Speak Lord: Help us, even more!

St Vasily, MoscowThe Gospel at Mass on Sunday, the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, has the Lord calling us to fresh confidence in him, and in the Father.

He also calls us to righteousness, living according to the values of the kingdom. Peter seems to consider this call might be too onerous for him and the apostles. One might consider that he would think it maybe too challenging for ‘the rest’, the ‘everyone’ (else). But, no, self-interest seems to predominate in Peter’s thinking and Peter’s concern!

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.

‘Sell your possessions and give alms. Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, treasure that will not fail you, in heaven where no thief can reach it and no moth destroy it. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

‘See that you are dressed for action and have your lamps lit. Be like men waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks. Happy those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. I tell you solemnly, he will put on an apron, sit them down at table and wait on them. It may be in the second watch he comes, or in the third, but happy those servants if he finds them ready. You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what hour the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house. You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’

Peter said, ‘Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?’ The Lord replied, ‘What sort of steward, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you truly, he will place him over everything he owns. But as for the servant who says to himself, “My master is taking his time coming,” and sets about beating the menservants and the maids, and eating and drinking and getting drunk, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.

The servant who knows what his master wants, but has not even started to carry out those wishes, will receive very many strokes of the lash. The one who did not know, but deserves to be beaten for what he has done, will receive fewer strokes. When a man has had a great deal given him, a great deal will be demanded of him; when a man has had a great deal given him on trust, even more will be expected of him.’

Luke 12:32-48

  • What have you been given?
  • What is demanded/expected of you?
  • What do you struggle with? Bring this to the Lord for his consolation and his help.

Pall for the Reliquary of St Vasily the Blessed. St Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow. (c) 2015, ALlen Morris.

Taste and See: Being present to Christ…

Ivanov AppearanceThe Collect at Mass on Sunday, the First Sunday of Advent, calls on God the Father to help us to meet Christ well prepared.

In these first days of Advent we are urged to be prepared fro Christ’s Second coming, that we may worthily celebrate with Christmas, the liturgical anniversary of his First Coming.

Collect

Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.
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.

  • What are the righteous deeds that – without bragging, of course, – you might present to Christ?
  • Which are lacking? Which might you re-attempt during this Advent, and why?

A.A. Ivanov. The Appearance of Christ. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: that we might hear you again

Picasso detail of young acrobat with a ball, PushkinThe psalm at Mass tomorrow, the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, engages us afresh with the ups and downs of life, with the experience of progress and reverses.

But it is most fundamentally a song of faith, a thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness and love.

What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.

When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage,
it seemed like a dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter,
on our lips there were songs.

The heathens themselves said: ‘What marvels
the Lord worked for them!’
What marvels the Lord worked for us!
Indeed we were glad.

Deliver us, O Lord, from our bondage
as streams in dry land.
Those who are sowing in tears
will sing when they reap.

They go out, they go out, full of tears,
carrying seed for the sowing:
they come back, they come back, full of song,
carrying their sheaves.

Psalm 125:1-6

Often, probably too often, we can be so preoccupied with what is changing in life – for example, the ups and downs – that we do not recognise the constant.

One of the functions of the Liturgy, including the Mass, is to restore a proper perspective to us. Our turning to God helps us know afresh how steadily and constantly our God is turned to us.

  • What are the ups and downs that have led you from God?
  • And which have led you to God?
  • And where are you now?

Bring your thoughts to God in prayer.

Detail of Young Acrobat on a ball by Picasso, in collection of Pushkin Museum, Moscow. Photograph (c) 2015, Allen Morris