Taste and See: the harvest

Harvest and Harvesters, BeziersThe Prayer over the Offerings at Mass yesterday, the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time, offers a certain commentary on the Gospel reading of the day and the previous Sundays.

Be pleased, O Lord, to accept the offerings of your Church,
for in your mercy you have given them to be offered
and by your power you transform them
into the mystery of our salvation.
Through Christ our Lord.

The things of this world – harvest, money, property and things of all sorts – find their fulfilment in being received, honoured, and then offered – and especially offered to God and neighbour.

The harvest is for us too But the harvest – money, property and things of all sorts – is never just for us. When we ourselves make use of it, consuming some part of it, this must be to help us to make fuller offering of ourselves for the glory of God and the love of neighbour. In that way we ourselves – and we ourselves are, after all, a gift of God’s to the world! – are brought to a new fulfilment and our purpose, our end, better achieved.

Terracota panel of wine harvest and harvesters, Beziers, France. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.

 

Taste and See: Fruitful living

Market CarcowThe Collect at Mass on Sunday, the 22nd in Ordinary time, carefully expresses the mutuality between God and the faithful that fosters the best of life.

God of might, giver of every good gift,
put into our hearts the love of your name,
so that, by deepening our sense of reverence,
you may nurture in us what is good
and, by your watchful care,
keep safe what you have nurtured.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Every good gift comes from God, but it is given to be fruitful in us.

  • What good gifts have you received?
  • How might you use them today?
  • How might you use them for the good of others?

Market stall, Cracow. (c) Allen Morris, 2013.

Speak Lord: Of the harvest of life

Harvest sjw

The gospel reading today, the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, speaks of the Kingdom of God. And, inevitably, it does so in terms of metaphor.

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come.’

He also said, ‘What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’

Using many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, so far as they were capable of understanding it. He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were alone.

Mark 4:26-34

The Kingdom of God is, very nearly, that greater than which nothing can be conceived.

Yet Jesus offers as comparisons the abundant harvest which is gifted to the (maybe) lazy farmer (having sown the seed, he seems to have spent the growing season chilling out!); and to the weeds that provide plenty of ground cover to the birds (ever seen a mustard tree?)

So what is Jesus urging us to? A recognition that God’s goodness is great and generous; that  his goodness is provided not to impress but to benefit, and, whatever our deficiencies, when we know the goodness of what God offers, we will move ourselves to receive what is offered.

  • How well do you trust in the goodness of God and his faithfulness?
  • Where in the less well-regarded do you find signs of the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God?

Photograph of figure of the Risen Christ by Michael Clark and Tabernacle surround by Stephen Foster, Church of Our Lady, St John’s Wood. (C) 2004, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: working for the harvest

goodness-is-stronger-than-evil

Sunday’s psalm yearns for a new experience of life in this troubled and troubling world.

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.

I will hear what the Lord God has to say,
a voice that speaks of peace.
His help is near for those who fear him
and his glory will dwell in our land.

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.

Mercy and faithfulness have met;
justice and peace have embraced.
Faithfulness shall spring from the earth
and justice look down from heaven.

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.

The Lord will make us prosper
and our earth shall yield its fruit.
Justice shall march before him
and peace shall follow his steps.

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.

Psalm 84:9-14

  • Where do you lack peace?
  • Where does your neighbour?
  • How do you work to help our earth (to) yield its God-intended fruit?

Image was found here.

Speak Lord: The Lord’s most treasured harvest is us…

Harvest

The psalm for Sunday’s Mass speaks of the Lord’s care -bringing fruitfulness to the earth. The anthropomorphising of Creation offers a lively metaphor, and a challenge – the Lord cares for us, and brings us to fruitfulness, if we let him. Does his work bear fruit in us, and how do we respond if it does?

Some seed fell into rich soil and produced its crop.

You care for the earth, give it water,
you fill it with riches.
Your river in heaven brims over
to provide its grain.

And thus you provide for the earth;
you drench its furrows;
you level it, soften it with showers;
you bless its growth.

You crown the year with your goodness.
Abundance flows in your steps,
in the pastures of the wilderness it flows.

The hills are girded with joy,
the meadows covered with flocks,
the valleys are decked with wheat.
They shout for joy, yes, they sing.

Psalm 64:10-14

  •  What makes you sing for joy? Why?
  • How do you/How have you provided for others? Why?

Bring your responses to these questions to God in prayer.

Photograph (c) Allen Morris, 2014