Taste and See: Getting it right?



As a man dedicated to God, you must aim to be saintly and religious, filled with faith and love, patient and gentle. Fight the good fight of the faith and win for yourself the eternal life to which you were called when you made your profession and spoke up for the truth in front of many witnesses. Now, before God the source of all life and before Christ, who spoke up as a witness for the truth in front of Pontius Pilate, I put to you the duty of doing all that you have been told, with no faults or failures, until the Appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who at the due time will be revealed
by God, the blessed and only Ruler of all,
the King of kings and the Lord of lords,
who alone is immortal,
whose home is in inaccessible light,
whom no man has seen and no man is able to see:
to him be honour and everlasting power. Amen.

2nd Reading for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Timothy 6:11-16

Again and again down the centuries the intended witness of the Church on earth is cancelled out and contradicted by the actions of some of her members. In our own age no less than in others, and maybe even to the greatest extent in our age.

What causes us – or some of us – to fall short, and how well do the rest of us deal with that?

There is a tendency for some – faced with scandal – to separate themselves off from the Church either as individuals or as a breakaway group. What does that suggest to others?

How does God in his glory respond to our sins and failures? The sins of the guilty, and the sins of the ‘righteous’?

Photograph (c) 2015, Allen Morris. Detail of painting by Vasily Perov, ‘The Monastery Refectory’. Russia Museum, St Petersburg.



Taste and See: When will we learn?

Jesus said to the Pharisees: ‘There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. And at his gate there lay a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even came and licked his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.

‘In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his bosom. So he cried out, “Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames.” “My son,” Abraham replied “remember that during your life good things came your way, just as bad things came the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. But that is not all: between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to stop anyone, if he wanted to, crossing from our side to yours, and to stop any crossing from your side to ours.”

‘The rich man replied, “Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father’s house, since I have five brothers, to give them warning so that they do not come to this place of torment too.” “They have Moses and the prophets,” said Abraham “let them listen to them.” “Ah no, father Abraham,” said the rich man “but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Then Abraham said to him, “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead.”’

Gospel for 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 16:19-31

We have – and arguably all people have – received the additional help that the rich man asks Abraham to provide for his brothers to save them.

It seems not to have helped.

Do you agree? If so, why has it not helped?

If it has helped, who has it helped, and how, and why?

Photograph (c) 2016, Allen Morris. Salopian tile, c 1890: Shrewsbury Museum

Speak Lord: Our rock?

The almighty Lord says this: ‘Woe to those ensconced so snugly in Zion and to those who feel so safe on the mountain of Samaria, those famous men of this first of nations to whom the House of Israel goes as client. Lying on ivory beds and sprawling on their divans, they dine on lambs from the flock, and stall-fattened veal; they bawl to the sound of the harp, they invent new instruments of music like David, they drink wine by the bowlful, and use the finest oil for anointing themselves, but about the ruin of Joseph they do not care at all. That is why they will be the first to be exiled; the sprawlers’ revelry is over.’

1st reading for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Amos 6:1,4-7

Our security is threatened in many ways – climate change, political extremism, economic changes. Sometimes we have the courage to face these things – and at other times we seek escape in all sorts of ways – some more gross than others.

To what do you turn when the going gets tough?

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

Speak Lord: Your love through us

It is the Lord who keeps faith for ever,
who is just to those who are oppressed.
It is he who gives bread to the hungry,
the Lord, who sets prisoners free.

It is the Lord who gives sight to the blind,
who raises up those who are bowed down.
It is the Lord who loves the just,
the Lord, who protects the stranger.

The Lord upholds the widow and orphan
but thwarts the path of the wicked.
The Lord will reign for ever,
Zion’s God, from age to age.

Responsorial Psalm for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 145(146):7-10

One of the ways he Lord gives sight to the blind, loves the just and protexts the stranger, is by his own love.

Another, is through our love. He invites us to be agents of his love for the world.

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

Speak Lord: that we might speak true

As a man dedicated to God, you must aim to be saintly and religious, filled with faith and love, patient and gentle. Fight the good fight of the faith and win for yourself the eternal life to which you were called when you made your profession and spoke up for the truth in front of many witnesses. Now, before God the source of all life and before Christ, who spoke up as a witness for the truth in front of Pontius Pilate, I put to you the duty of doing all that you have been told, with no faults or failures, until the Appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who at the due time will be revealed
by God, the blessed and only Ruler of all,
the King of kings and the Lord of lords,
who alone is immortal,
whose home is in inaccessible light,
whom no man has seen and no man is able to see:
to him be honour and everlasting power. Amen.

