Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time   Year C   17 November 2019

The end of things features prominently in discussions, in literature, in publications and in social gossip. At this moment, England is awaiting the outcome of Brexit and Hong Kong is awaiting the future of their current lifestyle. Chile awaits an end to the corruption of political leadership and Sri Lanka is facing bad political memories; we could go on and on. The Holy Scriptures are also full of longings for the end of many things, oppression perhaps being the outstanding candidate. As we head to the end of our musings according to Luke for 2019, the readings address the end times. Glimmers of hope are offered, but as in much of Christianity, the call is ultimately to faith.

Remember Julian of Norwich:

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

The Psalm ends today with, “For the Lord comes, he comes to rule the earth.”

And it adds for good measure, “He will rule the world with justice and the peoples with fairness.”

To the Gospel list of signs “earthquakes, plagues and famines” we, in Australia, might add bushfires, and then Indonesia might trump even that!  All to no avail.

Pondering the “end of things” in that mode is really a waste of time. Today, Paul really nails what is important. What really is important, “We order and call on people…to go on quietly working and earning the food that they eat.”

You and I can bring about the ‘end’ of so much unhappiness and injustice day by day in being cheerful, helping the down and out, attending gatherings, raising the justice questions, and much more.

So, the word today to all is “keep on keeping on” in all your involvements; make the Teams thrive, bring the ‘See, Judge, Act’ to the fore, create positive family situations and, above all, remain faithful.

“…not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.”

Mons Frank

 

P.S. Teams is mounting a major expedition to Darwin next weekend…your prayers please.

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C     10 November 2019

‘Extinction Rebellion’ reminds me of the oft quoted phrase, “the end is nigh!”  Whatever about the current expression, for us praying the Liturgical cycle the other quote is accurate…

The current Liturgical Sunday cycle ends on November 24.

We need to prepare to celebrate our 2019 good deeds for the kingdom on that Sunday as we celebrate Christ our King.

Our reflections with Luke and the other readings this week point us to the great truth of the resurrection. We meet today some of those who did not believe in the resurrection; the other reading point towards that truth we all ultimately needed: “Christ to rise from the dead”. That truth confirms those indicators found emerging amongst the Jewish community, even the Pharisees had come to believe in the resurrection.

Funny, in a sense, how God is so patient with us mortals.

He gave the human race, and particularly the Sons of Abraham, time to muddle through and allow the concept of ‘resurrection’ to emerge by way of their prayerful pondering and thoughts. Our instant generation would not be happy with that approach. “What do we want?  We want the truth (I wonder) NOW!”

Well…it seems that is not how God usually works.

So, our Liturgical year wanders along, recalling the obstacles, recalling the arguments, asking us to review where we are at in the light of the evidence placed before us. And like the original journey to Jerusalem, assisting us each year to make a fresh commitment to the great truth. “Christ is Risen.” As has been said, “God raises the dead to life as easily as God gives life in the first place”.

The Psalm is well worth a slow reading this Sunday.

We all hope to awake “with the sight of your glory.”

Mons Frank

Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time   Year C   3 November 2019

On Thursday, the presenter of the 7.30 report on the ABC lamented many times about “what’s happened to our Australia?” and used other words of similar sentiment. The immediate background of the segment was the Woolworths saga, and included a reference to Bunnings and the 7/11 stores, the ABC and others; all of whom have confessed to bad wages practice. Further, there were references to drought and the latest antics of protesters. I wondered if Leigh Sales would get around to suggesting that a reading of the Gospel for this Sunday might provide a way forward.

“…if I have cheated anybody, I will pay him back four times the amount.”

Then, it might have been an honest mistake. Wage rates are often very complex.

Nonetheless, Zacchaeus was a wealthy man.

Happy? Satisfied? Content?

Well, he ran after Jesus in his anxiety to see what kind of man this Jesus was, and as one commentator put it,

“They exchanged trees!”

Reading One reminds us: “Lord, lover of life…(who) little by little corrects those who offend”.

Zacchaeus responds to the self-invitation of Jesus, puts up with the heckling of the crowd and makes his statement, another little correction on his path to conversion. It seems that for one of our newest canonised saints he, too, had a series of corrections on his way to the fullness of faith; namely John Cardinal Newman. Leaving behind our attachments, books or wealth, perceived intellectual positions or simply stubborn beliefs is necessary to enable the heart to accept the invitation to dine with him.

So often in Luke we read that the one who clings to wealth seems very closed to the Prophets call.  Our Pope Francis keeps reminding us in word and deed that our world and each of us must share generously with the poor and least developed nations to hear the genuine call of the Prophet, Jesus.

May we make another correction this week on our road to conversion.

Mons Frank

 

P.S. It has rained overnight in Bendigo; 11mls to 11am. Praise God. I hope all have received rain.

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time     Year C     27 October 2019

Close your eyes for a moment and make a picture of the two men in the Temple. Now recite the words of the parable…slowly.

Two…men…went…up…to…the…Temple…to…pray.

Very easy to picture the scene. We know this reflection of Jesus well. Let the picture tell the story for a minute or so. What emerges from the experience?

I try.

 Firstly, they went to the Temple. Points scored. But…

Secondly, did they pray?

To me, it seems that one was telling God, with an eye on the other, to make sure that both God and the man heard what he was saying and received the message, “I am pretty good but as for you…”

The mind then moves to the other human being. I have to go searching… He seems a long way away. As if not worthy to be in the Temple, his eyes are lowered, he beats his breast, and not looking in any direction, he cries out for mercy.

It reminds me of that line from Pope Francis, “I am a sinner upon whom the Lord has turned his gaze!”

Luke’s Gospel has many themes; his delight in showing Jesus’s rapport with women is one. Another is the seeming ongoing attempt to offer conversion to the tax collectors (and sinners) and to the Pharisees (and scribes and lawyers). The former are seen to be open to the Prophet: the latter, self-satisfied and assured. They had no need of conversation so why should they listen to the Prophet, let alone to God!

Last week we were encouraged to pray and to pray frequently.

This week we are reminded that in our prayer we need to be truthful and sincere.

However you pray, pray.

Whenever you pray, be truthful and sincere.

As the first reading reminded us,

The Lord “does not ignore the orphan’s supplication, nor the widow’s as she pours out her story…

The humble person’ s prayer pierces the clouds”.

Keep praying…but be open for the message.

Mons Frank