Speak Lord: My rescuer

Peter savedThe Responsorial Psalm for Mass tomorrow, the 3rd Sunday of Easter, might be heard as coming from the lips of Peter the apostle. From Peter saved and rescued by Jesus in so many ways, not least from his betrayal of his friend when he three times denied even knowing him. In the first reading tomorrow we hear how Peter has grown in faith and trust, able to resist pressure from without: he has gained this courage because of the compassion with which the Lord has shown him again and again. Rescued, saved, Peter praises.

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me or Alleluia!

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me
and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O Lord, you have raised my soul from the dead,
restored me to life from those who sink into the grave.

Sing psalms to the Lord, you who love him,
give thanks to his holy name.
His anger lasts a moment; his favour all through life.
At night there are tears, but joy comes with dawn.

The Lord listened and had pity.
The Lord came to my help.
For me you have changed my mourning into dancing:
O Lord my God, I will thank you for ever.

Psalm 29:2,4-6,11-13

  • From what has or does the Lord save you?
  • For what do you praises him, and when, and how?

St Peter saved as he sinks beneath the waves. Cathedral of the SPilled Blood, St Petersburg. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: Easter is more flavoursome than chocolate!

Resurrection St Petersburg II

The second reading at Mass on Sunday, Easter Sunday, came from the letter to the Colossians. (Or did unless you heard the alternative second reading provided in the Lectionary, which came from the letter to the Corinthians)

Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed – and he is your life – you too will be revealed in all your glory with him.

Colossians 3:1-4

The passage reminds that Easter is not only about the new life of the Resurrection for Jesus.

However in a culture which seems increasingly to see Easter as a shopping/selling opportunity we might be grateful for the reminder that Easter has to do with Jesus! The adoption of the term ‘Easter‘ in place of the more ancient Pascha is maybe something to regret, and maybe something to be reconsidered.

St Paul however reminds us that the Resurrection is not something for Christ only but also for all those who have life in him. In Christ we are restored to life – even if something of that life has still to be revealed.

To what do you aim in your discipleship?

What form does the newness of Easter take in you this year?

The Resurrection. St Isaac Cathedral, St Petersburg, Russia. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: with, for, as, us.

Resurrection St Petersburg

The Responsorial Psalm tomorrow, Easter Day, is sung as the song of Christ: his song celebrating the Resurrection.

This day was made by the Lord: we rejoice and are glad.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! 

Give 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.’

The Lord’s right hand has triumphed;
his right hand raised me up.
I shall not die, I shall live
and recount his deeds.

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the corner stone.
This is the work of the Lord,
a marvel in our eyes.

Psalm 117:1-2,16-17,22-23

It is also the song of the Church. It is the song Jesus urges us to sing as we share in his new life – through our Baptism, which achieves for us what faith promises to us; through our communion in word and Eucharist; through our continuing in the ministry of love of neighbour.

He sings, and it is our privilege to share in the song.

  • What might need healing in you that you might share more fully in his song?
  • What might you do more lovingly this Easter?

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

Speak Lord: Our strength, our hope.

Strength, St IsaacThe first reading for Mass today, the 4th Sunday of Ordinary Time, comes from the prophet Jeremiah.

In the days of Josiah, the word of the Lord was addressed to me, saying:

‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
before you came to birth I consecrated you;
I have appointed you as prophet to the nations.

‘So now brace yourself for action.
Stand up and tell them
all I command you.
Do not be dismayed at their presence,
or in their presence I will make you dismayed.

‘I, for my part, today will make you
into a fortified city,
a pillar of iron,
and a wall of bronze
to confront all this land:
the kings of Judah, its princes,
its priests and the country people.
They will fight against you
but shall not overcome you,
for I am with you to deliver you –
it is the Lord who speaks.’

Jeremiah 1:4-5,17-19

The prophet receives the word of the Lord that reminds of Israel’s and thus the prophet’s vocation and calling, to be the chosen people, faithful to God, a witness to the nations.

The first reading prepares us for the Gospel in which Israel in Nazareth refuses its calling and rebels against its calling, and its God.

The first reading also prepares us to contemplate the vocation of God in the flesh, strong in his witness, and even in death triumphant in his faithful love.

  • When/how do you rely on the strength of the Lord?
  • For what do you hope in him?

Detail of Door of St Isaac’s Cathedral, St Petersburg. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Call again, call to us

Mystery of Revelation of God

The first reading at Mass today comes from the prophet Isaiah, and speaks of the fulfilment of the promises to Israel in the whole world turning and coming to the one true God.

