Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time 14 February 2021

Greetings…from the lockdown state of amnesia. We are doing it again, just in case we have forgotten what it is like. Further, for those who read the tea leaves tossed up by public life and public spokespeople, our first reading on Saturday February 13 was from Genesis 3: 9-24. It is a brilliant commentary on the ‘blame game’. Finally, in this somewhat uncharacteristic commentary, before we look at the readings for this shut -down Sunday, let alone Ash Wednesday, take comfort in the Old Testament reading for Sunday. We, too, have to shield our upper lip and to cry unclean at the borders, and to live apart outside the camp Commonwealth.

We presume it was deliberate. Sadly Mark is not here with us in the flesh to question, but is it not  fascinating that he, the Leper begins life outside, is touchingly welcomed into full life and he, Jesus, finds himself “outside in places where nobody lived”.

Did he need a rest? 

Did he need to escape?

Did he need some privacy?

Did he need to pray?

We could spend many moments pondering. Did Mark intend that? Was it a warning that sometimes great acts of kindness, healing or simply being attentive to others produces an effect like “Jesus could no longer go openly into any town”. All this and we have just finished Chapter One of Mark.

What an exciting beginning to this person Jesus!

At TEAMS this week we rediscovered the following prayer. You may find it useful and helpful.

May we who are merely inconvenienced, remember those whose lives are at stake.

May we who have no risk factors, remember those most vulnerable 

May we who have the luxury of working from home, remember those who must choose between their health and making the rent.

May we have flexibility to care for our children when the schools close, remember those who have no options. 

May we who have to cancel our trips remember those who have no place to go.

May we who are losing our margin money in the turmoil of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.

May we who settle in for quarantine at home remember those who have no home.

As fear grips our country, let us choose love during this time. When we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbour. Amen

Mons Frank

Fourth Sunday of Advent 20 December 2020

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall and to have witnessed the most important encounter between heaven and earth since the creation of the human race! All done in a fleeting minute, with a very insignificant person in a, then, insignificant town, in a relatively insignificant country. 

How odd of God. Or rather, (when we take our darkened spectacles off) why should we be surprised? 

All through the oral and written history of our religious tradition, God chooses the weak to confound the strong or you may prefer the words of the Magnificat, “He casts the mighty from their thrones and raises the lowly”.

But…always in God’s time, at God’s pace, and in God’s way.

And there’s the rub. 

We want it now, immediately and on our terms.

Maybe that is why we have four Sundays in Advent. To slow us down a little (we have nearly rushed into pre- Covid speed in Victoria), to help us really look at the Lucan story and notice more keenly that Mary took her time, asked pertinent and respectful questions before she answered, “let what you have said be done to me.”

And the world changed as it awaited the Saviour.

As God offered Mary a choice, in many similar ways we, too, are offered opportunities to side with God and to bring sense and peace and hope to our world.

Let us resolve, again, to give the Angels good news of our responses to report back to heaven!

Have a very happy family and prayerful gathering this Christmas.

Mons Frank

 

Third Sunday of Advent 13 December 2020

What is normal and, for that matter, what is Covid-19 normal? It is a bit like “Who are you?” and possibly there would be more answers (and subsequent questions) than John received. Likewise, there are just as many anonymous “We must take back an answer to those who sent us”, Pharisees today! 

This past week has been a rather fascinating taste of what was and what might be, in my life. You may enjoy looking back on your week…and ponder the experiences.

I began with the celebration of the first big congregation at one of our large Churches, St Kilian’s in Bendigo. Congregation very quiet, no coughing. Not many children. The week ended with celebrating Mass in a small rural setting for the first time since March. Interspersed were two very large funerals, a solemn Ordination, a most joyous wedding. The deacon had been waiting for five months (after seven years of study) and the young couple, on hold since Easter. In between, Christmas gathering with my Team and a review of the small Cardijn group in Bendigo. 

The palpable joy of being together was evident at all occasions. There were abundant shakes of the hand, hugs and kisses. People were delighted to be together and to make contact. Touch is important for us humans. “Come Thomas, place your hand in my side, in my wounds, and believe.” 

Isaiah’s words came alive for me.

 +Good news for the poor – many felt the poor that they experienced, lifted by being back in familiar                  surroundings. 

 +To bind up hearts that were broken – reunions of grandparents with the especially new grandchildren.

 +Liberty to captives – for some, the veil of fear had been lifted.

 +Freedom to those in prison- the prison of separation.

 +Proclaim a year of favour…what proclamation do we bring to our world and families this Christmas
 after this experience? 

Many have rediscovered the pleasure of the garden, some revived the ancient craft of knitting. Families have often reconnected, and the boon of Zoom has eased burdens.

Isaiah also said today “For as the earth makes fresh things grow, so will the Lord make both integrity and praise spring up in the sight of the nations.” 

If we dig a bit deeper, it is happening before our eyes. 

Let’s embrace the good that has come our way and not return to the suffocating demand of recent times.

Mons Frank

 

Second Sunday of Advent 6 December 2020

The book of Isaiah is read often in Advent (and Lent). Its many prophetic utterances urge a person to look for hope amidst the darkness of the contemporary world. In Isaiah 21 we read, “What is left of the night?” a question addressed to the watchman. “Morning coming, also the night.”

Locally, we seem to be entering morning. Traffic is heavier, more shops are open. Coffee is available on many street corners, we are back, in limited numbers, in Churches…then night descends. As if our community has not had enough to worry about or to consider, the newly elected Council has set the dogs running with a proposed action to remove or change the customary prayer at the beginning of their meetings. Night is not far away!

