One day, Mother Teresa was asking a baker for some bread to feed the hungry children in her orphanage. The baker was furious with her request for free bread. Not only did he turn her down, he spat at her. In response to his outrageous actions, Mother Teresa calmly reached deep into her pocket, took out her handkerchief, wiped the spit off and said "That was for me; now what about some bread for my poor children?" The baker was touched by Mother Teresa's love and greatness, complied and thereafter provided bread for the children in the orphanage. What makes a disciple of Jesus Christ different from everyone else? What makes Christianity distinct from any other religion? It is grace - treating others, not as we deserve, but as God wishes us to be treated - with loving- kindness and mercy.
I do not know if you have heard this already. An unknown author said something about what a Christian is all about. This is what he said:
This weekend’s Gospel speaks of the essence of holiness. And why should we be holy? It’s because God Himself is holy and we have been created in His image. The passage concludes with Jesus saying, “Be perfect, then, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This obviously is an ideal, a goal to be aimed at. And the perfection intended is not total perfection but rather to aim at that total impartiality of a God who extends His providential care and love equally to all. What Jesus wants is for us to adopt a divine perspective and to see other people as they really are. He wants us to pray for everyone and to love them as God loves them. Jesus understands perfectly well that the best way to get people to be more open is to treat them with dignity and to appeal to their better instincts.
So let's take up the challenge Jesus gives us today. Let's try to be perfect, in each decision we make and in all that we do. Strive to be perfect!
Fr. Dantus Thottathil
Wednesday 26th February: Ash Wednesday 6:00pm Mass
The message of this weekend’s Gospel is for us to understand the fundamental value of Jesus calling us to have a heart that is forgiving, faithful and trustful. This is the wisdom of God that comes as a gift from God. It is not mere human wisdom. In bringing the law of God to completion, Jesus calls us to live in love, a love that completes us and makes us whole because it is God’s love. God calls us to a radical way of living. We are called to be more than just moral: God calls us to be virtuous. We become virtuous by faithfully choosing to do good. Naturally we are not perfect, but God calls us to reflect on how we live and to understand what He desires for us. Such reflection can lead us to insight that will help us to live better and be more virtuous in the future. Therefore, by reflecting on our experience in the light of faith we grow in wisdom.
In today’s Gospel Matthew emphasizes the close relationship between Jewish Law and the teaching of Jesus. Here Jesus explains that He has not come to abolish the Law and the prophets but to bring them to completion. He tells us that the Law still has its force and will not pass away till it has achieved the purpose for which it was given. Jesus gives us the new law, namely the law of love. In the first reading Sirach affirms that God knows every human action. As a wise teacher he urges his listeners to make the right choice in life. They have the commandments to guide them. In the second reading Paul reminds us that God has many riches for those who love Him and tells us that the rulers of this age failed to recognize God’s wisdom in Christ. True wisdom however is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.
Today Jesus is sharing with us the wisdom of forgiveness, faithfulness and trustfulness. Let us pray today and everyday that we might be able to forgive, to be faithful and to be truthful. But let us also remember to first choose to love and be loved.
Fr. Dantus Thottathil
Saint Therese of Lisieux, died at the age of 24, after living as an enclosed nun from her teenage years. Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called her the "Little Flower", and found in her short life more inspiration for their own lives than in volumes by theologians. Some of the other nuns thought that Therese had achieved nothing at all in her short life. Yet within a generation, this young nun who had never left her convent was proclaimed patroness of the missions, not because she ever went anywhere, but because of her special love of the missions, and the prayers and letters she gave in support of missionaries. This is reminder to all of us who feel we can do nothing, that it is the little things that keep God's kingdom growing.
Even from her cloister she let her light shine out. Salt and light. This is what Jesus tells His disciples they are. This is what Jesus is telling us today that we are, namely, salt and light. “You are the salt of the earth.” “You are the light of the world.” Yes, you and me. That’s who we are. In both instances Jesus is telling us that our lives need to be a source of inspiration, hope, joy, peace and life to the people around us.
We can make a positive difference in the world because both salt and light make a positive difference. Salt is essential for life and it was and still is used as a preservative and flavouring. So like salt, we help to preserve life or keep life good and Godly but we also make it pleasant and enjoyable – our presence should add joy and love to the lives of others. In the same way a light brings hope in the darkness and it provides guidance and direction, but light is also essential for life and so again as a light to the world our lives provide hope to those around us and
to the culture in which we live.
Think how different our world would be right now if we all fully embraced these values and allowed this energy to shape our thoughts, words and deeds. By being friendly, kind and cheerful in our words spoken and shared on social media, our world would be different. We would look different. None of us in this Church can do everything, but all of us in this place can do something in our homes and parish communities that the light of Christ may shine more brightly in the world.
Fr. Dantus Thottathil
The Relics of Sts. Therese, Louis and Zelie will be at the Ormiston Carmelite Monastery Church on the 12th and 13th February. See here for more details.
