Taste and See: Look and judge…

Prison, Tre FontaneThe second reading at Mass on Sunday came from the apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

My brothers, be united in following my rule of life. Take as your models everybody who is already doing this and study them as you used to study us.

I have told you often, and I repeat it today with tears, there are many who are behaving as the enemies of the cross of Christ. They are destined to be lost. They make foods into their god and they are proudest of something they ought to think shameful; the things they think important are earthly things. For us, our homeland is in heaven, and from heaven comes the saviour we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will transfigure these wretched bodies of ours into copies of his glorious body. He will do that by the same power with which he can subdue the whole universe.

So then, my brothers and dear friends, do not give way but remain faithful in the Lord. I miss you very much, dear friends; you are my joy and my crown.

Philippians 3:17-4:1

Jesus tells us not to judge others, lest we be judged and found wanting.

Paul tells us to judge: to study the field and pick those who are winners and model ourselves on them, and avoid imitating those destined to be lost.

A couple of points.

First: Jesus was surely warning against a spiritual arrogance that leads us to condemn others, careless of our own faults and failings. Paul has found another way to encourage us to seek improvement in ourselves – and not giving the top priority to crticisng others seems a pretty good place to start!

Second: though Paul was not slow in offering his critique of those who failed to see how israel’s faith found its fulfilment in Christ, how in the Paschal Mytery we had the ultimate demonstration of God’s faithfulness to us – he also, again and again, put himself on the line in service of his own people, Israel, and of the Gentiles.

The test of faithful living is service, love of God in love of neighbour, our ‘vertical’ and our ‘horizontal’ relationship offering in their intersection the perfect place for our own growth and nurturing in love.

  • What helps you judge right?
  • What blurs or distorts your vision?

Prison in which St Paul was held prior to his execution at Tre Fontane, Rome. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Our life, our joy

Roman Road, Tre Fontane

The Psalm for the Mass of the Day for the feast of Ss Peter and Paul (kept on Sunday, this year, in England and Wales) is a psalm of thanksgiving for deliverance,

From all my terrors the Lord set me free.
orĀ The angel of the Lord rescues those who revere him.

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.

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.

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.

The angel of the Lord is encamped
around those who revere him, to rescue them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
He is happy who seeks refuge in him.

Psalm 33: 2-9

Again and again Christian tradition testifies to how martyrs display joy at the opportunity of joining with Christ in his suffering. Their confidence that death is not the end is powerful witness to the Church’s faith in the resurrection and the gift of eternal life to believers.

  • What challenges you in times of trial?
  • What sustains you in times of trial?

Roman Road at Tre Fontane, traditional place of the execution of St Paul, Rome. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.