Speak Lord: Our Freedom


John in his prison had heard what Christ was doing and he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?’ Jesus answered, ‘Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind see again, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor; and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.’

As the messengers were leaving, Jesus began to talk to the people about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man wearing fine clothes? Oh no, those who wear fine clothes are to be found in palaces. Then what did you go out for? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says:

‘Look, I am going to send my messenger before you;
he will prepare your way before you.

‘I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is.’

Matthew 11:2-11

This coming Sunday is the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, a day of joy in the love and workings of God.

The gospel of the day reveals to us something of the doubt and fear that John endures in his imprisonment.

Doubt and fear linger around us too, even on a day of joy.

Remembering and being renewed by the workings of God is our way to freedom – his gift and our response.

Carving. Grasse, France. 2007

Taste and See: Hope and help

Hope Grasse

The Psalm sung on Sunday, the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, confessed the Lord to be our help. In doing so we professed our vulnerability, our need, our present contingence.

My lips will tell of your help.

In you, O Lord, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, free me:
pay heed to me and save me.

My lips will tell of your help.

Be a rock where I can take refuge,
a mighty stronghold to save me;
for you are my rock, my stronghold.
Free me from the hand of the wicked.

My lips will tell of your help.

It is you, O Lord, who are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, since my youth.
On you I have leaned from my birth,
from my mother’s womb you have been my help.

My lips will tell of your help.

My lips will tell of your justice
and day by day of your help.
O God, you have taught me from my youth
and I proclaim your wonders still.

My lips will tell of your help.

Psalm 70:1-6,15,17

In just over a week’s time we begin the season of Lent a time when we face up to our temptations and weaknesses, even to challenge them, to seek to overcome them. In doing this we wish to demonstrate our freedom of them, either by our resilience and deliberate act, or – if we fail! – by turning to the Lord and his mercy, and his power, in a new awareness of the importance of his victory over sin and death.

But whether we succeed in keeping our Lenten penance and fasts, we seek to know more keenly and confess more readily that his is the glory, our salvation comes only through him.

  • Where are we bound? Imprisoned? Heading?

Carving, Grasse, France. (c) 2007, Allen Morris