1-11

In our day, as previously, we especially note our differences. In the Spirit we find unity with others, and find wholeness in God for ourselves.

Chapel, St Nicolas Church, Nantes. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

 

Speak Lord: Bring us to life

 

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Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth. or Alleluia!

Bless the Lord, my soul!
Lord God, how great you are,
How many are your works, O Lord!
The earth is full of your riches.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth. or Alleluia!

You take back your spirit, they die,
returning to the dust from which they came.
You send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the earth.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth. or Alleluia!

May the glory of the Lord last for ever!
May the Lord rejoice in his works!
May my thoughts be pleasing to him.
I find my joy in the Lord.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth. or Alleluia!

Responsorial Psalm for Mass on Pentecost Day
Psalm 103(104):1,24,29-31,34

How dependent we are on the Spirit to revive, encourage, draw us forward. How we flounder when we close our mind and and heart to her promptings.

  • Pray for God’s gifts in you to be renewed this Pentecost.
  • Pray for the gifts to be renewed also in the other members of your community.

Stained glass. St Roch, Montpellier. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

 

 

Speak Lord: To our diversity

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No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose.

Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts, is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptised, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.

Second reading for Mass on the day of Pentecost
1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13

To say ‘Jesus is Lord’ is to say that we accept his Lordship: that our lives, our actions are under his Lordship. It requires putting him first and ourselves, at best, second.

It is about being introduced to or accepting a whole way of relating to others which recongises that the most important thing about them is that they too are made in the image and likeness of God, and called to union with him and unity with us. The union and unity may be a long time coming, but if the Lord is patient, so must we be.

From the Olympic Park, London. (c) 2012, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Source of peace for us

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In the evening of the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.

‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’

After saying this he breathed on them and said:

‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’

Gospel for Mass on Pentecost Day
John 20:19-23

The Lord gives us the gift of peace, and gives us the opportunity ourselves of being ministers of reconciliation, creators of harmony between and with others.

He passes to us the opportunity for continuing his work, or not. Responsibility is placed in our hands.

The Upper Room, Mount Sion, Jerusalem. (c) 2007, Allen Morris.

 

Taste and See: Mission

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One day Peter stood up to speak to the brothers – there were about a hundred and twenty persons in the congregation: ‘Brothers, the passage of scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit, speaking through David, foretells the fate of Judas, who offered himself as a guide to the men who arrested Jesus – after having been one of our number and actually sharing this ministry of ours. Now in the Book of Psalms it says: ‘Let someone else take his office.’

‘We must therefore choose someone who has been with us the whole time that the Lord Jesus was travelling round with us, someone who was with us right from the time when John was baptising until the day when he was taken up from us – and he can act with us as a witness to his resurrection.’

Having nominated two candidates, Joseph known as Barsabbas, whose surname was Justus, and Matthias, they prayed, ‘Lord, you can read everyone’s heart; show us therefore which of these two you have chosen to take over this ministry and apostolate, which Judas abandoned to go to his proper place.’ They then drew lots for them, and as the lot fell to Matthias, he was listed as one of the twelve apostles.

First reading for 7th Sunday of Easter
Acts 1:15-17,20-26

Each Christian is called to bear witness to the living Lord. Matthias was chosen for a particular ministry because of his particular experience of Jesus.

  • What ministry, and to whom, does your experience particularly equip you?
  • How do you respond to the opportunities you have to bear explicit witness to Jesus and to faith?
  • In what way might the Holy Spirit help you? Pray for this help!

Election of St Matthias. Chester Cathedral. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Taste and See: Glory to God, glory for us

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The Lord has set his sway in heavenOr Alleluia.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord
all my being, bless his holy name.
My soul, give thanks to the Lord
and never forget all his blessings.

The Lord has set his sway in heaven. OrAlleluia

For as the heavens are high above the earth
so strong is his love for those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west
so far does he remove our sins.

The Lord has set his sway in heavenOr Alleluia.

The Lord has set his sway in heaven
and his kingdom is ruling over all.
Give thanks to the Lord, all his angels,
mighty in power, fulfilling his word.