Arise, shine out, Jerusalem, for your light has come,
the glory of the Lord is rising on you,
though night still covers the earth
and darkness the peoples.

Above you the Lord now rises
and above you his glory appears.
The nations come to your light
and kings to your dawning brightness.

Lift up your eyes and look round:
all are assembling and coming towards you,
your sons from far away
and your daughters being tenderly carried.

At this sight you will grow radiant,
your heart throbbing and full;
since the riches of the sea will flow to you,
the wealth of the nations come to you;

camels in throngs will cover you,
and dromedaries of Midian and Ephah;
everyone in Sheba will come,
bringing gold and incense
and singing the praise of the Lord.

Isaiah 60:1-6

On the feast of the Epiphany we remember the nations coming in the person of the Kings.

We also must acknowledge the way in which faithlessness also manifests itself in our history, including our religious history.

The feast of the Epiphany looks forward to what is still to come as well as commemorating what has been.

The Christ child still calls us all to be one.

Images of revelation. Cathedral of Spilled Blood, St Petersburg. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.


Taste and See: Trust

Burden bearing

Burden bearing

The purpose of this blog is to help us without participation in Sunday Mass, and to help enrich our lives outside of worship with the riches shared at Sunday Mass. Making the connection, and making the connection fruitful, is not always easy.

How things sound at Mass, and how we hear them, or otherwise engage with them outside of Mass can sometimes be very different indeed.

Take the responsorial psalm of last Sunday, the 25th in Ordinary Time. At Mass that psalm and its response can sound so persuasive, so much who and how we are.

How does it sound later on that same week, when we are back at work, and back in the thick of life?

The Lord upholds my life.

O God, save me by your name;
by your power, uphold my cause.
O God, hear my prayer;
listen to the words of my mouth.

The Lord upholds my life.

For proud men have risen against me,
ruthless men seek my life.
They have no regard for God.

The Lord upholds my life.

But I have God for my help.
The Lord upholds my life.
I will sacrifice to you with willing heart
and praise your name for it is good.

The Lord upholds my life.

Psalm 53:3-6,8

  • Where have you been aware of putting your trust in God?
  • Where else have you looked for more sure support?
  • Speak to the Lord about this, and about any gap about how things were on Sunday and how things are today.

Figure from the Winter Palace, St Petersburg. (c) 2015, Allen Morris

Taste and See: Peace and harmony

Dove of Peace, St Petersburg

There was a happy arrangement of texts in the Liturgy of the Word on Sunday, the 25th Sunday in Ordinary time.

The Gospel acclamation reminded of the importance of following Jesus, Light of the world, that through him we might have that light. Without faithful following we live in (at least relative) darkness:

Alleluia, alleluia!
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
anyone who follows me will have the light of life. Alleluia!

Jn 8:12

In latter part of Sunday’s Gospel we heard of those who are following Jesus physically, but who are still preoccupied with worldly, darkening, things.

After leaving the mountain Jesus and his disciples made their way through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know, because he was instructing his disciples; he was telling them, ‘The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him.
They came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ They said nothing because they had been arguing which of them was the greatest. So he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.’ He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms round him, and said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’

Mark 9:30-37

And immediately before we have heard from one of those who were self-important, and arguing on the road. And James has made some progress, and he knows the progress has been made by the wisdom that came from heaven. The progress has been made not by him, but by gift, but the progress in James is testimony to the power and efficacy of the gift.

Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony, and wicked things of every kind being done; whereas the wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure; it also makes for peace, and is kindly and considerate; it is full of compassion and shows itself by doing good; nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it. Peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness.
Where do these wars and battles between yourselves first start? Isn’t it precisely in the desires fighting inside your own selves? You want something and you haven’t got it; so you are prepared to kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy; so you fight to get your way by force. Why you don’t have what you want is because you don’t pray for it; when you do pray and don’t get it, it is because you have not prayed properly, you have prayed for something to indulge your own desires.

James 3:16-4:3

Wisdom, love, growth, peace are not given to us only for ourselves. Hard-won, by God’s grace and our sometimes readiness to recognise and cooperate with that grace, the gift is for sharing.

  • What and where have you to share today?
  • What and why do you also need to receive?

Dove of Peace from the Cathedral of Spilled Blood, St Petersburg. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.