Taste and See: Faithfulness

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The Lord upholds my life.

O God, save me by your name;
by your power, uphold my cause.
O God, hear my prayer;
listen to the words of my mouth.

For proud men have risen against me,
ruthless men seek my life.
They have no regard for God.
But I have God for my help.

The Lord upholds my life.
I will sacrifice to you with willing heart
and praise your name for it is good.

Responsorial psalm for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 53(54):3-6,8

The psalmist prays conscious of real need, and of the Lord’s real care.

In his prayer he finds fresh assurance for his security – and by his prayer gives us good example to follow.

‘Peasant worshipper’, Burslem. Stoke on Trent Museum. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

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Taste and See: rejection

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The godless say to themselves:
‘Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us
and opposes our way of life,
reproaches us for our breaches of the law
and accuses us of playing false to our upbringing.
‘Let us see if what he says is true,
let us observe what kind of end he himself will have.
If the virtuous man is God’s son, God will take his part
and rescue him from the clutches of his enemies.
Let us test him with cruelty and with torture,
and thus explore this gentleness of his
and put his endurance to the proof.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death
since he will be looked after – we have his word for it.’

First reading for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Wisdom 2:12,17-20

As noted yesterday the above words are often read by Christians as prophetic of the suffering imposed on Christ in his Passion.

They also will sometimes give expression to the situation we find ourselves in, as we challenge at least some of the mores and values of our own age. For sure many in our age do complain loud and clear about Christians seeking to interfere in their way of life.

And sometimes they do so with good cause. The Church has too often sought to impose its views on others. Not infrequently this has been done in a way that can seem, to Christians and non-Christians alike, alien to the example of Jesus and harmful to the preaching of the Gospel.

But as Jesus, despite his kindliness and mercy and righteousness, met with rejection and hatred, so too will we, even when we are at our best, and this is often tough for us to bear.

  • Lord, watch over us and sustain us in faithfulness.

Fresco of Deacon martyrs, Chartreuse, Villeneuve les Avignon. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

Taste and See: suffering of the innocent

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The godless say to themselves:
‘Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us
and opposes our way of life,
reproaches us for our breaches of the law
and accuses us of playing false to our upbringing.
‘Let us see if what he says is true,
let us observe what kind of end he himself will have.
If the virtuous man is God’s son, God will take his part
and rescue him from the clutches of his enemies.
Let us test him with cruelty and with torture,
and thus explore this gentleness of his
and put his endurance to the proof.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death
since he will be looked after – we have his word for it.’

First reading for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Wisdom 2:12,17-20

The words from Wisdom are often read by Christians as prophetic of the suffering imposed on Christ in his Passion.

Contemplation of that Passion and these words helps us also to draw closer to the suffering endured by people in our own time, of all faiths and nationalities and classes; and the cruelty of those who will even go out of their way to cause it.

17th Carving. Musée des Augustins, Toulouse. (c) 2018, Allen Morris

Taste and See: that the Lord is good

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The Lord upholds my life.

O God, save me by your name;
by your power, uphold my cause.
O God, hear my prayer;
listen to the words of my mouth.

For proud men have risen against me,
ruthless men seek my life.
They have no regard for God.
But I have God for my help.

The Lord upholds my life.
I will sacrifice to you with willing heart
and praise your name for it is good.

Responsorial psalm for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 53(54):3-6,8

Sometimes we know we are falling. Sometimes we don’t.

Always the Lord watches over us.

Praise his name for he is good.

Street Art, Holborn, London. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Help us over our hurts

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Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony, and wicked things of every kind being done; whereas the wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure; it also makes for peace, and is kindly and considerate; it is full of compassion and shows itself by doing good; nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it. Peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness.

Where do these wars and battles between yourselves first start? Isn’t it precisely in the desires fighting inside your own selves? You want something and you haven’t got it; so you are prepared to kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy; so you fight to get your way by force. Why you don’t have what you want is because you don’t pray for it; when you do pray and don’t get it, it is because you have not prayed properly, you have prayed for something to indulge your own desires.

2nd reading for 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
James 3:16-4:3

Jesus offers peace and reconciliation, through our finding our home in him.

  • Of what are you envious? What provokes jealousy in you? And why?
  • What breaks communion between you and others?

 

Detail from L’ange déchu, Alexandre Chabanel. Musee Fabre, Montpellier, France. (c) 2017 , Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Turn us upside down and inside out

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Jesus and his disciples made their way through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know, because he was instructing his disciples; he was telling them, ‘The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him.

They came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ They said nothing because they had been arguing which of them was the greatest. So he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.’ He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms round him, and said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’

Gospel for 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 9:30-37

Again and again, Jesus in the Gospel says if we would see things right we must reverse everything. Poverty can mean riches;, foolishness wisdom; the sick find health, the healthy are sick…

And the way to authority and truth and power is service…

  • How do you serve?
  • Why?
  • Who do you welcome? And who do you turn from?

Ivory carving, 968 AD. Collection of the Louvre, Paris.  (c) 2017 , Allen Morris

Taste and See: Freedom and hope

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I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living.

I love the Lord for he has heard
the cry of my appeal;
for he turned his ear to me
in the day when I called him.

They surrounded me, the snares of death,
with the anguish of the tomb;
they caught me, sorrow and distress.
I called on the Lord’s name.
O Lord, my God, deliver me!

How gracious is the Lord, and just;
our God has compassion.
The Lord protects the simple hearts;
I was helpless so he saved me.

He has kept my soul from death,
my eyes from tears
and my feet from stumbling.
I will walk in the presence of the Lord
in the land of the living.

Responsorial Psalm for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 114(116):1-6,8-9

The Lord overwhelms death and sin with his grace and mercy. Again and again he saves us from despair and draws us to himself.

  • What are the experiences that have persuaded you of this truth?
  • Rejoice and give thanks.

Cell, Chateau d’If, Marseille. (c) 2013, Allen Morris.