Eight Sunday in Ordinary Time 27 February 2022

We often say, “what a week” or words to that effect. Most of us have not seen the pictures of an invasion of an independent state as we have seen these past few days.

I was taken by the opening lines of the first reading, “In a shaken sieve the rubbish is left behind, so too the defects of a man appear in his talk. The kiln tests the work of the potter, the test of a man is in his conversation”.

We know Jesus was aware of his Scriptural heritage. Just wonder if our Gospel today is his updating of the book of Sirach, the excerpts which we read today.

The Russian Foreign Minister is quoted as saying, “No strikes are being made on civilian structure”. The dead will be so comforted and realise that there is no war.

In our Diocese, we have a Ukrainian Church in Wodonga. It is a legacy of another war and another refugee crisis and of their contribution to the great Snowy Mountains Irrigation and Hydro projects; we, at least, owe time for prayer.

This week, Jesus continues to raise the bar governing our behaviour The ethics of his teaching, he proclaims, are not based solely upon our reason (what is best) or character (she, he is honourable… shades of Shakespeare) but are to be founded more deeply upon our understanding of our relationship with the loving God. We are to be faithful because our God is faithful.

Planks are hard to move…and thankfully, others seem to have all the planks. We need to look into the mirror occasionally and find our own personal splinters!

The ancient world, scholars tell us, valued the ideal that character preceded action. A person’s deeds, therefore, reveal the state of his heart.

How apt is the conclusion to today’s gospel reading, “For a man’s words flow out of what fills his heart”.

A fine mirror not only for the leaders today, but for each of us.

We ask for peace, we help our Ukrainian neighbours as we can, and pray for the mothers and fathers who will be left to mourn the dead.

Mons Frank