Taste and See: the Lord

Beatitudes window II. Holy Trinity church, Stratford upon Avon. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.

Having fed upon these heavenly delights,
we pray, O Lord,
so that we may always long
for that food by which we truly live.
Through Christ our Lord.

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Prayer after Communion

The Lord ministers himself to us in a number of ways when we gather for Mass. Each one is offered for our nourishment, to sustain us on our journey in life to him.

He is present in the word proclaimed, in the food and drink of the Sacrifice re-presented and shared in Holy Communion; he is present – and present first of all – in the assembly gathered in prayer and song; and he is present in the priest.

  • Of which mode of the Lord’s real presence are you most regularly conscious?
  • Which – if any – you do most regularly overlook?
  • Why does the Lord give himself in these ways?

Taste and See: The Lord gives and he takes away

Jesus teaching. Church of John the Baptist, Cardiff. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

Jesus came down with the Twelve and stopped at a piece of level ground where there was a large gathering of his disciples with a great crowd of people from all parts of Judaea and from Jerusalem and from the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon. Then fixing his eyes on his disciples he said:

‘How happy are you who are poor: yours is the kingdom of God.

Happy you who are hungry now: you shall be satisfied.

Happy you who weep now: you shall laugh.

Happy are you when people hate you, drive you out, abuse you, denounce your name as criminal, on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice when that day comes and dance for joy, for then your reward will be great in heaven. This was the way their ancestors treated the prophets.

But alas for you who are rich: you are having your consolation now.

Alas for you who have your fill now: you shall go hungry.

Alas for you who laugh now: you shall mourn and weep.

Alas for you when the world speaks well of you! This was the way their ancestors treated the false prophets.’

Gospel for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 6:17,20-26

Often we read Scripture to consider what it says to us, what God says to us through his living word.

It is also good to consider what it says to others – and especially those whose life is under threat – be that threat from poverty or hunger, or from riches and carelessness.

The Lord speaks, works, for the welfare of all – offering hope, offering caution as needed. He urges us, sometimes startles us, to take heed and gain wisdom regarding our present situation and the future that might lie ahead of us.

  • What startles you in the gospel passage read this Sunday?
  • What encourages you?
  • What gives you heed?

Speak Lord: Be at the heart of us

Beatitudes. Holy Trinity church, Stratford upon Avon. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.


The Lord says this: ‘A curse on the man who puts his trust in man, who relies on things of flesh, whose heart turns from the Lord. He is like dry scrub in the wastelands: if good comes, he has no eyes for it, he settles in the parched places of the wilderness, a salt land, uninhabited.

‘A blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord, with the Lord for his hope. He is like a tree by the waterside that thrusts its roots to the stream: when the heat comes it feels no alarm, its foliage stays green; it has no worries in a year of drought, and never ceases to bear fruit.’

First Reading for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 17:5-8

Pope Leo the Great taught that God made us without us, but will not save us without us.

Jeremiah urges us to strive for goodness in the Lord, to seek and find our fulfilment in him.

And what we find have we can share with others, for what we find will not be our ultimate desire. That desire will be the Lord and his goodness not ever, only, the good things of this world only.

  • Where do you put your trust?
  • What have been some of the consequences?
  • What more do you ask for? And why?

Speak Lord: Our security, our trust

Stained glass. Holy Trinity church. Stratford upon Avon. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.

 Happy indeed is the man
who follows not the counsel of the wicked;
nor lingers in the way of sinners
nor sits in the company of scorners,
but whose delight is the law of the Lord
and who ponders his law day and night.

He is like a tree that is planted
beside the flowing waters,
that yields its fruit in due season
and whose leaves shall never fade;
and all that he does shall prosper.

Not so are the wicked, not so!
For they like winnowed chaff
shall be driven away by the wind.
for the Lord guards the way of the just
but the way of the wicked leads to doom.

Responsorial Psalm for 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 1:1-4,6

Many things can disturb the trust we seek to place in the Lord. Many are the fears and doubts that can distract and confuse us, and the threats to our well being and security are real and sometimes overwhelming.

All this makes it all the more important that the relationship of trust between us and the Lord is a true relationship as between persons, and not just an attachment to the idea of the Lord.

Attachments to ideals can be passionate, perhaps as passionate as attachment to persons. But attachment to an idea, or a fancy – we are unlikely to find stability in that.

So efforts are called for to build up that lived relationship with the one God – Father, Son and Spirit – developing the roots that will allow us, because of him, to withstand whatever comes.

  • What most nourishes your relationship with God?
  • How might you give greater priority to that?

Speak Lord: Pattern for our lives

Stained Glass. Kings Lynn Minster. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.


If Christ raised from the dead is what has been preached, how can some of you be saying that there is no resurrection of the dead? For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, you are still in your sins. And what is more serious, all who have died in Christ have perished. If our hope in Christ has been for this life only, we are the most unfortunate of all people.

But Christ has in fact been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep.

Second reading for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Corinthians 15:12,16-20

The teaching of the Lord is offered in his words and by his life – and central to it all is the teaching we receive in the Paschal Mystery – of his death, resurrection, and ascension. We see him serving to the very point of death, humbly enduring – for love of us – the worst that humankind could do to him, living his dying; we see him raised from the dead – death unable to contain his life and goodness; and his ascension – his return to the Father, while at the same gifting his eternal presence to and in the Church.

