Taste and See: Mercy

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With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord,
Lord, hear my voice!
O let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleading.

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt,
Lord, who would survive?
But with you is found forgiveness:
for this we revere you.

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

My soul is waiting for the Lord.
I count on his word.
My soul is longing for the Lord
more than watchman for daybreak.
(Let the watchman count on daybreak
and Israel on the Lord.)

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Because with the Lord there is mercy
and fullness of redemption,
Israel indeed he will redeem
from all its iniquity.

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Responsorial Psalm for 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 129(130)

The darker the world, the brighter the light of grace…

The greater our need, the more wonderful and persuasive the offer of love and compassion that the Lord extends to us…

And we have the privilege of seeking to extend that same mercy to others, and looking for mercy and forgiveness when we fail…

  • Where do you struggle?
  • For what can you give thanks?

Stained glass. Sisters of Mercy’ Convent, Handsworth. (c) 2018, Allen Morris

Taste and See: Freedom and hope

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Jesus said to the crowds: ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come.’

He also said, ‘What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’

Using many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, so far as they were capable of understanding it. He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were alone.

Gospel for 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 4:26-34

The Kingdom is about fullness, harvest, protection and care…

It is about recognising potential, cherishing it and helping it to achieve what is promised…

  • What helps you do the same?
  • What holds you back?

Birds. Memorial Park, Willenhall.  (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Taste and See: Room available…

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The Lord says this:

‘From the top of the cedar,
from the highest branch I will take a shoot
and plant it myself on a very high mountain.
I will plant it on the high mountain of Israel.
It will sprout branches and bear fruit,
and become a noble cedar.
Every kind of bird will live beneath it,
every winged creature rest in the shade of its branches.
And every tree of the field will learn that I, the Lord, am the one
who stunts tall trees and makes the low ones grow,
who withers green trees and makes the withered green.
I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do it.’

1st Reading for 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 17:22-24

The Lord prepares a place of honour, a place of rest and respite, a home for all the humble, the merciful, the  of the world to gather and to be with him.

The Lord raises the lowly and humbles the proud; he greens the withered and withers the green…

  • Which are we?
  • Why does he call us?
  • How will we respond?

Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada (c) 2008, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: from your Glory

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The Lord says this:

‘From the top of the cedar,
from the highest branch I will take a shoot
and plant it myself on a very high mountain.
I will plant it on the high mountain of Israel.
It will sprout branches and bear fruit,
and become a noble cedar.
Every kind of bird will live beneath it,
every winged creature rest in the shade of its branches.
And every tree of the field will learn that I, the Lord, am the one
who stunts tall trees and makes the low ones grow,
who withers green trees and makes the withered green.
I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do it.’

1st Reading for 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 17:22-24

The glory of the Lord is source for our life and our living.

It is that glory that we seek for in our labours and our harvesting… but always it is gift.

Sutton Park. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: reveal your mercy and compassion

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With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord,
Lord, hear my voice!
O let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleading.

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt,
Lord, who would survive?
But with you is found forgiveness:
for this we revere you.

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

My soul is waiting for the Lord.
I count on his word.
My soul is longing for the Lord
more than watchman for daybreak.
(Let the watchman count on daybreak
and Israel on the Lord.)

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Because with the Lord there is mercy
and fullness of redemption,
Israel indeed he will redeem
from all its iniquity.

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Responsorial Psalm for 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 129(130)

We wait, we long, we pray…

And what sustains us is the knowledge of the mercy and goodness and saving power of the Lord.

That does not always make life easy, but it makes it possible.

It also makes it possible for us to live our lives mercifully, even imitating the love of God.

Stained glass. Sisters of Mercy’ Convent, Handsworth. (c) 2018, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: On our way to judgement…

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We are always full of confidence when we remember that to live in the body means to be exiled from the Lord, going as we do by faith and not by sight – we are full of confidence, I say, and actually want to be exiled from the body and make our home with the Lord. Whether we are living in the body or exiled from it, we are intent on pleasing him. For all the truth about us will be brought out in the law court of Christ, and each of us will get what he deserves for the things he did in the body, good or bad.

