Speak Lord: Welcome us…

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One day as Elisha was on his way to Shunem, a woman of rank who lived there pressed him to stay and eat there.

After this he always broke his journey for a meal when he passed that way.

She said to her husband, ‘Look, I am sure the man wno is constantly passing our way must be a holy man of God. Let us build him a small room on the roof, and put him a bed in it, and a table and chair and lamp; whenever he comes to us he can rest there.’

One day when he came, he retired to the upper room and lay down. He said to his servant Gehazi, ‘Call our Shunammitess. Tell her this: “Look, you have gone to all this trouble for us, what can we do for you? Is there anything you would like said for you to the king or to the commander of the army?”’ But she replied, ‘I live with my own people about me.’ ‘What can be done for her then?’ he asked. Gehazi answered, ‘Well, she has no son and her husband is old.’ Elisha said, ‘Call her.’ The servant called her and she stood at the door. This time next year,’ he said ‘you will hold a son in your arms.’

2 Kings 4:8-11,13-16

The First reading today speaks of hospitality.

For us human beings the first hospitality we receive is that of God who welcomes us into our created home, and gifts us parents, family, culture – and into lived relationship with him.

Then more and more falls to us – for parents to parent, families to be family and communities of all sorts to respond to the challenge and opportunity of ‘the stranger’.

In this reading we hear of generosity and care of family for prophet and prophet for family… In the Gospel today Jesus calls us to make these qualities our own, if we wish to share in his life…

Poster (Hospitality), Cardiff Cathedral. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

 

Taste and See: The love of the Lord made manifest love.

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The verse of the Gospel Acclamation at yesterday’s Mass of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, will be familiar to many people as a responsory used at the Stations of the Cross.

Alleluia, alleluia!

We adore you, O Christ,
and we bless you;
because by your cross
you have redeemed the world.

Alleluia!

Sometimes to the Cross we bring our adoration, at other times our agonies. But there, at the foot of the Cross, -perhaps strangely – we find ourselves in a safe and hospitable place.

At the foot of the Cross, because of the enormity of what Christ achieves there, our words don’t seem necessary. Just silence, but comfortable silence, a silence born of unity not of distance, of gratitude and acceptance and mutual presence. His love has brought us home.

In your prayer, go to the Cross, and pray there – maybe use the painting by Fra Angelico that heads this post as a focus, to help you to the silence.

For myself I find the following detail of the painting especially helpful as a focus for prayer. It is what comes to my mind every Good Friday in the veneration of the Cross.

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