Speak Lord: Heal and help

In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.

‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’

After saying this he breathed on them and said:

‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him:

‘You believe because you can see me.
Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’

There were many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.

Gospel for 2nd Sunday of Easter
John 20:19-31

Jesus establishes the remaining members of the 12 in faith, and he gives them their mission of reconciliation and healing, a mission shared with the whole Church.

  • Where has the Church sought to offer healing and reconciliation to you? How?
  • What has helped you receive it? What has hindered?
  • What hurts has the Church herself been responsible for? How might you – and your local community – work to overcome those?

Mosaic, Lourdes. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

Taste and See: Today

Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand.

Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God.

But when Christ is revealed – and he is your life – you too will be revealed in all your glory with him.

Second reading for Easter Sunday
Colossians 3:1-4

Easter – if it is Easter – is not only about what happened back then and to Him. If it is Easter, it is about now and about us, in Him.

And it is for sharing with others… with everyone.

Detail of mural by Jean Cocteau. French Church, Leicester Square, London. (c) 2007, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: Pass it on…

Peter addressed Cornelius and his household:

‘You must have heard about the recent happenings in Judaea; about Jesus of Nazareth and how he began in Galilee, after John had been preaching baptism. God had anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and because God was with him, Jesus went about doing good and curing all who had fallen into the power of the devil.

Now I, and those with me, can witness to everything he did throughout the countryside of Judaea and in Jerusalem itself: and also to the fact that they killed him by hanging him on a tree, yet three days afterwards God raised him to life and allowed him to be seen, not by the whole people but only by certain witnesses God had chosen beforehand.

Now we are those witnesses – we have eaten and drunk with him after his resurrection from the dead – and he has ordered us to proclaim this to his people and to tell them that God has appointed him to judge everyone, alive or dead. It is to him that all the prophets bear this witness: that all who believe in Jesus will have their sins forgiven through his name.’

First reading for Easter Sunday
Acts 10:34,37-43

Cornelius was rather lucky that, back then, Peter listened to the women!

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

Speak, Risen Lord…

On the first day of the week, at the first sign of dawn, they went to the tomb with the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb, but on entering discovered that the body of the Lord Jesus was not there. As they stood there not knowing what to think, two men in brilliant clothes suddenly appeared at their side. Terrified, the women lowered their eyes. But the two men said to them, ‘Why look among the dead for someone who is alive? He is not here; he has risen. Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee: that the Son of Man had to be handed over into the power of sinful men and be crucified, and rise again on the third day?’ And they remembered his words.

When the women returned from the tomb they told all this to the Eleven and to all the others. The women were Mary of Magdala, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James. The other women with them also told the apostles, but this story of theirs seemed pure nonsense, and they did not believe them.

Peter, however, went running to the tomb. He bent down and saw the binding cloths but nothing else; he then went back home, amazed at what had happened.

Gospel for Easter Sunday
Luke 24:1-12

With what care Luke names the women – the first witnesses to the Lord’s rising.

Their witness was dismissed by the many – but (at least according to a verse retained in the Vulgate but absent from many contemporary translations – it stirred Peter to action, and allowed him to be amazed, troubled, wondering…

Later Simon seems to himself have encountered the risen Lord, and added his testimony to that of the women, (and this time persuading the rest of the men!

Admitting, opening oneself to, the experience of unease, amazement, uncertainty, paradoxically will often help us to discover and establish the firmest of foundations for faith.

St Mary Magdalene, St Peter – and all holy women and men – pray for us.

Carving. San Gregorio Magno al Celio. (c) 2005, Allen Morris.

Awake…

During Holy Week, 
rather than repeat the readings of Palm Sunday 
or anticipate the readings of Easter Sunday, 
Living Eucharist features a reading from the liturgy of that day.

Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

“I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise.Awake I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.”

“See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.”

“I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.”

“Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.”

Second Reading for the Office of Readings for Holy Saturday
From an ancient homily for Holy Saturday

The Church professes belief in Hell – a place, a state, of absolute and permanent separation of a person from God

Image: Harrowing of Hell. Medieval English carving in the collection of the British Museum. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Intercessor and Saviour

During Holy Week, 
rather than repeat the readings of Palm Sunday 
or anticipate the readings of Easter Sunday, 
Living Eucharist features a reading from the liturgy of that day.

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.

During his life on earth, he offered up prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears, to the one who had the power to save him out of death, and he submitted so humbly that his prayer was heard. Although he was Son, he learnt to obey through suffering; but having been made perfect, he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation.

Second reading for the Solemn Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion, Good Friday
Hebrews 4:14-16,5:7-9

St John tells the story of the Passion and Death and the Resurrection as a story where Jesus is entirely in control. Other people do wicked and cruel things to him, but only because he allows it (just look at the account of the ‘arrest’ in the Garden of Gethsemane, and how, in John’s account, Jesus has no need of a Simon of Cyrene.)

All of the Evangelists tell of the Passion as Saving Mystery, as – principally -what God does in response to the evil of man; but John especially puts the emphasis on the glory of what Jesus achieves, as he fulfils all that the Father would have him do. His hour has come.

Carving. Louvre, Paris. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Servant to the servants…

The blessing-cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ.

How can I repay the Lord
for his goodness to me?
The cup of salvation I will raise;
I will call on the Lord’s name.

O precious in the eyes of the Lord
is the death of his faithful.
Your servant, Lord, your servant am I;
you have loosened my bonds.

A thanksgiving sacrifice I make;
I will call on the Lord’s name.
My vows to the Lord I will fulfil
before all his people.


Responsorial Psalm for Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Holy Thursday
Psalm 115(116):12-13,15-18

The Lord makes himself food and drink for us, that we may live in him and he in us.

  • For whom do we give ourselves? And why?
  • What can we learn about the Lord from those experiences in our own lives?

Chalice. Treasury, Notre Dame Cathedral. Paris. (c) 2017, Allen Morris