Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time  Year B  28 October 2018

What do you want me to do for you?

Jericho! Only 15 or so miles from Jerusalem, all uphill, with an occasional obstacle like robbers. It features several times in the Gospel; we locate the Good Samaritan on this road. Remember the man up the tree. On this occasion the Passover is coming, and Jesus is deliberately “going up” where he will be “lifted up”. This is the last of his teachings about faith and discipleship on the road. The rest in Mark happens in Jerusalem, the killer of the Prophets. In one sense, Jesus is preparing the people for a new era, the way of the Cross, the way of rejection by the locals, the way of betrayal by his own chosen disciples, the way of death by the Jewish and Roman authorities.

What do you want me to do for you?

I suggest we can update the scene a little and recognise that in the call of the Plenary Council we are being invited to go up to our Jerusalem and that, in some sense, we Catholics are the new Bartimaeus. I would ask you to imagine you are sitting on the road, your faith recognises the call. What do you cry out?

The call has gone out that we are invoking the Holy Spirit to help us see again.

What do you cry out?

What is it you believe needs to happen to get our beloved Church back in the market place?

This week I had a germ of an idea. By way of illustration, I would like the Plenary Council to encourage all Church communities to organise themselves to have their Church open for at least one hour a day. To have it manned so that greetings can be shared and explanations given as to why we have the signs and symbols that we do. That this is a movement of the whole Church community. We are all equally baptised. It may not take away all our blind spots, but it would be interesting to see the changes in our community. Surely, we have a minimum of seven people in our faith group that can give one hour a week to “open the doors”! It is an idea that I will send to the organising committee.

What is your idea?

How can we see again?

Son of David, have pity on me!

Let’s us make a loud collective cry!

 

Mons Frank

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time   Year B     21 October 2018

It is a little comforting to read, yet again, that all was not well with the followers of Jesus. Leadership woes seem to paralyse Australian life at this moment, so perhaps our focus this day on the challenge of, and to, leadership is timely.

Gentile: Roman power in Jesus’ time was exercised primarily through force, intimidation and a network of patronage that tried to ensure absolute loyalty to the Emperor. Sounds like many States today. Beware of visiting a Saudi consulate, especially if you are a journalist. Another form is a parliamentary majority that provides the pictures on TV of MPs hugging and cheering when they pass a vote to make abortion legal. They never consulted the unborn.

We witness the battle Jesus has in trying to proclaim a “service model” and, indeed, we witness a similar battle in Rome. At this moment, Pope Francis has issued a document called Episcopalis Communio (EC) in which he writes, “The Synod of Bishops must increasingly become a privileged instrument for listening to the People of God.” Now that is a change!

We, as followers of the Gospel, are called to imitate he who said, “I have come not to be served, but to serve and give my life as a ransom for many.”

Some of the Apostles saw the opportunity to sit at the top table. Others got mad either because they did not think about the opportunity or because they objected to the brothers hogging both positions.

Leadership in family, at work or on the sporting field is not easy. The temptation to take the Gentile part is ever present. We strive to adopt the other way.

Keep trying.

Mons Frank

Twenty -eighth Sunday in Ordinary time   Year B     14 October  2018 

“I prayed, and understanding was given to me; I entreated, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me.”

Most people tend, at some time in their life, to ask in their own way “What must I do to inherit Eternal life?” Their words reflect the basic sentiments of the rich young man. I believe that in their own way, they hear the substance of Jesus’s response; to keep the commandments.  They may not see the response as clearly as the young man. After all, he did not have to battle finding answers in his time as we now face our different challenges, e.g., as the paper said today, “to win back our pride we had to lose our ego” (The Australian). Being Prime Minister offers no protection from responding to the challenge of gay children and schooling. Some of our chicken farmers are under supreme pressure from the big retailers and the RSCPA to reorganise their sheds, to the extent that they have to install chains hanging above the chooks so they can play with them! These questions never arose in the time of Jesus but they, and others, are just as important in finding a proper response to the basic question that is still of major importance in our rapidly changing world; “What must I do to inherit Eternal life?”

One response is that taken very literally by Francis of Assisi. Not everyone can do that as literally as he did; and he was a very rich man. But we can use our riches, health, intelligence, information and wealth to bring change to our world. That will enable us to have treasure in heaven.

To move positively in our age, despite all the challenges, we need to heed the message about the Word of God in our Second Reading today and sincerely petition for the Wisdom offered in the First Reading.

