he Baptism of the Lord   Year C  13 January 2019

The Church’s liturgical year slips into Ordinary Time this Sunday and in choosing Luke for the Gospel (in some sense it is no wonder) it is very clear that from now on we must be focused upon Jesus. John has departed to prison. We meet Jesus at prayer (a little sign to us all); we are reminded of his identity “You are my Son” and a gentle alert, “my favour rests on you.”

So, we better watch out, we better not fail, for the answer to the ‘feeling of expectancy’ has arrived.

In following Luke’s account, it might be useful to keep in mind the following questions (and brief answers) to help us understand what Jesus began to do and teach.

Who is Jesus?……He is God’s Son!

What sort of a Son is he?……An obedient Son!

What kind of a Messiah is he to be?……A prophetic Messiah!

These questions will be answered during the course of the year, and with those answers will come the challenges to each of us who are determined to hear his call. Don’t be afraid to seriously ask “How would my reaction fit in with the call to participate in the preparation for the Plenary Council” when you hear a slightly different call or see something in a new light. Remember, when reading the Scripture, it is not just any old book! It is the book of books which outlines the sins and sinners as well as the game changers and saints.

We are called to be game changers and saints for we, too, are beloved daughters and sons via our Baptism.

Welcome to the New Year.

Mons Frank

Second Sunday of Advent  Year C 9 December 2018

It appears that the state of Victoria is to have yet another Royal Commission; this time the police. We will soon be a perfect state, maybe broke but cleaned up. I am reminded of a phrase from William Riley in his book on the Apocalypse: “Once we stray from our mission, we can find ourselves making messes, even if they are the results of good intentions.”

The proclamation of a baptism of repentance by John today, is as pertinent as it was “in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign”.

We know, for we have been reading and listening to these accounts for years that life was not perfect during the rule of Pontius Pilate; nor did things improve under the leadership of Caiaphas, happily aided by his father-in-law Annas. Just ask those who witnessed their actions in the Sanhedrin!

Into this society appears John; a voice crying in the wilderness, but not ineffective. He too urged his followers, like many prophets before him, and many since, to give up extortion, blackmail, gouging and acquisitiveness and to begin to share with those more needy. And he won many followers and opened their hearts to the message of Jesus. No matter how small we feel, we can do the same. Through us “all mankind shall see the salvation of God.”

This week look for the voice of the Spirit whispering a message of hope and healing, even where the woundedness is greatest.

Come Lord Jesus!

Mons Frank

First Sunday of Advent    Year C   2 December 2018

Welcome to the new liturgical year. The Sunday Gospel readings are from Luke (Year C). It is good that we begin again and that we have these four weeks trying to get our heads around what we as Christians believe…the gift of Jesus Christ. We are called to go through his life and times, not as if we were being introduced to the story for the first time; rather we take our learned knowledge and try to build on that.

I would like to suggest that an aspect of this ‘New Beginning’ is rooted in the deep Christian call to be agents of hope. When Luke was writing, there were many examples in his world of ‘awfulness’. The Romans were rampaging, signs in various places seemed ominous; some would say “worlds are ending”.  But we are here. We are a new force for good in our seemingly collapsing world.

It is not difficult to see signs of doom and destruction around us, ask the Ukrainians. Talk to the drought and fire ravaged peoples. Consider Syria. Look at the persecutions of Christians. The annual report of the agency ‘Aid to the Church in Need’ reports that 300 million Christians are subject to abuses such as violence and arrest…and we think we are hard done by!

So, from the Evening prayer of the Church for the Vigil of Advent, I offer a structure for the coming week to direct part of your prayer.

You will bring us Wisdom                     e.g. tackling sexual abuse

Understanding         e.g…….

and New vision.              e.g.  the plenary Council

Come Lord Jesus do not delay.

You will bring us Good News              e.g…………

and Power to transform our lives.    e.g.  take action in the work place

Come Lord Jesus do not delay.

You will bring us   Truth.          e.g………….

Show us the way to the Father.      e.g. read the daily Advent Scripture

Come Lord Jesus do not delay.

Born of a woman, open in our flesh the way to eternal life.     e.g. renewed roles for women

Open in our flesh the joy of life                      e.g …….

Come Lord Jesus do not delay.

I have left gaps.   You add to all the offerings and have a wonder-filled Advent.

Mons Frank

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time   Year B   18 November 2018

We are in the last days of the Liturgical Year. Next Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King. We try this week to establish a statement that we can offer our leader as we say thanks for the past year of grace.

On the way, we might consider…are we at the end or are we about to engage, thankfully, in a new beginning? Ends and beginnings, are they not a constant reality? Consider: the Brigidine Sisters said “good bye” to the Beechworth community this past weekend and in doing so closed the book on 132 years of commitment to that community. The locals awaited the inevitable, hoping it was not the end. The Sisters offered the vision that it was time for a new beginning. Four young women from Ireland arrived just after Ned Kelly was jailed in Beechworth, and they came to a town that earlier had hopes of being a capital and had begun to build their Church accordingly. But the gold ran out.  It proved not to be the end.

