Speak Lord: Good Lord, speak…

Taberancle EvryThe Psalm on the 4th Sunday of Lent enjoins us to ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good’.

Taste  and see that the Lord is good.

I will bless the Lord at all times,
his praise always on my lips;
in the Lord my soul shall make its boast.
The humble shall hear and be glad.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Glorify the Lord with me.
Together let us praise his name.
I sought the Lord and he answered me;
from all my terrors he set me free.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Look towards him and be radiant;
let your faces not be abashed.
This poor man called, the Lord heard him
and rescued him from all his distress.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Psalm 33:2-7

In the Gospel we hear at Mass on Sunday – the parable of the Prodigal Son – the Prodigal has a range of hungers: for his inheritance; for wine, women and song; for pig swill even. His cravings beggar him.

It seems only in his return to his father does he find the feast that is worthy of him, albeit a feast of which he himself may not be worthy. And yet it is a feast  which his father freely and joyfully provides to welcome home his son.

In our Mass the Lord himself provides the feast to welcome us home, makes himself the feast at which we are reconciled, kept safe from sin, and welcomed home.

Taste and see that the Lord is good…

  • What of the goodness of the Lord most impresses you?
  • How do you seek to imitate or otherwise respond to that goodness in your life?

Tabernacle, Evry, France. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: Hungering for Christ

Tabernacle, Cartuja

The Prayer after Communion for the First Sunday of Lent, beautifully expresses a thanksgiving for Communion and a yearning for the fulfilment of the end, the purpose of that Communion.

Renewed now with heavenly bread,
by which faith is nourished, hope increased,
and charity strengthened,
we pray, O Lord,
that we may learn to hunger for Christ,
the true and living Bread,
and strive to live by every word
which proceeds from your mouth.
Through Christ our Lord.

As during Lent our fasting and other disciplines begin to bite it is good to be reminded of why we do them. The reining in and controlling of our appetites is a part of it: for most of us anyway! But at the heart is the desire to be closer to Christ – closer in our imitation of him, closer by our love of him, and closer by our knowledge of his love for us.

  • For what in Christ do you hunger?
  • How might you better progress in your communion with him?

Tabernacle at Cartuja, Granada. (c) 2014, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Call us, that we may be saints

Taberancle, DerryTomorrow is the Solemnity of All Saints.

The response to the psalm is somewhat reminiscent of a comment attributed to St Thomas Aquinas: the first thing required of a saint is that they should want to be a saint.

Such are the men who seek your face, O Lord.

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,
the world and all its peoples.
It is he who set it on the seas;
on the waters he made it firm.

Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who shall stand in his holy place?
The man with clean hands and pure heart,
who desires not worthless things.

He shall receive blessings from the Lord
and reward from the God who saves him.
Such are the men who seek him,
seek the face of the God of Jacob.
Psalm 23:1-6

To know God is to love God and is to seek to be like him.

To search for God, oddly, is to search also for your true self. It is to seek to find, to be, the one you have been created to be, but cannot be without the co-‘creation’, that is fruit of our fullest cooperation with the grace of God.

The psalm acknowledges that all belongs to God; that we must come to God empty, but ready for that cooperation, that life, that is communion with God.

  • Which Saint inspires you? Why?
  • In which way are you next called to learn of the holiness of God?

Tabernacle with saints, St Eugene’s Cathedral, Derry. (c) 2003, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: The sweetness of the Lord’s love

Tabernacle, Arles

The Gospel on Sunday, the 29th in Ordinary Time, opened to us something of the heart of Jesus, and his spirituality.

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Jesus. ‘Master,’ they said to him ‘we want you to do us a favour.’ He said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ They said to him, ‘Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus said to them. ‘Can you drink the cup that I must drink, or be baptised with the baptism with which I must be baptised?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I must drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I must be baptised you shall be baptised, but as for seats at my right hand or my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted.’

When the other ten heard this they began to feel indignant with James and John, so Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that among the pagans their so-called rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

Mark 10:35-45

It is impressive that Jesus holds the tension presented by the disciples’ agitation for power, first by James and John and then between all the twelve. He holds it, and uses it to draw them closer to him and closer to what is good.

  • Do you find the same freedom and poise in dealing with conflict and tension?
  • Why might Jesus be so good at it?
  • What is the reason for his insisting on the primacy of the servant?

Photograph of Tabernacle in church in Arles, France. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.