Responding to the Mass of the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus calls us to live lives which fulfill the Law and Prophets, and to rise to the challenge of faithful living. He speaks forcefully.

Pope Francis’ letter Amoris Laetitia urges the same thing, and focuses on how this might be done in marriage and family life – and addresses the challenges that we face when we try.

Chapter 4 of the Letter explores the call to faithfulness under the invitation to live lovingly. It is a beautiful and sustained consideration of how we might live patient, kind; not jealous or boastful; not arrogant or rude; not insisting on its own way; not irritable or resentful; not rejoicing at wrong, but rejoicing in the right. It guides in a life which is strong in love so as to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things.

The chapter explores all this in the context of marriage, but it contains wisdom that is helpful to all people in every circumstance, in any relationship. It can be read here.

Christ Came to Fulfil the Law
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Anger
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

Lust
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Divorce
31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Oaths
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

Acknowledgements
Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


Photo (c) 2006, Pigalle, Paris.

Responding to the Mass of the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Lord urges us to observance of the commandments?
Where do you allow yourself a little slack? Why? For whose benefit?

From Taylor’s Arithmetic  From One to Twelve.

The 10 Commandments, are the Law Divine,
(To keep those laws, Good Lord our hearts incline;)
But from those  10, should 10 men each pluck one,
‘Tis to be feared that left we should have none.
The atheist (which the Psalmist fool doth call)
As he believes will have no God at all.
Th’idolator will stock, block, idols have
To save him, though themselves they cannot save.
The roarer that delights to damn and swear,
for the Commandments he the third would tear,
the Sabbath-breaker would pluck out the fourth,
the fifth (with rebels) is of little worth,
The sixth the murderer would stab and wound,
The seventh the hot adult’rer would confound,
The thief would steal the eighth away, and then
False witness spoil the ninth: and for the ten,
The wretch that’s covetous would rend and bite
And pluck the rest in pieces if he might.
Thus would there 10 (this cursed catalogue)
Each ’rase out one, and spoil the Decalogue.

John Taylor (1642-1729)

Preparing for Mass on 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ecclesiasticus is one of the books which was familiar to Jews and Christians in the decades following the resurrection of Jesus.

It is part of the canon of Scripture recognised by Catholic and Orthodox Christians, and included in the ‘Old Testament’. However it is not included in the Jewish canon of Scripture.

In the passage heard this Sunday the value of human goodness is affirmed, as is human ability to choose the good – almost, it can seem, without reference to God.

Except of course, that God is the very ground of all that is. ‘Natural’ law, and indeed ‘nature’ itself, are not realities independent of God and grace – nothing ‘is’ that does not have its source and meaning in God. God is the very ground of Being.

God made us for the good. When we seek that good, even if we do not know God, then we seek that which helps fulfil our being and our purpose. And when we do this then, even unknowing, we cooperate with God’s purpose and will..

First reading: Ecclesiasticus 15:16-21

If you wish, you can keep the commandments,
to behave faithfully is within your power.
He has set fire and water before you;
put out your hand to whichever you prefer.
Man has life and death before him;
whichever a man likes better will be given him.
For vast is the wisdom of the Lord;
he is almighty and all-seeing.
His eyes are on those who fear him,
he notes every action of man.
He never commanded anyone to be godless,
he has given no one permission to sin.

Acknowledgements
Translation of Scriptures: From The Jerusalem Bible © 1966 by Darton Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday and Company Ltd
Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
Photo (c) 2014, Allen Morris. Old Synagogue Museum, Cracow, Poland.


Preparing for Mass on Sunday of the 6th week in Ordinary Time

Psalm 118 (119) is long! There are 22 stanzas, each of 8 verses.

This psalm is also one of the Bible’s Acrostic psalms. Each stanza takes the ‘title’ of a letter of the (Hebrew) alphabet, successively – aleph, beth, etc – and each verse of that stanza begins with its given letter.

