Speak Lord: Lead us on


DSC04053 deposition and resurrection.jpgGive thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.

Let the sons of Israel say:
‘His love has no end.’
Let the sons of Aaron say:
‘His love has no end.’
Let those who fear the Lord say:
‘His love has no end.’

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.

I was thrust down, thrust down and falling,
but the Lord was my helper.
The Lord is my strength and my song;
he was my saviour.
There are shouts of joy and victory
in the tents of the just.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the corner stone.
This is the work of the Lord,
a marvel in our eyes.
This day was made by the Lord;
we rejoice and are glad.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.

Psalm 117:2-4,13-15,22-24

The Responsorial Psalm at Mass tomorrow reminds us of the Passion of the Lord and how the joys of Easter are ours only because Jesus was ready first to endure those pains of love.

His faithfulness, in face of persecution and torture – and cruel death , meets with the reward of life and love without end. And they are now offered to us.

They will only be ours to the extent we can accept them; but the Lord will hold back on nothing we can accept. We do not need to earn them, and we cannot deserve them, but they are freely given so as to lead us from shadow to light; from isolation to communion.

He is risen and we are called to that glory too.

  • What goodness can you not, yet, hold on to?
  • Bring that lack, or that fear of lack, to the Lord in prayer and ask for the help you need.

Deposition and Resurrection. Chester Cathedral. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Taste and See: No-one is alone

 

Memorial to the Passion, Cathedral, Aix en ProvenceIn England and Wales this year, Sunday 14th August was kept as the Solemnity of the Assumption, (in other years it is kept on 15th August).

The Second reading at the Mass during the day came from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having done away with every sovereignty, authority and power. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death, for everything is to be put under his feet.

1 Corinthians 15:20-26

The last phrase of the last sentence of the passage is an encouraging one. We may find ourselves struggling with all sorts of things that would draw us from a godly life, or seek to tempt us to sin. But all these things will end up, defeated, overcome and under his feet.

Wise counsel, generally, is for us not to seek to conquer sin and temptation alone. But to invoke to our aid the prayer and assistance of the Lord, of the angels and saints too. The Lord has won the victory,  and participates in the particular battles still to be fought. We are not alone, left o our own devices. We are cherished and assisted in a multitude of ways.

  • In prayer spend a moment, thanking God for his love and renewing your trust in him.

Shrine to the Passion, Cathedral, Aix en Provence. (c) 2006, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: Looking forward

Annunciation Fleischmann

The Collect for Mass yesterday is familiar as a Prayer used also in praying the Rosary.

It also reminds how Advent/Christmas finds its fullest meaning, and reveals its deepest truth in the mysteries also of Holy Week and Easter.

Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord,
your grace into our hearts,
that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son
was made known by the message of an Angel,
may by his Passion and Cross
be brought to the glory of his Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Artists have regularly introduced themes of the Passion (at least) into their depictions of the Bethlehem story.

  • Where/how do they feature also in our Christmas devotions and prayer?

In 2016 Lent/Easter follow quickly on the heels of this year’s Advent/Christmas.

It is not too early for us to be thinking what we want to carry from our 2015 experiences into Lent/Easter for our own spiritual development and that of our parishes and communities.

In the days of Christmas and in the days that follow, how do we wish to live out our ‘Yes’ to the Lord?

What resources might we draw on to help our wishes to come to pass.

The Annunication -detail of the Rosary Triptych. Arthur Fleischmann. (c) 2013, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Of your Passion

Profile Nowa Huta

The First Reading today, the 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time, comes from the prophet Isaiah.

It is a reading familiar from Holy Week, a reading that is seen to anticipate the Passion of Jesus. This Sunday we hear it as preparation for the Gospel which contains the first ‘Passion Prediction’ of Mark’s Gospel – a prediction which Peter the apostle is unwilling to receive and accept, and which – Mark’s Gospel carefully and starkly shows us – the other disciples fail to deal with either.

