Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time 25 October 2020

The sun did not shine in central Victoria this morning…the welcome rain event covered the sky. But there was still light…and our world was here even though the AFL Grand Final was to be played outside Victoria for the first time in over 130 years…

Things have moved on. 

Jesus moves the Pharisees on a little in our Gospel this weekend. He lived in a community grappling with 613 commandments in the Torah; Victoria has as many regulations under the Covid-19 decrees, perhaps even more. Both communities, separated by 2000 years, wish to know “which is the greatest?” and, sadly, not always for the purest of reasons. Jesus not only recalls the past teaching, but extends it to embrace “your neighbour as yourself.” Likewise, a long tradition in the Church seeks to extend the practical relevance of the Church’s basic mission “to reveal the face of Christ.”

In his recent Encyclical ‘Tutti Fratelli’, Pope Francis shines the face of Christ on many dark and often forgotten aspects of modern society and basically says that somewhere in that horrible mix lies a human being. We, as Church, can’t be indifferent!

The English journal ‘The Tablet’ recently reminded us that the natural drift is in the other direction, towards the State, and recalls the observation of Thomas Hobbes that that drift becomes “a war of all against all”, where human life becomes “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

Sometimes we do not like the blowtorch being directed at us or at our mistakes, omissions and sins. Our papers have had a field day, recently, in pointing out the failings of those in high places, both in Church and State. We hear little of theirs.

Perhaps we need to recapture the memory of Paul’s experience with the Thessalonians, “it was with the joy of the Holy Spirit that you took to the gospel, in spite of the great opposition all round you.”

How we do that in lockdown is a big question. Likewise, the reminder from the Pope that all humans are created in the image and likeness of God and that God’s love is offered to all. 

We, the Baptised, have a huge task. As people seeking the Truth, we are being asked to step out bravely and travel far beyond the great goodness that was taught before the coming of Jesus.

Mons Frank