The Gospel for today’s Mass

An old joke, told by Jews (against themselves? or in their own defense?) goes:

A Jew is stranded on a desert island. When he is finally discovered after many years, his rescuers find that he has constructed two synagogues. “One, I go to. The other? The other I would never set foot in.”

A similar joke could be told about Christians. We are just as experienced at ‘splitting’ and anathematizing others of our tradition.

Over the centuries separation has been so great between Jews and Christians that we can forget how much we actually have in common. And in particular we forget how much more Jesus and his co-religionists had in common.

In the Gospel we hear debate and discussion between Jews of different traditions. Sadly the debate seems to get into making petty points, seeking to win the argument but at the cost of losting sight of what is most important. We are surely familiar with similar problems today, and not only in the area of religious debate.

We can most easily see this fault in others, but what about in our lives?

Let us pray for unity in love, and that it may lead us all closer to the living God.

Matthew 22:34-40
Gospel reading for the 30th 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)

Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection
23 The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, 24 saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. 26 So too the second and third, down to the seventh. 27 After them all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.”

29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.

The Great Commandment
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Whose Son Is the Christ?
41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,

44  “‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”’?

45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.


 
 
Acknowledgements
~ Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers
~ Commentary: © 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photograph:© 2017, Allen Morris. Floor tiles, Dormition Abbey, Jerusalem.

The first reading for this coming Sunday

The Jewish Bible establishes many laws for Jews – 613 according to medieval scholars. I have not counted them. Some of them appear in the passage from Exodus below.

These are laws particular to Israel’s unique covenantal relationship with God, as his chosen people. Early Christian debate established that Gentiles who were won to faith in Israel’s God through Christ were not bound to all of these laws (cf Acts 15)

That said, some of the laws have held a central place in Christian tradition – some permanently such as those cited by Jesus in this Sunday’s gospel, and the 10 Commandments themselves. Others have been held important for a time, but then abandoned – such as the commandment about usury below, and that of not permitting a sorceress to live.

Even those that are no longer applied literally often still have something to teach us about good living, godly living – for example 23.4-5 below. Our ‘enemies’ (if thus we choose to call them) may no longer have oxes or donkeys, but there are still many times when in charity they deserve our care.

  • Which of those below would you choose to observe?
  • What wisdom do you find in the one’s you reject, at least in the form they are given?

Exodus 22:20-26
First reading for the 30th 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)

Laws About Social Justice
22.16 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride-price for her and make her his wife. 17 If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the bride-price for virgins.

18 “You shall not permit a sorceress to live.

19 “Whoever lies with an animal shall be put to death.

20 “Whoever sacrifices to any god, other than the LORD alone, shall be devoted to destruction.

21 “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. 22 You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. 23 If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, 24 and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.

25 “If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him. 26 If ever you take your neighbor’s cloak in pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down, 27 for that is his only covering, and it is his cloak for his body; in what else shall he sleep? And if he cries to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.

28 “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.

29 “You shall not delay to offer from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to me. 30 You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep: seven days it shall be with its mother; on the eighth day you shall give it to me.

31 “You shall be consecrated to me. Therefore you shall not eat any flesh that is torn by beasts in the field; you shall throw it to the dogs.

23.1 “You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. 2 You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, 3 nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.

4 “If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him. 5 If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him.

6 “You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in his lawsuit. 7 Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked. 8 And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right.

9 “You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

Acknowledgements
~ Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers
~ Commentary: © 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photograph:© 2019, Allen Morris. Detail of Font cover, St Mary and St John’s, Wolverhampton.

Today’s Gospel for Mass

Now, far be it from me to correct or caveat what Jesus says, but…

In today’s Gospel reading Jesus concludes the debate with his opponents and critics by saying to them: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

So far fine… But those words have found a wider and more general application down the centuries as making a distinction between God’s realm and Caesar’s: between a secular world and the Church, even.

Jesus makes a valid point in the context of controversy, but he knows – as should we – that there is indeed one world, only one true kingdom, namely God’s. Ultimately, whatever respect it is proper to pay to “Caesar” and to Caesar’s laws, that needs to be within the limits of what is acceptable in God’s kingdom, whatever is in accord with God’s will.

