The Gospel for this Sunday

The glorification of Mary is not mostly to be seen in the dignity of her Assumption but in her openness to the transformative, saving graces of God. This openness was achieved from the first moment of her existence, an openness that is sustained until the moment of her last earthly breath.

And in Scripture, at least, the most explicit testimony to this comes in the Magnificat – which song forms the major part of our Gospel reading this Sunday.

Gospel for the Solemnity of the Assumption: Luke 1:39-56

Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat
46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47  and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
48  for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49  for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50  And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51  He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52  he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53  he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54  He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55  as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.


Acknowledgements
~ Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
~ Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photo: Painted Glass by Carmel Cauchi, Our Lady Queen of APostles, Welwyn Garden City (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

The second reading for this coming Sunday

The readings for this coming Sunday are of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which has precedence over the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

The Resurrection is not just an historical event, something which happened to Jesus some 2000 years ago.

It is also a saving mystery that continues what raised the humanity of Jesus from the dead and extends it to those who are members of his spiritual body, all those who seek to live united with him in the Kingdom.

This Sunday is the feast of the Assumption. It is a feast that highlight’s Mary’s sharing in the mystery of the Resurrection. Through Christ’s saving Sacrifice, through the Paschal Mystery, at the end of her earthly life, Mary is received into heaven with her Son, the first of countless disciples who have followed, and will follow after.

St Paul in the second reading gives voice to this mystery too, this victory of life over all that would destroy or diminish God’s beloved Creation.

1 Corinthians 15:20-26

(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)

The Resurrection of the Dead
15.12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

The Resurrection Body
35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

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) 2018, Allen Morris. Bourneville, Birmingham – Orthodox Church of the Holy Prince Lazar

Responsorial Psalm for this coming Sunday

The readings for this coming Sunday are of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which has precedence over the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Woman-kind is to the fore in this Sunday’s celebratoin – and it is not often enough that that happens.

The particular focus is Mary’s Assumption, and so our readings respond to that mystery. We have the woman of Apocalypse 11, and in our psalm too we have royal women who distinguish themselves by their love for the Lord.

But the psalm does not only speak of their love for him. It also testifies to his desire and love for them.

The psalm reminds of his delight in us too and of the intimacy with him that it is our privilege to enjoy.

Psalm 44(45):10-12,16

(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 45 (44)
 
1           For the Choirmaster. Intoned likeThe Lilies.”

Of the sons of Korah. A Maskil. A Love Song.
 
2           My heart overflows with noble words.
            To the king I address the song I have made,
            my tongue as nimble as the pen of a scribe.
 
3           You are the most handsome of the sons of men,
            and graciousness is poured out upon your lips,
            for God has blessed you forevermore.
 
4           Gird your sword upon your thigh, O mighty one,
            with your splendor and your majesty.
5           In your majesty ride on triumphant
            in the cause of truth, meekness, and justice.
            May your right hand show your wondrous deeds.
 
6           Your arrows are sharp—peoples fall beneath you—
            in the heart of the foes of the king.
 
7           Your throne, O God, shall endure forever.
            A scepter of justice is the scepter of your kingdom.
8           Your love is for justice; your hatred for evil.
 
            Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
            with the oil of gladness above other kings:
9           your robes are fragrant with aloes, myrrh, and cassia.
            From the ivory palace you are gladdened with music.

10         The daughters of kings are those whom you favor.
            On your right stands the queen in gold of Ophir.
 
11         Listen, O daughter; pay heed and give ear:
            forget your own people and your father’s house.
12         So will the king desire your beauty.
            He is your lord, pay homage to him.

13         And the daughter of Tyre shall come with gifts;
            the richest of the people shall seek your favor.
14         The daughter of the king is clothed with splendor;
            her robes are threaded with gold.
 
15         In fine clothing she is led to the king;
            behind her are her maiden companions, brought to you.

16         They are escorted amid gladness and joy;
            they pass within the palace of the king.

17         Sons will be yours to succeed your fathers;
            you will make them rulers over all the earth.
18         I will make your name forever remembered.
            Thus the peoples will praise you from age to age.

Acknowledgements
~ Translation of Psalm: From The Revised Grail Psalms: A Liturgical Psalter. (c) 2010.~ Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photo: (c) 2004, Allen Morris. Mosaic, Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna

The first reading for this coming Sunday

The readings for this coming Sunday are of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which has precedence over the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

The first reading comes from the Book of the Apocalypse.

The dramatic imagery of the reading speaks of death and life, of hope and fear.

The description of the woman with attributes of sun, moon and stars has been drawn into the way Mary is regularly depicted in Western art.

The Book of the Apocalypse often bemuses and confuses the Western mind. Often readers feel they cannot relate to it because they see its emages as allegorical and they know they do not have the detailed code to ‘read’ , ie decipher. Readers are distracted by what does this mean, what does that mena.

