Taste and See: At one in Christ and by the Spirit

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Grant, we pray, O Lord,
that, as promised by your Son,
the Holy Spirit may reveal to us more abundantly
the hidden mystery of this sacrifice
and graciously lead us into all truth.
Through Christ our Lord.

Prayer over the Offerings

The above prayer was used at Mass on Sunday, the feast of Pentecost. It reminds that one of the principal works of the Holy Spirit is the Eucharist.

The Spirit is invoked in the Eucharistic Prayer both that the bread and wine may become truly Christ offering himself to the Father and to us; and that we might truly be one in Jesus Christ, one Body, one spirit with him.

  • How has participation in the Eucharist changed you?

The Eucharist. St Mary Majors, Rome. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: Living Spirit

Pentecost aylesfordNo one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose.

Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts, is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptised, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.

1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13

With Pentecost the liturgical season of Easter came its conclusion. But Easter joy and purpose lives in us through the gift of the Spirit.

That gift is made manifest in many many diverse ways, suited to the person and God’s purpose. The gift is the Spirit’s and the purpose is to fulfil God’s will.

Often our will and God’s will are not in perfect synch! When this is so, then we may well fail to see God’s purpose being fulfilled in this or that person or this or that work they do.

The guidance of Jesus that the one who is not against us is for us is a good place to start in trying to grow in humility, tolerance and openness to learning more about God’s will. But it may not be enough!! We probably need to supplement it with the advice St Ignatius  Loyola gave that we should actively seek to put a good interpretation on what others say and do. There are limits, but when these are met, the ‘error’ should be checked with kindness.

Pentecost. Aylesford. (c) 2008, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Life for the world.

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When Pentecost day came round, they had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.

Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. ‘Surely’ they said ‘all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; people from Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya round Cyrene; as well as visitors from Rome – Jews and proselytes alike – Cretans and Arabs; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.’

Acts 2:1-11

In this first reading of the Mass of Pentecost we hear of the Holy Spirit descending on the disciples and filling their hearts. They become capable of preaching the Good News to all people everywhere.

The nations of the known world, or at least the Jews and God-fearers from all the nations of the known world, are gathered in Jerusalem for the Jewish feast of Pentecost. Luke names most of them, starting in the East and ending in the West – from the rising of the sun to its setting… And these people are the first to hear the Good News from the disciples.

  • What do we know of the marvels of God, and what do we share of this, and how?

Pentecost. Cathedral of the Spilled Blood. St Petersburg. (c) 2015, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Easter in us…

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In the evening of the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.

‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’

After saying this he breathed on them and said:

‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’

John 20:19-23

At the end of Easter – the last of the season’s 50 days is this coming Sunday, the feast of Pentecost – we return to the beginning. Again we are with Jesus and the disciples in the Upper Room on the first Easter Day.

We remember the fear of the disciples, shocked by the death of Jesus, shocked by their betrayal and abandonment of him. We remember their joy and wonder at his return to them, and his gifting of Peace and the Holy Spirit.

And we do well to take stock of our own position – how are we as the season of Easter closes? Have we integrated its goodness and promise into our lives and our work? Do we stand at a distance from the truth about the Lord and his salvation?

  • Bring your thoughts and feelings to God in prayer.

Carving. Notre Dame, Paris. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

 

Speak Lord: through Peter, through us…

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On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed the crowd in a loud voice: ‘Men of Israel, listen to what I am going to say: Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God by the miracles and portents and signs that God worked through him when he was among you, as you all know. This man, who was put into your power by the deliberate intention and foreknowledge of God, you took and had crucified by men outside the Law. You killed him, but God raised him to life, freeing him from the pangs of Hades; for it was impossible for him to be held in its power since, as David says of him:

I saw the Lord before me always,
for with him at my right hand nothing can shake me.
So my heart was glad
and my tongue cried out with joy;
my body, too, will rest in the hope
that you will not abandon my soul to Hades
nor allow your holy one to experience corruption.
You have made known the way of life to me,
you will fill me with gladness through your presence.

‘Brothers, no one can deny that the patriarch David himself is dead and buried: his tomb is still with us. But since he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn him an oath to make one of his descendants succeed him on the throne, what he foresaw and spoke about was the resurrection of the Christ: he is the one who was not abandoned to Hades, and whose body did not experience corruption. God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. Now raised to the heights by God’s right hand, he has received from the Father the Holy Spirit, who was promised, and what you see and hear is the outpouring of that Spirit.’

Acts 2:14,22-33

The first reading at Mass today is an explosive profession of faith by Peter, once broken and afraid and now restored to faith and given fresh purpose in the Spirit.

The Liturgical feast of Pentecost still lies some weeks off. But we live in the age of the Spirit, every day.

Inspired by the Spirit, in his age, Peter speaks words of hope and new life.

  • What words will you speak today and to what aim?

Pentecost. St Nicolas church, Nantes. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.

 

Taste and See: In it together…

Oils, SPirit, Liverpool

The Second reading at Mass on Sunday this week, the feast of Pentecost, was taken from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. He rejoices in the unity and dignity of all Christians, a dignity which comes from their unity in Christ, enlivened by his Spirit.

No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose.

Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts, is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptised, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.

1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13

To be part of a team, supported and supporting, is our vocation as Christians.

Often when speaking of vocation people seem to focus on an individual’s personal path in life – and on a relatively few particular paths/works in life, too, come to that.

But all Christian vocation is rooted in our communion with Jesus, and is for service of others. This is true of Baptism (culminating in Confirmation and Eucharist). It is true of those admitted to the Orders of Deacons, Presbyters and Bishops – they minister Christ and together with others, for others. It is true of those admitted to the Order of Penitents and the Order of the Sick and Infirm – in need of mercy and assistance, but also called to bear witness to the Church of their trust in the mercy of God. And it is true, in a paradigmatic way, of those called to marriage and family life – they serve as Christ to each other and to their family and community, and do it together.

  • With whom do you work in Christ?
  • Whose assistance and cooperation do you neglect or resist?

Art work in Chapel of Holy Oils, Christ the King Cathedral, Liverpool. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

Taste and see: newness

The Gospel acclamation on Sunday, the feast of Pentecost is a full-hearted, full-throated, and confident cry for help and assistance from our God.

Alleluia, alleluia!
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Alleluia!

The acclamation is familiar also in a prayer that draws on a variey of texts from the Liturgy of Pentecost and the votive Mass of the Holy Spirit.

Come, Holy Spirit

V. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
R. And kindle in them the fire of your love.

V. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And you will renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray

O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit,
did instruct the hearts of your faithful,
grant that by that same Holy Spirit,
we may be truly wise, and ever rejoice in your consolation,
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

The gospel acclamation can make for a simple prayer to be said through the day as occasion arises, invoking the Spirit and seeking the Spirit’s aid in rising above this or that, and looking for growth, healing, transformation.

One of the most attractive features of Christianity is its hopefulness about us and the world. It is not a superficial hope, shallow and unreal. It is a hope rooted in the profound reversal of the destructive, deadening forces of sin and death. It is made manifest in the ministry and the resurrection of Jesus. It remains available to us because of Jesus’ continued presence in, just for example, the scriptures, the sacraments and the Church. And its purchase on us is all the more powerful for the work of the Holy Spirit.

  • Rejoice, give thanks, and pray to be made, still more, new in the Spirit of Christ.

Mystery of Pentecost. Hill of Apparitions, Medjugorje. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.