Speak Lord: Saviour

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.

‘Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.’

Gospel for the 1st Sunday of Advent, Year C
Luke 21:25-28,34-36

We hear this gospel passage at a time when there is political and social uncertainty; and fear and anger are engendered by this insecurity.

Such circumstances fret at the fabric of society – not that said fabric is especially strong and resistant even at the best of times. Society has a tendency to degrade and atomise when there is a sense of risk and danger, and when there is opportunity to make a quick buck for yourself or yours.

Over the coming year Luke speaks of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of the Kingdom, and of the community forced in faith and grateful response to the love of God.

Maybe we will find remedy in a daily Advent reading from the Gospel of Luke – a chapter a day will be available on our sister Blog, Prayer from the Catholic Tradition.

Stained glass image of St Luke, Lichfield Cathedral. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Through us that others might hear…

St Isaac Spirit

Tomorrow is the feast of Pentecost, the last day of the Easter Season. The first reading at Mass tells of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the disciples gathered in the Upper Room. At Jesus’ baptism the Spirit appeared in the form of a dove. Now the Spirit appears as flames of fire, enabling speech in all the languages of the world.

When Pentecost day came round, they had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.

Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. ‘Surely’ they said ‘all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; people from Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya round Cyrene; as well as visitors from Rome – Jews and proselytes alike – Cretans and Arabs; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.’

Acts 2:1-11

 

The whole world learns of the Good News from the few, inspired by the love and power of God. Something new is brought about through God’s gift and the cooperation of men of good will.

  • How does your work, your life, continue the work of witness to the Lord.
  • How do you help intensify the value of that witness?
  • How might you hamper it?

St Isaac’s Cathedral, St Petersburg. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.

 

Speak Lord: Help us know you better

Nazareth WindowOn the 3rd Sunday of the Year, in Year C, the Gospel reading re-establishes us in the series of sequential readings from The Gospel of Luke which will accompany us through the Sundays in Ordinary Time during the rest of this year.

Last week we heard a passage from John’s Gospel too important to lose sight of, and which found no easy home elsewhere in the 3-year cycle of Sunday Readings. Over theprevious weeks the readings were chosen tolead us into a contemplation of the Mysteries of the Christmas Season, and making the most of the season of Advent. but now we begin our reading of Luke.

The editors gives us the introductory verses and then leaping over the accounts of conception and birth of John the Baptist and Jesus, and Jesus’ baptism, sets before us the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus as Luke describes it:

Seeing that many others have undertaken to draw up accounts of the events that have taken place among us, exactly as these were handed down to us by those who from the outset were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, I in my turn, after carefully going over the whole story from the beginning, have decided to write an ordered account for you, Theophilus, so that your Excellency may learn how well founded the teaching is that you have received.

Jesus, with the power of the Spirit in him, returned to Galilee; and his reputation spread throughout the countryside. He taught in their synagogues and everyone praised him.

He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day as he usually did. He stood up to read and they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll he found the place where it is written: The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.

He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to speak to them, ‘This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.’

Luke 1:1-4,4:14-21

The account firmly situates Jesus and the meaning of his ministry in the  bigger story of God and his people. In that story always God has been faithful and time and time again his people are not so. Now a son of Israel comes before his people, perfectly to embody the fulfilment what God promises, and perfectly to achieve what God invites us to.

  • Which aspect of Jesus’ ministry as named above most touches you?
  • Of which are you most in need?
  • And those around you?

Window from the Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazareth. (c) 2013, Allen Morris.