Taste and See: Becoming new

Christian, Cairo The Second Reading at Mass yesterday came from the letter of St Paul to the Ephesians.

I want to urge you in the name of the Lord, not to go on living the aimless kind of life that pagans live. Now that is hardly the way you have learnt from Christ, unless you failed to hear him properly when you were taught what the truth is in Jesus.

You must give up your old way of life; you must put aside your old self, which gets corrupted by following illusory desires. Your mind must be renewed by a spiritual revolution so that you can put on the new self that has been created in God’s way, in the goodness and holiness of the truth.

Ephesians 4:17,20-24

Over these coming days many of us will have the privilege of more leisure than usual. It gives an opportunity to rest. It also gives a chance to take stock.

  • How would you describe your ‘old’ life? What are its strengths? What its weaknesses?
  • What about the life that is lived that is closer to God’s ways? What attracts and challenges? How might you be able to grow towards this newness? And what might hold you back?
  • Spend a little longer in prayer, if you can. Considering, and giving thanks.

Image of Christian(s) from the Christian Museum, Cairo. (c) 2004, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: So we might better know your care.

Rosary 4

The psalm for Mass tomorrow, the 16th Sunday of the Year, anticipates the Gospel.

There, in Mark’s account of the disciples returning from mission and Jesus’ care for them, we hear also of how Jesus is unexpectedly met with a great crowd of other people needing his pastoral ministry. They are like sheep without a shepherd.

The psalm celebrates God’s shepherding of his people: his loving care and our safety.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me,
to revive my drooping spirit.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

He guides me along the right path;
he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness
no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff;
with these you give me comfort.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

You have prepared a banquet for me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
for ever and ever.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

Psalm 22:1-6

At a time of the year when many are approaching holidays and are finding themselves frazzled by the business of life and work, the psalm invites us to know we are not in this alone.

What ever our trials and tribulations, the Lord is with us and sustaining us. We are being led and guided, and if the path is through hard places, the path leads on beyond those. So even in the ‘valley of darkness’  we need not fear, but can find the inner space and inner care to respond to the needs of others.

The shepherded are not lost. Found, cherished and accompanied, they can be shepherds in their turn.

  • Where have you found yourself cared for recently?
  • Where have you shown care for others?

Photograph of window at Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, Marylebone.  (c) 2007, Allen Morris.