Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time 28 August 2022

Back to the table.

A little different to when we reflected upon Jesus being in the tax collector’s house.

This time, it is as we say, with the big wigs, the chief Pharisee!

It is a meal.

Our Gospel today omits the inevitable, a visitor wishing to be cured. Some things are the same … “they watched him closely.” Another translation says, “They had him under close scrutiny.” It is tough to be under scrutiny all the time. There are enough cameras in Australia; but it is much worse in many countries today.

Dinners are important and it is only four months to Christmas Day. Many are planning that dinner already. The effort to gather all; the scattered, the self-isolated, the ones with a grudge, let alone those who will come, is enormous but essential.

The table is important, even in our TV dinner age, perhaps more important than ever.

We often hear of fundraisers arranged around a dinner table with a price tag similar to “how they picked the place of honour”. One has to be seen next to the “chief”. But why?

Jesus, in noticing all this, yet again proclaims the “divine reversal”. The Kingdom is not the sole prerogative of the leading people. It also includes the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. Our task is to identify that group in our society and do something about it. Thankfully, we have established many organisations and institutions to provide a room and a place at the table. Not all are perfect, but for many, the care is adequate, certainly better than what was offered in the time of Jesus. The recent move to provide night shelter during the winter in the city and country is welcome. This is evidence of good will in tackling a recent need, the homeless crisis.

Perhaps the two questions for our generation are …

One … the loneliness in our institutions

Two … as alluded to above, the Christmas table; at home and in worship.

Can we find ways to bring comfort and joy to the lonely, and to find ways to fill the empty chair at both tables this Christmas?


Mons Frank

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time 21 August 2022

Do you remember the saying “can’t see the wood for the trees.”

Looking back, I had a great number of “tree” removals by events leading up to Sunday. The events lead me to realise that the Spirit is moving amongst us, as it was in the time of Isaiah and Jesus. Both were trying to remove trees from the peoples’ eyesight.

My week began with a formal presentation by our Bishop outlining the teaching of Pope Francis in his letter Laudate Si’. During the outline he stressed the “See, Judge Act” methodology of the current Pope…joy to my ears and I hope to those that can remember, Cardijn and the YCW.

I was asked to lead the Liturgy for a youngish man who had spent the past 30 years without his legs in our home, Bethlehem, in Bendigo. Modern society dismisses such people easily. Michal turned that around by discovering he had a gift for calligraphy, sold over 7000 copies of his house blessing, discovered his relationship with the Lord Jesus, and became one of the most valuable residents.

Being my Jubilee year, I was asked to attend the Friday night dinner organised by the Knights of the Southern Cross. 430 attended, with quite a mixture of the under fifties. They gave the Archbishop $87,000 to assist the Seminary.

On then to the formation weekend at Holy Cross Templestowe for TEAMS. Married couples from Darwin, New Zealand, South Australia, NSW and Victoria were in attendance. There were many young marrieds (under thirty and forty), people from many different nationalities and all connected by ZOOM with the Cebu couples.

To end Saturday, I was asked to assist at a Confirmation ceremony in Mitcham. 500 people turned up at 1pm, with a further 500 at the 3.15 session. What struck me were the names. Some first names being Shanelle, Kari, Alessio, Anique (guess there is going to be a whole new page of names in the Book of Saints) and surnames Zhang, Kurukulasutiya, Pigeault, Kovacevic. There was a Smith and a Brown.

All over those days the words of Isaiah, “I am coming to gather the nations of every language”, let alone the response, “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News”, or the sorrow in Jesus’ heart in reminding the chosen people that they had not fulfilled their mission, all kept eating away at my trees.

The Spirit is at work. Remember Paul’s words, “You can’t chain up the Spirit”.

Yes, there will be new weeping and grinding of teeth. Old orders will pass. We rediscover the real wood and its message. We keep proclaiming Jesus is the way the truth and the life.

“Behold, I am making all things new”. The work of creation continues. You and I are called to be a part of that new creation.


Mons Frank