The Lord has set his sway in heavenOr Alleluia.

Responsorial Psalm for the 7th Sunday of Easter
Psalm 102(103):1-2,11-12,19-20

The Lord lives to set us free. Glory to him for ever…

Marseille. (c) 2013, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: Delicious fruit…

DSC05355Jesus said to his disciples:

‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.
A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.
You are my friends, if you do what I command you.
I shall not call you servants any more, because a servant does not know
his master’s business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father.
You did not choose me: no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; and then the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name.
What I command you is to love one another.’

Gospel for the 7th Sunday of Easter

Jesus speaks here not to individuals but to a community. Each member has their part to play – remember the parable of the pruning of the vine! – but the work belongs to all. The community is made up of individuals, each one particular and precious in their own right, and each with unique opportunities to address.

And yet the community has a certain priority – for the individual has come to faith because of the Lord and the community of faith. The community has oversight of the lives of its members, and has a responsibility to encourage and (sometimes) to challenge and discipline. The community, the Church, is not of course, an end to herself, but is called to be alive in Christ and as Christ – and, on earth, herself ever in need of guidance and correction by the Spirit and by her members.

Friendship is not laissez-faire.

Apples, Charlecote Park, Warwickshire. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: To and through the 12…

DSC06614a Vatican.jpgOne day Peter stood up to speak to the brothers – there were about a hundred and twenty persons in the congregation: ‘Brothers, the passage of scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit, speaking through David, foretells the fate of Judas, who offered himself as a guide to the men who arrested Jesus – after having been one of our number and actually sharing this ministry of ours. Now in the Book of Psalms it says: ‘Let someone else take his office.’

‘We must therefore choose someone who has been with us the whole time that the Lord Jesus was travelling round with us, someone who was with us right from the time when John was baptising until the day when he was taken up from us – and he can act with us as a witness to his resurrection.’

Having nominated two candidates, Joseph known as Barsabbas, whose surname was Justus, and Matthias, they prayed, ‘Lord, you can read everyone’s heart; show us therefore which of these two you have chosen to take over this ministry and apostolate, which Judas abandoned to go to his proper place.’ They then drew lots for them, and as the lot fell to Matthias, he was listed as one of the twelve apostles.

First reading for 7th Sunday of Easter
Acts 1:15-17,20-26

The first apostles recognised a strong symbolic quality to their number being 12. The 12 symbolised the original 12 tribes of Israel, and Israel as a kingdom before its division North and South and subsequent decline through conquest and exile.

The college of apostles points towards the restoration of a community of faith – first conceived of as a restored Israel, but then understood as not being restricted to Jews but one open to all who will know and do God’s will.

Carved ivory Gospel Book cover. Vatican Museum. (c) 2013, Allen Morris.

 

Speak Lord: Of your glorious reign

DSC01465 St Martin Paris

The Lord has set his sway in heaven. Or Alleluia.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord
all my being, bless his holy name.
My soul, give thanks to the Lord
and never forget all his blessings.

The Lord has set his sway in heaven. Or Alleluia

For as the heavens are high above the earth
so strong is his love for those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west
so far does he remove our sins.

The Lord has set his sway in heaven. Or Alleluia.

The Lord has set his sway in heaven
and his kingdom is ruling over all.
Give thanks to the Lord, all his angels,
mighty in power, fulfilling his word.

The Lord has set his sway in heaven. Or Alleluia.

Responsorial Psalm for the 7th Sunday of Easter
Psalm 102(103):1-2,11-12,19-20

It is good to know that the Lord has set his sway in heaven. In certain Middle-Eastern cultures there was a view that there were other gods that the god of Israel, and maybe that view underlies the world view of the psalm above.

The dominant view in the Old Testament however is that there is but one God, and there is no doubt about his sway being set in heaven. The only doubt is whether we allow that sway to be set on earth.

For that sway on earth, though, we pray every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer. ‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’

Sanctuary. St Martin church. Paris. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.