Speak Lord: Through Michael, through us…

Coventry, MichaelThe first reading at Mass today, the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, reminds of the protection of God, through the ministry of Michael the Archangel.

‘At that time Michael will stand up, the great prince who mounts guard over your people. There is going to be a time of great distress, unparalleled since nations first came into existence. When that time comes, your own people will be spared, all those whose names are found written in the Book. Of those who lie sleeping in the dust of the earth many will awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting disgrace. The learned will shine as brightly as the vault of heaven, and those who have instructed many in virtue, as bright as stars for all eternity.’

Daniel 12:1-3

In your prayers today invoke Michael as Protector, as servant of God, for the people of Paris and France, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan… the list is almost endless. How much the world needs our prayer and our working together as citizens, (and, as many of us will see it, as children of God) that God’s will be done.

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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: The good life, the common good

ballot-box2

The Responsorial Psalm for yesterday’s Mass, that of the 5th Sunday of Easter, offered quite a narrative of love in action, of thankful response. Reconciliation, healing, and faithfulness were all there!

You, Lord, are my praise in the great assembly.
or
Alleluia!

My vows I will pay before those who fear him.
The poor shall eat and shall have their fill.
They shall praise the Lord, those who seek him.
May their hearts live for ever and ever!

You, Lord, are my praise in the great assembly.
or
Alleluia!

All the earth shall remember and return to the Lord,
all families of the nations worship before him;
They shall worship him, all the mighty of the earth;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust.

You, Lord, are my praise in the great assembly.
or
Alleluia!

And my soul shall live for him, my children serve him.
They shall tell of the Lord to generations yet to come,
declare his faithfulness to peoples yet unborn:
‘These things the Lord has done.’

You, Lord, are my praise in the great assembly.
or
Alleluia!

Psalm 21:26-28,30-32

There happens to be a General Election this week, here in the UK. Seems to me this psalm might serve as a helpful sort of an accompaniment to our final decision as to who to cast our vote for.

How will our vote serve what is good and just?
Will it help the poor to be fed?
Will it turn us to the Living Lord? Will it help us live with his love?
Are we pre-occupied with the here and now only, or for that still to come?
For ourselves? Or for future generations?

Taste and See: Beyond passing…

 

Holy Cross church vaulting

The second reading at Sunday’s Mass, that of the 3rd Sunday of the Year, talks of getting a healthy perspective on this passing life.

Brothers: our time is growing short. Those who have wives should live as though they had none, and those who mourn should live as though they had nothing to mourn for; those who are enjoying life should live as though there were nothing to laugh about; those whose life is buying things should live as though they had nothing of their own; and those who have to deal with the world should not become engrossed in it. I say this because the world as we know it is passing away.

1 Corinthians 7:29-31

Paul, hard-working and conscientious, is all too well aware of how you can focus on the wrong things. And maybe had got the brush off when preaching the good news from people saying ‘sorry, mate, love to hear more but got to get back to the wife’ or ‘got to go open up the shop’

But in our day our response to the lord may well be authenticated precisely by how a husband relates to his wife, or wife to husband; by how someone does business.

The world is passing away, so we do not build kingdoms for ourselves here. But we can live in this world seeking its best for others – wives, business partners, neighbours, strangers; working for the common good, serving God in others. Not engrossed by the world but seeking to be free in it to live love.

Detail from the Holy Cross church, Krakow, Poland. (C) 2013, Allen Morris.