Second Sunday of Easter. Year A. 23 April. 2017

 

The Easter octave ends today with many stories of what happened in those days after the resurrection. Or, some prefer, after Calvary. You may like to pick out your favourite. Often the first words chosen are, “My Lord and my God.” Others are attracted by “Receive the Holy Spirit.” I am sure that many in the war and destruction phase of 2017 would long to hear again from the Master, “Peace be with you.”

Pope Francis is on record in these days calling us to “Put your finger here, look, here are my hands. Give me your hand put it into my side.” He goes on to reflect that we are called to do just that today- to bring the joy and peace of the resurrection to our world.

The tough question, then, is where are the holes in the hand and in the side?

Some would see holes that are self-inflicted, and how do you tackle that? Others argue about holes that seem, and don’t seem, authentic; and whilst we argue, the best solution is touch. Just do it!

As in the early Church there are still people who need food, who need help. There are still people who need assurance that they are loved and respected. There are still people who wish to be welcomed in our community. There are still people yearning to say, “My Lord and my God.”

There are plenty of holes. This Easter let each of us find and touch one hole.

 

Mons Frank

Easter Sunday 2017. 16 April

 

The world is at it again. The paper has an article “Christian Values under Assault” and it was not talking of Rome in 69 AD or Rome in 202 AD or a dozen other places over the past 2000 years.  A radio show was asking people to judge the success of Good Friday. They were seeking reactions to a football game and really missed the point of their question. Another paper headlined the fact (at least in central Victoria) “Sun Shines on Easter Fun” and two pages over “Bishop Washes Feet of Detainees and then Allowed a Detainee to Wash his Feet”. Perhaps it is time for Bishops and Priests to have their feet washed by people!

It is not new for the end of Christian values and practices to be prophetised. It is not new for there to be forces plotting the downfall of Christianity. It is not new for people to have to make a choice. It is not new for people to reject the Easter message. But Easter is all about hope, or you might say, another chance, or as is sung (in Churches with a singing tradition):

“O happy fault,

That earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!”

Or elsewhere in the Exsultet of the Easter vigil:

“The Sanctifying power of this night,

Dispels wickedness, washes faults away,

Restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners

Drives out hatred, fosters concord

And brings down the mighty.”

 

One hundred years ago there were nine million Christians in Africa, today there are roughly half a billion. Open our eyes to see the wonders of this moment, the beginning of another day!

A happy and joyous Easter to all, Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

P.S. Last week I was a pilgrim participating in the Aussie Camino in honour of Mary MacKillop. Modern communications fail in many places between Portland and Penola. This event could be a beginning to restore hope in our times. Look for other signs of hope this weekend.

 

Mons Frank.

Fifth Sunday of Lent. Year A. 2 April 2017

 

The Lord says this:

“I am now going to open your graves;”

“Unbind him, let him go free.”

 

In some way, this weekend is about freedom, the yearning for freedom that dominates so many headlines. The freedom caught up in the morass of “it’s my life. I can do what I want” (provided that the hospital will fix me up so I can exercise my freedom again). You all know of even better examples. Most versions of current freedom end up in graves!

This Sunday celebrates the third scrutiny, not only of those wishing to join the formal Eucharistic community, but also of our own selves and the communities that we belong to. Are we still in our graves or worse, is our community still buried in a deep grave?

It appears that the image and the hope that we would be set free was a powerful tool  for the chosen people. Some thought chariots and horses would save and liberate them. They were wrong then, as we who so hope today are similarly mistaken.

We hope our Catechumens will be set free of all that prevents them from obtaining true freedom. Just as Lazarus had to be set free from the trappings of death and thus enabled to go so too, the new aspirants will be allowed to approach the gifts of the Father.

The action of Jesus was not simply to raise Lazarus, but to set free Martha and Mary, good and faithful as they were, and to appeal to the apostles, to the people who had begun to believe, and to the Jews from high places, that Jesus was the Resurrection and the Life and indeed he was the Sent One of the Father. Belief in him is the source of true freedom.

It is still very demanding of us to accept that the Resurrection is the ultimate path to enjoy the true freedom of the daughters and sons of a loving God.

Keep trying.

 

Mons Frank