Taste and See: Blessing

Holy Family. Musée national du Moyen Âge, formerly Musée de Cluny. Paris. (c) 2014

O blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways!

O blessed are those who fear the Lord
and walk in his ways!
By the labour of your hands you shall eat.
You will be happy and prosper.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
in the heart of your house;
your children like shoots of the olive,
around your table.

Indeed thus shall be blessed
the man who fears the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion
all the days of your life!

Responsorial Psalm for Feast of the Holy Family
Psalm 127(128):1-5

Everything comes together in good order – work and the fruit of work; mutuality and family; God and his people.

This does not just happen. But it does happen when we live as children of God, grateful and purposeful. Not without difficulty, but it does happen…

Taste and See: Learning

Church of St Joseph, Nazareth. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Every year the parents of Jesus used to go to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up for the feast as usual. When they were on their way home after the feast, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing it. They assumed he was with the caravan, and it was only after a day’s journey that they went to look for him among their relations and acquaintances. When they failed to find him they went back to Jerusalem looking for him everywhere.

Three days later, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the doctors, listening to them, and asking them questions; and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his replies. They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, ‘My child, why have, you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’

‘Why were you looking for me?’ he replied. ‘Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?’ But they did not understand what he meant.

He then went down with them and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority.

His mother stored up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and men.

Gospel for Feast of the Holy Family 
Luke 2:41-52

All are taught, all need to learn, and from each other – children from parents from children, student from teacher and teacher from student.

The distinction between the teacher and the taught is often difficult to make – and this only presents a problem when neither teacher or taught are ready to learn.

  • Who is teaching you?
  • Who are you teaching?

Speak Lord: Gift and Giver of gifts.

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

Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son, and called him Samuel ‘since’ she said ‘I asked the Lord for him.’

When a year had gone by, the husband Elkanah went up again with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfil his vow. Hannah, however, did not go up, having said to her husband, ‘Not before the child is weaned. Then I will bring him and present him before the Lord and he shall stay there for ever.’

When she had weaned him, she took him up with her together with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the temple of the Lord at Shiloh; and the child was with them. They slaughtered the bull and the child’s mother came to Eli. She said, ‘If you please, my lord. As you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the Lord. This is the child I prayed for, and the Lord granted me what I asked him. Now I make him over to the Lord for the whole of his life. He is made over to the Lord.’

First reading for the Feast of the Holy Family
1 Samuel 1:20-22,24-28

Hannah receives the gift of a son and makes gift of her son to the Lord. She gives as good as she gets.

  • What helps you live what you receive from God?
  • What hinders you in this?

Speak Lord: Giver of life

Holy Family Mosaic, Westminster Cathedral. (c) 2018, Allen Morris.

O blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways!

O blessed are those who fear the Lord
and walk in his ways!
By the labour of your hands you shall eat.
You will be happy and prosper.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
in the heart of your house;
your children like shoots of the olive,
around your table.

Indeed thus shall be blessed
the man who fears the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion
all the days of your life!

Responsorial Psalm for Feast of the Holy Family
Psalm 127(128):1-5

The Lord calls us to fulfilment and fruitfulness in him and with each other.

  • In what relationships does the Lord call you to become more fully yourself, and more fully his minister on earth

Speak Lord: Loving Lord

Our Lady, L’Abbaye St Pierre, Moissac. (c) 2018, Allen Morris

Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God’s children; and that is what we are. Because the world refused to acknowledge him,therefore it does not acknowledge us.

My dear people, we are already the children of God but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed; all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is.My dear people, if we cannot be condemned by our own conscience, we need not be afraid in God’s presence, and whatever we ask him, we shall receive, because we keep his commandments and live the kind of life that he wants.

His commandments are these: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and that we love one another as he told us to. Whoever keeps his commandments lives in God and God lives in him. We know that he lives in us by the Spirit that he has given us.

Second reading for the Feast of the Holy Family
1 John 3:1-2,21-24

The Mother is the child of the Son, and is beloved.

