Speak Lord: open our hearts

Wise man, Notre DameThe responsorial psalm for Mass tomorrow, the feast of the Epiphany, identifies the wise men of Matthew’s Gospel with all the nations,, and associates us with all those nations.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

O God, give your judgement to the king,
to a king’s son your justice,
that he may judge your people in justice
and your poor in right judgement.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

In his days justice shall flourish
and peace till the moon fails.
He shall rule from sea to sea,
from the Great River to earth’s bounds.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

The kings of Tarshish and the sea coasts
shall pay him tribute.
The kings of Sheba and Seba
shall bring him gifts.
Before him all kings shall fall prostrate,
all nations shall serve him.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

For he shall save the poor when they cry
and the needy who are helpless.
He will have pity on the weak
and save the lives of the poor.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

Psalm 71:1-2,7-8,10-13

The nations came in and as the wise men to the stable of Bethlehem; we of the nations come before the Lord in all sorts of ways. Perhaps most evidently and regularly we come before him in the Mass, where he is present for us in the assembly assembled and active in prayer and song; in the word proclaimed and listened to; in the ministry of the priest in its various aspects; and in the Eucharist, bread and wine transformed into Christ’s Body and Blood, offered, received, eaten, drunk, adored.

Were we all to fall prostrate before the Lord at Mass, progressing in its action would be somewhat difficult. But that sort of honour and respect is what we need to approach in order to be properly receptive and properly engaged in what the Mass is and what the Mass is for.

A contemplative Wise Man. Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris. (c) 2006.

Speak Lord: Of the Blessing of the Kingdom

Beatitudes 3

The Gospel for Sunday, the Solemnity of All Saints, is likely to be a very familiar one – the Beatitudes as presented in Matthew’s Gospel.

Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:
‘How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy the gentle:  they shall have the earth for their heritage.
Happy those who mourn: they shall be comforted.
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right: they shall be satisfied.
Happy the merciful: they shall have mercy shown them.
Happy the pure in heart: they shall see God.
Happy the peacemakers: they shall be called sons of God.
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right:
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.’

Matthew 5:1-12

The standards of life that belong to the kingdom are simple and clear.

How much more challenging they are to live to.

How rare it is, that these are the values to which the media draws our attention.

These are the values that unite. It seems to make better headlines when they can write and speak about things which divide.

These are the values that foster happy, blessed, life. Those other values hobble us, constrain us, and threaten to suffocate us.

  • How does life in your parish help you to live by the values of the kingdom?
  • How do you help others to live by the values of the kingdom?
  • What else help you yourself to faithful living?

Bring your reflections to God in prayer.

Sculpted figures of the Preaching of the Beatitudes, Domus Galilei, Galilee. Photograph (c) 2012, Allen Morris.