Taste and See: Getting in order

Disordered treasures

The Second reading on Sunday,  for the Feast of the Holy Family in year C, the Year of Luke, speaks of God’s love for us and what will be our future, by his love.

Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us,
by letting us be called God’s children;
and that is what we are.
Because the world refused to acknowledge him,
therefore it does not acknowledge us.
My dear people, we are already the children of God
but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed;
all we know is, that when it is revealed
we shall be like him
because we shall see him as he really is.
My dear people,
if we cannot be condemned by our own conscience,
we need not be afraid in God’s presence,
and whatever we ask him,
we shall receive,
because we keep his commandments
and live the kind of life that he wants.

His commandments are these:
that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ
and that we love one another
as he told us to.
Whoever keeps his commandments
lives in God and God lives in him.
We know that he lives in us
by the Spirit that he has given us.

1 John 3:1-2,21-24

What we are to be in the future has not been revealed – but, as we prepare for the turning of the Year, it is something that  we might give some thought to.

Not so much as to what work we will be doing, or what events might or might not take place, but to the sort of person we are and want, through God’s grace to be.

  • What qualities, by God’s grace do I want to grow in?
  • What qualities, with God’s grace, would I like to lose or temper?
  • What steps, with God’s grace, might I take in this direction?

Fundamentally, of course, the call is to love as we are loved – and for those and that we love to be those and that which God loves.

  • Where is there convergence between God’s love and mine?
  • Where divergence?

Disordered treasures? Shop front in Venice. (c) 2013, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: Your kingdom come

Nativity VeniceTwo alternative Psalms were offered in the Lectionary for yesterday, Holy Family Sunday – the first Sunday of Christmas.

The psalm offered especially for use in Year C – this year, the Year of Luke, and the Year of Mercy – speaks of communion with God. It speaks of the courts of the Lord: back to backs often had courts, but maybe here the idea is that of a grander set of courtyards, fitting to a king. It speaks, rather  more domestically perhaps, of God’s ‘house’… but in these days we hear a lot of the House of David…. It speaks of Zion, Jerusalem, seat of king and God, and a place of pilgrimage for the people…

The psalm speaks of communion, and of the psalmist’s longing and yearning for this communion.

They are happy who dwell in your house, O Lord.

How lovely is your dwelling place,
Lord, God of hosts.
My soul is longing and yearning,
is yearning for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my soul ring out their joy
to God, the living God.

They are happy, who dwell in your house,
for ever singing your praise.
They are happy, whose strength is in you,
in whose hearts are the roads to Zion.

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer,
give ear, O God of Jacob.
Turn your eyes, O God, our shield,
look on the face of your anointed.

Psalm 83:2-3,5-6,9-10

 

We heard in yesterday’s Gospel how Jesus, Son of David, makes himself at home in the courts of the Temple.

Yet in his discourse he offers a more familial image to consider God – simply as Father. The head of the domestic family – as well as head of people and nation and King of kings.

When we pray, as Jesus teaches, ‘ your kingdom come’, we may have in mind the kingdom of heaven, and God’s dominion here and now over the nations of the world. But it starts – at least for us, existentially, it starts – with our self, our home, our family…

  • How evident is the Father’s leadership, his rule, there?
  • In me?
  • My home?
  • My family?
  • How would anyone know?

As the civic year draws to a close, take stock and speak to God with gratitude for his care and ask for his help where you seem further from him.

Bethlehem in Venice. (c) 2013, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: prepare us…

St Marks 13th C

With the first Sunday of Advent began a new liturgical year, characterised on Sunday’s by the reading of the Gospel of Mark. This Sunday, the 2nd of Advent, we are taken to the beginning of Mark’s Gospel, and the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus.

The beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah:

Look, I am going to send my messenger before you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice cries in the wilderness:
Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.

and so it was that John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. John wore a garment of camel-skin, and he lived on locusts and wild honey. In the course of his preaching he said, ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’

Mark 1.1

Tradition suggests that Mark’s Gospel was written in Rome, for a community whose security was shaken by persecution and apostasy. Mark relates Gospel, apparently basing his account on the personal memories of St. Peter, to restore the community to faith and faithful living.

The beginning of the beginning is a tale of the forgiveness of sins, of restoration and healing. There is comfort here for Israel, for that broken community in Rome, and for us.

Photograph is of mosaic at West Front of St Mark’s, Venice – traditional burial place of St Mark – showing the basilica as it was in the 13th Century. (c) 2008, Allen Morris