Speak Lord: hold us close…

Jazz, Negresco Nice 2013

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

O God, be gracious and bless us
and let your face shed its light upon us.
So will your ways be known upon earth
and all nations learn your saving help.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

Let the nations be glad and exult
for you rule the world with justice.
With fairness you rule the peoples,
you guide the nations on earth.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
May God still give us his blessing
till the ends of the earth revere him.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

Psalm 66:2-3,5-6,8

The Responsorial Psalm for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The readings of this coming Sunday all in their different ways deal with the diversity of God’s people and the call for them to know the new unity they are to discover in him.

The psalmist says that the way to this unity is to be found in the experience of the Lord’s face shining on us – a revelation of intimacy with the divine, and a revelation of love and compassion.

From that profound new beginning begins a process of renewal of broken human kind. The Book of Genesis tells the story of the alienation of the peoples of the world from God and from each other. All that follows in the Bible seeks to remind us that this is not how it was meant to be or needs to be.

And so the psalmist sings his prayer, and so we join our voices to that prayer…

Jazz, Negresco, Nice, France. (c) 2013, Allen Morris

 

Speak Lord: Saviour

DSC01319 Spilled Blood 2015

Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he would send the crowds away. After sending the crowds away he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, while the boat, by now far out on the lake, was battling with a heavy sea, for there was a head-wind. In the fourth watch of the night he went towards them, walking on the lake, and when the disciples saw him walking on the lake they were terrified. ‘It is a ghost’ they said, and cried out in fear.

But at once Jesus called out to them, saying, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’ It was Peter who answered. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.’ ‘Come’ said Jesus. Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water, but as soon as he felt the force of the wind, he took fright and began to sink. ‘Lord! Save me!’ he cried. Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. ‘Man of little faith,’ he said ‘why did you doubt?’

And as they got into the boat the wind dropped. The men in the boat bowed down before him and said, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God.’

Matthew 14:22-33

Gospel for the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time 

One more it is Peter who is the fall guy in the story – and this time, one with a sinking feeling. It is Peter who comes forward strong in faith and then finds himself overcome by fear and doubt.

It is comforting to think that it might well have been Peter that told the story against himself, and in honour of the Lord who came here, as always, to his aid.

Inevitably for one reason or another we stumble and fail, and do it again and again. How helpful that the scriptures are full of stories and teachings that our shortcomings are never allowed to be the end of the story for us or for others.

  • What fear or failing might you bring to the Lord, even for this first time, for his counsel and consolation?

Cathedral of Spilled Blood, St Petersburg. (c) Allen Morris, 2015.

Taste and See: All for us…

DSC09816

It was not any cleverly invented myths that we were repeating when we brought you the knowledge of the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; we had seen his majesty for ourselves. He was honoured and glorified by God the Father, when the Sublime Glory itself spoke to him and said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour.’ We heard this ourselves, spoken from heaven, when we were with him on the holy mountain.

So we have confirmation of what was said in prophecies; and you will be right to depend on prophecy and take it as a lamp for lighting a way through the dark until the dawn comes and the morning star rises in your minds.

2 Peter 1:16-19

Second reading for the Feast of the Transfiguration.

God does not reveal himself for no purpose. Always God reveals himself pro nobis – for us. All this is for us, to help us to come closer to himself and to ourselves – from the divine we learn how to be human.

Let us keep trying to learn!

Transfiguration. Tewkesbury Abbey. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: The Kingdom

Church of Transfiguration

As I watched:

Thrones were set in place
and one of great age took his seat.
His robe was white as snow,
the hair of his head as pure as wool.
His throne was a blaze of flames,
its wheels were a burning fire.
A stream of fire poured out,
issuing from his presence.
A thousand thousand waited on him,
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
A court was held
and the books were opened.

And I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven,
one like a son of man.
He came to the one of great age
and was led into his presence.
On him was conferred sovereignty,
glory and kingship,
and men of all peoples, nations and languages became his servants.
His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty
which shall never pass away,
nor will his empire ever be destroyed.

Daniel 7:9-10,13-14

First reading for the feast of the Transfiguration

Christians interpret the above prophesy as one that is fulfilled by Christ – King of Love, Lord of all nations.

The very inclusivity of Jesus’ ministry provides challenge for us who proclaim his Lordship. So often, even when we seem prompted by religious motive, we are very provincial. That he is our Lord we have no doubt: that he is yours too we often seem much less certain, and regularly act as though we are uniquely privileged.

Sometimes the empire seems more likely to collapse from internal division, rather than from external threat.

Sanctuary, Church of the Transfiguration, Tabor, Israel. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: King of all

DSC03731 Worcester Cathedral

The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.

The Lord is king, let earth rejoice,
let all the coastlands be glad.
Cloud and darkness are his raiment;
his throne, justice and right.

The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.

The mountains melt like wax
before the Lord of all the earth.
The skies proclaim his justice;
all peoples see his glory.

The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.

For you indeed are the Lord
most high above all the earth,
exalted far above all spirits.

The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.

Psalm 96:1-2,5-6,9

Responsorial Psalm for the Feast of the Transfiguration

The two poles for Christian experience of God are the utterly transcendent and the profoundly imminent: God is entirely other and also wholly present.

The heavens symbolise this. They cover and embrace us and everywhere we look – and yet rooted on earth however high we reach we cannot touch.

These two poles of experience are made one in Christ – fully human and born of a woman; and fully divine, Son of the Father, begotten and not made.

In his love he reaches out to draw to draw us into a new communion of love.

Transfiguration. Worcester Cathedral. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

 

 

Speak Lord: Present and loving

DSC00113 St Nicholas Chapel, Kings Lynn 2016

Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone. There in their presence he was transfigured: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them; they were talking with him. Then Peter spoke to Jesus. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and from the cloud there came a voice which said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.’ When they heard this the disciples fell on their faces overcome with fear. But Jesus came up and touched them. ‘Stand up,’ he said ‘do not be afraid.’ And when they raised their eyes they saw no one but only Jesus.

As they came down from the mountain Jesus gave them this order, ‘Tell no one about the vision until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.’

Matthew 17:1-9

The Gospel for the feast of the Transfiguration

In the midst of the wonder – a simple statement and invitation. ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.’

It should be so easy, but so often we fail.

This blog was born out of a desire to harness some modern technologies to help the Christian faithful in the more fruitful listening to the Word in the word.

Every day the invitation is there, but so regularly there are obstacles to faithful hearing, and putting into practice what we hear. How ironic that when we fail –the one to whom we turn for help, eventually, is that same beloved Son.

  • What helps you to hear? What hinders that hearing?

Transfiguration. St Nicholas Chapel, Kings Lynn. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.

 

Speak Lord: make us one…

 

DSC00815 Hermitage, 2015.jpg

We know that by turning everything to their good, God co-operates with all those who love him, with all those he has called according to his purpose. They are the ones he chose specially long ago and intended to become true images of his Son, so that his Son might be the eldest of many brothers. He called those he intended for this; those he called he justified, and with those he justified he shared his glory.

Romans 8:28-30
Second reading at Mass on Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

From our perspective we make the running, or we try to. And yet Paul sees more clearly: it is the Lord who sets the stage, and fits the players for their role. We are invited to take the role, he doesn’t force or even insist. He makes it as if it were an agreement, an opportunity, for fulfilment that is entered into collaboratively, as equals.

Icons and Crosses. Hermitage, St Petersburg. (c) 2015, Allen Morris