These are profound, extreme expressions of the who, how and why of Jesus Christ. And they reveal what might be also the inner moment of our lives – lives freed from fear of death, lives freed for love of God and neighbour…. If we will live in him.

Speak Lord: teacher and brother

Detail from door of Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazareth. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

Jesus came down with the Twelve and stopped at a piece of level ground where there was a large gathering of his disciples with a great crowd of people from all parts of Judaea and from Jerusalem and from the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon. Then fixing his eyes on his disciples he said:

‘How happy are you who are poor: yours is the kingdom of God.

Happy you who are hungry now: you shall be satisfied.

Happy you who weep now: you shall laugh.

Happy are you when people hate you, drive you out, abuse you, denounce your name as criminal, on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice when that day comes and dance for joy, for then your reward will be great in heaven. This was the way their ancestors treated the prophets.

But alas for you who are rich: you are having your consolation now.

Alas for you who have your fill now: you shall go hungry.

Alas for you who laugh now: you shall mourn and weep.

Alas for you when the world speaks well of you! This was the way their ancestors treated the false prophets.’

Gospel for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 6:17,20-26

Jesus sets paradoxes before us – those things we regularly see as undesirable are seen as blessings; those things we might well see as signs of good fortune are seen as fruitless.

He seeks to change our perspective – from the here and now to eternal life; from our own needs to the needs of others, and so on… We are invited to seek God’s approval, and not the world’s.

We are invited to live – as the phrase puts it – sub specie aeternitatis. We are invited to live according to values that are universally and eternally true, not as creatures, but as people who by God’s grace already live united with his divine nature.

The Kingdom of God is very near to us: how near to it are we?

Taste and See: Caught and catching

Fish at the Rialto, Venice. (c) 2008, Allen Morris.

O God, who have willed that we be partakers
in the one Bread and the one Chalice,
grant us, we pray, so to live
that, made one in Christ,
we may joyfully bear fruit
for the salvation of the world.
Through Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

We, who have been ‘caught’ by the Lord and his Church, are ourselves called to be fruitful in our living.

The catching of fish is sort of an end in itself – fish are caught to serve us as food.

However when we are caught our life is not at an end, rather it is as though our life has found a new beginning and a new purpose…

  • What in your Christian discipleship gives you joy?

Taste and See: Ready to serve?

Stained glass. St Nicholas chapel, Kings Lynn. (c) 2015, Allen Morris

In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord of Hosts seated on a high throne; his train filled the sanctuary; above him stood seraphs, each one with six wings. And they cried out to one another in this way, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts. His glory fills the whole earth.’

The foundations of the threshold shook with the voice of the one who cried out, and the Temple was filled with smoke.

I said: ‘What a wretched state I am in! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have looked at the King, the Lord of Hosts.’

Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding in his hand a live coal which he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. With this he touched my mouth and said: ‘See now, this has touched your lips, your sin is taken away, your iniquity is purged.’

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: ‘Whom shall I send? Who will be our messenger?’

I answered, ‘Here I am, send me.’

First reading for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time 
Isaiah 6:1-2,3-8


Isaiah receives and overwhelming experience of the glory of God, and in it knows his sinfulness, perhaps with new intensity. He fears for his life because he, a sinner, has looked upon the most High God.

But the Most High God looks on us with compassion and care, and most especially so for sinners. He cherishes us and works for our healing and help.

Angels free Isaiah from his fear, and free him for loving service in his turn.

  • To whom does the Lord send you?
  • Why?
  • How do you find the responsibility he entrusts to you?

Taste and See: Called to mission

St Peter called to mission.
Church of St James the Great, Castle Acre, East Anglia (c) 2003, Allen Morris.

Jesus was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats close to the bank. The fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats – it was Simon’s – and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.

When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.’ ‘Master,’ Simon replied, ‘we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.’ And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled the two boats to sinking point.

When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’ For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made; so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. But Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch.’ Then, bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him.

Gospel for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 5:1-11

The Lord engages with Peter in the ordinariness of Peter’s life and work. It is almost as though he is teasing him, pressing him to do that which he knows to be ridiculous, but then showing that in God’s providence, even the absurd becomes entirely possible.

Peter and his companions are enriched by God’s grace. And in gratitude they give themselves to him entirely…

Speak Lord: and hear my prayer

Prayer Net. Fisherman’s Chapel, Looe, Cornwall.
(c) 2005, Allen Morris

In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord of Hosts seated on a high throne; his train filled the sanctuary; above him stood seraphs, each one with six wings. And they cried out to one another in this way, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts. His glory fills the whole earth.’

The foundations of the threshold shook with the voice of the one who cried out, and the Temple was filled with smoke.

I said: ‘What a wretched state I am in! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have looked at the King, the Lord of Hosts.’

Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding in his hand a live coal which he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. With this he touched my mouth and said: ‘See now, this has touched your lips, your sin is taken away, your iniquity is purged.’

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: ‘Whom shall I send? Who will be our messenger?’

I answered, ‘Here I am, send me.’

First reading for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 6:1-2,3-8

The Lord gathers us and he sends us out.

We may consider ourselves unsuited for the mission he entrusts us to.

Before the Lord, especially, we may know our selves to be sinners, cold of heart, lazy…

But before the Lord too, like Isaiah, we may receive a fresh awareness of the holiness and goodness of God, and of his desire to share these goods with others, even through us…

  • To whom are you sent?
  • For whom do you pray?