Jesus’ quick-wittedness and irony demonstrates to his opponents they seem to have embraced a two worlds theory. How sadly ironic that Jesus words have subsequently been used to defend just such a theory.

But there is one kingdom. God’s.

This point is forcefully made in Pope Francis’ recent Encyclical Fratelli Tutti – take a look, for example, at paragraphs 118-120 about re-envisaging the social role of property. W emay find ourselves more ready to submit to the law of Caesar than we are to rise to the challenge of the love of neighbour!

Gospel reading for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 22:15-21

(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)

Paying Taxes to Caesar
15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. 16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”

18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin for the tax.”

And they brought him a denarius.

20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”

21 They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

22 When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.

Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection
23 The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, 24 saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. 26 So too the second and third, down to the seventh. 27 After them all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.”
29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.


 
 
Acknowledgements
~ Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers
~ Commentary: © 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photograph:© 2020, Allen Morris. The Tribute Money, Titian: National Gallery, London

Second reading for this Sunday’s Mass

This Sunday we leave behind the letter to the Philippians and begin to hear passages from the First Letter to the Thessalonians – the earliest written text in our New Testament.

Most scholars hold that the letter was written – in Corinth – between years 49-51AD.

We will continue to hear extracts from this letter on Sundays until the end of this Liturgical year (except on the feasts of All Saints and of Christ the King).

In its way the letter which focuses on the Second Coming of Christ and how we respond to that, live mindful of that – anticipates some of the themes of early Advent.

Paul writes to the Church in Thessalonika, a Church established by him as he began his ministry in Europe, perhaps one or two years previously.

That Church is now challenged from within and without. Paul writes to offer them assurance and encouragement to hold fast to what they have been taught, what they have received from him and his co-workers.

  • To whom have you recently offered encouragement?
  • Who has offered you encouragement and reassurance?
  • To what effect?

Second reading for the Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Thessalonians 1:1-5

(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)


Greeting
1.1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace.

The Thessalonians’ Faith and Example
2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.


 
 
Acknowledgements
~ Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers
~ Commentary: © 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photograph: © 2006, Allen Morris. Hagia Sophia, Thessaloniki.

The Responsorial psalm for this coming Sunday

Robert Adler introduces his commentary on this psalm by observing that this ‘new song to the Lord’ is in face ‘a weaving together of phraises and whole lines that appear elsewhere’, and references Yair Hoffman who charectirzes the psalm as a mosaic of lines drawn from other and familiar psalms.

This is no bad thing, indeed the allusions and quotations may well contribute to the popularity of the psalm, increasing its immediate accessibility to at least the community that it was orginally composed for.

Some of Israel’s psalms draw elements not only from her other scriptures and worship practice, sometimes from sources which pre-date the firmly monotheisitic faith that came to distinguish later Judaism from its earlier Hebrew antecedants and the polytheisitc traditions of her neighbours.

Adler notes that v 4, , rendered in the translation below as “For the Lord is great and highly to be praised,/ to be feared above all gods”, seems to be a line inherited from earlier Hebrew tradition.

He continues: “In this case, the psalmist immediately attaches a kind of monotheistic rejoinder to it by asserting that all the other gods have no real existence: ‘ungods’.” (In the translation below, “For the gods of the nations are naught.”)

The negation of these “other gods” is expressed in one Hebrew word, ‘elilim. Adler writes that “ elilim is a polemic coinage that appears frequently elsewhere, punnngly formed on ‘al (“no”, “not”) and ‘el (“god), to which a diminutive suffix is appended. The standard meaning in all subsequent Hebrew is “idols”.”

A sort of early variant on the “devil has all the best tunes”, but we do not need to sing his songs! We take his best and make it true, and new…


Psalm 95(96):1,3-5,7-10
Responsorial Psalm for the 29th 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 96 (95)

1           O sing a new song to the Lord;
            sing to the Lord, all the earth.

2           O sing to the Lord; bless his name.
            Proclaim his salvation day by day.

3           Tell among the nations his glory,
            and his wonders among all the peoples.

4           For the Lord is great and highly to be praised,
            to be feared above all gods.
5           For the gods of the nations are naught.
            It was the Lord who made the heavens.