Second reading for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
2 Corinthians 5:6-10

Many of us may NOT be full of confidence at most any time. But certainly it is good to be reminded that life in this world is not going to be a bed of roses, and not only because the quality of life is likely to be compromised by our own faults and failings. But because the world and society is fractured and inhospitable to the good life in so many, many ways.

But, we are not alone in this life, even if we are in a sense exiled from the Lord. For the Lord joins us in our exile, his real presence made available to us in so many ways – in the word, the Sacraments, the Church gathered in prayer and song. These help draw us to him, and inspire us to desire to do the will of the Father.

Whether we are confident or limping and hesitant, if we have sought the Lord, then we will not be without an advocate when we come to the law court of Christ!

  • What good do you seek after?
  • How do you most regularly spend time with Christ?

 

Roof Boss. Cloister, Norwich Anglican Cathedral. (c) 2010, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: To the little ones

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Jesus said to the crowds: ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come.’

He also said, ‘What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’

Using many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, so far as they were capable of understanding it. He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were alone.

Gospel for 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 4:26-34

Concrete frieze, Basilica of the Annunication, Nazareth. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Taste and See: Moving on…

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O God, from whom all good things come,
grant that we, who call on you in our need,
may at your prompting discern what is right,
and by your guidance do it.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Collect for 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time

What a gap can be there between diserning the right and doing it!

We need God’s help for both – but even God needs us to cooperate with grace if anything is to happen, if anything is to change…

St Leo the Great observed God made us without us, but will not save us without us…

  • Where does the Lord make your life-sustaining, life-changing,  cooperation possible today?
  • How will you respond? Why?

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

Taste and See: Homeward bound

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As we have the same spirit of faith that is mentioned in scripture – I believed, and therefore I spoke – we too believe and therefore we too speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus to life will raise us with Jesus in our turn, and put us by his side and you with us. You see, all this is for your benefit, so that the more grace is multiplied among people, the more thanksgiving there will be, to the glory of God.

That is why there is no weakening on our part, and instead, though this outer man of ours may be falling into decay, the inner man is renewed day by day. Yes, the troubles which are soon over, though they weigh little, train us for the carrying of a weight of eternal glory which is out of all proportion to them. And so we have no eyes for things that are visible, but only for things that are invisible; for visible things last only for a time, and the invisible things are eternal.

For we know that when the tent that we live in on earth is folded up, there is a house built by God for us, an everlasting home not made by human hands, in the heavens.

Second reading for 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1

Paul, the tent-maker, the oft-time exhausted traveller, knows he lives and works in a testing but passing world. He knows the costs, and he pays them. And he knows the rewards, here, now, as he spends himself for the benefit of others.

And he looks forward – for himself, and them, and us – to the hospitality of God, our final goal, our final home.

Stained Glass. Chester Cathedral. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Taste and See: At one (but mad?)

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Jesus went home with his disciples, and such a crowd collected that they could not even have a meal. When his relatives heard of this, they set out to take charge of him, convinced he was out of his mind.

The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem were saying, ‘Beelzebul is in him’ and, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts devils out.’ So he called them to him and spoke to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot last. And if a household is divided against itself, that household can never stand. Now if Satan has rebelled against himself and is divided, he cannot stand either – it is the end of him. But no one can make his way into a strong man’s house and burgle his property unless he has tied up the strong man first. Only then can he burgle his house.

‘I tell you solemnly, all men’s sins will be forgiven, and all their blasphemies; but let anyone blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and he will never have forgiveness: he is guilty of an eternal sin.’ This was because they were saying, ‘An unclean spirit is in him.’

His mother and brothers now arrived and, standing outside, sent in a message asking for him. A crowd was sitting round him at the time the message was passed to him, ‘Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside asking for you.’ He replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking round at those sitting in a circle about him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.’

Gospel for the 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 3:20-35

To be at one with Jesus, and to be actively seeking to do the will of God is to be so out of sync with the ways of this world is that we can seem to be mad.

  • How often does it seem that people mock people of faith for their views on a whole wide range of issues and for their belief? How easily Jesus seemed to sit with people’s misjudgments of him.
  • And what great company we keep, if we stick close to him, if we are his sisters and brothers.

Stained Glass. Kings Lynn Minster. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.