Speak Lord: Draw us to praise…

date-31-dec

O God, be gracious and bless us.

O God, be gracious and bless us
and let your face shed its light upon us.
So will your ways be known upon earth
and all nations learn your saving help.

Let the nations be glad and exult
for you rule the world with justice.
With fairness you rule the peoples,
you guide the nations on earth.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
May God still give us his blessing
till the ends of the earth revere him.

Psalm 66:2-3,5,6,8

Sunday, tomorrow, is the feast of Mary, Mother of God, and the Octave Day of Christmas.

The Psalm we sing at Mass has us ask God’s blessing for us and for all. And the sign of the blessing will be rejoicing.

There will for sure be rejoicing and partying tonight as we pass from 2016  to 2017. But for what will we rejoice? And what will be the inspiration that dfraws us forward into the New Year?

Graphic (c) 2016, Allen Morris

 

Taste and See: Growing up

Finding in the temple 2

On Sunday last, Holy Family Sunday, and the first Sunday of Christmas, the Gospel came from Luke’s Gospel, and is the only account we have of the time between Jesus’ birth and his adult ministry.

The life of the Holy Family was not without its challenges.

Every year the parents of Jesus used to go to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up for the feast as usual. When they were on their way home after the feast, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing it. They assumed he was with the caravan, and it was only after a day’s journey that they went to look for him among their relations and acquaintances. When they failed to find him they went back to Jerusalem looking for him everywhere.

Three days later, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the doctors, listening to them, and asking them questions; and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his replies. They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, ‘My child, why have, you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’ ‘Why were you looking for me?’ he replied ‘Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?’ But they did not understand what he meant.

He then went down with them and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority. His mother stored up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and men.

Luke 2:41-52

How could their life be without challenges? Jesus own life would lead to the agony of decision whether to betray himself and his mission, or flee to the hills to escape execution. Our own lives, while rarely pushed to that pitch of crisis or incident, every day contain choices. Those choices can make or mar our life and the lives of those nearest us, and – in this global economy – impact on those far away who would never dream of our existence.

At any time most of us have only a modest grasp on the circumstances of our lives and the import of decisions we make. All the more important then to seek that sort of healthy collaboration – often a very tough working together – that we see in the Gospel story.

Jesus does the will of his Father, but returns home under the authority of his parents. Mary expresses her distress and anger at Jesus, but also is ready to store these things in her heart, and – we are told elsewhere – ponder them.

Theirs is a life lived careful for truth and purpose.

New Year’s resolutions loom.

What might be a realistic one that will help you to live and work more collaboratively with God and neighbour?

 

A second image of the child Jesus in the Temple. Hill of Apparitions, Medjugorje. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: A new creation

NativityThe mystery of Christmas is a mystery of God in the flesh, but also a  mystery of our salvation, of theosis, of our call to be re-made as divine humans. God’s free gift, this is what we are called to, invited to learn to live.

You are God’s chosen race, his saints; he loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same. Over all these clothes, to keep them together and complete them, put on love. And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is for this that you were called together as parts of one body. Always be thankful.

Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you. Teach each other, and advise each other, in all wisdom. With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God; and never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Wives, give way to your husbands, as you should in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and treat them with gentleness. Children, be obedient to your parents always, because that is what will please the Lord. Parents, never drive your children to resentment or you will make them feel frustrated.

Colossians 3:12-21

The ways of the kingdom, the ways of the community of the family of God, are different to those we are commonly encouraged to. They are ways of mutuality and encouragement, rather than selfishness and aggressive competition. They are ways that nurture and are for the good of all. They are ways that imitate the manner of Jesus.

As we rapidly approach the New Year and maybe consider New Year resolutions, what is the ONE thing you can do that would be for your good and the good of the community around you? Ask the Lord for his help and support that this one thing may be achieved by you and God together in the New Year.

Photograph of the ceramic plaque depicting the Nativity in the Rosary Way, Aylesford Priory. (c) 2012, Allen Morris