At a conference today of the Inter-faith Networks of Victoria, I learnt that Australia has 20% of the world’s poker machines. We are possibly 0.2% of the world’s population. The faith communities are at the beginning of trying to change that situation. One council area in Melbourne lost 132 million dollars last year in payments to government and the owners of the machines! The industry promotes the slogan ‘Gamble responsibly!’

The parable of the fig tree calls us to recognise the signs of the times. Will someone seize the opportunity in Beechworth? Will the Inter-faith networks give a lead in Victoria? Will we all take seriously the opportunity presented by the appeal, to let our voice be heard in the opportunity presented by the forthcoming Plenary Council consultation? What will you and I present with the bread, wine and collection to our leader next Sunday? Let it not be a fatalistic end, but rather a faith-filled new beginning.

Mons Frank

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time  Year B  28 October 2018

What do you want me to do for you?

Jericho! Only 15 or so miles from Jerusalem, all uphill, with an occasional obstacle like robbers. It features several times in the Gospel; we locate the Good Samaritan on this road. Remember the man up the tree. On this occasion the Passover is coming, and Jesus is deliberately “going up” where he will be “lifted up”. This is the last of his teachings about faith and discipleship on the road. The rest in Mark happens in Jerusalem, the killer of the Prophets. In one sense, Jesus is preparing the people for a new era, the way of the Cross, the way of rejection by the locals, the way of betrayal by his own chosen disciples, the way of death by the Jewish and Roman authorities.

What do you want me to do for you?

I suggest we can update the scene a little and recognise that in the call of the Plenary Council we are being invited to go up to our Jerusalem and that, in some sense, we Catholics are the new Bartimaeus. I would ask you to imagine you are sitting on the road, your faith recognises the call. What do you cry out?

The call has gone out that we are invoking the Holy Spirit to help us see again.

What do you cry out?

What is it you believe needs to happen to get our beloved Church back in the market place?

This week I had a germ of an idea. By way of illustration, I would like the Plenary Council to encourage all Church communities to organise themselves to have their Church open for at least one hour a day. To have it manned so that greetings can be shared and explanations given as to why we have the signs and symbols that we do. That this is a movement of the whole Church community. We are all equally baptised. It may not take away all our blind spots, but it would be interesting to see the changes in our community. Surely, we have a minimum of seven people in our faith group that can give one hour a week to “open the doors”! It is an idea that I will send to the organising committee.

What is your idea?

How can we see again?

Son of David, have pity on me!

Let’s us make a loud collective cry!

 

Mons Frank

Twenty -eighth Sunday in Ordinary time   Year B     14 October  2018 

“I prayed, and understanding was given to me; I entreated, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me.”

Most people tend, at some time in their life, to ask in their own way “What must I do to inherit Eternal life?” Their words reflect the basic sentiments of the rich young man. I believe that in their own way, they hear the substance of Jesus’s response; to keep the commandments.  They may not see the response as clearly as the young man. After all, he did not have to battle finding answers in his time as we now face our different challenges, e.g., as the paper said today, “to win back our pride we had to lose our ego” (The Australian). Being Prime Minister offers no protection from responding to the challenge of gay children and schooling. Some of our chicken farmers are under supreme pressure from the big retailers and the RSCPA to reorganise their sheds, to the extent that they have to install chains hanging above the chooks so they can play with them! These questions never arose in the time of Jesus but they, and others, are just as important in finding a proper response to the basic question that is still of major importance in our rapidly changing world; “What must I do to inherit Eternal life?”

One response is that taken very literally by Francis of Assisi. Not everyone can do that as literally as he did; and he was a very rich man. But we can use our riches, health, intelligence, information and wealth to bring change to our world. That will enable us to have treasure in heaven.

To move positively in our age, despite all the challenges, we need to heed the message about the Word of God in our Second Reading today and sincerely petition for the Wisdom offered in the First Reading.

Times are not easy, but soldier on and remember the words of Francis of Assisi:

“All the darkness of the world cannot extinguish the light of one candle.”

LIGHT YOUR CANDLE.

Mons Frank

ACT-NSW October 2018 Newsletter

In this Newsletter you will find reports on the following:

  • Fatima 2018: International Gathering of Teams of Our Lady
  • Reflections on the Fatima 2018 Gathering and Formation: Sarah and Mark Stoove
  • We are one … and … we are many: Faye and Kevin Noonan
  • Directions for the International Teams Movement after Fatima 2018
  • What is happening in your Region? Important dates to note in the next 6 months
  • Introducing the Queanbeyan Team
  • Increasing Team Membership Locally and Across Oceania

ACT-NSW Regional Newsletter October 2018a