The following reflection comes from “Set Your Heart Free” by Francis de Sales.
My Day Begins
Do not let anxiety sabotage your search for God.
You know well that when you search for something too anxiously you can come upon it a hundred times without ever seeing it.
Anxiety masquerades as true spiritual energy,
even as it wearies our mind, drains our enthusiasm, and deadens our soul.
It pretends to stir up our soul, but all it does is dampen our spirit. it pushes us until we stumble over our own feet.
We need to be on the watch for this impostor
that would have us believing that our spiritual life
depends completely on our efforts, so that the more panicked we are, the more anxiously we search, the more likely we are to find God. Let God do his part. Be patient.
Not even our best efforts can earn the blessings of God.
Our role is to be ready, to receive God’s gifts
with an open heart – carefully, humbly, and serenely
God love you,
National Prayer Campaign The Catholic Bishops of Australia have announced a National Prayer Campaign for Drought to take place during November. People across the country are encouraged to pray for the gift of rain, for people affected by the drought and to provide practical support, where possible. The Bishops note that large parts of the country are directly affected by the drought, but the impact is national – and so should the response be national. Access resources and find out more here.
This week we hear from the Lord that He is a God of the living and that includes all our loved ones who have gone before us....”for to him all are alive.”
Our faith is centred on life and all that encourages us to live. A few years ago | heard from a lady who suffered cancer. Upon hearing her diagnosis, she began to review her life. Prayer became very important to her, her practice of the faith, her family. She took retirement from her employment and, something that struck a chord in me, was taking from her life anyone or anything that was negative. She made a conscious decision not to allow negative people in her life. All this created a very positive effect in her life. In fact, by doing this she chose life.
| have come that you may have life and life abundantly are the very words of Jesus. | believe the Lord is challenging me and all of us to be people who generate life. To bring well-being to our community. There are many obstacles to well-being. One of these as described last week in the Gospel are found in the words...” they all complained.” We have to be vigilant to avoid colluding with people who are negative. As the Lord would say: “Show them the door....” In other words; do not allow their negativity to poison your well-being and thereby that of our community. The scriptures are full of strong examples against the negative critic. It is like a disturbing wind that creates waves which can cause harm and even destruction.
St James tells us in his letter, that it is very easy to deceive yourself by just listening to God’s word instead of putting it into practice. “Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak, and slow to become angry... .....Does anyone think he is religious? If he does not control his tongue, his faith is worthless and he deceives himself” “Just think how large a forest can be set on fire by a tiny flame! And the tongue is like a fire.” James 1:19, 3:6-7.
The true reality of a Church giving life is when in our heart we desire unity above everything. All that we say and do is for mutual uplifting. This is the thirst Jesus has for our peace and justice.
God love you
November is the month for Holy Souls. We remember each day during November our loved ones who have died and we offer Mass for the salvation of their souls.
We encounter at every Mass, the death and resurrection of Jesus. “Do this in memory of me.” So too as Christians we remember our parishioners who have died this year and those members of our family and friends.
Our sense of loss and grief is sacred to God and each other. Remembering with gratitude our loved ones who have died is essential for our own well being. Life is changed, not ended with death. “Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” In every Mass this November, we live the intimate union we share with our loved ones. Our home is eternal life. All those who have died enter this realm where we encounter them in the sacred mysteries of the Mass.
Our communion with Jesus in the Eucharist leads us to holy communion with the holy souls of those who now live in heaven. Heaven and earth are united and we are caught up in the Kingdom of God.
Life with God means coming home. It means that when our strength is weakened He provides the courage. In our sadness at death Jesus comes to us and tells us not to be afraid. All is not lost. Our loved ones are still at home in us, their love for us remains and the sorrow we feel becomes holy and links us to our loved ones.
The truth is that in Jesus we are all one. In Jesus we find our home, our dwelling place secure. In Jesus we find our loved ones who hold us in true communion at every Mass. Dying you destroyed our Death. Rising you restored our Life. Come Lord Jesus.
May Christ’s peace be with all who grieve.
God love you,
The Trappist monks take the vow of daily conversion when they are formally professed. Conversion is the theme of today’s Gospel. It is the way to turn around and face God. In other words; to face the truth about ourselves. The one who “went home again at rights with God” was the sinner who called out to God from his heart “Lord be merciful to me a sinner.”