Times are not easy, but soldier on and remember the words of Francis of Assisi:

“All the darkness of the world cannot extinguish the light of one candle.”

LIGHT YOUR CANDLE.

Mons Frank

ACT-NSW October 2018 Newsletter

In this Newsletter you will find reports on the following:

  • Fatima 2018: International Gathering of Teams of Our Lady
  • Reflections on the Fatima 2018 Gathering and Formation: Sarah and Mark Stoove
  • We are one … and … we are many: Faye and Kevin Noonan
  • Directions for the International Teams Movement after Fatima 2018
  • What is happening in your Region? Important dates to note in the next 6 months
  • Introducing the Queanbeyan Team
  • Increasing Team Membership Locally and Across Oceania

ACT-NSW Regional Newsletter October 2018a

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time   Year B 7 October 2018

The history of marriage is a minefield to explore and one must be aware of the context in which we talk and the ongoing desire of people to marry even in the turbulent times called the 21st Century.

Grand traditions surround marriage in different cultures. Legal prescriptions surround the entering and the leaving of the state of marriage; celebrations take various forms and some form of dowry is expected; again, be mindful and respectful of the culture.

The readings today begin the era in which the concept and the truth of the sacramentality of marriage begins. Whatever the reality of coming together and leaving, Jesus draws us back to the ideal of marriage in the context of his time and with the truth that the Pharisees knew the book of Genesis. They deliberately try to trap him; he then not only repeats the original ideal, but challenges the Pharisees by reminding them that both parties can commit adultery, not just their interpretation that only the woman could do so. So, in a sense, in this important and wonderful world of marriage, Jesus repeats the ideal and strengthens the responsibility of both parties.

It is 2000 years since Jesus so taught; truth that eventually for the Catholic Church evolved into the doctrine of the Sacrament of Marriage.

The joy of love experienced by families is also the joy of the Church (Amoris Laetitia, para.1). The words go on to say, “As the Synod Fathers noted, for all the many signs of crisis for the institution of marriage, the desire to marry and form a family remains vibrant”.

The document is rich in reflection and proclamation. The exposition in Chapter Four of the famed Hymn to Love by St Paul is given a right papal working and is a must for all newly married, long-time married, those preparing for marriage and indeed for those seeking to rebuild despite whatever has happened; its proclamation is good news for all people.

Pope Francis calls us again to make the journey as families to proclaim the truth, to encourage others by the joy we experience, to assist those struggling by sitting with them and recalling our struggles; but above all, to keep walking together. “What we have been promised is greater than what we can imagine.” (Amoris Laetitia para. 325).

Mons Frank

 

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time  (Grand Final weekend)  30 September 2018

The National Council of Priests of Australia held their bi-annual conference in Canberra earlier this month. Driving in, we stopped at the suburb of Dixon. It seemed that on every corner there were youngish people begging. I felt very uncomfortable; Canberra, our national capital, our richest city. Later in the week, Archbishop Prowse in the course of an interesting homily remarked that “Homelessness was a major problem in Canberra”. How can this be?

This Sunday, the Australian Catholic Church is meant to reflect upon issues of social justice on this, our annual Social Justice Sunday.  Against the words of James and in the light of the Royal Commission; “All your gold and all your silver are corroding away, and the same corrosion will be your own sentence, and eat into your body.”

Another Royal Commission and the Gospel; “But anyone who is an obstacle to bring down one of these little ones who have faith etc.”

A coming Royal Commission into the Aged Care Sector might well reflect on the joy of “a cup of water to drink just because you belong to Christ etc.”

Today we are called to ponder ‘A place to call home’, making a home for everyone in our land.  We have some soul searching to do! And, hopefully, not another Royal Commission to do what elected representatives are elected to do.

The passages we have been reading and musing over these past few weeks are a challenge for us to read the signs of the times and to put our energies to confront the evil we recognise, to accompany those already battling the evil, and to bring our Christian strengths to the task.

Bill Hayden wrote recently that “Christianity for me represents the qualities I have attempted to apply in my life but from now on will strive to uphold with faith.” So, too, for us as we continue to explore the hidden truths in our Gospel and Catholic teaching.

We are not alone. There are countless numbers of Eldads and Medads in our communities. We bring a firm conviction and, in addition, we enjoy the help, guidance and strength of the Holy Spirit. Take time to ask the Spirit to assist you in the tasks you adopt!

Mons Frank.