The Lord has opened my ear.
For my part, I made no resistance,
neither did I turn away.
I offered my back to those who struck me,
my cheeks to those who tore at my beard;
I did not cover my face against insult and spittle.
The Lord comes to my help, so that I am untouched by the insults.
So, too, I set my face like flint; I know I shall not be shamed.
My vindicator is here at hand. Does anyone start proceedings against me?
Then let us go to court together.
Who thinks he has a case against me?
Let him approach me.
The Lord is coming to my help, who will dare to condemn me?
Isaiah 50:5-9

When we hear the voice of the Lord prefigured in the words of the prophet we are drawn into a moving anticipation of what Jesus would endure.

The passivity of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel is notable. From the moment of his arrest, Jesus is not the subject of an active verb in Mark’s narrative. Jesus has become an object, handled and ultimately disposed of by others. It is his choice to be victim, of course. He chooses to endure faithful in love. His love of God, neighbour and self brings about a moral triumph, and achieves victory,over evil, over death, restoring life and love and for always. The resurrection is its demonstration and its guarantee.

And all this for us.

  • What is it about us that God so loves and cares for?

Photograph is detail of the Crucifix in the church of Nowa Huta, Cracow. © 2013, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: The Lord’s care for you

 

Alexandria Good ShepherdThe second reading at Mass on Sunday – the 5th Sunday of Lent – came from the letter to the Hebrews. Unless you were using the alternative series of readings (proper to Year A, and which must be used when the 3rd Scrutiny is celebrated,or when they are preferred) – in which case the 2nd reading was from Paul’s letter to the Romans, a reading you will find at the end of this post.

The passage from the Letter to the Hebrews speaks of the suffering of Christ.

It is a suffering endured for us. In a fallen world it is the price of love. It is a price the Lord is willing to pay.

And how humbling for us is that.

During his life on earth, Christ offered up prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears, to the one who had the power to save him out of death, and he submitted so humbly that his prayer was heard. Although he was Son, he learnt to obey through suffering; but having been made perfect, he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation.

Hebrews 5:7-9

  •  Who do you serve?
  • What have you learnt from your service?
  • What resources do you draw on to help you serve well?

Photograph of the Good Shepherd is of figure in the Greco-Roman museum in Alexandria. (c) 2004, Allen Morris.

– – –

People who are interested only in unspiritual things can never be pleasing to God. Your interests, however, are not in the unspiritual, but in the spiritual, since the Spirit of God has made his home in you. In fact, unless you possessed the Spirit of Christ you would not belong to him. Though your body may be dead it is because of sin, but if Christ is in you then your spirit is life itself because you have been justified; and if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.

Romans 8:8-11

Speak Lord: Who prays and weeps for us.

Agony

The second reading at Mass on Sunday – the 5th Sunday of Lent – is from the letter to the Hebrews. Or at least it is unless you are using the alternative series of readings for Year A which may be used this year, and which must be used when the 3rd Scrutiny is celebrated – in which case the reading is from Paul’s letter to the Romans, a reading you will find at the end of this post.

During his life on earth, Christ offered up prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears, to the one who had the power to save him out of death, and he submitted so humbly that his prayer was heard. Although he was Son, he learnt to obey through suffering; but having been made perfect, he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation.

Hebrews 5:7-9

We have been encouraged to spend additional time in prayer over these past weeks, and to seek to be more faithful to the call to love God and our neighbour.

Doubtless our response to this call has not been easy, and has been worked out at some cost. Even so it probably palls before the achievement and suffering of Jesus.

His suffering was endured for sake of us, so that in our encounter with him we may encounter the one who is source of eternal salvation.

  • For what would you like Jesus to pray for you?
  • What in his example would you like to better imitate?

Photograph is of carving of Jesus in agony, at the foot of the Scala Sancta, John Lateran, Rome. (c) 2009, Allen Morris.

– – –

People who are interested only in unspiritual things can never be pleasing to God. Your interests, however, are not in the unspiritual, but in the spiritual, since the Spirit of God has made his home in you. In fact, unless you possessed the Spirit of Christ you would not belong to him. Though your body may be dead it is because of sin, but if Christ is in you then your spirit is life itself because you have been justified; and if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.

Romans 8:8-11