Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C 15-09-2019.

Pope Francis is increasingly being referred to as a ‘Prophet’. We know that in many sections of some communities he is unpopular. I am not sure that popularity is written into the job description for the Papal Office. He recently spoke about the seeming reaction to his teaching and actions, particularly the negative ones and assured us that he can cope.

It struck me that the opening line of the Gospel this week might apply to him as they did to the other prophet, Jesus.

“The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say…”

“The Pharisees and the scribes complained…”

Much earlier in Luke (7:29-30) we read:

“All the people and tax agents had heard…”

“But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected God’s plan…”

It reminds me of the oft. quoted phrase: “Let the one with ears to hear, listen.”

And all that is important to understand the three parables that follow. All try to remind us about the wonderful truth of our God as revealed in the scripture and hopefully in each of our lives:

  • God loves us
  • We are his daughters and sons
  • We are not slaves as both sons thought, in vastly different ways and alienated themselves from their loving Father, but in different ways.

He has come to seek out the lost; our media highlights the huge numbers of lost in sometimes very graphic ways. We have a twenty-four-hour lifeline…Call upon our merciful Father…

And found we are, when we genuinely listen for his voice.

Mons Frank

Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time   Year C   1 September 2019

It is natural to break a journey, even in an A300. We look forward to the drink and food trolley. It sometimes enables us to break the ice with our next seat passenger. It sometimes enables us to have a little quiet time…but things happen even at 39,000 feet.

Food is the catalyst and being seated around a table enables the discourse to be productive.

Time and place are not available for this weekend’s incident; we know not where this meal took place. However, the main ingredients are present:

  •  A meal
  •  A leading Pharisee
  •  “They”
  •  It was the Sabbath
  •  He had just cured the man with dropsy

They watched him closely…so much for a genuine invitation!

The doors are open for another lesson… Will those present have the appropriate ears?

There are pecking orders across all segments of society…and of all societies, not just the G7. Some are necessary, but places are not the real reason to get excited; to be invited is reason enough.

At the table we are meant to be fed, nourished, challenged and inspired. If in a sense there is no room on the guest list or on the agenda for the crippled, the lame and the blind, then our meal together will be the poorer. We may not always be able to celebrate like L’ Arche does, but our agenda must be open, like their tables are open.

Today the meal at the table is almost a forgotten art in so many houses. Real homes have real meals!

Jesus has just added “the measure of the Kingdom” to the common practise of hospitality so valued in his society.

Is it present in ours?

Mons Frank

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time  Year C 25 August 2019

A lot of water has flowed under my bridge in the past few days, and yours.

The appeal process judgement handed down last Wednesday now seemingly to be referred to the High Court.

The saga continues.

Our Annual Diocesan Priests’ In-service.

Tim Fischer, a faithful member of our diocesan family, died.

The Formation Weekend for Teams attracted representatives from the Philippines, New Zealand and all  states of Australia.

The annual general meetings of Cardijn Community International (CCI) and its local expression, Cardijn Community Australia (CCA), were held this weekend.

It was difficult to “hold up your limp arms and steady your trembling knees” when faced with the evidence of much confusion, some division, but great signs of enough work being done by committed people in the field of marriage, particularly for couples and their relationship, let alone the efforts being made to raise in ‘See, Judge and Act’ scenarios, the social issues present in our community.

For me it was almost too much of a good thing!

Upon reflection the scenarios outlined…

  • the death of a very good man, and public figure,
  • the coming together of people from distant islands trying to enter by the narrow door,
  • the complexities of modern living,
  • all allowing themselves to be trained by the Lord.

It just seems appropriate for me, a little late to share with you, that despite all the trauma going on, many good people are getting on with the job, working to take their places in the Kingdom of God.

Possibly, just possibly, in much the same way as they were when Hebrews was written.

Mons Frank

ACT-NSW August-September newsletter

ACT-NSW August-September newsletter

In this Issue…

Reflecting on 45 Years in Teams – Eula and Keith McLaughlin . . . .page 1
Living Team Life through Liturgy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     .page 2
Vale Gerard McDonnell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .      page 4
What are local Teams Reading. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     page 4
Sydney Sector Teams News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    page 5
Oceania Leadership and Formation Retreat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 6
Renaissance of Marriage 2019 Conference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 6

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time   Year C 18 August 2019

Division!

