Taste and See: Christ our Light.

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Alleluia, alleluia! I am the light of the world, says the Lord; anyone who follows me will have the light of life. Alleluia!

Gospel Acclamation for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

We all have experience of darkness – physical darkness, moral darkness.

Jesus is the light that drives that darkness back and brings light to every human situation and condition, that redeems it and brings it to the fullness of life.

He is our call to light, to life.. He is the very light of life, the light that is very life.

Paschal Light. Detail of stained glass by Margaret Rope. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.

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Taste and See: Freedom from, freedom for…

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As Jesus left Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (that is, the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting at the side of the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and to say, ‘Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.’ And many of them scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, ‘Son of David, have pity on me.’

Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him here.’ So they called the blind man. ‘Courage,’ they said ‘get up; he is calling you.’ So throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and went to Jesus. Then Jesus spoke, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Rabbuni,’ the blind man said to him ‘Master, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has saved you.’ And immediately his sight returned and he followed him along the road.

Gospel for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 10:46-52

Bartimaeus leaves his cloak to come to Jesus. There is no suggestion that he ever goes back to find it after his healing.

A cloak was home for the (otherwise) homeless beggar. Scripture urged Israel not to keep the cloak of the poor overnight, should it be taken as collateral for a debt  (eg  Deuteronomy 24.13: ‘You shall restore to him the pledge as the sun sets, that he may sleep in his cloak and bless you. And it shall be righteousness for you before the LORD your God.’)

Bartimaeus leaves himself vulnerable.

In his single-minded attachment to the Lord, Bartimaeus challenges us as to the quality of our discipleship and tests the appropriateness and need of our hesitations and compromises.

  • What helps you live faithful?
  • What have you ‘left’ for the Lord?
  • What have you gained as a result?

 

St Martin divides his cloak for benefit of a beggar. Musée national du Moyen Âge, formerly Musée de Cluny. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: Neighbourliness

Mezuzah, Cracow.jpgThe Lord says this:
Shout with joy for Jacob!
Hail the chief of nations!
Proclaim! Praise! Shout:
‘The Lord has saved his people,
the remnant of Israel!’

See, I will bring them back
from the land of the North
and gather them from the far ends of earth;
all of them: the blind and the lame,
women with child, women in labour:
a great company returning here.

They had left in tears,
I will comfort them as I lead them back;
I will guide them to streams of water,
by a smooth path where they will not stumble.
For I am a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my first-born son.

First reading for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 31:7-9

The Lord gives us hope, but so often others act so as to rob us of that hope.

Jews surviving the Holocaust and returning home were often met not with welcome but with prejudice and violence, even death, at the hand of their former neighbours.

  • How free are we to act lovingly to those in need, victims of the violence of others?
  • When circumstances change do we look first to our own advantage and hesitate before anything that would lead to our personal inconvenience or loss?

Mezuzah, Cracow, Poland. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Lead us

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The Lord says this:
Shout with joy for Jacob!
Hail the chief of nations!
Proclaim! Praise! Shout:
‘The Lord has saved his people,
the remnant of Israel!’

See, I will bring them back
from the land of the North
and gather them from the far ends of earth;
all of them: the blind and the lame,
women with child, women in labour:
a great company returning here.

They had left in tears,
I will comfort them as I lead them back;
I will guide them to streams of water,
by a smooth path where they will not stumble.
For I am a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my first-born son.

First reading for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 31:7-9

We are all of us familiar with images of exiles, refugees, victims of persecution; natural or man-made disasters. Many of us have our own direct experience of being up-rooted, driven from our homes, robbed of our seeming secure place in the world. Actually, of course, as the ‘us’ of the Christian includes all the human family. God’s family, these experiences always belong to ‘us’ never to them.

The prophet offers us afresh the hope that comes from God: the comfort, home-finding, home coming.

And challenges us to assist our brothers and sisters in making their new home…

Cases. Auschwitz 1, Poland. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Our joy and our freedom

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What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.

When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage,
it seemed like a dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter,
on our lips there were songs.

The heathens themselves said: ‘What marvels
the Lord worked for them!’
What marvels the Lord worked for us!
Indeed we were glad.

Deliver us, O Lord, from our bondage
as streams in dry land.
Those who are sowing in tears
will sing when they reap.

They go out, they go out, full of tears,
carrying seed for the sowing:
they come back, they come back, full of song,
carrying their sheaves.

Responsorial Psalm for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 125(126)

The love and compassion of God reaches out to those in misery. Even in the midst of pain and suffering, martyrs can sing, and the enslaved know freedom.

Greensboro lunch counter, Newseum, Washington, DC, USA. (c) 2007, Allen Morris.

 

Speak Lord: Giver and gift

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Every high priest has been taken out of mankind and is appointed to act for men in their relations with God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins; and so he can sympathise with those who are ignorant or uncertain because he too lives in the limitations of weakness. That is why he has to make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. No one takes this honour on himself, but each one is called by God, as Aaron was. Nor did Christ give himself the glory of becoming high priest, but he had it from the one who said to him: You are my son, today I have become your father, and in another text: You are a priest of the order of Melchizedek, and for ever.

Second reading for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Hebrews 5:1-6

Hebrews speaks of Jewish priesthood.

In Jesus Christ the limits and limitations of the Jewish cult are revealed by the Paschal Mystery of his Passion, Death and Resurrection. That Paschal Mystery opens to all humankind – Jews, pagans and all – a new order in which we can live.

Catholic and Orthodox Christians see ministerial priesthood, priesthood of the Christian cult, as an essential part of that new order. It is gifted to the Church to help sustain our engagement with the saving love of God. And it does this in a variety of ways, especially through the ministry of the word of God and the celebration of the sacraments.

Christian priests, like those of Judaism, minister within ‘the limitations of weakness’: and sometimes this is grossly evident.

Such priests have their (integral) place in the life of the Church, but our faith is not in them rather it is in the priesthood of Christ, our Saviour and Lord – that, at their best, his priests strive faithfully to minister.

3rd C carving of sacrificial scene. (Musee d’Aquitane, Bordeaux) (c) 2018, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Guide to the Way

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As Jesus left Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (that is, the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting at the side of the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and to say, ‘Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.’ And many of them scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, ‘Son of David, have pity on me.’

Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him here.’ So they called the blind man. ‘Courage,’ they said ‘get up; he is calling you.’ So throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and went to Jesus. Then Jesus spoke, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Rabbuni,’ the blind man said to him ‘Master, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has saved you.’ And immediately his sight returned and he followed him along the road.

Gospel for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 10:46-52

‘…he followed him along the road.’, so says the Jerusalem Bible translation. The word it translates ‘road’ might be better translated ‘way’ – Bartimaeus did not just follow Jesus down the road, but on the way. Christians were first known as the people of ‘The Way’ and Mark sets Bartimaeus before us as a model to follow as we, now, seek to be of ‘The Way’.

Like Bartimaeus we receive fresh sight to see true, not so much by the eyes in our head, but by the eyes of the heart, eyes that see as God sees, and as God loves.

But do we make the most of that gift? How truly do we follow?

  • What and how have I seen as events this day?
  • Where have I been today, and why?
  • How close to Christ have I been in these things?

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