Taste and see: Heavenly life

Christ, Arles2013There were two alternatives for the Second reading at Mass on Easter Sunday.

The first of them, from Paul’s letter to the Colossians, is given below, and the second included at the end of this posting.

Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed – and he is your life – you too will be revealed in all your glory with him.

Colossians 3:1-4

‘Far, far away, above the clouds, beyond the rain… Somewhere over the rainbow….’

So goes the song. Is Paul saying just the same thing?

Jesus said from the beginning of his ministry, echoing the teaching of John the Baptist, the Kingdom of God is very near to us. Not far, far away… not a dream, a fancy, of what might be, but a realisation of what is even now, if we will wake to it.

True, the demonstration of the truth of this, and pledge of its future fulfilment, is in Christ now in heaven itself at the Father’s right hand. But the kingdom is also really close at our hand.

In the Resurrection our attention shifts from the worldly to the heavenly, but again not as escapism and fantasy, but a deeper engagement with what truly is, and that can be revealed by our better living.

– – –

You must know how even a small amount of yeast is enough to leaven all the dough, so get rid of all the old yeast, and make yourselves into a completely new batch of bread, unleavened as you are meant to be. Christ, our passover, has been sacrificed; let us celebrate the feast, then, by getting rid of all the old yeast of evil and wickedness, having only the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

1 Corinthians 5:6-8

Image of the Resurrected Christ and the faithful. Musée de l’Arles antique , Arles, France. Photograph (c) Allen Morris, 2013.

Taste and See: The love of the Lord is forever.

David's Tomb

The psalm at Sunday’s Mass, the 4th Sunday of Advent, picks up the Lord’s promise to David, and makes it reason not only for David’s giving thanks, but our joining him in giving praise.

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord;
through all ages my mouth will proclaim your truth.
Of this I am sure, that your love lasts for ever,
that your truth is firmly established as the heavens.

‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn to David my servant:
I will establish your dynasty for ever
and set up your throne through all ages.

‘He will say to me: “You are my father,
my God, the rock who saves me.”
I will keep my love for him always;
with him my covenant shall last.’

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

Psalm 88:2-5,27,29

We are the present recipients of the fulfilment of the promises to David. Promises fulfilled not by an earthly kingdom and royal lineage, but by the eternal kingship of Christ crucified and risen again, and promising to be with us for ever.

In the mystery of God’s love even we finite creatures are on the threshold of eternal life. The love of God calls us to life and offers to hold us to this life for ever.

Photograph of the sarcophagus venerated on Mount Zion as the Tomb of David.  (c) 2013, Allen Morris.


Speak Lord: Invited? Welcome?

Fresco of the Last Supper, Lower Basilica Assisi

The first reading at Mass this coming Sunday, the 29th in Ordinary time, is a reading of comfort and hope. The reading is part of the selection in the Lectionary for use at funerals too.

On this mountain,
the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples
a banquet of rich food.
On this mountain he will remove
the mourning veil covering all peoples,
and the shroud enwrapping all nations,
he will destroy Death for ever.
The Lord will wipe away
the tears from every cheek;
he will take away his people’s shame
everywhere on earth,
for the Lord has said so.
That day, it will be said: See, this is our God
in whom we hoped for salvation;
the Lord is the one in whom we hoped.
We exult and we rejoice
that he has saved us.

Isaiah 25:6-10

On Sunday this prophesy of a feast is juxtaposed with a gospel parable about another feast, to which prove unwilling or unfit to attend. How do we stand vis a vis the eschatalogical feast, the heavenly feast on the mountain of God.

Ready to go? Unfit to attend?

In what do we trust? For what do we work? In answering these two questions we might find the answer to other two above.

Fresco of the Last Supper – another meal of choices – Assisi. Photograph (c) Allen Morris, 2014