Speak Lord: Make us new, make us better

img_0477-desert-flower

Come, Lord, and save us or Alleluia!

It is the Lord who keeps faith for ever,
who is just to those who are oppressed.
It is he who gives bread to the hungry,
the Lord, who sets prisoners free,

Come, Lord, and save us or Alleluia!

It is the Lord who gives sight to the blind,
who raises up those who are bowed down,
the Lord, who protects the stranger
and upholds the widow and orphan.

Come, Lord, and save us or Alleluia!

It is the Lord who loves the just
but thwarts the path of the wicked.
The Lord will reign for ever,
Zion’s God, from age to age.

Come, Lord, and save us or Alleluia!

Psalm 145:6-10

 

The Responsorial Psalm on Sunday, tomorrow, the 3rd Sunday of Advent offers a further set of images of reversal, healing, change.

There is much in our world, and in us, that needs the healing touch of God. In Advent we acknowledge that need, and we are invited to renew our trust that what God has promised, he will do – even for us.

Flower. Gozo. (c) 2009, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Even to warn us

Judean Desert nr St George's Monastery

The Second reading at Mass tomorrow comes from Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians. Paul reflects back on Israel’s experience of journeying through the wilderness from Egypt to the Promised Land, during the Exodus, and what Christians might learn from this.

I want to remind you, brothers, how our fathers were all guided by a cloud above them and how they all passed through the sea. They were all baptised into Moses in this cloud and in this sea; all ate the same spiritual food and all drank the same spiritual drink, since they all drank from the spiritual rock that followed them as they went, and that rock was Christ. In spite of this, most of them failed to please God and their corpses littered the desert.

These things all happened as warnings for us, not to have the wicked lusts for forbidden things that they had. You must never complain: some of them did, and they were killed by the Destroyer.

All this happened to them as a warning, and it was written down to be a lesson for us who are living at the end of the age. The man who thinks he is safe must be careful that he does not fall.

1 Corinthians 10:1-6,10-12

The Destroyer is the destroying angel who carries out God’s punishment in Exodus, the slaying of the first-born of Egypt.

However we understand that, and however we understand the warning here, it is presented as a matter of life and death. We are offered life and urged not, instead, to choose death.

We presently make our journey through Lent, a season given us to help us consider how we make our journey through life.

  • Let us notice the choices we make and the choices we refuse.
  • Where are they leading us?
  • What would be the best choices we could make? Why might we not make them?
  • Ask the Lord to send his Spirit to help you in your following of Christ.

The Judean desert, near St George’s Monastery. (c) 2012, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: call us to you, call us to sense

Judean Deserta

The first reading given for Mass on the feast of Corpus Christi relates a momentous moment in the wilderness experience of the people of Israel.

Moses went and told the people all the commands of the Lord and all the ordinances. In answer, all the people said with one voice, ‘We will observe all the commands that the Lord has decreed.’ Moses put all the commands of the Lord into writing, and early next morning he built an altar at the foot of the mountain, with twelve standing-stones for the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he directed certain young Israelites to offer holocausts and to immolate bullocks to the Lord as communion sacrifices. Half of the blood Moses took up and put into basins, the other half he cast on the altar. And taking the Book of the Covenant he read it to the listening people, and they said, ‘We will observe all that the Lord has decreed; we will obey.’ Then Moses took the blood and cast it towards the people. This’ he said ‘is the blood of the Covenant that the Lord has made with you, containing all these rules.’

Exodus 24:3-8

Following this event Moses ascends Mount Sinai and receives the tablets of stone confirming the commandments of the Law, and the instructions for the building of the tabernacle, the place of meeting between God and his people that will accompany Israel through its desert wanderings, and will be reproduced in the Temple to be built in Jerusalem.

However when he returns from the mountain he finds the people have turned from the Lord and begun to worship the golden calf.

Moses, in his anger and frustration, breaks the stones bearing the commandments, and the people suffer plague sent by the Lord for their unfaithfulness.

So soon so easily the covenant is broken by the people. And yet even in the people there is a longing for it to be restored, and it will be by one of them, Jesus, faithful son of Israel, God in Flesh, that the covenant between God and Man is irrevocably restored.

Still, of course, there remains the question of our faithfulness to it.

  • How do you experience the faithfulness of God, despite your sometime unfaithfulness.
  • Today how might you more fully respond to the Lord’s faithful, covenanted love, and share its fruits with others?

Photograph of Judaean Desert. (c) 2007, Allen Morris