Speak Lord: Our sure hope

Figure at prayer. Cathedral, Nantes. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.

I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness. Let your tolerance be evident to everyone: the Lord is very near.

There is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving, and that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus.


Second Reading for the 3rd Sunday of Advent
Philippians 4:4-7

On Gaudete Sunday we hear this reading from Paul that urges us to rejoice, to be happy in the Lord.

The Lord and his love are the ultimate reason for our confidence.

His prayer, our prayer, and the prayer of the whole Church, offers us reason for comfort and trust.

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Speak Lord: Comfort and consolation

Trees in the Valley of Rocks, Lynton. (c) 2013

Jerusalem, take off your dress of sorrow and distress, put on the beauty of the glory of God for ever, wrap the cloak of the integrity of God around you, put the diadem of the glory of the Eternal on your head: since God means to show your splendour to every nation under heaven, since the name God gives you for ever will be, ‘Peace through integrity, and honour through devotedness.’

Arise, Jerusalem, stand on the heights and turn your eyes to the east: see your sons reassembled from west and east at the command of the Holy One, jubilant that God has remembered them.

Though they left you on foot, with enemies for an escort, now God brings them back to you like royal princes carried back in glory.
For God has decreed the flattening of each high mountain, of the everlasting hills, the filling of the valleys to make the ground level so that Israel can walk in safety under the glory of God.

And the forests and every fragrant tree will provide shade for Israel at the command of God; for God will guide Israel in joy by the light of his glory with his mercy and integrity for escort.

First reading for the 2nd Sunday of Advent
Baruch 5:1-9

Speak Lord: Of faith and care

Detail from Standing Cross. Iona Abbey. (c) 2011, Allen Morris.
Every time I pray for all of you, I pray with joy, remembering how you have helped to spread the Good News from the day you first heard it right up to the present. I am quite certain that the One who began this good work in you will see that it is finished when the Day of Christ Jesus comes; and God knows how much I miss you all, loving you as Christ Jesus loves you. My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognise what is best. This will help you to become pure and blameless, and prepare you for the Day of Christ, when you will reach the perfect goodness which Jesus Christ produces in us for the glory and praise of God
2nd Reading for the 2nd Sunday of Advent
Philippians 1:4-6,8-11

St Paul testifies to the love that binds the Church together and that is our communion with God.

It is a love that is shared for our benefit, and it is a love that we are called to share in our turn.

Giving and receiving, we live and grow.

Speak Lord: amidst the noise

Tiberius Caesar. Vatican Museum.
(c) 2016, Allen Morris.

In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the lands of Ituraea and Trachonitis, Lysanias tetrach of Abilene, during the pontificate of Annas and Caiaphas the word of God came to John son of Zechariah, in the wilderness. He went through the whole Jordan district proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the sayings of the prophet Isaiah:

A voice cries in the wilderness:
Prepare a way for the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley will be filled in,
every mountain and hill be laid low,
winding ways will be straightened
and rough roads made smooth.
And all mankind shall see the salvation of God.

Gospel for the 2nd Sunday of Advent
Luke 3:1-6

In the midst of busyness, pomp and power, a quiet voice is heard which heralds the changing of the world.

The voice is still heard by those who listen.

  • Where/when do you find it easiest to hear?
  • When/why do you find it easiest to respond to what you hear?

Speak Lord: as we wait

See, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks – when I am going to fulfil the promise I made to the House of Israel and the House of Judah:
‘In those days and at that time,
I will make a virtuous Branch grow for David,
who shall practise honesty and integrity in the land.
In those days Judah shall be saved
and Israel shall dwell in confidence.
And this is the name the city will be called:
The-Lord-our-integrity.’

First reading for 1st Sunday of Advent
Jeremiah 33:14-16

Advent is a time of waiting for the fulfilment of promise.

In this season Christians join again with Jews in waiting for the Messiah to come. Though Jews wait still for the first coming of the Messiah, and Christians wait for the second coming, there is little difference for together we wait together confident in God’s goodness and mercy for the fulfilment of his promises. 

In the Lord we hope.

Carved Ivory. The Louvre, Paris. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

A change – but for good reason…

Over the past years the pattern of postings on Living Eucharist has been:

  • from Thursday to Sunday,  the principal scriptural elements of the Liturgy of the Word – beginning with the Gospel on the Thursday and ending with the First Reading on Sunday.
  • From Monday to Wednesday a return each day to one of the elements of the Liturgy of the Word, or the Mass as a whole, eg the Collect.

In England over recent years the Wednesday Word initiative has been embraced by many Catholic schools to encourage students, and their families, to reflect on the word together, especially the Sunday Gospel.

It seems helpful to coordinate the sort of prayerful reflection on scripture  and gentle catechesis that this website attempts with the rhythm of Wednesday Word.

So for the future, beginning this Wednesday, the pattern followed by Living Eucharist will be:

  • from Wednesday to Thursday,  the principal scriptural elements of the Liturgy of the Word – beginning with the Gospel on the Wednesday and ending with the First Reading on Saturday.
  • From Sunday to Tuesday, a return each day to one of the elements of the Liturgy of the Word, or the Mass as a whole, eg the Collect.

Speak Lord: That we might follow

Lord, make me know your ways.
Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
for you are God my saviour.

The Lord is good and upright.
He shows the path to those who stray,
He guides the humble in the right path,
He teaches his way to the poor.

His ways are faithfulness and love
for those who keep his covenant and law.
The Lord’s friendship is for those who revere him;
to them he reveals his covenant.

Common Psalm I for Advent
Psalm 24:4-5,8-9,10,14 

During Advent 2019 our parish is using one of the Common Psalms provided in the Lectionary for the season to encourage the singing of the psalm. So, during Advent, Living Eucharist will feature this psalm, rather than the other ordinarily set. 

We will be using it on Sundays and on weekdays, and singing it either in unison or antiphonally according to circumstances.  

The language of the psalm anticipates the imagery used in Isaiah and by John the Baptist – of journeying to the Lord and with the Lord.

  • What is there about your journey in life that is in tension with what God calls you to?
  • How might you better follow the Lord where he leads?

Judaean Desert. (c) 2012, Allen Morris