Second Sunday in Ordinary Time 15 January 2023

Fireworks greeted the beginning of the New Year just a few days ago. None of us could have considered the ecclesial and civic fireworks that have accompanied the deaths of Benedict XVI and Cardinal Pell. John the Baptist’s pronouncement, “Look, there is the Lamb of God” was, in comparison, hardly newsworthy, though the promise, “that takes away the sin of the world”, provoked many a query in the days that followed.

The politicisation of the deaths is uncalled for so, too, the proposal that one should be immediately a doctor of the church and both subject to the call, “subitio santo”. Last Tuesday was the feast of St Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers. He died in 367. Pope Pius IX. declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1851. Likewise the declaration of Sainthood demands a degree of patience let alone the other necessary conditions.

In spite of all this and the enduring lesson, “you know not the day nor the hour”, we set out once more trying to make sense of what has been revealed to us by the scripture.

What are we called to?

What is expected of us?

As we journey away from the Christmas festivities and, that journeying like the Magi by a different way, we must look again at our Sunday scripture with newish and strengthened eyes.

So, some brief points this Sunday:

  • Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.
  • Let us make that an invocation each day this week.
  • I will make you the light of the nations.
  • Let us aim to have the oh so many lights of our faith and commitment, of our teaching and practise, overcome the darkness of our faults.
  • You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings, but an open ear.
  • Away with ideologies, allow the pursuit of truth to be our mark.
  • Our lives have gifts.
  • We all have interests.

Let 2023 be a year of positive response to God’s word enabling each of us to be true lights in our current troubled world.

Mons Frank

The Epiphany of The Lord 8 January 2023

Violence, all forms of violence including war, have unintended consequences.

After such acts, even being hit by a cricket ball, you will hear “Sorry. I didn’t mean to hit you”.

On this Traditional Orthodox Feast of Christmas for those following the Julian Calendar, which we, following the Gregorian calendar call Epiphany, are living through a major rift in traditional celebrations of the Birth of Christ.

The offer of a 36 hour truce in the war between Russia and Ukraine has been greeted with scepticism by most of the world…as reported by the press. Herod in today’s reading said he, too, wished to pay homage to the new King, but the same reporters chronicled the massacre of the innocents. The King must be the King! The peace promised by the Angels, to people of good will, is crushed again before our eyes. The memory of Herod and his actions lives!

Whatever this happening, you and I are called to be builders of peace by being people who work for justice…justice within our families, in our workplaces, in our society, in our Church.

That justice begins, as the Magi teach, by first acknowledging the Prince of Peace and doing homage. Earthly kings can wait; our God is first.

Then we present our gifts; symbols of homage but also acknowledging our relationship, creature to creator.

The trifecta is complete when we, too, leave the presence and in obedience to the voice, go back to our home by another way and do things differently.

We should be different and be better people for having worshipped and paid homage to the living God.

During this past week, I came across a sign on a school, “Happiness through achievement”. It made me ponder. What about being a seeker of the truth, or a giving person or a loving person?

Herod was called Great because of his “achievements” but wrecked his life and reputation. The Magi, unknown, are still a sign that God came for all people.

Our happiness will come if we follow their example.

Mons Frank

New Year’s Day Year A January 1 2023

Liturgical feast of the Solemnity of Mary. Pope Paul VI declared this day to be called “World Day of Peace.”

“Peace in our time” was the hope of that British Prime Minister; in vain. For as he spoke on one page of the agreement, the response on the other page was World War Two.

The birth of the Prince of Peace aroused the anger of Herod and the death of the babes of Bethlehem.

Despite the rejection of his teaching, Jesus still spoke of peace.

Peace I leave with you, my Peace I give to you”.

So often we resort to violence, and nations wage wars.

“Give God a go” is the message of a recent Book by Sven Brinkmann (Year with God: Faith for Doubters).

Whatever the content of the book, the concept of “Give God a go” is surely a great starting point for a New Year’s resolution!

Mary, in saying YES, gave God a go!

A YES for her time; and a YES for all times for those genuinely seeking resolution to their fears or hopes.

For those who have opted to give God a go, perhaps the call for the coming year is to proclaim, to agitate more and more for peace to those who seek the path of violence. Pause and at least consider another way!