What a week to be asked to reflect, discuss and pray about “division”.

*Hong Kong with the issue of basic legal rights.

*The Pacific Forum with differing views about survival of Island nations.

*Victoria at loggerheads with the understanding of the seal of Confession.

*The world awaiting a no-win response to the Cardinal’s appeal against his conviction.

*The sign on the light pole not far from me that reads “Do you use speed or ice?”. It is an invitation to
participate in a research project by Monash University with absolute confidentiality promised!

And we will hear proclaimed, “No, I tell you, but rather division.”

So, what is Jesus really on about?  We know that after the Resurrection he constantly greeted people with the words, “Peace I give to you.”

Let’s remind ourselves again, just where we are at, accompanying Jesus on the road to Jerusalem. In a sense, Jesus is becoming more resolute with his journey and more determined to prepare those who choose to follow for the hardship ahead.

To follow Jesus will, ipso facto, cause division. It did in 33 CE, and it does now. There is no easy road for the committed disciple. Jesus is calling upon those who hear his words, to conversion before it is too late. Our next confession may not be here, in or outside a box, but before the judgement seat itself!

If Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life”; if he and his works of healing are a signal from God, then we humans need to do something about the way we live.  Both doing and not doing will cause division. We, thus, reach the fork in the road!

Eucharist offers strength to take the path less travelled.

Mons Frank

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time   Year C  11 August 2019

Our world is, in a sense, traumatised by the word ‘security’; be it in the aftermath of Christchurch, let alone the recent U.S. shootings. Our on-going battle with the after-effect of Manus Island, let alone the necessity to have a Working with Children Card, causes us grief.

Last week the search was on for security by building bigger barns…for what purpose and I guess we have all lost a relative or dear friend during the course of this week. The barns did not save!

Jesus returns to this theme of security. So many now surround themselves with spiritual CCTV cameras, high walls and some even have armed guards. In a sense we try to not hear God knock on our door.

Perhaps it was not so different in Jesus’ time:

“listen you who have ears to hear”.

So today, Jesus raises the bar with his chosen ones. The kingdom comes but there is a cost: what distracts me from allowing the kingdom to enter my door?

Too many locks …

Too many buts …

Too many things to do…

Oh, come back next week. By then I will have cleared the desk, been to Vinnies with the surplus goods, made the donation I have been promising to do…and I will be alert and waiting.

However, I may be open to the call too late. The invitation to the kingdom may have passed me by, like the thief in the night.

It is scary to think that the kingdom may be offered to me. It can evoke fear. What will it cost? Not many stood around the cross on that fatal afternoon. The merciful Lord does give us all another chance.

So be alert, be on your guard and say ‘yes’ the next time.

Mons Frank

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time  Year C  4 August  2019

Building bigger barns!

It is comforting to think, but also embarrassing, that Jesus’ reflection on hoarding, apparently evident in his time, is still with us today. The buildings might be different…such as the proposed new football stadium in Sydney, but the principle remains the same. What is our treasure and where do we keep it?

We all need a place to live and turn into a home, a place to be hospitable, and a place to nurture values and faith.

How big is big?

Do we always need bigger and newer and smarter establishments?

One great lesson Jesus taught us was the importance of the table in whatever place he found himself. Whether it was in the home of the rich Pharisee or with Matthew or with Nicodemus, let alone on that last fatal night.

Do we build our treasure around the table?

The table is sacred in the home and in the place of worship. It not only holds the food that sustains us, but it gathers us as one to share our story and to enable us to listen and learn. It is there that we really make ourselves rich in the sight of God.

So, beware of the temptation to have bigger barns. Let us labour wisely, skilfully and successfully, around our table to enable all who gather to discover that there is only Christ and that he is everything. And he is in everything!

 

Mons Frank

 

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C 28 July 2019

Your indulgence; an introduction this week!

As most of you know, I live in Bendigo (the centre of the universe), and it has been a significant week for us. On Tuesday we learnt that a new Bishop had been appointed to Sandhurst, the earlier name of the City of Bendigo.  Rome does not necessarily change names because cities do. Shane Mackinlay, former Master of Catholic Theological College, will be ordained on October 16.

