Collect for this coming Sunday

Of what do we speak? Of what do we dream? Of what do we fear to speak and which will only appear in our nightmares?

The Collect for this Sunday is familiar with our limits and the superabundance of love and mercy and encouragement that the Lord is ready to share with us. We ask for God’s mercy, even as we know that we cannot yet know what he offers, nor from what it is he truly saves us.

Collect for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Almighty ever-living God,
who in the abundance of your kindness
surpass the merits and the desires of those who entreat you,
pour out your mercy upon us
to pardon what conscience dreads
and to give what prayer does not dare to ask.

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: (c) 2005, Allen Morris. Painting by Gustav-Adolf Mossa in collection of the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nice.

The Gospel for this Sunday

Matthew 21:28-32
Gospel reading for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

(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 Authority of Jesus Challenged
23 And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

The Parable of the Two Sons
28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.

The Parable of the Tenants
33 “Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. 34 When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. 35 And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. 37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ 39 And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

“‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is marvellous in our eyes’?

43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. 44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. 46 And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet.


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. Detail of statue of Dionysius, god of wine. Birmingham Art Gallery.

The Second Reading for this coming Sunday

The last words of last Sunday’s reading from Philippians find their echo in the first words of this week’s reading:

Last week:

Avoid anything in your everyday lives that would be unworthy of the gospel of Christ.

This week:

let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ

That double challenge was set us in our parish last Sunday – and in particular there was encouragement that, each day, we should seek to do something extra that would be worthy of the gospel of Christ: something that showed love and care of neighbour, love and care of God.

I’m not sure how others are faring. At the time of writing I think I have a 50% success rate. Some days there does not seem to have been time or opportunity, but maybe it’s that I lack sufficient faith, care, application or creative thought…

St Paul, below, urges us to find fresh encouragement in Christ and in the Spirit. And not to be anxious about achieving a 100% hit rate, but to be eager (in humility) to grow in Christ and grow in the Spirit.

Opportunities, even challenging opportunities to look to the interests of others will come. Maybe I/we are just not ready for them yet!

Philippians 2:1-11
Second reading for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

(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)

27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

Christ’s Example of Humility
2.1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God,
did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in human form,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Lights in the World
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.


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) 2020, Allen Morris. Faith, Hope and Charity. Lichfield Cathedral

The Responsorial Psalm for this coming Sunday

Life is tough, and it is getting tougher. I need help.

If those few words summarise David’s prayer in the psalm below, they may well summarise our condition in these days of health and economic crisis. And the words are set before us that they might truly be our prayer too.

As always, the responsorial psalm is offered as response to the first reading – which if you remember calls us to personal responsibility for how we live, and assures us that God will not punish us for what others have done.

Every day we have the opprtunity to repent for our failings, and every day we have the opportunity of beginning with a clean slate.

But our most-every day contains many challenges, and often we feel unequal to the challenges. It is a sign of strength to admit this and to ask for help – especially to ask help of our God who longs to be our rock, our support and hope.

  • For what help did you last ask God – or what do you ask of him now?

Psalm 24(25):4-9
Responsorial psalm for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

(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 25 (24)
 
1            Of David.
 
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2            In you, O my God, I have trusted;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
3            Let none who hope in you be put to shame;
but shamed are those who wantonly break faith.

4          O Lord, make me know your ways.
Teach me your paths.
5            Guide me in your truth, and teach me;
for you are the God of my salvation.
I have hoped in you all day long.
 
6            Remember your compassion, O Lord,
and your merciful love,
for they are from of old.

7            Do not remember the sins of my youth,
nor my transgressions.
In your merciful love remember me,
because of your goodness, O Lord.

8          Good and upright is the Lord;
he shows the way to sinners.
9            He guides the humble in right judgment;
to the humble he teaches his way.

 10          All the Lord’s paths are mercy and faithfulness,
            for those who keep his covenant and commands.
11          O Lord, for the sake of your name,
            forgive my guilt, for it is great.
 
12          Who is this that fears the Lord?
            He will show him the path to choose.
13          His soul shall live in happiness,
            and his descendants shall possess the land.
14          The Lord’s secret is for those who fear him;
            to them he reveals his covenant.
 
15          My eyes are always on the Lord,
            for he rescues my feet from the snare.
16          Turn to me and have mercy on me,
            for I am alone and poor.
 
17          Relieve the anguish of my heart,
            and set me free from my distress.
18          See my lowliness and suffering,
            and take away all my sins.
 
19          See how many are my foes;
            with a violent hatred they hate me.
20          Preserve my life and rescue me.
            Let me not be put to shame,
            for in you I trust.
 
21          May integrity and virtue protect me,
            for I have hoped in you, O Lord.
22          Redeem Israel, O God,
            from all its distress.


