Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year A. 19 February 2017

The man being interviewed on 774 ABC was a music teacher in a war-torn area of Africa. Yes, he knew of all the troubles: poverty, drugs, fighting, lack of respect, differences between faiths etc. “And you want to teach them music?” said the interviewer. “Yes, it’s the best way I know to teach them to love one another.”

Some are surprised to be reminded of that injunction being found in the Old Testament, let alone the book of Leviticus.  But it is there, and thousands of years after it was first spoken, and well before Jesus took that theme up and demonstrated the truth by his life.

There are still 66 conflicts which carry the title of war in our world today. Once again, the baptised people this weekend are asked to consider and to practise love of God, and love of neighbour.

In the little book ‘Tuesday’s with Morrie’, the story of the professor, who had to cope with being struck with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). He lost his mother at aged eight, battled growing up as a Russian Jewish immigrant in seedy parts of the Bronx and lost his faith… but during his illness found life and faith. He spoke of a similar tension to what was written by St Paul: “Life is a series of pull back and forth; you want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else.  Like a wrestling match”. “Who wins?” said his friend. “Love wins. Love always wins.” was the reply.

We ask this week that our appreciation of our being God’s Temple, and that the Spirit of God is living amongst us, will encourage us to, yet again, learn to love one another.


Mons Frank

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year A. 10 February 2017

It is hot and, thus, t-shirt weather. Walking past my lodging this week was a young lady proudly announcing in large letters “What I want, when I want it.”

It seemed an apt commentary upon the opening lines in today’s word from Paul

“We have a wisdom to offer those who have reached maturity: not a philosophy of our age.”

I was tempted to engage the person in a discussion but the threat of being accused of interfering with free speech, let alone other offences, forced me to continue on my path and share a word or two with you. One thought was ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they wear’.

The scholars suggest that his opening words are not about Paul, but describe the community that has been created because they have been blessed by God. How often we still hear people say “Thanks be to God for the faith. I could never have survived”, or words to that effect.  The community so established, has gifted wisdom from God communicated by the Holy Spirit and that is us too, even in this age.

The passage asks us to be open to the work of God who, in one sense, has been working constantly and, in giving us life, does not leave matters there:

God has prepared untold things for those who love him.

God has graciously given gifts of wisdom to those who are chosen.

God is constantly revealing himself to those who allow Him to speak.

This is an extremely testing passage emphasising the strength of the Christ-like community who understand their giftedness.

“We have a wisdom to offer”.

Let us bring that gift to this world of ours.


Mons Frank

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year A. 3 February 2017

“He is a light in the darkness for the upright.”
What a challenging week for the world, let alone for Australia, in responding and trying to understand the initial words and actions emanating from a certain part of the U.S.A.
The coming weeks, commencing on Monday, will be very confronting, in more than one way, for all members of the Catholic Church. The public scrutiny of our leaders, the examining of the procedures and protocols of handling allegations of sexual abuse by Clergy, Religious and employees of our Church, will be exacting, painful and, we hope, fair. It appears that this is the first such examination of us as an institution in our history by the State. If one does not reform oneself in time, someone else will do it for you. And our time has come.
The readings this week are very pertinent.
Viewed in the light of the scenarios mentioned, it is worthwhile to reflect upon these words from Isaiah: “Share your bread with the hungry”. Thank God for Vinnies and many similar organisations.
“Shelter the homeless poor”. So many parishes have places of refuge and safety for destitute and lost people. “Clothe the man you see to be naked” calls us to reflect upon what you see and hear of action undertaken in the name of the Good Lord. There is so much good done by our schools, hospitals, homes, support for families, youth activities, you name it and somewhere, perhaps even in your street, there are willing self-giving souls trying to make a difference for the sake of Jesus.

There are hundreds and thousands of our brothers and sisters attempting to practise what Isaiah was calling his people to do 2600 years ago, let alone raising voices in our days calling for “the clenched fist, the wicked word” to be done away with. Human nature has a habit of biting us where it hurts when we drop our guard or cease to be alert or put the safety of the institution before the wellbeing of people, let alone children.
Isaiah gave us a path and Jesus challenges us to be “salt for the earth” and “a light for the world.” Perhaps the coming examination of our leadership and our structures may give our current Pope even more courage and strength to his right hand to cleanse us of our sins and bring into the darkness of parts of our world our many good works which will enable all peoples to give praise to our Father in Heaven.

Mons Frank.

P.S. It has just been announced that Fr Bob Wilkinson of Adelaide in the new Spiritual Counsellor for the Oceania Team. It has been a great privilege to have served in that role for the past six years. I have been asked by Chris and John Dighton, our new leading couple to continue this offering. If you do not wish to receive it, please let me know.
I wish all God’s blessings upon the Teams Movement. It is a veritable light for our world and for our Church. May it continue to bring support and strength to married couples and their friends in abundance.