When reading scripture, too often people are distracted by concern for what they think they do not know or do not understand. Sometimes a bible dictionary will provide ‘answers’ to matters of fact and history, but regularly those answers do very little to assist our understanding.

What we often neglect is attending to our simple response to the story, and to the feelings that evokes in us. WHich is a pity for so often it is through these that the Lord speaks to us.

The Lord speaks to our head and to our heart, but – if we allow him – he has a better chance of getting through to us , through our hearts.

Apocalypse 11:19,12:1-6,10

(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)

11.19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

The Woman and the Dragon

12 And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2 She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. 3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. 4 His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. 5 She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, 6 and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.

Satan Thrown Down to Earth

7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8 but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.

 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

13 And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. 15 The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. 16 But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. 17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

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. Carving by Stephen Foster, Parsons Green, London

The Collect for this coming Sunday

The readings for this coming Sunday are of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which has precedence over the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

The Collect for the Solemnity is, on the face of it, simple and straight forward. Catholics, especially, may well not think it expresses anything out of the ordinary.

Collect
Almighty ever-living God,
who assumed the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of your Son,
body and soul into heavenly glory,
grant, we pray,
that, always attentive to the things that are above,
we may merit to be sharers of her glory.
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.

The Collect has us profess faith in the action of God in assuming Mary into heaven, and intercede that we may share in the glory of Mary.

It is to be presumed that ‘heavenly glory’ and ‘her glory’ are one and the same – and are most truly the Glory of God. Glory is proper to God alone – as Mary sang in her Magnificat.

And yet the Collect almost seems to say that we want to share in the glory that belongs to Mary in and of herself. Some other Christians might hesitate, and wonder at the felicity of the phrase.

Yet, whatever Mary’s own particular virtue – and few would quibble about this – her glory is entirely gift, an instance of the salvation won for her by Christ. The same salvation as is won for us.

The difference – and it is significant – is that Mary from the moment of her conception received and responded fully to that salvation, and often, sadly we do not.

And so, for greater faithfulness, we pray to God…

Acknowledgements
~ Translation of the Collect: English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved..
~ Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photograph: (c) 2017, Allen Morris. The Dormition of Mary, Dormition Abbey, Jerusalem.

The Gospel for this Sunday

Impetuous Peter, terrified one moment and then eager to display his trust and confidence. And yet that trust and confidence is so insubstantial, no sooner has he begun to show it, than it is challenged – it fails and he sinks!

Jesus’ response? He doesn’t laugh , nor does he scorn. He simply asks an interesting question: ‘Why did you doubt?’

Maybe the answer is evident, and is revealed in the title Jesus applies to Peter ‘Man of little faith’.

But maybe the question stands. ‘Why are you of little faith, and why did you doubt?’

  • When did you last doubt and why?
  • What helps you to believe and to trust?

The Gospel for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Matthew 14:22-33

Jesus Walks on the Water

14.22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Jesus Heals the Sick in Gennesaret

34 And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick 36 and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

Acknowledgements
~ Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
~ Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photo: Carving by Simon Latham of Peter leaving the boat. Peterborough Cathedral (c) 2011, Allen Morris.

The second reading for this coming Sunday

Often there is little direct relationship between the first reading and psalm and the second reading. The first is chosen to complement the gospel and the psalm to extend our response to what we hear in the first. The second reading is simply one of a sequence of semi-continuous readings from the writings of the Apostles (usually Paul)

But this week there is direct resonance.

Elijah and the psalmist reflect on the unfaithfulness of Israel, and learn to trust still more firmly in the faithfulness of the Lord.

Paul – in a different time, and in different circumstances – engages with the same matter – that God is faithful even when some of his people are unfaithful and turn from him.

This leads Paul to reflect on the nature of the covenant and its obligations. Merely being of the ‘group’ is not enough. To be of Israel – or the Church for that matter – merely according to the flesh does not mean much, indeed leads to a sort of distance between us and God.

Paul’s argument can seem to lead to a sort of dangerous theology of predestinarianism. But only if taken out of the broader context of his argument, which is about the necessity of faith.

Paul is aware that Man – even of Israel, even of the Church – can reject God. But God can use even this rejection to show his mercy.

If we will not accept God as God is – whose love is not compelled by any thing from outside himself, but is always freely offered (though we may not always see it that way!) – but then it is we who have chosen alienation from him.

We have but two choices. But we always have two choices.

  • To have faith in God even when that faith would seem to strip us of everything we hold dear – even of our ‘self’.
  • Or to hold on to the every thing we (still) have and to reject the living God.

These are our choices and they have consequences.

Even if we are faced with the seeming curse of God – as was Job, as was Abraham on Mount Moriah – God does not abandon those who have faith in him.

