Speak Lord: Teacher

Jesus Avignon Palais des Papes

The first reading at Mass today, the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary time, offers very simple practical advice.

My son, be gentle in carrying out your business, and you will be better loved than a lavish giver.

The greater you are, the more you should behave humbly, and then you will find favour with the Lord; for great though the power of the Lord is, he accepts the homage of the humble.

There is no cure for the proud man’s malady, since an evil growth has taken root in him. The heart of a sensible man will reflect on parables, an attentive ear is the sage’s dream.

Ecclesiasticus 3:19-21,30-31

It is advice in the art of being human. Sometimes we are so taken up with ‘how Jesus is God’ that we neglect to give equal attention to ‘how Jesus is human’. It is in living our humanity to the full, fulfilling its every potential for love and care, that we are helped – by God’s grace – to progress in holiness, to deepen our lived communion with Jesus: Fully human, fully divine.

  • Where / How / When might you be more human?

Fresco. Palais des Papes, Avignon. (c) 2015), Allen Morris

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Taste and See: Being Family

FInding

On the feast of the Holy Family the first reading came from the book of Ecclesiasticus. We revisit it today.

It speaks of the duty of children towards their parents, and the responsibilities of parents toward their children.

The quality of relationship between those related by blood is of particular importance in our communities, and not always helped by the circumstances of modern life.

These days after Christmas are often somewhat tense for families – as well as enjoyable!. We do not often spend so much time together as we do in this holiday period.

Returning to this reading offers us the opportunity for a certain examination of conscience about how we live in our families, both at this time and during the rest of the year.

The Lord honours the father in his children,
and upholds the rights of a mother over her sons.
Whoever respects his father is atoning for his sins,
he who honours his mother is like someone amassing a fortune.
Whoever respects his father will be happy with children of his own,
he shall be heard on the day when he prays.
Long life comes to him who honours his father,
he who sets his mother at ease is showing obedience to the Lord.
My son, support your father in his old age,
do not grieve him during his life.
Even if his mind should fail, show him sympathy,
do not despise him in your health and strength;
for kindness to a father shall not be forgotten
but will serve as reparation for your sins.

Ecclesiasticus 3:3-7,14-17

The image featured in today’s blog is not of the Holy Family alone, but of the mystery of the Child Jesus discovered teaching in the Temple.

It reminds that there is more to family than ‘blood family’ only. It also reminds of some of the challenges of family life as people grow up and circumstances change.

  • What space do you allow in your family for each other to grow and mature?
  • How do you honour and celebrate new achievements?
  • How do you support one another during times of challenge and struggle

O God,
you cradle us at the beginning of life
and embrace us at our journey’s end,
for you love us as your own.

Bind our families together
and in all circumstances deepen our faith,
that, like the Holy Family of Nazareth,
we grow in wisdom,
obedient to your word.

We ask this through Jesus Christ,
your eternal Word made flesh,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
in the splendour of eternal light,
God for ever and ever. Amen

Image is of the mystery of the Discovery of Jesus in the Temple from the Rosary Way, Aylesford Priory. (c) 2012, Allen Morris.