Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time 24 October 2021

Confessions…be they of faith, wrongdoings, repentance, or belief, are not easy, be they public or private, let alone grave or even frivolous. So, on “let out” day, Friday 22 October in Victoria, the downside of the gates being opened was to announce to the congregation, 30 persons, all double vaccinated, that I, the celebrant, was, as required by decree, double vaccinated! That certainly was not in the faculty sheet upon Ordination. I did not feel quite like Bartimaeus.

What with all the commentary emerging from many sources from the first session of the Plenary Council, the huffing and puffings of government agencies trying to rejoice that the lockdown was being lifted, the conflicting news about the “washed and unwashed” (we are a welcoming church), and the media sensationalism about having a beer at midnight…blind Bartimaeus’ cry “Master, let me see again” is a dash of realism. “Let me see again.”

All was not clear or peaceful in the throng; disciples, and a large crowd that left Jericho with Jesus. We have had in recent weeks the wrangling over places at the table, the sadness of Jesus as the young man took off (his riches won the battle on that occasion), and the “What’s in it for us?” from Peter. Jesus must have been wringing his hands and wondering, “Why me? Is this all I have going for me after all the miracles, example and words?” And, overriding it all was the false hope circulating that he, Jesus, would be the leader of the revolution! Rome would be no more. He was the revolution of course, but not on their terms or in their understanding. “Master, let me see again” was a summary of Jesus’ presence. To see the Father is our hope, and to follow the Way, Truth and Life is our Journey.

The restoration of his physical sight was important for Bartimaeus but his insight into the real person of Jesus (Son of David) was more important, for him and us.

Bartimaeus, lead us to Jesus!


Mons Frank

Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time 17 October 2021

“Can you drink the cup that I must drink?”

We have been alerted by Mark. “They are on the road, going up to Jerusalem”. Excitement was evident. The great feast of the Passover was to be celebrated in the Holy City. Huge interest was being shown to the teacher from Galilee. Was he the person to set the people free? James and John wished to have good seats at the celebration…it didn’t really matter about the other ten. The scene reminds me of the two men desperate to obtain seats to the Grand Final in Perth recently. Broke most rules to get there; now in jail.

Jesus must have sighed a great sigh! Will they ever learn? Will we ever learn? So, another lesson about the order in the Kingdom and the way forward. There will be pain and suffering, the Father allocates the seats, no room for scalpers. The way forward will be through service. “Can you drink the cup that I must drink?”

It is a great counter vision to the ethos of the time…and to our age also.

There are too many examples today of progress being dependent on throwing weight around, H/K, threats and intimidation, Taiwan, advancement in career at a sexual price, even “father knows best” in our own Church circles.

Many years ago, in discussing the acceptance, or not, of a person for work within the Church, my friend remarked “Can he drink the cup?” Sadly, it turned out…no.

“Can you drink the cup that I must drink?” is still a touchstone for us. We all need to imitate the kind of servant leadership shown by Jesus, who gave his life that others might be free.

True greatness involves the service of others. Let us find a little way to be of service to another this week.

Mons Frank