Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 31 July 2022

Spring cleaning.

Well, Spring is still a month away in Southern Australia but the oft used expression, “time for spring cleaning” is appropriate for this weekend reflection.

Just how many books do I need on the shelves or, for that matter, how many shirts? We southerners have to cope with four seasons so the culling of clothes and footware is perhaps more difficult, let alone tedious, compared to the thongs shorts and tops of the northern climes.

But we all need to do a spring clean every now and then.

The allure of many possessions, the concept that an abundance of possessions will guarantee a safe, long and happy life is promoted with glossy brochures and beautiful landscapes. The current debate over interest rates, inflation and financial policy is driven, in no small way, to protect possessions. All this preoccupation glosses over the truth that life is the greatest gift and events this week, e.g., the brutal hangings in Myanmar, the ongoing destruction of possessions in Ukraine, the desire of one person to scrap the prayer at the beginning of the Parliamentary Sitting of the Senate, demonstrate that possessions do not guarantee happiness, let alone a long life.

Getting the balance is difficult; that’s really the call of the readings this weekend.

We believe that life is a gift given by the source of all reality. Paul reminds us, the baptised, that we have been brought back to true life with Christ. That further gift, true life, takes time and energy to understand and to appreciate. Loads of possessions can get in the way.

Spring clean this Spring. Make it your resolution today!

Mons Frank

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 24 July 2022

“Does he pray today?”

The question was addressed to the former Governor General, Army Chief of the Defence Force by Greg Sheridan in his book “Christians”.

The concept of prayer, full stop, has always been under attack…sometimes rightly so, but the desire to be in touch with “the Other” has been a feature of all major Religious Organisations and Faiths. It has withstood countless assaults in the past and will survive the current “hoo/ha” following the recent data release of the Australian Census.

The desire to “pray” is often accompanied by the sentiment of one of the disciples read in today’s Gospel, “Lord, teach us to pray”.

“I pray for the kids, the grandkids, for the government -I want them to get things right” was part of Cosgrove’s answer.

In some manner, his answer was similar to that of Jesus…Jesus outlined areas of life that we should remember, mull over, think about and utter. Even he was a little short of detail on how to do it…or was he?

Just as all are not called to be another Abraham, let alone one of the great psalmists, or a blessed contemplative, we are all called to raise our mind and voice to “pray for the kids, the grandkids” and to also petition for the growth of God’s way in our world, for bread for the hungry, and the many other needs including the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

If we feel able, then there are those gifted by the same Spirit that can lead us into deeper prayer; be it the Ignition or Benedictine or Franciscan sponsored traditions; be it the centring or contemplative tradition; let alone the now popular meditation process.

All ways, processes, formularies are good. Each to their own.

But let us all begin and make it a daily habit by just saying “thanks for all that happens each day”.


Mons Frank

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 10 July 2022

We are called, happily, and yet again, to ponder the Parable of the Good Samaritan!

We love to talk about the Good Samaritan.

Increasingly, and strangely in our so-called secular societies, sometimes here, more often elsewhere, even politicians invoke the parable and urge citizens to be Good Samaritans. One of the homegrown Australian Religious orders for women is called ‘The Good Samaritans’ founded in 1857 in Sydney and modelled on the Benedictine rule.

Whilst attention is often focussed on the Priest or the Levite and their actions, others like to remember the role of the Innkeeper or even the donkey. Some link the role of the donkey to that same animal that carried Jesus into Jerusalem.

G.K Chesterton wrote a great poem about ‘The Donkey’.

Explore what suits you at the time, but don’t overlook the Samaritan.

I sometimes ponder how Jesus got away with this parable.

Imagine a Russian travelling to Kyiv, falling to robbers, and a Ukrainian, all others passing by on the other side, stops to assist…

We have plenty of evidence in the Scriptures that Jews and Samaritans did not like one another, to put it mildly.

In some sense, the parable though told years before Paul began to unpack the essence of Christianity, his words today fit the implication of “Before anything was created, he existed, and he holds all things in unity”.

Yes, the parable is about “the ethical imperative of overcoming said divisions” (Nick Spencer, The Political Samaritan”).

It seems to me; such is a role of the Church, and that challenge was on show at the plenary council this week!

Thankfully we have seen this year, hundreds of “donkeys” carrying millions of wounded refugees to safety, not without difficulty, and a seeming willingness to dip into pockets and contribute towards their wellbeing.

Long may the spirit of the Good Samaritan live amongst us!


Mons Frank