Taste and See: Our Protector


Be pleased, O Lord, with our humble prayers and offerings,
and, since we have no merits to plead our cause,
come, we pray, to our rescue
with the protection of your mercy.
Through Christ our Lord.

The Prayer over the Offerings for Mass yesterday, the Second Sunday of Advent, has us admit our poverty.

We have not a few merits to our name, but none. Our acheivements and such are truly dwarfed by our faults and failings. In truth, our only hope is that God should come our rescue.

Because we know that God does come to our aid we do not despair, but we hope and we trust.

  • Who else has come to your aid?
  • To whose aid have you come?
  • Who might you next assist?

Corporal Acts of Mercy. Parish Church, Stratford upon Avon. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.

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.


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…



Taste and See: Ministering mercy

FootwashingThe Gospel reading yesterday, Sunday, the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, returned us to Mark’s Gospel. This, the third Gospel in canonical sequence, but probably the first of the four to be written, is the one most regularly used in the Sunday Lectionary during  Year B of the Cycle.

Mark has a keen sense for the ministry of Jesus in freeing people from oppression, both that which comes from within and from without.

The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered round Jesus, and they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with unclean hands, that is, without washing them. For the Pharisees, and the Jews in general, follow the tradition of the elders and never eat without washing their arms as far as the elbow; and on returning from the market place they never eat without first sprinkling themselves. There are also many other observances which have been handed down to them concerning the washing of cups and pots and bronze dishes. So these Pharisees and scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not respect the tradition of the elders but eat their food with unclean hands?’ He answered, ‘It was of you hypocrites that Isaiah so rightly prophesied in this passage of scripture:

This people honours me only with lip-service,
while their hearts are far from me.
The worship they offer me is worthless,
the doctrines they teach are only human regulations.

You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions.’ He called the people to him again and said, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that goes into a man from outside can make him unclean; it is the things that come out of a man that make him unclean. For it is from within, from men’s hearts, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within and make a man unclean.’

Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23

The Gospel is proclaimed to us to set us free from these potential corruptions, and to help us in our turn be ministers of mercy.

In his letter establishing the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis reminded (as did St James in the second reading yesterday) of the works of corporal mercy.

It is not enough for Christians to be free of sin, we are made and called to the good:

Let us rediscover the corporal works of mercy: to feed the
hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the
stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead….
We cannot escape the Lord’s words to us, and they will serve as the criteria upon which we will be judged: whether we have fed the hungry and given drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger and clothed the naked, or spent time with the sick and those in prison (cf. Mt 25:31-45).
Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus, 15

The washing of feet. Grantham Parish Church. (C) 2011, Allen Morris.