The acrostic device is ornamental and is not preserved in the translation given here or that sung from the Lectionary on Sunday. It was preserved in the Ronald Knox translation which can be accessed here.

The psalm is much longer than the sections quoted below but this selection give a good indication of the tone of the psalm as a whole – sober, moralistic, mindful of how a good life is consequent on living pliant to God’s law.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 118(119):1-2,4-5,17-18,33-34

(NB the text set for Sunday is given below in bold and in ‘quote sections’ below; the rest is the immediate biblical text from which the Lectionary text is extracted)

Psalm 119 (118):1–8

Aleph
1          Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
            who walk in the law of the Lord!
2           Blessed are those who keep his decrees!
            With all their hearts they seek him.

3           They never do anything evil,
            but walk in his ways.

4          You have laid down your precepts
            to be carefully kept.

5           May my ways be firm
            in keeping your statutes.


6           Then I shall not be put to shame
            as I observe all your commands.

7           I will thank you with an upright heart,
            as I learn your just judgments.
8           I will keep your statutes;
            do not ever forsake me.

Psalm 119 (118):9–16
Beth

9           How shall a youth remain pure on his way?
            By obeying your word.
10          I have sought you with all my heart;
            let me not stray from your commands.

11          I treasure your word in my heart,
            lest I sin against you.
12          Blest are you, O Lord;
            teach me your statutes.

13          With my lips have I recounted
            all the decrees of your mouth.
14          I rejoice in the way of your precepts,
            as though all riches were mine.

15          I will ponder your precepts,
            and consider your paths.
16          I take delight in your statutes;
            I will not forget your word.

Psalm 119 (118):17–24
Gimel

17          Deal bountifully with your servant,
            that I may live and keep your word.
18          Open my eyes, that I may see
            the wonders of your law.

19          I am a pilgrim in the land;
            hide not your commands from me.
20          My soul is consumed with longing
            at all times for your decrees.

21          You threaten the proud, the accursed,
            who stray from your commands.
22          Free me from scorn and contempt,
            for I observe your decrees.

23          Though princes sit plotting against me,
            your servant ponders your statutes.
24          See, your decrees are my delight;
            your statutes are my counsellors.

Psalm 119 (118):25–32
Daleth

25          My soul holds fast to the dust;
            revive me by your word.
26          I declared my ways and you answered me;
            teach me your statutes.

27          Make me grasp the way of your precepts,
            and I will ponder your wonders.
28          My soul pines away with grief;
            by your word raise me up.

29          Keep me from the way of falsehood;
            grant me mercy by your law.
30          I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
            your decrees I have upheld.

31          I cling to your decrees, O Lord;
            let me not be put to shame.
32          I will run the way of your commands;
            you open wide my heart.

Psalm 119 (118):33–40

He
33          Lord, teach me the way of your statutes,
            and I will keep them to the end.
34          Grant me insight that I may keep your law,
            and observe it wholeheartedly.

35          Guide me in the path of your commands,
            for in them is my delight.
36          Bend my heart to your decrees,
            and not to wrongful gain.

37          Turn my eyes from gazing on vanities;
            in your way, give me life.
38          Fulfil your promise to your servant,
            that you may be revered.

39          Turn away the taunts I dread,
            for your decrees are good.
40          See, I long for your precepts;
            give me life by your justice.

Acknowledgements
Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
Photo (c) 2010, Allen Morris. David, Church of St Peter and St Paul, Cork, Ireland.

Preparing for Mass of 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Language needs careful attention if it is to speak anything like truth about God. Or godly values.

God offers us life, wisdom, enlightenment, fulfilment – all things that are good and desirable. But these things are good as they are in God’s life. They are not trinkets for us, to puff us up.

They are for us, but we will only receive them truly, if we receive them in, through and with God.

Second reading: 1 Corinthians 2:6-10

(NB the text set for Sunday is given below in bold and in ‘quote sections’ below; the rest is the immediate biblical text from which the Lectionary text is extracted)

Proclaiming Christ Crucified

2 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Wisdom from the Spirit

6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.
For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.