Obviously, this requires humility. To be “down to earth” in our relationship with God and others. The spiritual masters say that “pride is the root of all evil.” It is the vice that is completely opposite to the virtue of humility.
It is good to sometimes take a break and reflect upon my relationship with God. To stand still and look back over my day and review how did I love today? Was I preoccupied with myself? Did I do good? It is essential also to examine my conscience.
When was the last time I said “I am sorry?” When was the last time I acknowledged my sins? Practised the sacrament of reconciliation; to take the opportunity to confess my sins and make amends? Do I identify with the tax collector in today’s Gospel and recognise the same desire to seek mercy? Forgiveness brings peace. Peace brings harmony. Harmony brings joy. Conversion is when I turn around and see my true self, loved and forgiven. May we pray to practise this Christian virtue each and every day.
God love you
Welcome to all our St Mary MacKillop School families. Students from the Wood Sporting House will be ministering at Mass this Sunday
Jesus tells his apostles “pray always without becoming weary.” Perseverance really does work. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Why pray? Jesus tells in John’s Gospel “Ask and it will be given you....If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it.” When we pray something does happen. We change. We focus more on God than our problems. It helps us to not be self-reliant but to depend upon God. God becomes the centre of our life.
As we heard last week, gratitude is the first step of prayer. It means we face reality as it is and God provides us the courage and grace to live amidst difficult and tough times. Prayer gives meaning to suffering. When you pray for someone else, intercessory prayer, it is a powerful force that transmits grace and love. It really works. This is the way Our Lord prayed.
It is essential that we recognise the necessity for us to be humble and ask, to seek help. This shows we trust God and that we are prepared to wait. Patience and perseverance are the essence of true prayer. Too many people give up early.
Let us remember the prayer of St Teresa
Let nothing disturb you Let nothing frighten you All things are passing God alone is changeless Patience attains all things Who has God wants nothing God alone suffices.
The Lord always hears the prayer of a contrite, humble heart. He never forsakes us.
God love you,
When I was a missionary in Guayaquil, Ecuador, I would work once a week amongst the people who suffered from Hansen ’s disease (Leprosy).
This infectious disease is found in the tropics amongst the very poor who usually manifest severe malnutrition. It is treatable today and yet we still find people suffering from Hansen’s in areas of the world where poverty is at first stage level. This stage is where no sanitation, poor water supply and malnutrition are rife.
The disease can leave people disfigured. The disfiguring skin sores, lumps or bumps (multibacillary leprosy) can be very distressing for these people.
It was always very sad to see young, beautiful women and men hiding away from family and friends because of their disfigurement.
Gaining the confidence of these people who suffer such shame and pain is the first step to recovery.
Like Jesus in the Gospel of today, we are called to be people of mercy and love. To bring confidence and respect to those who suffer other forms of isolation and rejection due to mental illness, physical disability and old age.
Our call is to go out and begin the contact that will bring those who feel abandoned to realise they are not alone and are welcomed to be part of our community.
The marginalised are very special to Christ.
God love you
A Prayer for Stronger Communities, Safer Children
Gracious God, you said "Let the children come to me". The hurt felt by those wounded by abuse weighs heavily upon us. Trust has been eroded when institutions failed to appropriately respond to their needs. Lord, we as your Church stand in need of your healing and help.
We ask you, God, to strengthen and guide all in our Catholic communities. Grant us wisdom in our time to make decisions that protect children and the vulnerable. May our families and communities, through love, generosity, commitment and patience, build stronger communities safe for children. Let your grace and love fall gently upon our children giving them the inner strength, peace and resilience they will need for their life’s journey. We ask you, God, to help our Catholic communities to be resolute in building a community where
our children flourish and are safe.
Have you ever noticed that this rich man never did anything wrong? He just went about his life. For whatever reason, he didn’t even notice Lazarus. Maybe he was just busy. Who knows?
And that, Jesus says, is the problem. It’s not what the rich man did. It’s what he didn’t do. Life gets busy. I know some people that work hard all day and then spend the evening driving their kids to all sorts of sports and activities. I know young people that go to school all day and then spend the evening on homework, sports, part- time jobs, or school activities.
