Speak Lord: Of Church

DSC00394 church.jpgThe whole community remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.
The many miracles and signs worked through the apostles made a deep impression on everyone.
The faithful all lived together and owned everything in common; they sold their goods and possessions and shared out the proceeds among themselves according to what each one needed.
They went as a body to the Temple every day but met in their houses for the breaking of bread; they shared their food gladly and generously; they praised God and were looked up to by everyone. Day by day the Lord added to their community those destined to be saved.

Acts 2:42-47

The above reading, the First reading at Mass today, the 2nd Sunday of Easter sets before us an somewhat idealised description of the first Christian community.

As Acts of the Apostles makes clear there were all sorts of tensions between the different parts of the Church. And yet the Church knew herself called to be One, knew that where there were tensions and dissensions, these needed to be addressed and solutions found.

The Church is the Church: but, always, she, we are called to become Church.

Stained Glass window, parish church of Medjugorje. (c) 2015 Allen Morris

Speak Lord: of Church

Spittlefields churchThe Responsorial psalm tomorrow, the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, focuses in on our being chosen by God.

Those from whom the psalm originated, under divine inspiration, know themselves called to be Israel. We who pray it at Mass tomorrow know ourselves called to be Church, and to live in Christ.

Happy are the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

Ring out your joy to the Lord, O you just;
for praise is fitting for loyal hearts.
They are happy, whose God is the Lord,
the people he has chosen as his own.

Happy are the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

The Lord looks on those who revere him,
on those who hope in his love,
to rescue their souls from death,
to keep them alive in famine.

Happy are the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

Our soul is waiting for the Lord.
The Lord is our help and our shield.
May your love be upon us, O Lord,
as we place all our hope in you.

Happy are the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

Psalm 32:1,12,18-20,22

But what does it mean to be chosen as God’s own. Israel seems to have seen it as a unique calling, which isolated it from the world. God was theirs as they were God’s.

Christians have sometimes had the same understanding, but the Gospel today suggests that the call is to all. All are called to be children of God and live faithfully, lovingly, in relationship with God and with ‘neighbour’, brothers and sisters in the family of God.

The image above is a provocative piece. It claims a bit of public space to proclaim Church. But what image of Church does it convey? A church that rises above the normal and that leaves the normal behind: as earth, dust, only? Or is it Church that calls earth to rise and follow.

Or is Church not the elevated cut out at all? Is the Church the space left above the pavement? Rejecting earthly glory, and identifying faithfulness in an embrace of earth, dust, humus; of the human, beloved of God, but so often seeming far from him.

  • What do you see?
  • What do you feel?
  • How do these encourage you to live?

Street Art, Spittlefields, London. (c) 2009, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Make us one…

Pilgrim WayThe second reading at Mass on Sunday, the Second Sunday of Ordinsry Time, begins a reading of the 1st Letter of St Paul to the Corinthians which will continue on Sundays until we begin Lent.

The sequence  calls us to faithfulness, in our living communion together in the Church, and as individual disciples.

There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose. One may have the gift of preaching with wisdom given him by the Spirit; another may have the gift of preaching instruction given him by the same Spirit; and another the gift of faith given by the same Spirit; another again the gift of healing, through this one Spirit; one, the power of miracles; another, prophecy; another the gift of recognising spirits; another the gift of tongues and another the ability to interpret them. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, who distributes different gifts to different people just as he chooses.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

More than most, Paul is familiar with the trials and challenges and joys and privilege of being a disciple.

To be a disciple is the greatest privilege, the way to the fulfilment of God’s gift of life and his calling of us to union with Him. It also draws us into conflict, burdens, struggles, even as we seek to serve, cooperate, enjoy the godly life.

Paul who knew the difficulties, and in many ways embodies them for us, calls us to unity.

  • How/where are you called to serve?
  • With whom?
  • How does their service help you serve?
  • How might yours better help them?

Worn Pilgrimage Way marker, Lourdes. (c) 2012, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Sing, Jerusalem!


The Psalm for Sunday’s Mass of Corpus Christi has the Church assume the role of the New Jerusalem.

We do this surely in fear and trembling, mindful of the many faults and stumblings which have afflicted the earthly Jerusalem, and aware of how far we are yet from the heavenly Jerusalem.

And yet we sing…
Hopeful and thankful because of God’s mercy.

O praise the Lord, Jerusalem!

O praise the Lord, Jerusalem!
Zion, praise your God!
He has strengthened the bars of your gates
he has blessed the children within you.

O praise the Lord, Jerusalem!

He established peace on your borders,
he feeds you with finest wheat.
He sends out his word to the earth
and swiftly runs his command.

O praise the Lord, Jerusalem!

He makes his word known to Jacob,
to Israel his laws and decrees.
He has not dealt thus with other nations;
he has not taught them his decrees.

O praise the Lord, Jerusalem!

Psalm 147:12-15,19-20

  • Pray for Jerusalem and its peoples.
  • Pray for the Church?
  • Pray for the renewal of your own life and vocation.