Mark is said to write, not simply to urge his readers to engage with Jesus…of Nazareth…in Galilee, but also to offer an alternative to the “night” of their experiences; a rule by demonic powers or brutal tyrants.

Our world today needs that alternative.

Isaiah in today’s reading offers that hope. Isaiah promises new action by God who will be victorious.

John was well aware of the call to conversion offered by the waters of the Jordan. He knew that was but a beginning, Baptism in the Holy Spirit was to come, and Paul was able to introduce the truth of our being made adopted sisters and brothers, by that self-same Spirit. Heady stuff then and now.

John came out of the wilderness, not from the Temple. Pope Francis keeps reminding us, you will find the Lord on the peripheries. This likewise was heady stuff in 30CE, and still is today.

It is Advent. It is time to begin again. The word we take this week from our Psalm is surely appropriate:

 “I will hear what the Lord God has to say.”

Mons Frank

 

Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time 13 September 2020

All communities have their ups and downs, even the new Christian community that Matthew wrote for. Amongst others, Paul too, had a number of problems with the Corinthians. We have found ‘troubles’; some very peculiar to Covid-19, in our communities. 

Locally, school communities suffered, somewhat unjustly, when staff were reported as being positive with the bug. The social media had a field day spreading the gossip, not knowing all the facts and making the presumption that the individual had deliberately brought the bug to the school. Not much sympathy for the health and wellbeing of the person.

As the first reading says, “Resentment and anger, these are foul things…” Their effects can multiply as fast as the bug itself! 

Well, what can be done and what can you and I do?

First and foremost, we must believe in the importance of forgiveness. Whatever the injunctions in today’s scripture, and there are many, from our Christian perspective we begin with the words and action of Jesus from the Cross…

 “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

It is a high benchmark. It sealed his teaching. He left a legacy. The great dictators of the last 100 years, whether they be like the Hitlers and Maos of the world to the lesser villains like the Pol Pots, they did not leave a legacy of goodness. 

So, in our book we aim for quality not quantity.

We believe that the life and death of each of us can make a difference. 

We believe that to expect justice from God we must practise justice with all, and if we want mercy from God then we must be merciful to others.

Secondly, we must live what we proclaim.

In our increasingly semi-religious society, we need to bring our beliefs more to the surface and confront the increasingly harsh and judgemental atmosphere that surrounds us.

                “Not seven, I tell you but seventy-seven times.” 

Mons Frank



Vic East Gathering Day 2020

Theme – “Listen to what the Spirit is saying”

Stephen Reid discussed the submissions to the Plenary Council and summarised some themes of interest to Teams.

previous arrowprevious arrow
next arrownext arrow
ArrowArrow
Slider

Archbishop Peter Comensoli learned first-hand about Teams and shared his story with us and had a short Q & A session

The day concluded  with the commissioning of Responsible Couples for 2020.

 

All Vic-East Members and Responsible Couples/Persons are invited to come along and join in the day.
There is no cost for the day; however, you are asked to bring a plate to share for lunch.

 

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time. 5 July 2020

Many of us have been to Hong Kong. We have watched the action in that city, pre and post Covid-19. We have seen footage of brutal power being exercised since July 1.

I feel saddened for the families and my church-going friends still in that city facing the future. The chariots, horses and bows of the first reading are being rolled out again as we write… and there is no sign of a king coming to the people riding on a donkey!

We know that hundreds of years after this was written, Jesus himself rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, demonstrating his approach to power based on his teaching. Yet again, many dismissed this approach. But he did not back off. He kept proclaiming another way and, knowing that his way was revolutionary and people centred, he reminded those who choose this path that they will grow weary and feel overburdened. He, thus, calls us to come to him again and again. To our ears it sounds crazy. His yoke easy?  His burden light? 

Once again, the paradox of the Gospel.

Here in Australia and particularly Victoria, we are enduring, like the world, the hardships of Covid -19. Nothing to be compared with many other countries. That is not of great consolation when you live in certain designated postcodes, nor is it to be compared with the suffering of the poorest of the poor sifting through the tailings of the jade mines in Myanmar.

So…………

  • Can we smile a little more this week?
  • Can we offer a cheering word to those overburdened?
  • Can we petition more earnestly for the downtrodden of the world?
  • Can we ride into people’s lives…on a donkey?
  • Can we proclaim peace for the nations?
  • Can we help all we meet to find rest for their souls? 

Mons Frank

 

Pentecost Sunday – Holy Mass

June 1 @ 1:00 am – 2:00 am Melbourne Aust Time.

Dear friends,
We hope you’re all well!
It is with great joy that we invite you all to be present, via Internet, at the Holy Mass on Pentecost Sunday, 31st May (June 1 in Canberra). In some countries the Churches are still closed; in others they are already open. Whatever your case, we are counting on you to pray together, asking God to keep the Teams of Our Lady, their couples, priests and families.
Please extend this invitation to all the couples and spiritual counsellors in your Region. Attached are the posters in the 5 official languages of the Movement. Spread the word!
This will be a Mass celebrated from Bogotá, by Father Ricardo Londoño, and some couples will participate.
We are always united in prayer.
A big hug with friendship,
Dora & João with all the ERI

https://www.facebook.com/equipesnotredameinternational/

 

International times.

Bogotá – Sunday 31 May at 10:00am
Brasilia – Sunday 31 May at 12:00pm
Lome – Sunday 31 May at 3:00pm
Lisbonne – Sunday 31 May at 4:00 pm
Paris – Sunday 31 May at 5:00 pm
Rome – Sunday 31 May at 5:00 pm
CanberraMonday June 1 at 1:00 am

YouTube Link:  https://cutt.ly/DyEEcEi