But Lazarus lives today. He is the lonely kid at school. He is the hungry child in Africa. He is the refugee in Syria seeking a place to call home. Jesus challenges us to care for him regularly. Make it part of your “busyness,” not something you fit in when you find extra time.
Here are some tips. Ask God daily to show you the people others ignore. Read newspapers and surf the internet to learn about the problems that cause suffering in our world. Make community service trips and peace rallies part of your monthly schedule.
God has given you the power to change the world for people who suffer like Lazarus. Who’s lying outside your door? What’s one thing you do to keep your focus on people like Lazarus?
The Action: Reach out of your own little world to someone who needs some care and compassion. First of all, be observant to those around and try to be perceptive of where they may need some assistance. Give drink to one who thirsts, some food to another who hungers, and offer a kind word to someone who seems down. Connect with an organisation in your community that assists people who are living in poverty. This could be connected with your parish or some other agency that is seeking to help others. Get out and expand your circle a bit.
Copyright © 2014 GPBS, All rights reserved
The opening parable in today’s gospel (Luke 16:1-13) is linked both to the main parable in last Sunday’s gospel reading (Luke 15:1-32) and to next Sunday’s (16:19-31). Last Sunday’s prodigal son “squandered” his property and today’s steward was denounced for “being wasteful” with his master’s possessions.
The wasteful steward in today’s parable recognises that his position was at risk, and amends affairs to set up a friendly reception elsewhere, a move that won the approval of his master for its astuteness. Modern readers find this perplexing and could ask why the others who had their debts reduced would trust him with their own property should they employ him. Some suggestions are that it was normal for servants to add their own commission; it was how they were paid, and so this steward would be seen as reducing his own cut, thus as being thrifty, not as grafting.
Many parables in Luke’s gospel have complex overlapping themes, and while some are more prominent, those of these three Sundays (that is, last Sunday, today, and next Sunday) all feature the use of possessions, but each with a different orientation; last Sunday’s prodigal son consumed his goods self-indulgently, today’s steward used his master’s wastefully, and next Sunday’s rich man uses his selfishly—at which time the figure of Abraham is used, the wealthy man who used his possessions generously. Altogether they refer to a quality needed for disciples of Jesus, even if they do not always teach about it directly: the disciples of Jesus are not to be attached to possessions and need to be willing to use them for the good of others and according to the vision of the kingdom of heaven.
Rev Dr Barry Craig - Homily Help Liturgia. Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
In chapter 15 of Luke's Gospel, Jesus tells three parables about losing, finding, and rejoicing. The outcasts of society, the taxpayers, and the sinners approach Jesus eager to hear what he has to say. In Luke's Gospel, hearing is a sign of conversion. The Pharisees and scribes, still suspicious of Jesus, complain about him associating with sinners. So he tells them these three parables.
In the first story, the parable of The Lost Sheep, the shepherd leaves behind the 99 sheep to search for the 1 lost sheep. When he finds it, the shepherd rejoices not alone as in Matthew's version, but with friends and neighbors. In the same way, God rejoices more over 1 sinner who repents—like the outcasts who have come to hear Jesus—than over the 99 righteous like the Pharisees and scribes.
The second story, about a poor woman who will not stop searching until she finds her lost coin, makes the same point. Why are the Pharisees complaining? They should rejoice when the lost are found.
Finally we come to what is probably the most memorable parable in the Gospels, the story we know as The Prodigal Son. Just as in The Lost Sheep and The Lost Coin, this story (found only in Luke) is really about the seeker. The loving father is at the center of this parable. Even though his son runs off with his father's inheritance and squanders the money, the father waits for him, hoping for his return. Upon his son's return, the father, “full of compassion,” runs out to embrace and forgive him before the son can utter one word of repentance. At this point the rejoicing begins.
The parable does not end there. Rather, it makes one more point about the older son's reaction. This son who never left, just like the Pharisees and scribes who feel they are righteous, refuses to enter his father's house to join in the rejoicing. He has served his father. He has obeyed him. Perhaps it was not out of love. The father's response teaches us that God's care and compassion extend to the righteous and sinner alike. When we are lost, God doesn't wait for our return. He actively seeks us out. And when the lost are found, how
could we not celebrate and rejoice?
Loyola Press Sunday Connection - Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C