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.

 

Speak Lord: Lord and Saviour

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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

The second reading at Mass on Sunday, the 5th Sunday of Lent, reminds us of hte multi-dimensionality of human life – body/spirit; life limited by death and life that continues beyond death; life ‘alone’ and life lived in communion with Christ.

  • Choose the flourishing of the spirit even now in our world and in our bodies and in Christ!
  • Accept the gift of life in the spirit even now in our world and in our bodies and in Christ!

Roof Boss, Tewkesbury Abbey. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: That we all may confess your name

Eucharistic Dove, Paris 2004

The second reading at the Mass of Pentecost tomorrow comes from the First Letter of St Paul to the Corinthians.

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

On the face of it the first line of the reading is open to easy contradiction. For most anyone can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ and not be under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Paul though presumes that we will only ever say what we mean! And to say and mean that Jesus is Lord is to distinguish ourselves from the people of this world for whom earthly rulers are Lord, and from those others, Jews and non-Jews, who do not accept Jesus as Lord. This is a momentous statement, to say that Jesus is Lord and we can only say and mean it with the power and help of the Spirit.

Those who can and do say and mean it – we know – are of all stripes. There are Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants and all sorts; those strong in faith, those struggling and shaky. If the Church is comprised of all those who profess faith in Jesus as Lord (Discuss!), then the Church is a very eclectic body. It is the Body of Christ, but what variety is sustained by the Spirit as it places itself to a greater or lesser extent at the disposal of the Spirit, to grow more fully into the likeness of Christ.

  • At Mass tomorrow gaze upon the diversity of the community inspired by the Spirit, gathered to give thanks to the Father in Christ.

Eucharistic Dove – hanging pyx. Musée du Cluny, Paris. (c) 2004, Allen Morris.