Acknowledgements
Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
Photo (c) 2019, Allen Morris. St Paul, Hull Minster.

Preparing for Mass of Sunday in week 6 of ordinary time

The authenticity of the Good News which was evidenced in Jesus, and in his words and works, was startlingly different to what was, otherwise, known as ‘good’.

To those who have been brought up to think of Jesus as good, this is maybe hard to believe. But time was – as the Gospels bear witness – when to embrace this newness meant for dislocation from what was taught by even ‘good’ religion.

Time and time again it becomes evident that the challenge to hear and accept the radicalness of Jesus and his preaching remains as real and present as ever it was.

Jesus words at v17 of Chapter 5 of Matthew’s Gospel make it clear that what he offers is not new law but a way to greater faithfulness than law alone, (or law and prophets, alone), can provide.

That way provides pretty much the same challenge to Christians now as it did to Jews then.

This way is God’s law, but not as we have known it, thus far.

Gospel: Matthew 5:17-37

(NB the text set for Sunday is given below in bold and in ‘quote sections’; the rest is the immediate biblical text from which the Lectionary text is extracted)

Jesus Ministers to Great Crowds

4.23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

The Sermon on the Mount

5 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

The Beatitudes

2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Christ Came to Fulfil the Law
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.


Anger
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

Lust
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Divorce
31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.


Oaths
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

Retaliation

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Acknowledgements
Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
Photo (c) 2013, Antique museum, Arles, France.

Responding to the Mass of the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

  • Bearing witness to the good.
  • Seeking to bring about the better, especially for those who are presently disadvantaged and in need
  • Being light and salt for the world

These are works that Christians seek to carry out in all sorts of different way. Sometimes we do it in our own Church institutions, but mostly we do this working alongside other people of all sorts in our public institutions.

Help for young people who would like to experience working in Parliament and learn more about public life is offered by Faith in Politics – a Catholic Parliamentary and Public Affairs internship scheme which began in 2003.

The scheme uniquely offers a foundation of Catholic faith and spiritual formation for those who believe they may have a vocation to public service in politics or public affairs.

Interns commit to a varied year working in Parliament or in the public affairs teams of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, the Catholic Education Service, and CAFOD.

They explore the political landscape and the Church’s involvement in social action through a series of events, including a visit to Rome on pilgrimage, to learn how the Vatican works, and how the UK relates to the Holy See. 

Interns undertake the first year of a part-time Master’s Degree in Catholic Social Teaching at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. 

Importantly their journey begins and ends with a retreat, and spiritual guidance is an integral part of the year.

The group lives at More House in Kensington, and at the end of the year they join a network of over 100 alumni.

Faith in Politics is named on the Vatican’s website Laity Involved as an example of best practice formation of the lay faithful.

To apply click here.
Closing date 28 February 2020

Acknowledgements
Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
Photograph (c) 2013, Allen Morris. Westminster, London.

Responding to the Mass of the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Every day is a new day; every day offers the opportunity for a new beginning – and this is especially true of the life of faith. However long we have ‘been at it’, a new day gives us the opportunity to consider what has been and to start afresh, inspired by the love that is God.

What lies ahead may prove challenging and painful, or may prove a source of refreshment for us and others. What lies ahead does not matter so much as that the opportunity for the new day is there, and we have the opportunity to commit to living it well.

The ‘Sea Interludes’ of Benjamin Britten’s opera Peter Grimes surround the turbulence of the action. They begin gently and simply with Dawn.

Enjoy and consider the day, the week, ahead, and what – in Christ – you can bring to it…

Photograph: (c) 2018, Allen Morris. Musee des Augustins, Toulouse, France

Preparing for Mass on the Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Lord seeks to restore the lost, to build up and to heal those invited to covenant relationship with him. Healed, they are called to righteousness – which is both gift and calling, gift and challenge.

