Pentecost Sunday Year A 31 May 2020

Fear dominated the evening of the “first day of the week”. Fifty days later, a similar gathering, maybe even in the same room, is against the background of one of the three great pilgrimage events in Israel. The comforting ritual embedded in the consciousness of the people is about to be given enhanced meaning…the panic of “Are we next?” “Will they do to us what they did to him?” “Where did He go?” “What did the months of journey really mean?” All gives way to a joyous proclamation of “the marvels of God”.

Our slow release from confinement with the associated concerns and fears about this present, but in many ways unknown, virus is a little like the disciples’ journey over those fifty days. For many, a time of bewilderment. For others, the inability to mourn the death of a loved one, to visit the sick or dying relative, or to hold the new grandchild, has had a huge impact. To wake, up day by day, separated from our neighbours, friends and family, into a world filled with a seemingly spiral of violence and indifference to the suffering of people is a challenge to process and make sense of. In a world view, not much different to waking up in the tumultuous times of Roman domination, particularly when there were constant elements trying to overthrow such imposition.

We need Pentecost again!
There are all sorts of service to be done!
Let us renew our understanding of “the particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person”, particularly…to ME!

Let ME be an agent of that same Spirit to renew the face of the Earth.

 

P.S. John Joseph Therry remained in Sydney for 40 plus years roaming around the cast colony and Phillip Conolly was sent to Tasmania to minister in those initial awful days.


Mons Frank

Fourth Sunday of Easter Year A 3 May 2020

These past few days have seen a number of opinions surface on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the first recorded sighting of the east coast of Australia. As usual, people have different takes on that event. TV coverage might have helped, depending on who directed the editing. What is significant for Catholics is that today, May 3, 2020, is the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the first approved (by the government) Catholic Priests into the Crown Colony called NSW.  

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Third Sunday of Easter Year A - 26 April 2020

“But something prevented them from recognising him.”

This line struck a chord with me this year…It is comforting to know that two of the “disciples”, amongst the many people who had witnessed “the things that have been happening there these last few days”, could not recognise Jesus. In a sense, we should not be surprised. Till that day, no one in the world had experience of dealing with a resurrected person. So, let us not be too harsh with them; nor perhaps with ourselves or with our friends who do not share the fullness of faith.

What it does raise, and particularly in this period of lockdown when many people of all faiths are unable to gather for community worship, is whose responsibility is it to “start with Moses and going through all the prophets he explained to them the passages thought the scriptures that were about himself”.

Some time ago, way back in the early sixties, the Vatican Council called the leaders of the Church to work and change existing structures to enable the people to become “full, active and conscious participants” in the action of the Liturgy. Many saw that statement more broadly. That cry has been taken up in all sections of the Catholic world but has been resisted by some powerful embedded powerbrokers within the Corpus Christi.

 

The current shutdown of gathering and worship-related spaces with the blossoming of online and virtual services is highlighting the question of what to do when the officials can’t be present or are not permitted to be present.
The headline in the Australian today has a message for us…”on this DIY day of remembrance.” It implies that DIY is not completely satisfactory, nor should it be permanent.

What will emerge in the future is anybody’s guess. The disciples on their road journey discovered that they had responsibility to discover what had really happened in Jerusalem and that they had to tell others about the Good News. They also had to understand their duty to break bread with others in remembrance of Him with, or without, the Temple.

And all this is our challenge today as it was for the early and subsequent eras of the Church. But we do it so that we today can continue in the words of Peter, “Through him you now have faith in God who raised Jesus from the dead and gave him glory for that very reason – so that you would have faith and hope in God.”

Mons Frank

Fifth Sunday of Lent Year A 29 March 2020

It is difficult, is it not?

We are being called to do the famous Ignatian 30 retreat, perhaps twice over, and the earth and air are being given a sabbatical, so we try to care for one another as Jesus cared for Mary and Martha and restored Lazarus to earthly life. The love expressed to all three was ultimately striving to assist them to prepare for the gift of Eternal Life.

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