6           In his presence are majesty and splendour,
            strength and honour in his holy place.

7           Give the Lord, you families of peoples,
            give the Lord glory and power;
8           give the Lord the glory of his name.

            Bring an offering and enter his courts;
9           worship the Lord in holy splendour.
            O tremble before him, all the earth.

10         Say to the nations, “The Lord is king.”
            The world he made firm in its place;
            he will judge the peoples in fairness.

11         Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad;
            let the sea and all within it thunder praise.
12         Let the land and all it bears rejoice.

            Then will all the trees of the wood shout for joy
13         at the presence of the Lord, for he comes,
            he comes to judge the earth.
            He will judge the world with justice;
            he will govern the peoples with his truth.

Acknowledgements
~ Translation of Psalm: From The Revised Grail Psalms: A Liturgical Psalter. (c) 2010
~ Commentary: © 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photograph: © 2018, Allen Morris. Figure affixed to bridge over the Garonne, Toulouse.

First Reading for next Sunday’s Mass

The glory of the Lord is revealed in his using a foreign king to restore his people from exile to the promised land.

In Exodus God battled mightily against the king, the Pharoah, of Egypt who would not let God’s people go. It was a mighty battle and cost Egypt dear, but God triumphed and Israel, enslaved in Egypt, found freedom in the Promised Land.

In the liberation from captivity in Babylon, there is no battle, no struggle – just the offer of restoration to the lost land of Israel.

God demonstrates God’s glory as God chooses – humankind can but marvel and rejoice.

Isaiah 45:1,4-6
First reading for the 29th 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 Lord Redeems Israel
21  Remember these things, O Jacob,
and Israel, for you are my servant;
I formed you; you are my servant;
O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
22  I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud
and your sins like mist;
return to me, for I have redeemed you.

23  Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it;
shout, O depths of the earth;
break forth into singing, O mountains,
O forest, and every tree in it!
For the LORD has redeemed Jacob,
and will be glorified in Israel.

24  Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
who formed you from the womb:
“I am the LORD, who made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself,
25  who frustrates the signs of liars
and makes fools of diviners,
who turns wise men back
and makes their knowledge foolish,
26  who confirms the word of his servant
and fulfills the counsel of his messengers,
who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’
and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built,
and I will raise up their ruins’;
27  who says to the deep, ‘Be dry;
I will dry up your rivers’;
28  who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,
and he shall fulfill all my purpose’;
saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’
and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’”

Cyrus, God’s Instrument
45.1 Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus,
whose right hand I have grasped,
to subdue nations before him
and to loose the belts of kings,
to open doors before him
that gates may not be closed:

2  “I will go before you
and level the exalted places,
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
and cut through the bars of iron,
3  I will give you the treasures of darkness
and the hoards in secret places,
that you may know that it is I, the LORD,
the God of Israel, who call you by your name.

4  For the sake of my servant Jacob,
and Israel my chosen,
I call you by your name,
I name you, though you do not know me.
5  I am the LORD, and there is no other,
besides me there is no God;
I equip you, though you do not know me,
6  that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides me;
I am the LORD, and there is no other.

7  I form light and create darkness;
I make well-being and create calamity;
I am the LORD, who does all these things.

8  “Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the LORD have created it.

9  “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him,
a pot among earthen pots!
Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
or ‘Your work has no handles’?
10  Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’
or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?’”

11  Thus says the LORD,
the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him:
“Ask me of things to come;
will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands?
12  I made the earth
and created man on it;
it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
and I commanded all their host.
13  I have stirred him up in righteousness,
and I will make all his ways level;
he shall build my city
and set my exiles free,
not for price or reward,”
says the LORD of hosts.

Acknowledgements
~ Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers
~ Commentary: © 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photograph: © 2004, Allen Morris. Detail of the Processional Way, Ishtar Gate from Babylon. Pergamon Museum, Berlin.

The Collect for next Sunday’s Mass

The Collect serves to gather the prayer of the assembled congregation, once it has caught its breath, remembered who and what is is, and what is about; once it has given first voice to its recognition of need for God and his mercy, and sung God’s praises to his glory.

