Taste and See: The faithfulness of Joseph

img_4975-joseph

This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfil the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son
and they will call him Emmanuel,

a name which means ‘God-is-with-us.’ When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home.

Matthew 1:18-24

The Gospel heard on Sunday, the 4th and last Sunday of Advent, focuses us on Joseph, and his call to obedience to the will of God, to being ready to face dishonour in the eyes of his peers, and to trust in Mary who he fears has betrayed his trust.

As Mary said yes to what she could not understand, so Joseph too says ‘yes’ to what seemed irrational and disruptive of what is right and good.

Again and again, God calls us beyond what we can make sense of, and certainly beyond what we can control. And in this venture to the unkonwn we find a new security and safety, indeed the only security and safety that lasts. Our salvation is achieved by God’s gift and is ours when we ‘wake up. and do as the Lord invites. us to.

  • What beyond reason has God called you to?
  • What has helped you to answer God’s call into the unknown and the fearsome?

Shrine of St Joseph. Aylesford Priory. (c) 2008, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Risen One

Resurrection, AylesfordIn England and Wales this year, Sunday 14th August will be kept as the Solemnity of the Assumption, (in other years it is kept on 15th August).

 The Second reading at the Mass during the day comes from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. In the passage we hear Paul speaks of the resurrection of all believers: our sharing in Christ’s resurrection- an ultimate communion with the kingdom of God.

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having done away with every sovereignty, authority and power. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death, for everything is to be put under his feet.

1 Corinthians 15:20-26

The passage beautifully describes the interrelationship between the rule of God the Father, the reign of Christ, and our own human order. As human beings we are all marked by sin and death; we find freedom and life in Christ; and then gifted by Christ to his Father. Love and life progressively become the air we breath and our very way of life. It is a process that begins in this life and finds its fulfilment in the life that ‘follows’.

  • What are the signs of that life taking root in you even now?
  • What hold you back from it?
  • Bring your thoughts and feelings to God in prayer.

The Resurrection. Rosary Way, Aylesford Priory. (c) 2008, Allen Morris

Taste and See: Being Family

FInding

On the feast of the Holy Family the first reading came from the book of Ecclesiasticus. We revisit it today.

It speaks of the duty of children towards their parents, and the responsibilities of parents toward their children.

The quality of relationship between those related by blood is of particular importance in our communities, and not always helped by the circumstances of modern life.

These days after Christmas are often somewhat tense for families – as well as enjoyable!. We do not often spend so much time together as we do in this holiday period.

Returning to this reading offers us the opportunity for a certain examination of conscience about how we live in our families, both at this time and during the rest of the year.

The Lord honours the father in his children,
and upholds the rights of a mother over her sons.
Whoever respects his father is atoning for his sins,
he who honours his mother is like someone amassing a fortune.
Whoever respects his father will be happy with children of his own,
he shall be heard on the day when he prays.
Long life comes to him who honours his father,
he who sets his mother at ease is showing obedience to the Lord.
My son, support your father in his old age,
do not grieve him during his life.
Even if his mind should fail, show him sympathy,
do not despise him in your health and strength;
for kindness to a father shall not be forgotten
but will serve as reparation for your sins.

Ecclesiasticus 3:3-7,14-17

The image featured in today’s blog is not of the Holy Family alone, but of the mystery of the Child Jesus discovered teaching in the Temple.

It reminds that there is more to family than ‘blood family’ only. It also reminds of some of the challenges of family life as people grow up and circumstances change.

  • What space do you allow in your family for each other to grow and mature?
  • How do you honour and celebrate new achievements?
  • How do you support one another during times of challenge and struggle

O God,
you cradle us at the beginning of life
and embrace us at our journey’s end,
for you love us as your own.

Bind our families together
and in all circumstances deepen our faith,
that, like the Holy Family of Nazareth,
we grow in wisdom,
obedient to your word.

We ask this through Jesus Christ,
your eternal Word made flesh,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
in the splendour of eternal light,
God for ever and ever. Amen

Image is of the mystery of the Discovery of Jesus in the Temple from the Rosary Way, Aylesford Priory. (c) 2012, Allen Morris.

 

Taste and See: A new creation

NativityThe mystery of Christmas is a mystery of God in the flesh, but also a  mystery of our salvation, of theosis, of our call to be re-made as divine humans. God’s free gift, this is what we are called to, invited to learn to live.

You are God’s chosen race, his saints; he loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same. Over all these clothes, to keep them together and complete them, put on love. And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is for this that you were called together as parts of one body. Always be thankful.

Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you. Teach each other, and advise each other, in all wisdom. With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God; and never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Wives, give way to your husbands, as you should in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and treat them with gentleness. Children, be obedient to your parents always, because that is what will please the Lord. Parents, never drive your children to resentment or you will make them feel frustrated.

Colossians 3:12-21

The ways of the kingdom, the ways of the community of the family of God, are different to those we are commonly encouraged to. They are ways of mutuality and encouragement, rather than selfishness and aggressive competition. They are ways that nurture and are for the good of all. They are ways that imitate the manner of Jesus.

As we rapidly approach the New Year and maybe consider New Year resolutions, what is the ONE thing you can do that would be for your good and the good of the community around you? Ask the Lord for his help and support that this one thing may be achieved by you and God together in the New Year.

Photograph of the ceramic plaque depicting the Nativity in the Rosary Way, Aylesford Priory. (c) 2012, Allen Morris