In his many calls for peace in the past twelve months, Pope Francis has urged us to speak with the heart.

Another of his words were these:

“I ask for a peaceful dialogue that allows for uncomfortable truths to be spoken of without resorting to contentious and hostile debate”.

Good advice not only for the big powers but for each one of us.

There was a peaceful dialogue between Mary and the angel.

She became the mother of Jesus and from the cross given to us as our mother. Such dialogue has changed the world in many ways, and will change us all if we pursue that path.

Give God a go.

Let each of us be messengers of peace in 2023.


Mons Frank


Christmas Day 25 December 2022

I often walk at a reasonable time, say 8 to 9am, not running nowadays, trying to greet those of similar needs. Sadly, there are those who grunt, those who greet whilst reading their phone messages, and those who pass by on the other flank. Covid awareness I suppose. There are those who respond.

Today, at that time, it was different. Very little traffic on foot or vehicle. The morning heralded a big blue sky, was warm and pleasant. I passed the Bendigo Bowling Club…all quiet. No humming of the grass cutters, no bustling of the ground staff preparing for the day’s competition, just quiet. It almost felt as if the whole of creation was having a rest whilst awaiting, waiting for Good News.

The line from Luke’s Gospel in his account of the birth and circumcision of John the Baptist has been haunting me these past hours…

“But no one in your family has that name.”

So often in our world we are hobbled by expressions reflecting that sentiment,

“It’s always done this way.”

“No one has ever done this before.”

“You can’t do that.”

No one dreamed of sending a babe to be the source of New Life, salvation and to be the bringer of peace to us. None of the great Despots, Emperors, Caliphs, Monarchs, Kings or Princes provided that sort of hope or comfort. We accept The Child and His Gifts. we take comfort in the truth that our God is free to do what is best and not hamstrung by…

“You can’t do that because it has never been done before.”

It seemed to me this morning that, for a brief moment, the whole of creation was preparing in peace and quiet to say thanks. Thanks that you have come to bring hope to a confused and conflicted world; but to a world with healthy pockets of wonderful people who have seen the Child, believed the implicit message and given their lives to following the Way.

As is said:

  • God is not finished with us,
  • God does not give up on us,
  • God continues to love us.

May we return that love this Christmas.

Mons Frank

P.S. Thanks for your company these past months. I hope to resume in the new year… Be with your families in peace, hope and thankfulness this Christmas Day.

Fourth Sunday of Advent 18 December 2022

Angels’ Candle…the message of PEACE, with the caveat, “to people of good will”.

Just as if we did not have enough evidence of people ignoring the above caveat… more hangings of the young in Myanmar, more cruise missiles dropping all over Ukraine, here at home in Queensland we suffered the shock and subsequent trauma of the murder of the police and friendly neighbour.

We lament and pray for the suffering and petition yet again for change.

The innate desire of good people for justice and peace and change is illustrated by Isaiah…

Change is difficult when one is on the wrong path. Ask the recovered alcoholic or gambler. Addiction, in even less disastrous forms, can often prevent a desire to be free, to be released.

A breakthrough is necessary.

I recent spoke with a friend of a petty criminal whose life was changed by the birth of a baby; his with a girl that he then fell deeply in love with. Changed his employment, settled down and, at the moment, the family is five and all is well. As he said, the miracle of the baby smacked him right between the eyes

Isaiah revealed that in time the maiden would be with child and the babe would be called Emmanuel! In our rich history the gift of the child is associated with the concept of change and peace, a peace the world cannot give.

It is a peace that allows the wisdom of God to enter our lives. Sadly, there are still so many “who are not satisfied with trying the patience of men without trying the patience of God too”. That wisdom chose in love to send us a child as a sign, and as a reality, that true peace begins in us in quite a different way. We have to be open to what the new life of the child can teach us and of the love that the child needs to grow and become a child of God.

Peace is not as we often are told, simply the absence of violence and war.

So, we ponder this concept of peace this week.

Make an effort to be calm in the midst of the shopping rush and the frantic pace to be ‘finished’ in time for Christmas. Bring moments of peace to your household.

Mons Frank

Third Sunday of Advent 11 December 2022

We light the Shepherds’ Candle on our Advent wreath today. It calls us to JOY, building upon the messages of HOPE and FAITH of the two previous weeks.


