Speak Lord: Faithful son of the Covenant

Synagogue Bordeaux.jpg

Since in Jesus, the Son of God, we have the supreme high priest who has gone through to the highest heaven, we must never let go of the faith that we have professed. For it is not as if we had a high priest who was incapable of feeling our weaknesses with us; but we have one who has been tempted in every way that we are, though he is without sin. Let us be confident, then, in approaching the throne of grace, that we shall have mercy from him and find grace when we are in need of help.

Second reading for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Hebrews 4:14-16

In Jesus God joins man in living the covenant as man. He fulfils it as a Jew in the ‘ordinary way’ of his people, and in his perfect fulfilment of the covenant, symbolically he assumes all of its agency – he is worshipper, priest, and sacrifice.

And joined with every person as their brother, their friend, their servant, he seeks to draw us into this same work of love and service.

Synagogue, Bordeaux: Tabernacle and Menorah. (c) 2018, Allen Morris

Advertisements

Speak Lord: Model for our lives

DSC00676.jpg

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Jesus. ‘Master,’ they said to him ‘we want you to do us a favour.’ He said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ They said to him, ‘Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus said to them. ‘Can you drink the cup that I must drink, or be baptised with the baptism with which I must be baptised?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I must drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I must be baptised you shall be baptised, but as for seats at my right hand or my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted.’

When the other ten heard this they began to feel indignant with James and John, so Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that among the pagans their so-called rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

Gospel for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 10:35-45

Mark lets the mother of James and John off the hook. In his Gospel it is her sons alone who approach Jesus looking for preferment…

Jesus offers a different sort of ambition to strive for – not position, not fame, or power, but service…

And sets before us inarguable example…

 

Stained glass. St Leonard’s, Bridgnorth. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.

 

Taste and See: Rules and going beyond…

DSC07703.jpg

Jesus was setting out on a journey when a man ran up, knelt before him and put this question to him, ‘Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You must not kill; You must not commit adultery; You must not steal; You must not bring false witness; You must not defraud; Honour your father and mother.’ And he said to him, ‘Master, I have kept all these from my earliest days.’ Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him, and he said, ‘There is one thing you lack. Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ But his face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.

Jesus looked round and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!’ The disciples were astounded by these words, but Jesus insisted, ‘My children,’ he said to them ‘how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were more astonished than ever. ‘In that case’ they said to one another ‘who can be saved?’ Jesus gazed at them. ‘For men’ he said ‘it is impossible, but not for God: because everything is possible for God.’

Peter took this up. ‘What about us?’ he asked him. ‘We have left everything and followed you.’ Jesus said, ‘I tell you solemnly, there is no one who has left house, brothers, sisters, father, children or land for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not be repaid a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and land – not without persecutions – now in this present time and, in the world to come, eternal life.’

Gospel for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 10:17-30

Rules are often good, often helpful. But rules cannot be the be all and end all of when it comes to holiness, when it comes to living lovingly.

Rules point us to a general shape of life.  However detailed the description they attempt, they address life in abstract. Rules are not to be disobeyed at a whim, but when we see the possibility of choosing to greater purpose, to the a deeper living of love for God and neighbour then we may and often should transcend the code of rules and laws, should choose the better, and be ready to pay the price…

We might subsequently learn we were mistaken in the choice we made. But if we believe we have the choice, choosing what we believe to be better is no mistake…

Parish Church, Stiffkey, Norfolk. (c) 2018 , Allen Morris.

Taste and See: the Lord for us…

DSC05657.jpg

The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts like any double-edged sword but more finely: it can slip through the place where the soul is divided from the spirit, or joints from the marrow; it can judge the secret emotions and thoughts. No created thing can hide from him; everything is uncovered and open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give account of ourselves.

Second reading for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Hebrews 4:12-13

Increasingly Catholics know the power of the word. They experience its being ministered more fruitfully at Mass and it is more common for Catholics to use Scripture as the starting point for their prayer and meditation.

What a difference from some 60 years ago when the old quip could seem true that ‘Protestants have the Bible but Catholics have the Mass’. We have the Mass and a rich and sustaining appreciation of the Eucharist, but more and more we do have a comparable appreciation of the word of God – and of how the Word of God shares himself with us in both manifestations of his active presence.

One of the most important and effective of the liturgical reforms of Vatican II has been the reform of the Lectionary – so effective a reform that it has been adopted (and adapted) by many other Christian communions.

There is still some way to go in Catholic implementation of the revised Lectionary! Its guidance about proclamation and reception of the word is still widely ignored; and some of the principles of selection for lections (particularly the choice of Old Testament readings) deserves to be revisted. But huge strides have been made.

The truth of the Church’s assertion that she honours the word of God and the Eucharistic mystery with the same reverence … and has always and everywhere insisted upon and sanctioned such honour may still not be evident to all. But the day is surely coming when Catholics will be happy to believe it!

Lectionary, St-Ferreol eglise, Vieux Port, Marseille. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Taste and See: All our days…

DSC00993.jpg

Fill us with your love so that we may rejoice.

Make us know the shortness of our life
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Lord, relent! Is your anger for ever?
Show pity to your servants.

In the morning, fill us with your love;
we shall exult and rejoice all our days.
Give us joy to balance our affliction
for the years when we knew misfortune.

Show forth your work to your servants;
let your glory shine on their children.
Let the favour of the Lord be upon us:
give success to the work of our hands.

Responsorial Psalm for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 89(90):12-17

When this present, earthly, life feels like it will last for ever we can live without a care. Should anything go wrong, there will be a tomorrow in which we can try and get it right.

However when we know that our tomorrows are limited it makes it all the more important to try to deal with things today.

  • How do you seek to take responsibility for your days?

Watch and Pray. Clock at St Mary’s Warwick. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Our love always…

DSC00321.jpg

Fill us with your love so that we may rejoice.

Make us know the shortness of our life
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Lord, relent! Is your anger for ever?
Show pity to your servants.

In the morning, fill us with your love;
we shall exult and rejoice all our days.
Give us joy to balance our affliction
for the years when we knew misfortune.

Show forth your work to your servants;
let your glory shine on their children.
Let the favour of the Lord be upon us:
give success to the work of our hands.

Responsorial Psalm for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 89(90):12-17

The love of God brought us to this life, meets us in this life and guides us to eternal life. In him, in this we place our trust, and it is indeed good reason to rejoice.

  • How in joy and sorrow have I known the love of God?

Grounds of Shrewsbury Abbey. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.

 

Taste and See: Taste and Be..,

DOC091018-09102018083321.jpg

 

Grant us, almighty God,
that we may be refreshed and nourished
by the Sacrament which we have received,
so as to be transformed into what we consume.
Through Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Last Friday the Church in England and Wales was invited to fast in solidarity with those in great need, and on Sunday to make donations to CAFOD to support its work.

The Prayer after Communion had us pray for something more than this – for our very transformation into the God of love, into charity himself.

  • In what way might I show love today?