Taste and See: In it together…

Oils, SPirit, Liverpool

The Second reading at Mass on Sunday this week, the feast of Pentecost, was taken from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. He rejoices in the unity and dignity of all Christians, a dignity which comes from their unity in Christ, enlivened by his Spirit.

No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

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.

Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts, is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptised, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.

1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13

To be part of a team, supported and supporting, is our vocation as Christians.

Often when speaking of vocation people seem to focus on an individual’s personal path in life – and on a relatively few particular paths/works in life, too, come to that.

But all Christian vocation is rooted in our communion with Jesus, and is for service of others. This is true of Baptism (culminating in Confirmation and Eucharist). It is true of those admitted to the Orders of Deacons, Presbyters and Bishops – they minister Christ and together with others, for others. It is true of those admitted to the Order of Penitents and the Order of the Sick and Infirm – in need of mercy and assistance, but also called to bear witness to the Church of their trust in the mercy of God. And it is true, in a paradigmatic way, of those called to marriage and family life – they serve as Christ to each other and to their family and community, and do it together.

  • With whom do you work in Christ?
  • Whose assistance and cooperation do you neglect or resist?

Art work in Chapel of Holy Oils, Christ the King Cathedral, Liverpool. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

Taste and See: the family of God

Murillo Trinity

The Psalm for Trinity Sunday, the first day of this week, expresses thanks for the way that God incorporates the human family into his triune life.

Happy the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

For the word of the Lord is faithful
and all his works to be trusted.
The Lord loves justice and right
and fills the earth with his love.

Happy the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

By his word the heavens were made,
by the breath of his mouth all the stars.
He spoke; and it came to be.
He commanded; it sprang into being.

Happy 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 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 the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

Psalm 32:4-6,9,18-20,22

As the psalmist acknowledges, we place our hope in God.

God, also, places hope in us. How will you seek to live this day, to justify that hope?

Image: Murillo, The two Trinities, in the collection of the National Gallery, London.

Speak Lord: Unite us in you and in your Church

Aix 2104 OLady

The second reading on Sunday, the 26th in Ordinary Time, comes in two forms. The longer is below. The shorter is of just the first paragraph.

If our life in Christ means anything to you, if love can persuade at all, or the Spirit that we have in common, or any tenderness and sympathy, then be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind. That is the one thing which would make me completely happy. There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, So that nobody thinks of his own interests first but everybody thinks of other people’s interests instead. In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus:

His state was divine,
yet he did not cling
to his equality with God
but emptied himself
to assume the condition of a slave,
and became as men are;
and being as all men are,
he was humbler yet,
even to accepting death,
death on a cross.
But God raised him high
and gave him the name
which is above all other names
so that all beings in the heavens,
on earth and in the underworld,
should bend the knee at the name of Jesus
and that every tongue should acclaim
Jesus Christ as Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:1-11

For Paul the Christian life is not something we can live alone. It is a life lived together: together in the Church, and together with Christ Jesus. And it is a life lived in love.

So, two reality checks for today.

  • How much of my life do I live with others? How much ‘against’ them?
    How do I know? Would others agree?
  • How loving is my life? How care-less?
    How do I know? Would others agree?

The image is of Mary, Mother of the Church. The sight of burning candles is a constant reminder of the community and its needs, the community and its prayers. Photograph of shrine in  Église du Saint-Esprit, Aix-en-Provence (c) 2014, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Take care…

danger

The first reading at Mass on Sunday – the 23rd Sunday of the Year – encourages us to be bold in addressing the faults of others!

The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows: ‘Son of man, I have appointed you as sentry to the House of Israel. When you hear a word from my mouth, warn them in my name. If I say to a wicked man: Wicked wretch, you are to die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked man to renounce his ways, then he shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death. If, however, you do warn a wicked man to renounce his ways and repent, and he does not repent, then he shall die for his sin, but you yourself will have saved your life.’

Ezekiel 33:7-9

Maybe the occasions where we need to say: ‘Wicked wretch, you are to die’ are actually few and far between,

But probably many more are the occasions when we should be more careful for the well-being of others, and be ready to share our concerns and unease.

It’s said that a good way of approaching concerns is to say for example ‘When I see …. I feel …. because….’ – eg ‘When I see you shouting at the children I feel sad because you seem under so much stress’. It feels safer, because it at one and the same time stands a little way from the matter that you feel needs addressing, but also introduces you yourself into the situation, opening up the possibility of you being part of the solution! Or at least presents you as being in relationship with the person. It invites them to dialogue, rather than simply telling them ‘they’ have a problem.

Sometimes, of course, when they respond, and we learn something more of their situation, we may find there is a good deal to it that we have never appreciated, but may well be able to assist with, or at least provide them with a listening ear.

  • Who have you helped recently?
  • How?
  • Who has helped you recently?
  • How?

Bring your thoughts to prayer.

Image found here: http://dadsteachthebible.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/warn-wicked.html