Second reading for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Romans 9:1-5

God’s Sovereign Choice

9 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea,

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
26  “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

Acknowledgements
~ Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
~ Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photo: Jesse ‘Tree’ St Michael’s Church, Bath (c) 2019, Allen Morris.

The responsorial psalm for this coming Sunday

Yesterday I noted how the lectionary text of Elijah’s encounter with the Lord omits the context, and how recalling the context can be helpful to us as we seek to relate to what the Lord has to say, and how the Lord is.

There is something of the same to moan about with the editing of the psalm for its Lectionary purpose!

The retained verses hymn the Lord’s love. The omitted verses remind of what the Lord has had to put up with from Israel, which renders his mercy all the more remarkable, and its certain availability for us too, whatever the circumstances in which we come before him.

Psalm 84(85):9-14

(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 85 (84)
 
1           For the Choirmaster. Of the sons of Korah. A Psalm.
 
2           O Lord, you have favoured your land,
            and brought back the captives of Jacob.
3           You forgave the guilt of your people,
            and covered all their sins.
4           You averted all your rage;
            you turned back the heat of your anger.
 
5           Bring us back, O God, our saviour!
            Put an end to your grievance against us.
6           Will you be angry with us forever?
            Will your anger last from age to age?
 
7           Will you not restore again our life,
            that your people may rejoice in you?
8           Let us see, O Lord, your mercy,
            and grant us your salvation.

9           I will hear what the Lord God speaks;
            he speaks of peace for his people and his faithful,
            and those who turn their hearts to him.
10         His salvation is near for those who fear him,
            and his glory will dwell in our land.
 
11         Merciful love and faithfulness have met;
            justice and peace have kissed.
12         Faithfulness shall spring from the earth,
            and justice look down from heaven.
 
13         Also the Lord will bestow his bounty,
            and our earth shall yield its increase.
14         Justice will march before him,
            and guide his steps on the way.

Acknowledgements
~ Translation of Psalm: From The Revised Grail Psalms: A Liturgical Psalter. (c) 2010.~ Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photo: Detail of Peace window, Hull Minster (c) 2019, Allen Morris.

The first reading for this coming Sunday

The edited version of 1 Kings 19 that appears in our Lectionary for Sunday next tells of a meetng between Elijah and the Lord. But it does not tell us the why and wherefore of the meeting, which led to Elijah’s learning to recognise the presence of the Lord in stillness and quiet.

What is the context? Elijah has recently been in cultic battle with the prophets of Baal; he is challenging the King of Israel – and he has recently fled for his life and only just been saved from virtual suicide…

The meeting with the Lord changes things. How the promise of the Lord In quiet and peace gives Elijah confidence and hope, and how it restores him to the possibility of his faithful service of the faithful remnant of Israel.

In the midst of a storm of events and fears Elijah finds again the one who is rock for his life.

The particulars of our lives will be different to those of Elijah! But we too grapple with the need to relate to God in our various and varied circumstances. As we face these it is encouraging to be reminded of the struggles of the saints and prophets and not only their triumphs

First Reading for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time:
1 Kings 19:9,11-13

(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)

The Lord Speaks to Elijah

19.9 There he came to a cave and lodged in it.

And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”

11 And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 13 And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” 15 And the LORD said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. 16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. 17 And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”


Acknowledgements
~ Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
~ Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photo: Elijah (Sculpture by Marc Arcis) Toulouse, Musee des Augustins, Toulouse (c) 2018, Allen Morris.

The Collect for this coming Sunday

One word which came back into regular Church use in England with the new translation of the Missal is ‘dare’.

It has prominence in the newly translated introduction to the Lord’s Prayer:

At the Saviour’s command
and formed by divine teaching,
we dare to say:

Behind it lies the Greek word parrhesia, a biblical word, and a word that comes from Greek rhetoric.

It refers to a way of speaking that is frank and not circuitous. It means speaking with boldness. It describes a way of living and speaking that is enabled by confidence in the truth of the Gospel.

It is a way of speaking that could seem like impudence, that could seem like presumption. (For example: ‘Us / you a child of the Father?!?’)

But it can be also a simple, direct expression of faithfulness.

It requires courage – for, of course, even when we seek to speak in faith sometimes we will speak wrong!

But it is a way of speaking to which Pope Francis, regularly encourages those meeting for deliberation of the faith – not to be cautious because what they worry it might not meet with approval from the Pope.

We dare to pray to be brought to perfection by our heavenly Father.

May our hearts be free of presumption but strong in faith when we make this prayer.

Collect for 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Almighty ever-living God,
whom, taught by the Holy Spirit,
we dare to call our Father,
bring, we pray, to perfection in our hearts
the spirit of adoption as your sons and daughters,
that we may merit to enter into the inheritance
which you have promised.

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.

Acknowledgements
~ Translation of the Collect: English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved..
~ Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photograph: Coventry Cathedral (c) 2017, Allen Morris