Acknowledgements
~ Translation of Psalm: From The Revised Grail Psalms: A Liturgical Psalter. (c) 2010.
~ Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photo: (c) 2017, Allen Morris. Shrine to St Therese of Lisieux, Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois, Paris.

The First Reading for this coming Sunday

The first reading this Sunday echoes the teaching we hear from Jesus in this Sunday’s Gospel – that God ‘tracks us’ in real time.

Ezekiel shares the word of the Lord that what matters most now is not what we or others did but what we do, now; how we respond to things, now.

The particular passage we hear this Sunday deals with the understanding that the sins of the father become the responsibility of the son, of the next generation. It says we are responsible for our own sins, and that where we know we have sinned we are invited to turn from what is evil and learn to embrace and live what is good.

That said – about how God will treat us, about life in his kingdom – we are aware that in this world we do indeed also have to live with the consequences of the actions of those who have gone before us.

To mention only three of the more egregious:

  • those who have gone before us have pillaged the natural world and caused great damage to God’s creation – and countless of our contemporaries live lives impacted by the direct and immediate consequence of pollution and degredation of the land, and man-made climate change seems likely to be a blight for all human life for generations to come;
  • slavery – and most especially Atlantic slave-trade – has had and still has monstrous consequences for those descended from slaves; and the descendents of those who profitted from that trade often still enjoy financial and cultural benefits of slavery. The benefits of ‘white privilege’ are spread still more widely, as are the costs of racial prejudice;
  • discrimination against women simply because they are women continues in our society, and around the world. There are all sorts of consequences for women – often their economic and social marginalisation; mental health issues; and our society as a whole is impoverished by the blocks which prevent women making their full contribution to the common good.

These sins and evils we have to live with and endure. Hopefully, too, we rail and work against them: namimg the sin and evil; working for justice, working for healing; and offering support and solidarity to those who are particularly damaged by inherited sin and evil.

Ezekiel 18:25-28
First reading for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

(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 Soul Who Sins Shall Die
18 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? 3 As I live, declares the Lord GOD, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. 4 Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.

5 “If a man is righteous and does what is just and right— 6 if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbour’s wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, 7 does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, 8 does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, 9 walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord GOD.

10 “If he fathers a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things 11 (though he himself did none of these things), who even eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbour’s wife, 12 oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, 13 lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.

14 “Now suppose this man fathers a son who sees all the sins that his father has done; he sees, and does not do likewise: 15 he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbour’s wife, 16 does not oppress anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, 17 withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. 18 As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity.

19 “Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. 20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

21 “But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. 23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? 24 But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die.

25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? 26 When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. 27 Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. 28 Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die.

29 Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?

30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.”


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. Detail of Information panel showing slaves traded at European ports between 15th and 19th Century. Memorial D’Abolition Des Esclaves, Nantes, France.

The Collect for this Sunday coming

It often strikes me how in the Apostles Creed one of the defining features of our faith is highlighted as our belief in the forgiveness of sins.

In the Nicene Creed this is nuanced somewhat, and we profess belief in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. Even so, in these creeds, we Christians cannot profess our faith without also professing faith in forgiveness.

Pardon and mercy are to the fore in this Sunday’s Collect too – as the defining character of God’s power.

In prayer we will ask for that love in action, that love in action which changes how we are before God and with each other.

As we prepare to pray this way, we might spend time considering what in us needs mercy and pardon, and also how we might share the treasure with others – as we hasten, and seek to make haste, to deeper communion in the Church and with God.

Collect for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

O God, who manifest your almighty power
above all by pardoning and showing mercy,
bestow, we pray, your grace abundantly upon us
and make those hastening to attain your promises
heirs to the treasures of heaven.

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

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) 2012, Allen Morris. Paralympics, London.

The Gospel reading for today

The Gospel we hear this Sunday follows immediately on other teaching of Jesus about money, wealth and work; about rights, responsibilities and opportunities for generosity and doing good.

Jesus distinguishes between a goodness which is about keeping the rules, and which is ‘fair’, and kingdom goodness which is about doing better, which is always going to be surprising because it goes beyond – what is ‘right’, ‘just’ and ‘settled’.

Kingdom goodness is generous and – if it errs (and the ‘reasonable’ will often say it does) – it errs on the side of excess.

Kingdom goodness shocks with how it shows love can be lived.

Matthew 20:1-16
The Rich Young Man
19.16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”

18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27

Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”

28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

Labourers in the Vineyard
20.1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the labourers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ 5 So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ 8

And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ 9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. 11

And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.”

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, Allen Morris. Vineyard, Lerins, France.

The second reading for this coming Sunday

This Sunday we hear the first of the semi-continuous readings from St Paul’s letter to the Philippians presented in this year’s Lectionary for Sundays in Ordinary Time.

And he addresses a familiar theme – our communion with God in Christ, and our communion with other human beings (Jews, Christians, Gentiles, all people created by God in his image and likeness and called to share in the glory won for us by Christ.)

