Fifth Sunday of Easter Year B 29 April 2018

 

So, the dead wood is gathered and burnt!

There is an expectation that we produce fruit.

We are given a way to produce abundant fruit, but we must expect to be pruned.

The Royal Commission into the Financial Services Industry has revealed that even in that important sector of Australian society, the call of today’s readings “that we love one another” has not been heeded let alone, perhaps, ever received. So, the pruning shears are out and, perhaps, with vengeance!

For us who have received the other part of John’s instruction “that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ”, the call to produce fruit is paramount. Further we are reminded of what happened to the Vine. Given that truth, no wonder we celebrate in the land of the long white cloud the death of Peter Chanel who met an untimely death (in our human estimation) after a brief period of 40 or so months and a handful of Baptisms. Pruning take place in strange ways. Paul got a little taste of pruning this weekend in Jerusalem (having been the agent of pruning on an earlier occasion in the same city). He endured the complete prune later in Rome.

We journey into the new week. Perhaps the word can simply be this week: “Live in me and let me live in you.”

Mons Frank

Third Sunday of Easter   Year B 15 April 2018

The Secretary-General of the UN proclaimed today that a new Cold War has begun!  A great way to begin a new day in our world; contrasting with the sign of hope for the farming community (who in faith began seeding this week in our district) and happily were encouraged by a little rain this day.

War, hot or cold, with all the attendant commodities of lies and misinformation, once again staring us in the face.

The contrast with the Gospel greeting recorded in Luke for this week is startling.  After the almost Cold War for some months and certainly hot in the last days of his life; denounced with lies and innuendo, truth being obfuscated, the baying of the crowd destroying any attempt at justice and, having been crucified and buried, Jesus appears with the words “Peace be with you.” Given the scenario of those fateful days no wonder the disciples were “in a state of alarm and fright.” Peace in these circumstances…not likely, and I am sure that many feel the same today.

After the collective history of the Twentieth Century, one could be forgiven for asking “are our collective leaders dumb? Have they not listened to the experience of the suffering citizens, let alone watched the destruction in Syria?”

“You are witnesses to this.” Surely this applies, not just to the explanation of all that was written in the “Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms”, but also to the gift of peace that is possible even after terrible, destructive and abusive behaviour that tore a community apart…peace is possible!

Many different attributes and many false adjectives are used about the God of the Christians and of His Son Jesus; we witness that the word ‘peace’ can be used of all members of the Trinity and that we are committed to establishing a kingdom of justice and peace on this earth. We have not always been successful; seeming failure, however, does not daunt us, peace can be a gift in the frightful circumstances after the resurrection. So, too, we can bring that gift to our homes, workplaces and communities today in our situations.

Mons Frank

Second Sunday of Easter  Year B 8 April 2018

We are called to accept the truth that Jesus is the saving revelation of God.

From the very beginning, most people have had to make the journey of belief out of darkness without the physical presence of the Risen Lord. Some throughout history have met the risen Lord in various ways and at various times. Occasionally, like Mary of Magdala, one sees, but needs a word to really see.  Others like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus recognise him in an action. The appearance gives way to faith.  Others like the beloved disciple, truly reflecting on what he had heard and witnessed “on the road”, accepted the evidence of the empty tomb. And then there are those like Thomas. Stories alone are not enough! “Unless…” he robustly proclaims, and for a short time becomes the hero of the supposedly scientific community.

Where are we on this road? With whom does my story align? What made me proclaim “My Lord and my God?”

For Thomas, the pivotal moment is, even after years of faithful journeying and presumably reasonable attentive listening, the sight of the wounds of Christ bought forth the great acclamation of faith.

One ponders…what and where are the wounds today that will turn the modern Thomas’s to faith?

In one of his short letters, Peter suggests another way forward for the believer to adopt:

“If you are a speaker, speak in words that seem to come from God.”

or

“If you are a helper, help as though every action was done on God’s orders.”

Wherever we are on this amazing journey of faith, let us end the Easter Octave with a robust “My Lord and my God” and add a couple of Alleluias for good measure!

 

Mons Frank

Easter Sunday 1 April 2018

What a Lent, let alone a Holy Week!

We are meant to be in the world, but not of the world. We often, at this time in the Liturgical Cycle, look back with varying degrees of horror or surprise on the events recalled and remembered in the days leading up to the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus.

Without trying too hard, and each of us can add to the list, it is hard to top a Lord Mayor being forced from office over workplace harassment, the thirty pieces of silver got a run in the activities of a number of politicians in Victoria’s Upper House. The wrangling over the Darling river and the disappearance of water reminded me of the washing of hands; the ongoing saga of the High Priest and Pilate being played out in a similar court; and just when we thought it could not get any worse, the betrayal of trust by the use of a small piece of sandpaper (originally tape , another lie ) ordered by HQ and carried out by the baby of the team!  It is better for one man to die for the people. And the week ended with a call on how forgiveness can be sought, offered, given and accepted. Almost looking for general absolution! The Lord God must have his hands in his face weeping again over Jerusalem!

Lent and Holy Week, their messages are still needed. Thank God it all leads up to Easter and its message of hope.

Is it not a clear message for us, for our people and our Church? Indeed, who will roll away the stone?

On the way to Easter, the first missionary, or as some call her, the first apostle, Mary Of Magdala, calls to all baptised to be active in looking for Jesus and to be willing to announce the Good News to the world. She was formed by being part of the band of women who attached themselves to Jesus. Perhaps it is time for a renewed effort to promote formation of the baptised even more strongly and to look carefully at the offerings made by YCS, YCW, Teams and similar movements and have these organisations active in all parishes. Sunday only will not do the job. As Paul says, “You must know how even a small amount of yeast is enough to leaven all the dough…”

We have lit the Easter candle, the Good News is recalled again and we take the blessed water to remember the mission given to us at our Baptism. Let us truly rejoice that Christ is risen and let us live his life in our world day by day.

Christ is risen, Christ is risen indeed!

Blessed Easter.

Mons Frank