We are made brothers and sisters of the creating Word,united in time with the One who was before all time.

And we are loved.

Speak Lord: Teach us faithfulness

Stained glass. Abbey of St Denis, Paris. (c) 2018, Allen Morris.

Every year the parents of Jesus used to go to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up for the feast as usual. When they were on their way home after the feast, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing it. They assumed he was with the caravan, and it was only after a day’s journey that they went to look for him among their relations and acquaintances. When they failed to find him they went back to Jerusalem looking for him everywhere.

Three days later, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the doctors, listening to them, and asking them questions; and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his replies. They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, ‘My child, why have, you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’

‘Why were you looking for me?’ he replied. ‘Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?’ But they did not understand what he meant.

He then went down with them and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority.

His mother stored up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and men.

Gospel for Feast of the Holy Family
Luke 2:41-52

The passage illustrates growing pains within the Holy Family.

Helped to grow in human maturity by his family on earth, Jesus grows also in fidelity to his heavenly Father.

And now he leads his family into the ways of faith.

  • Where do you (still) experience growing pains?

Taste and See: Love revealed

Rosary Triptych, Arthur Fleischman. (c) 2011, Allen Morris

Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord,
your grace into our hearts,
that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son
was made known by the message of an Angel,
may by his Passion and Cross
be brought to the glory of his Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Collect for the 4th Sunday of Advent

Postings on this blog will recommence on Wednesday, 26th December.

A happy and holy Christmas to you and to all whom you carry in your heart.

Taste and See: Communion

12th C stone carving, Musée d’Aquitaine, Bordeaux. (c) 2018, Allen Morris

Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.

Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’

Gospel for the 4th Sunday of Advent 
Luke 1:39-44

In this Pantomime season the phrase is ‘He’s behind you’ comes once more to the fore!

In the Mystery of the Visitation we are reminded that the greater truth is that He is within you.

Jesus is within Mary, the child in her womb.

Jesus is also within us, gifted by Baptism, and longing to fully live in our hearts and in our lives.

In a sense he is behind us, our support, our encouragement. And also before us inviting us on, leading on the way.

But most of all he is within us: God with us, love.

Speak Lord: source of peace

Interior of the Basilica of the Nativity, Bethlehem. (c) 2007, Allen Morris.

The Lord says this:

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
the least of the clans of Judah,
out of you will be born for me
the one who is to rule over Israel;
his origin goes back to the distant past,
to the days of old.
The Lord is therefore going to abandon them
till the time when she who is to give birth gives birth.
Then the remnant of his brothers will come back
to the sons of Israel.
He will stand and feed his flock
with the power of the Lord,
with the majesty of the name of his God.
They will live secure, for from then on he will extend his power
to the ends of the land.
He himself will be peace.

First reading for 4th Sunday of Advent
Micah 5:1-4

From obscurity will come God made flesh, will come King of Love and Life.

  • How do you seek to enter into his peace, today?

Speak Lord: Ever our help

Near Walsingham. (c) 2018, Allen Morris.

Lord, make me know your ways.
Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
for you are God my saviour.

The Lord is good and upright.
He shows the path to those who stray,
He guides the humble in the right path,
He teaches his way to the poor.

His ways are faithfulness and love
for those who keep his covenant and law.
The Lord’s friendship is for those who revere him;
to them he reveals his covenant.

Psalm 24:4-5,8-9,10,14

During Advent 2019 our parish is using one of the Common Psalms provided for Advent in the Lectionary to encourage the singing of the psalm. So, during Advent, Living Eucharist has featured this psalm each week, rather than the one ‘proper’ to the Sunday. 

Before Christians were so termed, we were known as people of the Way – people who followed Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Christians we are and still we seek to follow.

The psalmist cries out to the Lord for help in following. Already he knows that to follow in the way of the Lord is no easy matter for fallen humanity.

And then come the words of assurance and encouragement: it is almost as though the psalmist has shocked himself at his cry, at his longing for help, and at the audacity of longing to be able to walk in the Lord’s way…