Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time   Year C 18 August 2019

Division!

What a week to be asked to reflect, discuss and pray about “division”.

*Hong Kong with the issue of basic legal rights.

*The Pacific Forum with differing views about survival of Island nations.

*Victoria at loggerheads with the understanding of the seal of Confession.

*The world awaiting a no-win response to the Cardinal’s appeal against his conviction.

*The sign on the light pole not far from me that reads “Do you use speed or ice?”. It is an invitation to
participate in a research project by Monash University with absolute confidentiality promised!

And we will hear proclaimed, “No, I tell you, but rather division.”

So, what is Jesus really on about?  We know that after the Resurrection he constantly greeted people with the words, “Peace I give to you.”

Let’s remind ourselves again, just where we are at, accompanying Jesus on the road to Jerusalem. In a sense, Jesus is becoming more resolute with his journey and more determined to prepare those who choose to follow for the hardship ahead.

To follow Jesus will, ipso facto, cause division. It did in 33 CE, and it does now. There is no easy road for the committed disciple. Jesus is calling upon those who hear his words, to conversion before it is too late. Our next confession may not be here, in or outside a box, but before the judgement seat itself!

If Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life”; if he and his works of healing are a signal from God, then we humans need to do something about the way we live.  Both doing and not doing will cause division. We, thus, reach the fork in the road!

Eucharist offers strength to take the path less travelled.

Mons Frank

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time   Year C  11 August 2019

Our world is, in a sense, traumatised by the word ‘security’; be it in the aftermath of Christchurch, let alone the recent U.S. shootings. Our on-going battle with the after-effect of Manus Island, let alone the necessity to have a Working with Children Card, causes us grief.

Last week the search was on for security by building bigger barns…for what purpose and I guess we have all lost a relative or dear friend during the course of this week. The barns did not save!

Jesus returns to this theme of security. So many now surround themselves with spiritual CCTV cameras, high walls and some even have armed guards. In a sense we try to not hear God knock on our door.

Perhaps it was not so different in Jesus’ time:

“listen you who have ears to hear”.

So today, Jesus raises the bar with his chosen ones. The kingdom comes but there is a cost: what distracts me from allowing the kingdom to enter my door?

Too many locks …

Too many buts …

Too many things to do…

Oh, come back next week. By then I will have cleared the desk, been to Vinnies with the surplus goods, made the donation I have been promising to do…and I will be alert and waiting.

However, I may be open to the call too late. The invitation to the kingdom may have passed me by, like the thief in the night.

It is scary to think that the kingdom may be offered to me. It can evoke fear. What will it cost? Not many stood around the cross on that fatal afternoon. The merciful Lord does give us all another chance.

So be alert, be on your guard and say ‘yes’ the next time.

Mons Frank

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time  Year C  4 August  2019

Building bigger barns!

It is comforting to think, but also embarrassing, that Jesus’ reflection on hoarding, apparently evident in his time, is still with us today. The buildings might be different…such as the proposed new football stadium in Sydney, but the principle remains the same. What is our treasure and where do we keep it?

We all need a place to live and turn into a home, a place to be hospitable, and a place to nurture values and faith.

How big is big?

Do we always need bigger and newer and smarter establishments?

One great lesson Jesus taught us was the importance of the table in whatever place he found himself. Whether it was in the home of the rich Pharisee or with Matthew or with Nicodemus, let alone on that last fatal night.

Do we build our treasure around the table?

The table is sacred in the home and in the place of worship. It not only holds the food that sustains us, but it gathers us as one to share our story and to enable us to listen and learn. It is there that we really make ourselves rich in the sight of God.

So, beware of the temptation to have bigger barns. Let us labour wisely, skilfully and successfully, around our table to enable all who gather to discover that there is only Christ and that he is everything. And he is in everything!

 

Mons Frank