Speak Lord: Of your promise of newness

Žilvinas Kempinas Ikon Gallery 2016.jpg

There is one thing, my friends, that you must never forget: that with the Lord, ‘a day’ can mean a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not being slow to carry out his promises, as anybody else might be called slow; but he is being patient with you all, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to change his ways. The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and fall apart, the earth and all that it contains will be burnt up.

Since everything is coming to an end like this, you should be living holy and saintly lives while you wait and long for the Day of God to come, when the sky will dissolve in flames and the elements melt in the heat. What we are waiting for is what he promised: the new heavens and new earth, the place where righteousness will be at home. So then, my friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace.

Second reading for Second Sunday of Advent
2 Peter 3:8-14

What wonders we wait for. Life is grace here and now and graced again and again. But but there is something more we wait and long for.

For here, now, life is marred too, again and again. And we wait for God who will bring that marring and miring to an end, and who offers to bring us and all to new and glorious life – ‘the place where righteousness will be at home’, and we too.

We advance the progress of that which is beyond this time and this place by seeking to live lovingly and well, to enjoy peace and share peace.

  • How might you do that today? And tomorrow?

Image is a detail from work by Žilvinas Kempinas displayed at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 2016. (c) Allen Morris, 2016.

Praying the Year of Mercy

Jubilee Year of Mercy- Final CoverA number of resources have been prepared for the Year of Mercy.

I’m sort of pleased to say that one of them remains somewhat distinctive.

It offers an oversight of the principal features of the year as can be seen from the contents page below. It will therefore serve as a useful companion to the Year, reminding of its key elements.

Contents

Most importantly though, the book especially focuses on the opportunity the Year offers for leading people into prayerful reflection on the Lord’s active and merciful presence in Scripture and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The Year of Mercy  is an invitation for the Church and the world to know afresh the mercy of God. Prayer – especially in response to the word of God, and in the celebration of the Sacraments – leads us into a deeper knowledge of the God of Mercy and Truth. They also help us to a more faithful and fruitful living, strong in love for God, strong in love for neighbour.

‘A Prayer Book’ seeks to sustain and encourage that process of renewal.

The book comes with a Foreword from Archbishop Bernard Longley, the Archbishop of Birmingham

The Jubilee Year of Mercy is rich with promise for the Church and for the world.

Pope Francis has reminded the Church that ‘We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it.’

This mercy, made known in Jesus Christ, is the source of our Christian identity. It is also the gift we are asked to share with the whole world. Pope Francis urges us to this also, to be effective signs of the Father’s action in our lives, living witnesses to others of the love God has for everyone.

This booklet helps us make the most of the Jubilee Year. It provides food for our private prayer, and support for times when we come together to pray with others. Used well, it will deepen our experience of God’s mercy, so that the Lord can make us more fit for mission, and strengthen our desire to share the good news of the mercy of God with our families and our neighbours.

+ Bernard Longley
Archbishop of Birmingham

Hopefully the book will be available from all good Catholic bookshops. Big discounts, however, are available if you go direct to the publisher…

Flier-A5

 

Taste and See: encouragement to strive for the best

Workers inspired, Dresden

The English text of the Collect for Sunday, the 28th of the Year was unusually curt. (Not a regular feature of the recent English re-translation of the Missal!). It reminded that Christians have work to do, a work of justice and love, a work that does not always come easy to us.

Collect

May your grace, O Lord, we pray,
at all times go before us and follow after
and make us always determined
to carry out good works.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

In Birmingham Archdiocese Sunday’s Mass included a Pastoral Letter from the Archbishop reminding of Pope Francis’ call for Catholics to respond generously to the needs of refugees, reminding of the Lord’s call to the rich young man, and considering how these invitations might be most faithfully and fruitfully responded to in our lives.

  • What do I have that I consider mine only?
  • What do I consider that others have a right to a share in?
  • What do I have that I choose to share with others?
  • How do I distinguish these things and why?
  • Bring your reflections to God in prayer.

Mural from State Building, Dresden. (c) 2005, Allen Morris. There were many evident deficiencies in Communism as theorised and lived out in Eastern Europe and Russia in the 20th Century. But there was also – often – a passion for justice for all. Where is that passion in us and our State? How do we foster it and respond to its demands? 

Taste and see: Loving shepherd

St Martin Brum

The first reading at yesterday’s Mass of Christ the King speaks of the Lord’s personal and abiding care for his flock..

The Lord says this:
I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep, so shall I keep my sheep in view.

I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and darkness. I myself will pasture my sheep, I myself will show them where to rest–it is the Lord who speaks.

I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall watch over the fat and healthy. I shall be a true shepherd to them.

As for you, my sheep, the Lord says this: I will judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and he-goats.

Ezekiel 34:11-12,15-17

The particular and personal care that the Lord promises to take echoes the particular and personal care of neighbour that Jesus applauded and rewarded in the parable of the Last Judgement which was heard in yesterday’s Gospel.

One way in which the Lord fulfils his promise to love and care is through the work of his Body, those disciples made one with him through the sacrament of Baptism and sustained in that unity with him through Confirmation and Eucharist, restored to it through Penance (Confession).

    • How might you do Christ’s work today?

Photograph of carving of St Martin coming to the aid of a beggar. Detail of doorway of St Martin’s in the Bullring, Birmingham. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.