Speak Lord: Help me know you and myself.

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’

‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’

Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God.’

Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’

Gospel for Solemnity of St Peter and Paul
Matthew 16:13-19

Jesus asks questions about who he is, but an equal issue in the narrative is who Peter is.

Faith appears in many ways to be about our understanding and relationship with God, but it also helps us to a deeper understanding of who we are and what we are called to be.

Stained glass. Saint Germain l’Auxerrois, Paris. Photograph(c) 2018, Allen Morris.

Advertisements

Taste and See: Love and care

Jesus made the crowds welcome and talked to them about the kingdom of God; and he cured those who were in need of healing.

It was late afternoon when the Twelve came to him and said, ‘Send the people away, and they can go to the villages and farms round about to find lodging and food; for we are in a lonely place here.’ He replied, ‘Give them something to eat yourselves.’ But they said, ‘We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we are to go ourselves and buy food for all these people.’ For there were about five thousand men. But he said to his disciples, ‘Get them to sit down in parties of about fifty.’ They did so and made them all sit down.

Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven, and said the blessing over them; then he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the crowd. They all ate as much as they wanted, and when the scraps remaining were collected they filled twelve baskets.

Gospel for Corpus Christi
Luke 9:11-17

What a profound difference there is between Jesus who makes the crowds welcome and the disciples who eventually just want them sent away.

The Lord performs an extraordinary miracle in response to the people’s need – but maybe most extraordinary is that he cares to respond, that nothing interrupts his care for them.

That same care is there for us, in all our need.

Stained glass. Couvent des Jacobins, Toulouse. Photograph (c) 2018, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: A priest for ever

Melchizedek king of Salem brought bread and wine; he was a priest of God Most High. He pronounced this blessing: ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, creator of heaven and earth, and blessed be God Most High for handing over your enemies to you.’

And Abram gave him a tithe of everything.

First reading for Corpus Christi
Genesis 14:18-20

This somewhat engimatic encounter proves a fruitful source of metaphor for Christian theologians!

  • Here is a priesthood that predates Israel’s cultic priesthood, established in the wake of the flight from Egypt.
  • Here is a priest who blesses Abraham, and so can be seen to have a certain priority and authority over him
  • Here is a priest who, independent of the story of Genesis so far, is described as a priest of God most high, and not of the Canaanite deities.

As Christians come to seek to articulate their faith in continuity and in a certain discontinuity with the faith of Israel Melchizedek proves a helpful means of doing just that.

L’Abbeye St-Pierre, Moissac, France. Photograph (c) 2018, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: as we kneel before you

The Lord’s revelation to my Master:
‘Sit on my right:
your foes I will put beneath your feet.’

The Lord will wield from Zion
your sceptre of power:
rule in the midst of all your foes.

A prince from the day of your birth
on the holy mountains;
from the womb before the dawn I begot you.

The Lord has sworn an oath he will not change.
‘You are a priest for ever,
a priest like Melchizedek of old.’

Responsorial Psalm for Corpus Christi
Psalm 109(110):1-4

The psalm – perhaps originally sung in honour of Israel’s kings – finds new meaning in the Church where it is applied to Jesus.

  • The language of relationship between Lord and Master speaks of intimacy and care between the two, but also in the light of the resurrection and ascension now implies a present sharing in the divine and heavenly life.
  • Christians will find in the language of ‘begotten before the dawn’ a way of considering the unique origin of the Word that is incarnate in Jesus
  • The unique salvation won by Jesus is linked to priestly ministry, but to a pre-Aaronic priesthood, exercised by the somewhat mysterious figure of Melchizedek – known only from a brief episode in Genesis.

The metaphors and narrative of the psalm give us new access to the mystery of the Lord Jesus.

St Eloi, Bordeaux. Photograph (c) 2018, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Saving Lord

Jesus made the crowds welcome and talked to them about the kingdom of God; and he cured those who were in need of healing.

It was late afternoon when the Twelve came to him and said, ‘Send the people away, and they can go to the villages and farms round about to find lodging and food; for we are in a lonely place here.’ He replied, ‘Give them something to eat yourselves.’ But they said, ‘We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we are to go ourselves and buy food for all these people.’ For there were about five thousand men. But he said to his disciples, ‘Get them to sit down in parties of about fifty.’ They did so and made them all sit down.

Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven, and said the blessing over them; then he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the crowd. They all ate as much as they wanted, and when the scraps remaining were collected they filled twelve baskets.

Gospel for Corpus Christi
Luke 9:11-17

It is a long way from the Galilean hillside, through the Upper Room and Jerusalem, to the Mass and Eucharist, to devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Solemnity we celebrate this Sunday.

What all have in common is the love and mercy of God made known in the generosity and care of Jesus Christ.

Still he feeds us with his very life, still we are enabled to let that life take fresh root and come to expression in us.

Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. L’Abbaye St-Pierre, Moissac, France. (c) 2018, Allen Morris

Taste and See: Costly love

Blest be God the Father,
and the Only Begotten Son of God,
and also the Holy Spirit,
for he has shown us his merciful love.

Entrance Antiphon for Trinity Sunday

Trinity is made known to us in the active love of God for us. God active in creation, in sustaining creation, and in bringing creation to completion and fulfilment.

The holiness of God is manifest in his goodness, mercy, and active care.

All we need do, now, is cooperate and play our part…

Throne of Grace. Hermitage, St Petersburg. Photograph (c) 2015, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: The profundity of God’s being

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

For with your Only Begotten Son and the Holy Spirit
you are one God, one Lord:
not in the unity of a single person,
but in a Trinity of one substance.

For what you have revealed to us of your glory
we believe equally of your Son
and of the Holy Spirit,
so that, in the confessing of the true and eternal Godhead,
you might be adored in what is proper to each Person,
their unity in substance,
and their equality in majesty.

For this is praised by Angels and Archangels,
Cherubim, too, and Seraphim,
who never cease to cry out each day,
as with one voice they acclaim:

Preface for Trinity Sunday

Contemplation of the mystery of God – the love, power and richness of God – reminds us of the dimensions of adoration, glorification and praise that are to the fore in our worship. To adore, glorify and praise are modes of performance of prayer that take us out and beyond ourselves: they have something of the ecstatic about them.

  • Sometimes our worship can feel more mechanical than ecstatic. Why might that be?
  • How might we help each other better to mean and live what we say and sing in our prayer

Throne of Grace. Musee du Petit Palais, Avignon. Photograph (c) 2015, Allen Morris.