As we are beneficaries of God’s gift, so we are called to be faithful and fruitful ministers of that gift….

Over to us!

Philippians 1:20-24,27
Second reading for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

(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)

To Live Is Christ
Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance,

20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.

25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ,

so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,

28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

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) 2015, Allen Morris. Detail of gravestone, Tikhvin Cemetery, St Petersburg.

The Responsorial Psalm for this coming Sunday

The Psalm is a paeon of praise – and the verses we use on Sunday give a flavour of that.

The function of the Responsorial Pslam is to make the prayer and praise of ‘David’ our prayer, our praise too.

  • How well do his words reflect what is present in your heart?
  • Where do you see a gap? Something to grow to?

Psalm 144(145):2-3,8-9,17-18
Responsorial Psalm for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

(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 145 (144)

1Praise. Of David.

            I will extol you, my God and king,
            and bless your name forever and ever.

2 I will bless you day after day,
            and praise your name forever and ever.
3           The Lord is great and highly to be praised;
            his greatness cannot be measured.

4           Age to age shall proclaim your works,
            shall declare your mighty deeds.
5           They will tell of your great glory and splendor,
            and recount your wonderful works.

6           They will speak of your awesome deeds,
            recount your greatness and might.
7           They will recall your abundant goodness,
            and sing of your just deeds with joy.

8 The Lord is kind and full of compassion,
            slow to anger, abounding in mercy.
9           How good is the Lord to all,
            compassionate to all his creatures.

10          All your works shall thank you, O Lord,
            and all your faithful ones bless you.
11          They shall speak of the glory of your reign,
            and declare your mighty deeds,

12          To make known your might to the children of men,
            and the glorious splendor of your reign.
13          Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom;
            your rule endures for all generations.

            The Lord is faithful in all his words,
            and holy in all his deeds.
14          The Lord supports all who fall,
            and raises up all who are bowed down.

15          The eyes of all look to you,
            and you give them their food in due season.
16          You open your hand and satisfy
            the desire of every living thing.

17 The Lord is just in all his ways,
            and holy in all his deeds.
18          The Lord is close to all who call him,
            who call on him in truth.

19          He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
            he hears their cry and he saves them.
20          The Lord keeps watch over all who love him;
            the wicked he will utterly destroy.

21          Let my mouth speak the praise of the Lord;
            let all flesh bless his holy name
            forever, for ages unending.


Acknowledgements
~ Translation of Psalm: From The Revised Grail Psalms: A Liturgical Psalter. (c) 2010.~ Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photo: (c) 2018, Allen Morris. St Mary’s church at Harvington Hall

 

The first reading for this coming Sunday

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A short reading from Isaiah – but maybe it needs a couple of chapters from the Prophet to put it into context.

The words of encouragement that we hear read are not ‘just’ a promise of forgiveness – they speak of forgiveness, free and generous, but forgiveness which draws us into deeper relationship with the forgiver; forgiveness which newly establishes us in responsible living; and forgiveness which is not for us only, but which draws many, many others into covenantal relationship with the living God.

  • There is a lot to take on board!
  • Where do you find you are most challenged by the implications of the mercy of God?

Isaiah 55:6-9
First Reading for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 (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 Compassion of the Lord
55.1 “Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2  Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3  Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
4  Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
5  Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.

6  “Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
7  let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10  “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11  so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12  “For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13  Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the LORD,
an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

Salvation for Foreigners
56.1 Thus says the LORD:
“Keep justice, and do righteousness,
for soon my salvation will come,
and my righteousness be revealed.
2  Blessed is the man who does this,
and the son of man who holds it fast,
who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it,
and keeps his hand from doing any evil.”
3  Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say,
“The LORD will surely separate me from his people”;
and let not the eunuch say,
“Behold, I am a dry tree.”
4  For thus says the LORD:
“To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
who choose the things that please me
and hold fast my covenant,
5  I will give in my house and within my walls
a monument and a name
better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
that shall not be cut off.
6  “And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD,
and to be his servants,
everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it,
and holds fast my covenant—
7  these I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.”
8  The Lord GOD,
who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares,
“I will gather yet others to him
besides those already gathered.”

Israel’s Irresponsible Leaders
9  All you beasts of the field, come to devour—
all you beasts in the forest.
10  His watchmen are blind;
they are all without knowledge;
they are all silent dogs;
they cannot bark,
dreaming, lying down,
loving to slumber.
11  The dogs have a mighty appetite;
they never have enough.
But they are shepherds who have no understanding;
they have all turned to their own way,
each to his own gain, one and all.
12  “Come,” they say, “let me get wine;
let us fill ourselves with strong drink;
and tomorrow will be like this day,
great beyond measure.”

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) 2014, Allen Morris. Divine Mercy church, Rome (Santo Spirito in Sassia)