On Friday, in the presence of the Premier of Victoria, the first sod on the site of the Bendigo Islamic Association Cultural Centre and Mosque was turned after many battles, protests and court hearings.

On his journey to Jerusalem Jesus was observed “praying”.  Prophets in the Jewish tradition were meant to be “people of prayer”.  It is instructive to look at some sections of the Scripture and note the various approaches to prayer by the key leaders and Prophets. We have the approach of Moses today, and note that the disciples had observed or heard about the approach of John the Baptist.

Prayer is mysterious. There are many teachers; libraries full of books, CD’s, and videos while apps are available following all sorts of traditions. The bottom line is the invitation to all; to try and to pray.

I don’t know who prayed and how they prayed about the Mosque and Bishop. We know that many did. It is perhaps simplistic to say that “our prayers were answered”. On the surface…yes, but what sort of a Bishop and Mosque will we enjoy? So, maybe the next stage of our prayer needs to start; we don’t want stones, snakes or scorpions. We need bread, fish and eggs and both Bishop and Mosque must provide bread for their respective communities. Like the friend, we must keep knocking, even if it is midnight.

If we are too busy to pray, then we are busier than God wants us to be.

Mons Frank

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C 21 July 2019

Fifty years on.

We were just grappling with English in the Liturgy then (in some places only), and the new Lectionary had not completely arrived (in some places) and the challenge for Priests had been launched (in some places) to prepare a homily based upon the Readings for the day.  It is a fair guess that we, all of us, were not confronted with the readings we have this weekend. The maths experts may enjoy working out the Word of God placed before us that Sunday when a man walked upon the Moon!

My eye caught the phrase this weekend, “the message which was a mystery hidden for generations and centuries, has now been revealed to his saints.”

Fifty years on, it is being recalled in some places that Buzz Aldrin, with the permission of NASA  and his local Church, took the ‘Sacrament’ blessed at his local church under the form of bread and wine and had a minute’s silence in the command ship and celebrated in his tradition. “The mystery is Christ among you.” I think St Paul would have rejoiced!

We all grapple with the confronting and comforting doctrine of the reality of the gift of the presence of the R isen Christ among us…the Sacrament of the Eucharist is very much a centrepiece of Catholic doctrine. It has borne the heat and been tested in the fires of debate and persecution. Not all believers have been able to accept the fullness of this teaching. Many are still on the way; we still need to follow St Pauls words:

“This is the wisdom in which we thoroughly train everyone and instruct everyone, to make them all perfect in Christ.”

So let us rejoice that amidst all the noise and comment that this fifty year anniversary brings forth, someone gave unique witness to the great truth of the presence of the Risen Christ amongst us.

Let’s open our hearts to embrace both Martha and Mary; be of service at the table and be a worthy recipient of its fruit.

Mons Frank

 

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time   Year C  14 July 2019

We encounter the Samaritans for the third time in as many weeks. Coincidence or perhaps deliberate by whoever organised the liturgical readings.

Why?

Some might say that we could enshrine, “oh, be a Good Samaritan” into our language. There is a recent book named, I think, ‘The Political Samaritan’ which seeks to uncover how this story has influenced high places over the years. And not only high places.

Our current Pope is seeking to make our Church more missionary, in outlook and in fact. Not necessarily asking us to rush off to distant places and stand in the village square to immediately ram down the locals throats the gift of Jesus, but to open eyes to our current reality and ask “Why is that person lying on the road and no one is helping?”. One great truth of the parable is that most of the listeners in the story would not have criticised the Levite or the Priest. They were obeying the Law. They were protecting their status, and their faith. When the lawyer responded with the teaching, “You must Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind” let alone, “and your neighbour as yourself”, the penny did not drop. Samaritans were not neighbours.

Jesus is in effect saying …”Look at your Laws.” And he may be well saying the same to us today: canonically and civilly!

The lawyer moved a little and replied, “The one who took pity on him”. But the Samaritan “was moved with compassion”.  Conversion has begun but is not completed.

So for ourselves.  Let us all be “Good Samaritans”. Not simply because the concept is good. But because people are more important than laws, actions speak louder than words, and pity may bring bandages, but compassion will overcome the evil that reduces the wounded person to an inconvenient object.

Be a true “Good Samaritan”.

Mons Frank