Our good deeds – by the grace of God – are to win us the life that is gift – they win us for life for when we ‘keep the fast’, stick to the straight and narrow, when light dawns and healing is experienced. The good to which we are urged for others’ benefit proves to be our salvation also.

First reading: Isaiah 58:7-10

(NB the text set for Sunday is given below in bold and in ‘quote sections’ below; the rest is the immediate biblical text from which the Lectionary text is extracted)

Comfort for the Contrite
57.14
 And it shall be said,
“Build up, build up, prepare the way,
remove every obstruction from my people’s way.”
15  For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly,
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16  For I will not contend forever,
nor will I always be angry;
for the spirit would grow faint before me,
and the breath of life that I made.
17  Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry,
I struck him; I hid my face and was angry,
but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart.
18  I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners,
19  creating the fruit of the lips.
Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the LORD,
“and I will heal him.
20  But the wicked are like the tossing sea;
for it cannot be quiet,
and its waters toss up mire and dirt.
21  There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

True and False Fasting
58.1
“Cry aloud; do not hold back;
lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
2  Yet they seek me daily
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
and did not forsake the judgment of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments;
they delight to draw near to God.
3  ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
and oppress all your workers.
4  Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to hit with a wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
5  Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a person to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the LORD?
6  “Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?

7  Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8  Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
9  Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10  if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.

11  And the LORD will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
12  And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.
13  “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
and the holy day of the LORD honourable;
if you honour it, not going your own ways,
or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
14  then you shall take delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

Then will your light shine like the dawn
Thus says the Lord:
Share your bread with the hungry,
and shelter the homeless poor,
clothe the man you see to be naked
and do not turn from your own kin.
Then will your light shine like the dawn
and your wound be quickly healed over.
Your integrity will go before you
and the glory of the Lord behind you.
Cry, and the Lord will answer;
call, and he will say, ‘I am here.’
If you do away with the yoke,
the clenched fist, the wicked word,
if you give your bread to the hungry,
and relief to the oppressed,
your light will rise in the darkness,
and your shadows become like noon.

Acknowledgements
Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
Photo (c) 2016, Allen Morris. Charity bread. St Mary’s Warwick.

Preparing for Mass on the 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time

The psalmist praises the faithful and highlights his ‘reward’

Of course, sometimes, we ascribe virtue where it is not present, and reward where it is not deserved, or merited.

The edited version of this psalm in the Lectionary omits the opening verse where it makes it clear how all virtue derives from fear of the Lord.

Our good deeds can be good but are truly good when done for the love of God. Only then does ascription of goodness not risk short circuiting things, become self-praise, or narrow our horizon to what is only pleasing for us ourselves.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 111(112):4-9

(NB the text set for Sunday is given below in bold and in ‘quote sections’ below; the rest is the immediate biblical text from which the Lectionary text is extracted)

Psalm 112 (111)

1     Alleluia!

      Blessed the man who fears the Lord,
      who takes great delight in his commandments.
2     His descendants shall be powerful on earth;
      the generation of the upright will be blest.

3     Riches and wealth are in his house;
      his justice stands firm forever.

4     A light rises in the darkness for the upright;
      he is generous, merciful, and just.

5     It goes well for the man who deals generously and lends,
      who conducts his affairs with justice.
6     He will never be moved;
      forever shall the just be remembered.

7     He has no fear of evil news;
      with a firm heart, he trusts in the Lord.
8     With a steadfast heart he will not fear;
      he will see the downfall of his foes.

9     Openhanded, he gives to the poor;
      his justice stands firm forever.
      His might shall be exalted in glory.

10   The wicked sees and is angry,
      grinds his teeth and fades away;
      the desire of the wicked leads to doom.

Acknowledgements
Translation of Psalms: From The Revised Grail Psalms: A Liturgical Psalter. (c) 2010.
Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris

Photo (c) 2019, Allen Morris. Star of David, Newport Cathedral, Wales.