Second Sunday of Easter  Year C   28 April 2019

The assault in Sri Lanka on Easter Day was, and is, an assault on faith; and not just Christian faith. Like Christchurch; an attack whilst people are at their devotion and prayer. The assault upon Jesus, too, was an assault on devotion (“I have come to do the Father’s will”) and prayer (“into your hands I commit my spirit”). The forces of evil that attacked Jesus, ultimately because He offered people an alternative way of being and living, are still at work today for fundamentally the same reason. They do not like what we preach, despite our failings, nor our attempts to practise what Jesus demonstrated, “Love one another as I have loved you”.

For Thomas, the way to belief and change in his life came from the invitation to “Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side.” Perhaps for us today, we too need somehow to put our finger and our hand into the wounds of the Body of Christ that surrounds us.  We can’t be indifferent. The wounds are many. Nominate those in your area of influence. Be brave and thrust out your finger and hand.

The Resurrection story also has another incident that offers us hope. That initiative by the lake shore; when Jesus broke bread and fish at breakfast. Seizing the moment, He turned an otherwise simple gathering to one pregnant with meaning. We need to be alert for these quasi sacral moments. They are there and we can all act in a similar manner.

Our continued prayers for the victims of both atrocities.

Let’s find ways to support families affected in our neighbourhood.

Mons Frank

 

Easter Sunday   21 April 2019

The blessing of the new fire at the Easter Vigil is always a cause of comment. Will it be big enough to be of symbolic worth? Who dreamt up this practice anyway? What happens if it rains? What is the best method of transferring light to the Paschal Candle?  We can search the scriptures and there are lots of references to fire…often the purpose is to cleanse the earth. After Pentecost, there is another meaning associated with “tongues of fire”.

Popular culture is full of stories about the discovery of man-made fire. There were plenty of fires to greet the arrival of human beings. Bush fires and volcanoes were present to challenge the humans and it took many generations for us to master the setting of fire, the carrying of fire, and we have not yet mastered the art of putting fires out.

The once-a-year physical fire in the Church’s Liturgy is deliberately the first act at the Easter Vigil and it ushers in a vision for the human race of renewal and hope. For the Parisians, the Notre Dame fire in Holy Week will be a cause célèbre. It may even be a call to remember their heritage. The beliefs that impelled their ancestors to build a structure that remained a gigantic symbol of ‘another way’, full of beauty, beauty that not only inspired the locals, but encouraged other communities to do likewise and transform concepts of worship for centuries.

Even in its devastated state, it still speaks and calls and reminds us all of ‘that other way’.

Our Holy Week is now vastly different to that of former years. For many, simply a holiday; for others, a day to be entertained. Some voices this year were heard longing for a day of rest and peace.  Perhaps for our Church, reflecting upon the New Fire might give each of us a desire to remind all of ‘the other way’.

It won’t be easy, but then it was not easy to build Notre Dame.  Undeterred, and without hydraulics, power tools and electricity, we are the beneficiaries of their faith.

Maybe it is now our time to build new Cathedrals, to usher in a new era of faith in the truth of the resurrection.

Happy and Holy Easter, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Mons Frank

ACT-NSW Regional Newsletter April-May 2019

ACT-NSW April-May Newsletter

In This Issue…….

  • Message from the Regional Couple
  • Sydney Sector News – Denise and Michel El-Samra
  • Canberra Sector News – Sarah and Mark Stoove
  • The 80th. Anniversary of Teams – International Celebrations
  • Faye and Kevin Noonan – The Eurasian Zone Responsible couple
  • Regional Team Meeting – 10 March 2019
  • The Importance of Liturgy in Team Life

Fifth Sunday in Lent Year   Year C    7 April 2019

We have arrived at the Fifth Sunday in Lent. Time flies. Next Sunday is Palm Sunday and Holy Week begins! Where are we at in responding to the injunction “to pray, to fast and to give alms”? And, what was the call that tossed out that injunction: “be merciful O Lord for we have sinned.”

One is tempted to suggest that the basic call of Lent is summarised in those words taken from the Liturgy for Ash Wednesday. The human race crying out for mercy and reconciliation. As a race, we need some sign of forgiveness and the hope of reconciliation for all the terrible deeds we do to one another. At times, the seeming evil overwhelms the abundance of good deeds being done every day of the week.

Today we build upon the examples of triumph over evil given us during the Lenten Sundays.

Triumph over the temptations we all experience in various ways…week one.

The call to listen for the voice of the Lord amidst the strident and shrill voices of ‘Me-isms’…week two.

Week three asked us to look deeply “do we need to repent”?

Week four…Are you one of the Sons, or perhaps ambitious to be a genuine loving Father?

This Sunday, have we rocks in our hands…always…or are we prepared to look the other in the eye and offer hope?

These are all steps on the way to Reconciliation.

May we remember the words prayed in the Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation II: “when we ourselves had turned away from you on account of our sins, you brought us back to be reconciled, O Lord.” Today’s episode is surely one of the great moments of our human history: “Has no one condemned you? No one, Sir.”

Mercy and forgiveness, and a new life without sin.

May our Lent 2019 be the opportunity to do just that. There is still time to be reconciled and journey with the Universal Church in Holy Week.

Put your best foot forward this day!

Mons Frank