Speak Lord: Life-given…

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I thank you for the wonder of my being.

O Lord, you search me and you know me,
you know my resting and my rising,
you discern my purpose from afar.
You mark when I walk or lie down,
all my ways lie open to you.

For it was you who created my being,
knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I thank you for the wonder of my being,
for the wonders of all your creation.

Already you knew my soul,
my body held no secret from you
when I was being fashioned in secret
and moulded in the depths of the earth.

Psalm for the Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist
Psalm 138(139):1-3,13-15

God knows us better than we know ourselves. God knew us before we even knew there was an ‘us’ to know! He knows our ultimate purpose, whereas we can often barely see our hand in front of our face…

  • When, how, why have you best known yourself?
  • What mistakes about yourself do you most commonly make about yourself?
  • Bring these awarenesses to God in prayer…

Birthplace of John the Baptist, Ein Kerem, Israel. (c) 2012, Allen Morris.

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Taste and See: Mercy

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With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord,
Lord, hear my voice!
O let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleading.

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt,
Lord, who would survive?
But with you is found forgiveness:
for this we revere you.

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

My soul is waiting for the Lord.
I count on his word.
My soul is longing for the Lord
more than watchman for daybreak.
(Let the watchman count on daybreak
and Israel on the Lord.)

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Because with the Lord there is mercy
and fullness of redemption,
Israel indeed he will redeem
from all its iniquity.

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Responsorial Psalm for 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 129(130)

The darker the world, the brighter the light of grace…

The greater our need, the more wonderful and persuasive the offer of love and compassion that the Lord extends to us…

And we have the privilege of seeking to extend that same mercy to others, and looking for mercy and forgiveness when we fail…

  • Where do you struggle?
  • For what can you give thanks?

Stained glass. Sisters of Mercy’ Convent, Handsworth. (c) 2018, Allen Morris

Taste and See: Freedom and hope

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Jesus said to the crowds: ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come.’

He also said, ‘What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’

Using many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, so far as they were capable of understanding it. He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were alone.

Gospel for 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 4:26-34

The Kingdom is about fullness, harvest, protection and care…

It is about recognising potential, cherishing it and helping it to achieve what is promised…

  • What helps you do the same?
  • What holds you back?

Birds. Memorial Park, Willenhall.  (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Taste and See: Room available…

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The Lord says this:

‘From the top of the cedar,
from the highest branch I will take a shoot
and plant it myself on a very high mountain.
I will plant it on the high mountain of Israel.
It will sprout branches and bear fruit,
and become a noble cedar.
Every kind of bird will live beneath it,
every winged creature rest in the shade of its branches.
And every tree of the field will learn that I, the Lord, am the one
who stunts tall trees and makes the low ones grow,
who withers green trees and makes the withered green.
I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do it.’

1st Reading for 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 17:22-24

The Lord prepares a place of honour, a place of rest and respite, a home for all the humble, the merciful, the  of the world to gather and to be with him.

The Lord raises the lowly and humbles the proud; he greens the withered and withers the green…

  • Which are we?
  • Why does he call us?
  • How will we respond?

Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada (c) 2008, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: from your Glory

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The Lord says this:

‘From the top of the cedar,
from the highest branch I will take a shoot
and plant it myself on a very high mountain.
I will plant it on the high mountain of Israel.
It will sprout branches and bear fruit,
and become a noble cedar.
Every kind of bird will live beneath it,
every winged creature rest in the shade of its branches.
And every tree of the field will learn that I, the Lord, am the one
who stunts tall trees and makes the low ones grow,
who withers green trees and makes the withered green.
I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do it.’

1st Reading for 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 17:22-24

The glory of the Lord is source for our life and our living.

It is that glory that we seek for in our labours and our harvesting… but always it is gift.

Sutton Park. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: On our way to judgement…

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We are always full of confidence when we remember that to live in the body means to be exiled from the Lord, going as we do by faith and not by sight – we are full of confidence, I say, and actually want to be exiled from the body and make our home with the Lord. Whether we are living in the body or exiled from it, we are intent on pleasing him. For all the truth about us will be brought out in the law court of Christ, and each of us will get what he deserves for the things he did in the body, good or bad.

Second reading for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
2 Corinthians 5:6-10

Many of us may NOT be full of confidence at most any time. But certainly it is good to be reminded that life in this world is not going to be a bed of roses, and not only because the quality of life is likely to be compromised by our own faults and failings. But because the world and society is fractured and inhospitable to the good life in so many, many ways.

But, we are not alone in this life, even if we are in a sense exiled from the Lord. For the Lord joins us in our exile, his real presence made available to us in so many ways – in the word, the Sacraments, the Church gathered in prayer and song. These help draw us to him, and inspire us to desire to do the will of the Father.

Whether we are confident or limping and hesitant, if we have sought the Lord, then we will not be without an advocate when we come to the law court of Christ!

  • What good do you seek after?
  • How do you most regularly spend time with Christ?

 

Roof Boss. Cloister, Norwich Anglican Cathedral. (c) 2010, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: To the little ones

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Jesus said to the crowds: ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come.’

He also said, ‘What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’

Using many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, so far as they were capable of understanding it. He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were alone.

Gospel for 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 4:26-34

Concrete frieze, Basilica of the Annunication, Nazareth. (c) 2017, Allen Morris