The Chaplaincy team responsible for prison visitation in the Castlemaine prisons, all three of them, met on Friday night to share the joys and hopes of their efforts. There were some sadness’s and dashed hopes as well…our prisoners are part of the “lost, lonely and last” in our society. Getting out, which most dream for, is not as difficult as getting back into society; and despite all the good work done inside, outside is so different to inside, especially if you’ve been “in” for many years.

Their Masses are joyful. Singing is wonderful. Lots of genuine instant prayers.

Recently, there was serious illness with one member of the Chaplaincy team. Somehow, word was passed through the ranks of the congregation. Several weeks later, spontaneous clapping and joy erupted when the word was announced of healing and restoration to health of the team member.

Prisoners cannot do much for those outside the walls, but they can pray, and it occurs that we sometimes forget to ask those who are numbered amongst the “lonely, lost and last”, even outside the walls, to pray.

Being asked to do something brought great joy to the men.

Being asked to open his house brought great joy to Zacchaeus.

Being asked to explain, from prison, who he (Jesus) was, gave great joy to John’s disciples, and evident joy to Jesus as he praised the Baptist.

Further, having asked the answer brought great comfort, peace, and joy to John himself. His mission was finished, the proclamation of the Kingdom was in safe hands…

The crowds were joyful when Jesus spoke, healed and cured.

His words gave hope. Their faith was rewarded. They fulfilled Isaiah’s words, “everlasting joy in their faces; joy and gladness will go with them.”

They were asked often to keep the wonderful news to themselves. Happily, joy won out!

We have similar Good News, and an aspect of it is to offer those who seemingly cannot do anything, to be a prayerful person

So, as we light the third candle, think of someone who has never been asked to do this or to give that, and simply say to them, “Please pray for……….and for me”.

Mons Frank

Second Sunday of Advent 4 December 2022

We light Advent candle two today, the Bethlehem candle. Tradition suggests it is a symbol of faith.


Faith, in a religious sense, gets bad press today, especially with those who think that religious faith simply reflects a statement of beliefs which contradict their take on personal or public situations.

Then there are many who trust that all would have faith in the directions given by traffic lights, but experience teaches us otherwise.

Or, like us, the Ukraine people were used to believing that when they turned on the tap, water would flow. The fact that, at the moment, water does not flow does not destroy the belief that water is meant to flow through those pipes.

Faith is, as the song said, “a many splendid thing”.

On one level, the Bethlehem candle acknowledges the faith that people like Isaiah celebrated. Yes, there would, in time, be one dressed with “integrity”!

On the other hand, that candle burns bright “as a signal to the people” handing on the same basic truths as revealed at Bethlehem 2000 years ago.

Further, a statement of truths is often called articles of faith providing basic guidance for all.

Over the centuries, some yearned for the coming of one who would open the eyes of the blind and unseal the ears of the deaf and be a person of integrity.

That word again, and one banded about so often in today’s world.

We do yearn for people of integrity.

The faith, patient faith of those in the past was, in time, rewarded. Not always in the way they anticipated. We are the recipients of those who carried the faith from one generation to another. Now it is our turn, in unfamiliar circumstances and surrounded by a seemingly rampant faithless throng, to do the same. But are they faithless? Or are they searching for true faith?

Ultimately, having explored these and many other aspects of faith, we, the followers of Jesus, are called to make that leap. Yes, Jesus is real. Yes, I can call Him saviour, healer, inspirer, and friend. Accepting that challenge is, as we have heard and said, the leap of faith. It is the move that matters. He is My Lord and my God!

The Bethlehem candle calls us to renew that leap again this Advent and to open the doors for those searching this Christmas.

Light your Bethlehem candle with a person in mind.

Mons Frank



First Sunday of Advent 27 November 2022

We begin again; hopefully strengthened by the insights gained during the feasts and ordinary time of the previous year.

The prophet Isaiah invites, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord.”

We need to go somewhere.

The plane country we inhabit has had its share of different challenges this year…the Gospel words, “for in those days before the flood”, are still pertinent in our territory. I was in Rochester on Thursday. Upwards of 96% of homes and businesses are flood damaged, in most cases, not safe to sleep or work.

