Taste and See: Humble service

DSC00572.jpgJames and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Jesus. ‘Master,’ they said to him ‘we want you to do us a favour.’ He said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ They said to him, ‘Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus said to them. ‘Can you drink the cup that I must drink, or be baptised with the baptism with which I must be baptised?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I must drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I must be baptised you shall be baptised, but as for seats at my right hand or my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted.’

When the other ten heard this they began to feel indignant with James and John, so Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that among the pagans their so-called rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

Gospel for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 10:35-45

Mark rather specialises in showing up the 12. Tradition has it, of course, that Mark simply re-presents the stories that Peter told against himself and the others, about how they  learnt to be free to serve the one they came to know to be Lord.

The learning continues in the Church, and in each of her members. Or at least it needs to, for so often we are so full of ourselves that there is no space for love of God and love of neighbour.

  • What would fill your heart and mind, and displace the Lord, if you let it?

 

‘The penny drops. Or does it?’ Stained glass. Holy Trinity, Stratford upon Avon. (c) 2014.

Taste and See: Eternal love and care

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May your love be upon us, O Lord, 
as we place all our hope in you.

The word of the Lord is faithful
and all his works to be trusted.
The Lord loves justice and right
and fills the earth with his love.

The Lord looks on those who revere him,
on those who hope in his love,
to rescue their souls from death,
to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul is waiting for the Lord.
The Lord is our help and our shield.
May your love be upon us, O Lord,
as we place all our hope in you.

Responsorial Psalm for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 32(33):4-5,18-20,22

Faith and trust in God develops in this life. In the ups and downs of our experiences.

In his constancy, and as we appreciate the horizon of love and compassion that extends far beyond the immediate moments of our passions, we learn to place trust in God, and to have faith in him.

The final act of faith we can make, in our worldly life, is at the moment of death: ‘Into your hands I comment my spirit.’

Cemetery, Aix en Provence. (c) 2006, Allen Morris

Taste and See: The Light

 

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The Lord has been pleased to crush his servant with suffering.
If he offers his life in atonement,
he shall see his heirs, he shall have a long life
and through him what the Lord wishes will be done.
His soul’s anguish over,
he shall see the light and be content.
By his sufferings shall my servant justify many,
taking their faults on himself.

First reading for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 53:10-11

The good life is often hard and can seen to choke life from us.

Yet the good life, through God’s grace leads us to eternal life and light, healing and wholeness.

These blessings are not what justifies the good life – love alone does that. But these blessings are real and surely welcome: love rewards love!

Carving, Exhibition of Funerary Art, Alexander Nevsky Monastery, St Petersburg, Russia.  (c) 2015, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: from your pain and love

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The Lord has been pleased to crush his servant with suffering.
If he offers his life in atonement,
he shall see his heirs, he shall have a long life
and through him what the Lord wishes will be done.
His soul’s anguish over,
he shall see the light and be content.
By his sufferings shall my servant justify many,
taking their faults on himself.

First reading for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 53:10-11

The Lord lives love for us. He takes to himself rejection, abuse, suffering.

He wins for us love and freedom through the constraints and pains imposed on him.

  • For whom do you suffer?
  • And why?

Station VII, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Speak Lord:Our hope and our joy

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May your love be upon us, O Lord,
as we place all our hope in you.

The word of the Lord is faithful
and all his works to be trusted.
The Lord loves justice and right
and fills the earth with his love.

The Lord looks on those who revere him,
on those who hope in his love,
to rescue their souls from death,
to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul is waiting for the Lord.
The Lord is our help and our shield.
May your love be upon us, O Lord,
as we place all our hope in you.

Responsorial Psalm for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 32(33):4-5,18-20,22

There is a beautiful reciprocity between God and the faithful in the psalm – the Lord loves and his love is cherished and responded to by hope and trust.

Often (like the Lord!) we love and receive nothing in return; often we hope and our hope is betrayed.

  • What gives you constancy in such situations?
  • How do you give thanks to God for his constant love for you?

Outside Medjugorje. (c) 2014, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Faithful son of the Covenant

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Since in Jesus, the Son of God, we have the supreme high priest who has gone through to the highest heaven, we must never let go of the faith that we have professed. For it is not as if we had a high priest who was incapable of feeling our weaknesses with us; but we have one who has been tempted in every way that we are, though he is without sin. Let us be confident, then, in approaching the throne of grace, that we shall have mercy from him and find grace when we are in need of help.

Second reading for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Hebrews 4:14-16

In Jesus God joins man in living the covenant as man. He fulfils it as a Jew in the ‘ordinary way’ of his people, and in his perfect fulfilment of the covenant, symbolically he assumes all of its agency – he is worshipper, priest, and sacrifice.

And joined with every person as their brother, their friend, their servant, he seeks to draw us into this same work of love and service.

Synagogue, Bordeaux: Tabernacle and Menorah. (c) 2018, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Model for our lives

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James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Jesus. ‘Master,’ they said to him ‘we want you to do us a favour.’ He said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ They said to him, ‘Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus said to them. ‘Can you drink the cup that I must drink, or be baptised with the baptism with which I must be baptised?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I must drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I must be baptised you shall be baptised, but as for seats at my right hand or my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted.’

When the other ten heard this they began to feel indignant with James and John, so Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that among the pagans their so-called rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

Gospel for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 10:35-45

Mark lets the mother of James and John off the hook. In his Gospel it is her sons alone who approach Jesus looking for preferment…

Jesus offers a different sort of ambition to strive for – not position, not fame, or power, but service…

And sets before us inarguable example…

 

Stained glass. St Leonard’s, Bridgnorth. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.