It is a time when the assembly, having gathered, pauses before its first big task – that of listening afresh to the living God in the living word of Scripture.

This listening is not intended to be just listening – not even ‘just’ that listening that is contemplation and meditation -it is a listening which is to lead to fesh dialogue between the Lord and his people. A dialogue that is to engage the assembly as a whole – and the homily and the Prayer of the Faithful, and the Creed have a part to play in that; and a dialogue which will take place in a particular and unique way in the heart and mind of each member of the assembly.

The Collect – and the time of silent prayer that precedes it – gathers us in readiness for that. It is prayer, but its also the final team talk before we get down to the main work of the Liturgy.

This week’s Collect is as simple as it gets.

  • It respectfully addresses the Lord, and acknowledges his majesty.
  • It, or rather we through it, then ask for his help to do what we for ever pray for – conform our will to his: your will be done – in us – on earth as in heaven.
  • And we ask to serve him, without affect or pretence.
  • And all this through Jesus, in whom we pray gatgehred as members of his Body, the Church.
  • Which of the above comes easiest to you?
  • Which do you find most challenging?

Collect for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Almighty ever-living God,
grant that we may always conform our will to yours
and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart.
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: © 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photograph: © 2019, Allen Morris. St Stephen Walbrook, London

The Gospel for today’s Mass

The parable we hear today reminds of the reciprocity that is the DNA of the good and godly life.

God’s goodness is to evoke goodness in us, to help us to live goodness, or at least, help us to yearn to be able to live goodness.

But if we do not even want to be good, godly, the parable warns of the consequences that follow.

How would you yourself describe the consequence of lacking goodness?

Matthew 22:1-14
Gospel reading for 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Parable of the Wedding Feast
22 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7

The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8

Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”


Acknowledgements
~ Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
~ Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
~ Image: (c) 2014, Allen Morris.

The Second reading for this Sunday’s Mass

One of the things we often lose out on when listening to the riches of Paul’s letters as presented in the Sunday Lectionary are the particular details of his life and ministry and the people he ministered with and ministered too.

These details root his ministry in a particular time, particular places and with particular people. And perhaps help us to consider how we are in our particular place and time and with particular people.

  • Who are your Euodia and Syntyche?
  • Whose ministry do you rejoice in and draw strength from?
  • Who has shared in your trouble? In whose trouble have you shared?

Paul’s bold statements of faith and readiness to serve have their truth, but they find a certain touchstone in his testifying to them to a community that knows him well.

Philippians 4:12-14,19-20
Second reading for 28th 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)

4.1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

Exhortation, Encouragement, and Prayer
2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have laboured side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

God’s Provision
10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.

15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.

19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Final Greetings
21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you.

22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.

23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.


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. Stained glass, Hereford Cathedral

Gospel reading for 27th 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 Responsorial Psalm for Sunday coming

After the challenging words from Isaih considered yesterday – albeit with the promises of relief and respite and recovery – it is good to consider Psalm 23 today.

Though here too, the psalm is about restoration. It knows need of repose, re-vivication, experience of evil, and dealings with death. It is not about hiding from or denying those thins, but knowing they have their limits, because of the shepherding God.

We know our blessings all the more, because of our experience of the opposite.

Psalm 22(23)
Responsorial psalm for 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Psalm 23 (22)
 
1           A Psalm of David.
 
            The Lord is my shepherd;
            there is nothing I shall want.
2           Fresh and green are the pastures
            where he gives me repose.
            Near restful waters he leads me;
3           he revives my soul.
            He guides me along the right path,
            for the sake of his name.
4           Though I should walk in the valley of the shadow of death,
            no evil would I fear, for you are with me.
            Your crook and your staff will give me comfort.
5           You have prepared a table before me
            in the sight of my foes.
            My head you have anointed with oil;
            my cup is overflowing. 
6           Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
            all the days of my life.
            In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
            for length of days unending. 

Acknowledgements
~ Translation of Psalm: From The Revised Grail Psalms: A Liturgical Psalter. (c) 2010.~ Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photo: (c) 2020, Allen Morris. St Lawrence church, Ludlow.