2nd Reading for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Timothy 6:11-16

It is easy to say the right things in church. Sometimes we might think and feel them too – but sometimes we just say them…

Outside of church, and among people of different view many of us fall silent…

What helps you speak of faith to others? What makes it difficult?

Photograph (c) 2015, Allen Morris. Sundokov: The Queue. Russia Museum, St Petersburg

Speak Lord: Challenge us to love

Jesus said to the Pharisees: ‘There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. And at his gate there lay a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even came and licked his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.
‘In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his bosom. So he cried out, “Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames.” “My son,” Abraham replied “remember that during your life good things came your way, just as bad things came the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. But that is not all: between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to stop anyone, if he wanted to, crossing from our side to yours, and to stop any crossing from your side to ours.”

‘The rich man replied, “Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father’s house, since I have five brothers, to give them warning so that they do not come to this place of torment too.” “They have Moses and the prophets,” said Abraham “let them listen to them.” “Ah no, father Abraham,” said the rich man “but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Then Abraham said to him, “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead.”’

Gospel for 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 16:19-31

Who is closest to being ‘a Lazarus’ in your life?

What blinds you or distracts you from their condition?

In what way – direct or indirect – might you be able to reach out to help them?

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

Taste and See: Love, free

Praise, O servants of the Lord,
praise the name of the Lord!
May the name of the Lord be blessed
both now and for evermore!

High above all nations is the Lord,
above the heavens his glory.
Who is like the Lord, our God,
who has risen on high to his throne
yet stoops from the heights to look down,
to look down upon heaven and earth?

From the dust he lifts up the lowly,
from the dungheap he raises the poor
to set him in the company of princes,
yes, with the princes of his people.

Responsorial Psalm for 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 112(113):1-2,4-8

Is it not amazing that God loves and cares for us?

Who might you amaze by showing you love and care for them?

Photograph (c) 2016, Allen Morris. Art installation, Les Abbattoirs, Toulouse.

Taste and See: Onwards?

My advice is that, first of all, there should be prayers offered for everyone – petitions, intercessions and thanksgiving – and especially for kings and others in authority, so that we may be able to live religious and reverent lives in peace and quiet.

To do this is right, and will please God our saviour: he wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all. He is the evidence of this, sent at the appointed time, and I have been named a herald and apostle of it and – I am telling the truth and no lie – a teacher of the faith and the truth to the pagans.

In every place, then, I want the men to lift their hands up reverently in prayer, with no anger or argument.

2nd reading for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Timothy 2:1-8

To whom, today, might the Lord wish you to go?

And why? For whose benefit?

What might hold you back? Why?

Photograph (c) 2014 Installation. St Anne’s Prison, Avignon.

Taste and See: Mine, for you…

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There was a rich man and he had a steward denounced to him for being wasteful with his property. He called for the man and said, “What is this I hear about you? Draw me up an account of your stewardship because you are not to be my steward any longer.” Then the steward said to himself, “Now that my master is taking the stewardship from me, what am I to do? Dig? I am not strong enough. Go begging? I should be too ashamed. Ah, I know what I will do to make sure that when I am dismissed from office there will be some to welcome me into their homes.”

Then he called his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, “How much do you owe my master?” “One hundred measures of oil” was the reply. The steward said, “Here, take your bond; sit down straight away and write fifty.” To another he said, “And you, sir, how much do you owe?” “One hundred measures of wheat” was the reply. The steward said, “Here, take your bond and write eighty.”

‘The master praised the dishonest steward for his astuteness. For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.

‘And so I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into the tents of eternity. The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches? And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own? ‘No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.’

Gospel for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 16:1-13

For whose benefit have you used your money in the past week? In the past month?

What other wealth do you have to win friends to welcome you into the tents of eternity? Time, skills, experience, influence, friendship? Why would you want to?

Photograph (c) 2016, Allen Morris. Gold coin, Manchester Museum

Speak Lord: Save them from us

Listen to this, you who trample on the needy and try to suppress the poor people of the country, you who say, ‘When will New Moon be over so that we can sell our corn, and sabbath, so that we can market our wheat? Then by lowering the bushel, raising the shekel, by swindling and tampering with the scales, we can buy up the poor for money, and the needy for a pair of sandals, and get a price even for the sweepings of the wheat.’

The Lord swears it by the pride of Jacob, ‘Never will I forget a single thing you have done.’

First reading for 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Amos 8:4-7

We may not be traders and exploit others in such evident ways.

But do we take unfair advantage of others in other ways?

Do we rely on position, privilege or power to serve our interests over those with greater needs?

What might we forget that the Lord will ever remember?

Photograph (c) 2014, Allen Morris. Installation by Berlinde de Bruckyere, St Anne’s prison, Avignon.