The grinding war against Ukraine continues. Here at home, our news bulletins seem full of doom and gloom. Loss of faith in civic and church institutions. The battle for respect is violent in Iran. The lack of respect is still evident by authorities in Myanmar and so it goes on.

Seeming loss of respect in families and towards others here at home, however brilliant examples of people and their resilience in spite of “dungeon, fire and sword”.

Indeed, we need to go up to the mountain.

The first candle lit on the Advent Wreath today is called the Prophet Candle.

It reminds us of the former tough days when prophets arose to give people hope, and that is the key message today.

Against the rough times of the last year, we all experienced little glimpses, certainly little but in many cases large examples of hope. The birth of a baby, the teenager at last an adult, the roses did bloom, I was reconciled to my friend…

These are the desires for the new year. Strengthened by the previous year’s goodness, we again set out to “live decently as people do in the daytime.”

As we go out could we journey…rejoicing?

Let us bring a sound of joy to our family, to our community. We know that the good Lord will come in his own good time but in the meantime, we stay awake and seize the opportunities to “hammer swords into ploughshares, spears into sickles” and be a source of hope in our community.

Welcome to Advent.

Mons Frank




Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe 20 November 2022

We have made it. We are at the end of Luke’s road! We have reached the pinnacle of Jerusalem, Calvary!

We have met so many different people; some even with personal names, e.g., Zacchaeus.

We add today…

the people, silent but watching

the leaders, jeering

the soldiers, mocking

the criminals, one abusing Jesus, one rebuking his companion.

I wonder…what group might I have joined on that fateful day?

So many were worried about salvation!

The leaders…he saved others…let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the chosen one.

The soldiers…if you are the king of the Jews save yourself.

One criminal…are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us as well.

The people were silent…had they repented or were just powerless in the face of so much hatred and injustice?

I wonder. Would I have been silent or…?

Jesus spoke so much about love, mercy, forgiveness. Just like Pope Francis for Ukraine, Myanmar, refugees, and the poor. All Jesus’ and the Pope’s words, part of the message of “salvation”.

Here we are at the end of the road, and one of the lost, lonely, and the last, in that society suddenly speaks for all: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

That is the word we would all like to utter as our time draws near and to hear the response from the wooden cross (and not from a gilded chair like that of Pilate) that demonstrates that Jesus is what the sign says, THE KING OF THE JEWS!

Present your 2022 deed to the true king tomorrow.

Give thanks that we have been able to accompany Luke and to have joined his account of the birth, preaching and teaching of Jesus and be there for the great manifestation of what Paul called the creation of “a place for us in the kingdom of the Son whom he loves”.

Thanks to all for being with us on our 2022 journey.

See you in Advent.

Mons Frank

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time 13 November 2022

It seems like the calm before the storm. Our setting for this Sunday is almost homely, like a group of tourists appreciating a fine building. “Look” they say. “Look!” “Fine stonework, beautiful votive offerings.” We have all had similar experiences.

The setting, the situation, causes the great Prophet to reflect upon his destiny, and that of his beloved city. The physical journey to Jerusalem is accomplished. All that remains is, in a sense, the destruction of the Old Order represented by the Temple, and the beginning of the New Order in the impending death and resurrection of Jesus himself.

All of which must have been hard for the “some” to comprehend (and perhaps for us).

Jesus looked fine and healthy. No one seemed to be hassling him, no one complaining about his words or actions. Relatively peaceful. The Temple building reflected architectural solidarity and beauty, one of the great wonders of that age.

But…all was not as it seemed.

Jesus was given a mission and prophetic insight. The end of an era was at hand, the new era would be born like all new life in our world through pain before the joy of new life came forth.

An extraordinary moment in our history.

Many people have endured great suffering in accepting the call of the New Order. I wonder how many tears Jesus wept in knowing that his call to follow him would result in “men will seize you and persecute you…because of my name”. He did shed tears over his beloved Jerusalem. The call to the New Kingdom is not without a price, he soon sweated blood, but acceptance of the call gains rewards beyond our imagination.

We leave part one of the journey according to Luke today. Part two is summarised next Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King.

Take time this week to search out an action that you have accomplished this past year and, like the thief on the cross, hold it up to the crucified one and trust that you will hear the comforting words, “Indeed I promise you, today you will be with me in Paradise”.

Mons Frank