Speak Lord: Gracious Lord

My son, be gentle in carrying out your business, and you will be better loved than a lavish giver.
The greater you are, the more you should behave humbly, and then you will find favour with the Lord; for great though the power of the Lord is, he accepts the homage of the humble.
There is no cure for the proud man’s malady, since an evil growth has taken root in him.
The heart of a sensible man will reflect on parables,
an attentive ear is the sage’s dream.

1st Reading for 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ecclesiasticus 3:19-21,30-31

It is our interaction with each other that proves the touchstone of our relationship with God.

  • How are you doing?
  • Where can see you God’s love in your care of others?
  • Where might it be lacking?

Photograph (c) 2017, Allen Morris. Fresco in exhibition of dining, La Vieille Charite, Marseille.

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Speak Lord: Gather us in…

The just shall rejoice at the presence of God,
they shall exult and dance for joy.
O sing to the Lord, make music to his name;
rejoice in the Lord, exult at his presence.

Father of the orphan, defender of the widow,
such is God in his holy place.
God gives the lonely a home to live in;
he leads the prisoners forth into freedom:

You poured down, O God, a generous rain:
when your people were starved you gave them new life.
It was there that your people found a home,
prepared in your goodness, O God, for the poor.

Responsorial Psalm for 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 67(68):4-7,10-11

The glory of God is humankind fully alive. We know our lives best, live them most fully in celebration and thanksgiving.

  • For what do you exult?
  • For what might you dance for joy?

Photograph (c) 2019, Allen Morris. Cyprus treasure. British Museum (St Sergius (?)

Speak Lord: Help us taste of holiness

What you have come to is nothing known to the senses: not a blazing fire, or a gloom turning to total darkness, or a storm; or trumpeting thunder or the great voice speaking which made everyone that heard it beg that no more should be said to them.

But what you have come to is Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem where the millions of angels have gathered for the festival, with the whole Church in which everyone is a ‘first-born son’ and a citizen of heaven.

You have come to God himself, the supreme Judge, and been placed with spirits of the saints who have been made perfect; and to Jesus, the mediator who brings a new covenant and a blood for purification which pleads more insistently than Abel’s.

2nd Reading for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Hebrews 12:18-19,22-24

In the Incarnation, the Lord comes to us in the business of being human. There is nothing in our lives – but sin – that is not sanctified by his taking flesh. And even our sin is redeemed, if we will allow.

But there lacks reciprocity and completion until we come to him, and learn to live holy lives: holy, loving, in their every aspect. Until we do he will not abandon us, but until we do there remains work to be done!

Photograph (c) 2017, Allen Morris. Exhibit on dining La Vieille Charite, Marseille.

Speak Lord: Help us dine with you…

On a sabbath day Jesus had gone for a meal to the house of one of the leading Pharisees; and they watched him closely. He then told the guests a parable, because he had noticed how they picked the places of honour.

He said this, ‘When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take your seat in the place of honour. A more distinguished person than you may have been invited, and the person who invited you both may come and say, “Give up your place to this man.” And then, to your embarrassment, you would have to go and take the lowest place. No; when you are a guest, make your way to the lowest place and sit there, so that, when your host comes, he may say, “My friend, move up higher.” In that way, everyone with you at the table will see you honoured. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’

Then he said to his host, ‘When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not ask your friends, brothers, relations or rich neighbours, for fear they repay your courtesy by inviting you in return. No; when you have a party, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; that they cannot pay you back means that you are fortunate, because repayment will be made to you when the virtuous rise again.’

Gospel for 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 14:1,7-14

How lowly are we… and yet the Lord calls us forward. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.

How false are we when we say yes to him, but fail to extend the same invitation to others…

Photograph (c) 2017, Allen Morris. Eucharistic Meal. Vatican Museum.

Taste and See: Getting together?

Through towns and villages Jesus went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem. Someone said to him, ‘Sir, will there be only a few saved?’ He said to them, ‘Try your best to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.

‘Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself knocking on the door, saying, “Lord, open to us” but he will answer, “I do not know where you come from.” Then you will find yourself saying, “We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets” but he will reply, “I do not know where you come from. Away from me, all you wicked men!”

‘Then there will be weeping and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves turned outside. And men from east and west, from north and south, will come to take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.

‘Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.’

Gospel for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 13:22-30

Are we inside or outside?

  • Inside of what?
  • Outside of what?
  • Where do you think you should be?

Photograph (c) 2019, Allen Morris. Manchester Art Gallery.

Taste and See: The best…

O God, who cause the minds of the faithful
to unite in a single purpose,
grant your people to love what you command
and to desire what you promise,
that, amid the uncertainties of this world,
our hearts may be fixed on that place
where true gladness is found.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Collect for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

The place where true gladness is found often looks unattractive compared to the glitter and flash of this world. And yet, it lasts, is true, and brings us to life.

  • Where, when have you learned this to be true?
  • What are your points of weakness in holding to this truth?

Photograph (c) 2009, Allen Morris. Doorwaqy, Spittlefields, London.

Taste and See: The Lamb of God

Through towns and villages Jesus went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem. Someone said to him, ‘Sir, will there be only a few saved?’ He said to them, ‘Try your best to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.

‘Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself knocking on the door, saying, “Lord, open to us” but he will answer, “I do not know where you come from.” Then you will find yourself saying, “We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets” but he will reply, “I do not know where you come from. Away from me, all you wicked men!”

‘Then there will be weeping and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves turned outside. And men from east and west, from north and south, will come to take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.

‘Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.’

Gospel for 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 13:22-30

We have every opportunity to know the Lord and be known by him.

But that knowing does not lead into the glitter of celebrity and fame. It leads us into the way of humility and service. To know him is to learn to live like him; to be known by him is to receive the help (welcome and unwelcome, sometimes) to live like him.

It’s not all about eating and drinking with him.

Our eating and drinking OF him leads us to walk in his ways.

  • Where do you walk with the Lord?
  • Where does he call you to next?

Photograph (c) 2016, Allen Morris. Detail of entrance to the Cathedral, Nimes, France.