Taste and See: And be changed

O God, who show the light of your truth
to those who go astray,
so that they may return to the right path,
give all who for the faith they profess
are accounted Christians
the grace to reject whatever is contrary to the name of Christ
and to strive after all that does it honour.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Collect for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

The Collect describes the need for reorientation and return – there is no doubt suggested that there are at least some who need this. The only question is whether we ourselves do… and probably the answer is, yes, we do.

What we are to return to is Christ. And how are we to return to him? By the light of God’s truth, by Jesus himself, who is light for the world.

The Good Samaritan. Carle Vanloo. Musee Fabree, Montpelier, France. Photograph (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

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Taste and See: Help needed

There was a lawyer who, to disconcert Jesus, stood up and said to him, ‘Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? What do you read there?’ He replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’ ‘You have answered right,’ said Jesus ‘do this and life is yours.’

But the man was anxious to justify himself and said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of brigands; they took all he had, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead. Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan traveller who came upon him was moved with compassion when he saw him.

He went up and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then lifted him on to his own mount, carried him to the inn and looked after him. Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said “and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have.” Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the brigands‘ hands?’ ‘The one who took pity on him’ he replied. Jesus said to him, ‘Go, and do the same yourself.’

Gospel for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 10:25-37

The Lord is our rock, our sure salvation. He speaks to secure us, to draw us in the love that is life.

How many times have we heard this parable? Why is it still needed to call us to conversion.

The Lord calls, and we often pass by, looking away.

Maybe the wounded traveller is us. Maybe we need to call him, and invite him afresh to bandage our wounds and help us again to healing and life.

Detail of stained glass window, St Nicholas Chapel, Kings Lynn. Photograph (c) 2016, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: And louder?

Moses said to the people: ‘Obey the voice of the Lord your God, keeping those commandments and laws of his that are written in the Book of this Law, and you shall return to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.

‘For this Law that I enjoin on you today is not beyond your strength or beyond your reach. It is not in heaven, so that you need to wonder, “Who will go up to heaven for us and bring it down to us, so that we may hear it and keep it?” Nor is it beyond the seas, so that you need to wonder, “Who will cross the seas for us and bring it back to us, so that we may hear it and keep it?” No, the Word is very near to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart for your observance.’

First reading for 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Deuteronomy 30:10-14

The Kingdom of God is very close – it is as close as the next good action, the next loving deed.

And when we jib at those things, when we turn away from the opportunity to live love, we drift from the Kingdom.

Always we are called back. But for many it seems easier, better, to be deaf to the call.

Stained glass. Collegiate church of St Mary, Stafford. Photograph (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Draw us to holiness

The law of the Lord is perfect,
it revives the soul.
The rule of the Lord is to be trusted,
it gives wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right,
they gladden the heart.
The command of the Lord is clear,
it gives light to the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is holy,
abiding for ever.
The decrees of the Lord are truth
and all of them just.

They are more to be desired than gold,
than the purest of gold
and sweeter are they than honey,
than honey from the comb.

Responsorial Psalm for 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 18(19):8-11

Our culture is challenged by law – by other people telling us what to do.

Laws are fine for other people but regularly many of us choose to get away with what we can. The rule of life is ‘What seems good enough for me, is good enough for me.’

God knows better and knows that, though we exist in infinite and glorious variety, there are, in fact, some things which lead to our flourishing and some to our diminishment. He encourages to embrace the first and to avoid the latter.

God revelation and law unfolds the mystery of life to us, and invites us to embrace it. The law exists not so much in codified form, though an expression of those sorts of Laws is found in the Book of Leviticus, but throughout Scripture, in history, stories, poems, and above all to God’s Love and Law manifest in Jesus, the Word.

God speaks to all, and to each indivudally, through his living Word.

  • What words of Scripture especially inspire you?
  • What words of Scripture do you presently struggle with. What might other passages of Scripture have to say to what you struggle with?

Stained Glass. Worcester Cathedral. Photograph (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: as you love

Christ Jesus is the image of the unseen God and the first-born of all creation, for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth: everything visible and everything invisible, Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powers – all things were created through him and for him. Before anything was created, he existed, and he holds all things in unity.

Now the Church is his body, he is its head. As he is the Beginning, he was first to be born from the dead, so that he should be first in every way; because God wanted all perfection to be found in him and all things to be reconciled through him and for him, everything in heaven and everything on earth, when he made peace by his death on the cross.

2nd Reading for 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Colossians 1:15-20

Christ has sometimes been seen as the Good Samaritan, and sometimes as the man robbed and beaten up.

We may ourselves identify with either character in this Sunday’s parable – and we are, for sure, encouraged to identify with and imitate the good Samaritan.

Christ forms common identity with us through love, and more extraordinarily yet, through the loving act of his Incarnation and making common home with us in this world, in the flesh.

He invites us to communion of love and life with him. He invites… we need to accept…

Stained glass. St Matthew’s church, Walsall. Photograph (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Shame us and save us


There was a lawyer who, to disconcert Jesus, stood up and said to him, ‘Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? What do you read there?’ He replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’ ‘You have answered right,’ said Jesus ‘do this and life is yours.’

But the man was anxious to justify himself and said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of brigands; they took all he had, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead. Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan traveller who came upon him was moved with compassion when he saw him.

He went up and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then lifted him on to his own mount, carried him to the inn and looked after him. Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said “and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have.” Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the brigands‘ hands?’ ‘The one who took pity on him’ he replied. Jesus said to him, ‘Go, and do the same yourself.’

Gospel for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 10:25-37

God sees us, always, as human beings, persons who he loves.

It seems we often see one another as inconvenient to us, we relate to others as things rather persons – persons like us.

And then we see one of those we think so unlike us, as less than us, beneath us, behaving so much better than we do.

May our shame always help us to enlightenment.

Detail of Memorial, Lichfield Cathedral. Photograph (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Taste and See: Peace

The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit. He said to them, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest. Start off now, but remember, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road.

‘Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, “Peace to this house!” And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you. Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house.

‘Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is set before you. Cure those in it who are sick, and say, “The kingdom of God is very near to you.” But whenever you enter a town and they do not make you welcome, go out into its streets and say, “We wipe off the very dust of your town that clings to our feet, and leave it with you. Yet be sure of this: the kingdom of God is very near.” I tell you, on that day it will not go as hard with Sodom as with that town.’

The seventy-two came back rejoicing. ‘Lord,’ they said ‘even the devils submit to us when we use your name.’ He said to them, ‘I watched Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Yes, I have given you power to tread underfoot serpents and scorpions and the whole strength of the enemy; nothing shall ever hurt you. Yet do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you; rejoice rather that your names are written in heaven.’

Gospel for 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 10:1-12,17-20

No-one is ever far from the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is very close to those ‘in tune’ with the Kingdom and those ‘out of tune’ with it.

Time and again in the Gospels we see the disciples losing the ‘tune’ and being helped back to it. In this passage it is their task to help others ‘tune in’.

The Lord gives them confidence by arming them with a greeting and prayer that is both for their benefit and those they come to spend time with – Peace, Shalom, ܫܠܡܐ (shlamaa)

  • With whom do you share peace?
  • With what strangers do you share peace and how?
  • And if someone asked you meant by ‘the kingdom of God is very near’, what would you say?

Missionary Collection box. Photograph (c) 2017, Allen Morris