Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2 August 2020

And we think we have troubles…

Especially in Victoria! Perhaps the way forward this week is to ponder the Scripture in the context of Jesus’ “troubles”!

Matthew places today’s excerpt in the immediate context of the beheading of John the Baptist. Barbaric. Cruel. Hopefully, embarrassing to some attending the banquet in a sumptuous palace, laden with food that the majority of the populace, especially in Galilee, could not even imagine. A room full of arrogance, power, heartlessness and, seemingly, indifferent to the value of human life.

This story sickens me more and more as I grow older. The scheming, plotting and the whole concept of “give me here, on a platter, the head of John the Baptist” and it was done and delivered within the hour to the banquet. It reflects acutely the “what do I want?” rant of so much of modern society.

This scenario is often played out in our world today. Often not reported, details seem to emerge years and years later. 

And John was Jesus’ cousin! No wonder he wanted to “head for the hills” in the face of such atrocity.

People then looked for answers, for leadership, for a way forward, for HOPE. As we do in Victoria, and as elsewhere in our world today.

So, what does Jesus do?

Apart from leaving his “bolt hole”, he began to talk with those who sought him. He took pity on them and healed their sick and, surprisingly, said to the disciples…”Give them something to eat yourselves”.

The Royal Palace is exchanged for a grassy landscape, service replaces command, genuine pity replaces indifferent arrogance, and they all ate the lake fish and the land bread as was offered.

All ate as much as they wanted…the abundant Son of the abundant Father at work!

How do we, today, begin to act likewise…Each will have to look into one’s own circumstances.

A couple of suggestions…

 +We need to raise our eyes to heaven and ask for a blessing on our work.

 +Perhaps it is time for a weekly interfaith prayer meeting in every street. 

 +Have we a street roster to check on the neighbours?

 + If you have an idea, let your Council or local MP know.

 +Perhaps read the Second Reading (Romans 8: 35, 37-39) every day this week. 

Remember Isaiah’s words, “Listen, listen to me and you will have good things to eat”.


Mons Frank


17th Sunday in Ordinary Time. 26 July 2020

More parables this weekend! These are about the future, more precisely, a concept dear to the heart of Jesus… the Kingdom.

In my early youth, we were often taunted with the words, “there will be pie in the sky when you die”. I did not understand what the taunts were about. Later the realisation that we Catholics were often talking about heaven, and its rewards and its blessings, that perhaps many thought we were so indifferent to the current needs of the world. “Put up with it now…for your reward will be great in heaven”.

Much of that has passed, some still remains. 

Some suggest that in a world of scarcity inhabited by most of his disciples and their families and their fellow citizens, that Jesus set out quite deliberately to proclaim a world of abundance that foreshadowed the Kingdom. He was sent by an abundant Father. Jesus gave abundant wine at Cana, loaves upon loaves at the feeding of the five thousand and so on. Be of the abundant school, he seemed to say.

Recent events in our local Australian world highlight the world of fear of scarcity. The stories of pasta, flour and toilet rolls being hoarded during the first wave of fear of the unseen virus and repeated to a lesser degree in the current second wave, all confirms the observation that hoarding produces enemies!

You know the mantra “you have more than me”. It is no good replying that “I need it for an emergency…”. The quick reply will be of the order, “but I am in need, I want it…now!” 

I think we need a big dose of Solomon’s request made in reading one today, “Give your servant a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil”.

It is a good time to be reminded about, in a sense, the illogical world of the Kingdom. Our logical world, trying to balance supply and demand and forgetting the poor and homeless, is not performing much better than the world of Herod, Pilate, John the Baptist and Jesus. 

  Perhaps we ought to take a deeper look at the Kingdom of heaven.

Mons Frank


16th Sunday in Ordinary Time. 19 July 2020

One ought to be able to sleep in peace. But, as the parable indicates, sleep for some means time for evil; work for others.

In the doing of good, do we, occasionally, fail to keep an eye open, to be on our guard, to do the rounds and, sadly, fall into the trap of “Well, I have prepared the soil, I have selected good seed, I have planted appropriately, so now I can rest”.

Some of these parables were written against the background of confusion in the new emerging communities, particularly for Matthew. His people had enthusiastically embraced the Good News of Jesus. Many of their relatives and friends had rejected the same Good News. Why, and what will happen? We often want immediate answers to our needs and questions. Our age is often characterised by the slogan:

 “What do we want?

   When do we want it? 


Matthew’s community may, or may not, have been so noisy as us today, but to help answer the dilemma, Matthew brings out parables that approach the dilemma from various viewpoints. Ultimately, the answer provided is patience, tolerance…and leave the resolution to God.

Sound advice. However, some would see this as a cop out! It is not totally satisfactorily for many in our time.

We want a vaccine…NOW. 

We want answers…NOW.

We want everyone to be vegetarians…NOW.

We want all of our conflicts solved…NOW and on our conditions!

Maybe some of the anger, some of the disillusionment with a seeming lack of progress can be attended to if, when we do good things, we don’t go to sl164eep and, in a sense, leave the night open to the work of the evil ones. Be reminded of the other word of Jesus, “If you had known what time the thief was coming etc.” The thief has the advantage, but the parable suggests that all will be accorded justice in time.

Allow the Spirit to assist us in our weakness, after all, it is his work that we are called to partnership. What a privilege.


Mons Frank