Whatever we are waiting for usually shows up sooner or later:
A major part of our lives is spent waiting. We wait for a baby to be born, for our children to grow up and be independent, for retirement; indeed, we spend a lot of time waiting. Besides that we also have to wait for people who are late, we wait for the bus or train and whatever. But there is something interesting about waiting. Most of the time, whatever we are waiting for shows up sooner or later. Simeon and Anna had waited for a long time, and
finally their hope was fulfilled.
Simeon was not alone in recognizing the Lord's presence in the temple. Anna, too, was filled with the Holy Spirit. She was found daily in the temple, attending to the Lord in prayer and speaking prophetically about God's promise to send a redeemer. Anna was a woman of great hope. Advancing age and the disappointments of life can easily make us feel hopeless if we do not have our hope rightly placed. Anna's hope in God and His promises grew with age. She never ceased to worship God in faith and to pray with hope.
All those who, like Simeon and Anna, persevere in piety and in the service of God, no matter how insignificant their lives seem in people’s eyes, are instruments the Holy Spirit uses to make Christ known to others. In His plan of redemption, God uses these simple souls to do much good for all mankind. In other words, the Holy Spirit employs ordinary men and women with simple faith as His instruments to bear witness to Christ, His ideals and teachings, just as He used Simeon and Anna. The Holy Spirit reveals the presence of the Lord to us when we are receptive and eager to receive Him.
Let us be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit within us to recognize the indwelling presence of the Lord with us and in others. We need the assistance of the Holy Spirit to see the presence of Jesus in ourselves and in others. What do you hope for? The hope which God places within us through the gift of the Spirit enables us to persevere with confident trust in God even in the face of trails, setbacks, and challenges that may come our way. The hope which God places in our heart is the desire for the kingdom of heaven and everlasting life and happiness with our heavenly Father.
Fr. Dantus Thottathil
A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they had a good chat. They talked about so many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: “I don’t believe that God exists.” “Why do you say that?” asked the customer. “Well, you just have to go out in the street to realise that God doesn’t exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can’t imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things.” The customer thought for a moment, but didn’t respond because he didn’t want to start an argument.
Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt. The customer turned back and entered the barbershop again and he said to the barber: “You know what? Barbers do not exist.” “How can you say that?” asked the surprised barber. “I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!” No!” the customer exclaimed. “Barbers don’t exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside.” Ah, but barbers do exist! That’s what happens when people do not come to me.” “Exactly!” affirmed the customer. “That’s the point! God, too, does exist! That’s what happens when people do not go to Him and don’t look to Him for help. That’s why there’s so much pain and suffering in the world.”
On this Australia day let us reflect on how we might be able to live out our mission of showing to all the world that God is the meaning of our lives? We are grateful that each one of us is called to follow Jesus and our mission is to live as a people of faith and as a people with God in our lives. This is quite a challenge because we’ve got everything we need here, or everything we want is just right there within our reach. This easy accessibility to things sometimes leads us to believe we don’t need God and we don’t need faith anymore. But we do need God.....!
As we celebrate Australia Day this weekend, let us ask ourselves ‘How grateful are we to God for giving us this beautiful country?’
Fr. Dantus Thottathil
My first week has been a good experience; thank you for your open-arms welcome to the Parish family over the last two weekends. Thank you to everyone for the wonderful work you are doing in the parish and I pray that we will continue to work together in this faith family of St Mary MacKillop and St John Vianney Catholic Parish. Here I would like to share with you a beautiful story that I received in the New Year and it starts with a thought provoking message. “Whatever comes your way as you journey into the New Year, remember the lesson of this story”...
A little boy and his father went into a country store, and as they were leaving, the owner of the store offered the little boy some free Sweets. “Get a hand full of sweets", the shopkeeper said to the boy.
The boy just stood there looking up at his father. The owner repeated it: “son get a hand full of sweets... it’s free.” Again the boy did not move, continuing to look up at his Dad.
Finally the father reached into the candy jar and got a hand full of sweets and gave them to his son. As they walked back home, the father stopped and asked his son why he did not grab a hand full of the free candy. The boy with a big smile looked into his father’s face and said: “Because I know that your hand is bigger than mine.”
So dear friends, whatever your needs are for 2020, please place them in the FATHER'S HAND IN HEAVEN, because HIS HAND is BIGGER THAN OURS. My Prayers and Best Wishes for you are that you have a blessed time as you journey through 2020.
This weekend we begin again the Sundays in the Ordinary Season of the year A. Two thoughts emerge from today’s readings. The first is John the Baptist’s dramatic declaration, ‘Behold the Lamb of God’. The second is an invitation to do a personal stock-take during this first month of the New Year, and make some resolutions to improve the quality of our lives. This weekend John the Baptist urges us to ask what are we fundamentally about and then seek to reset our lives.
Let us ask the Lord to pour His Holy Spirit upon us to deepen our faith, hope, and love for God and to reveal the plan He has for our life.
Fr. Dantus Thottathil
A short introduction....
My full name is Fr. Dantus Thottathil. I am delighted that the Archbishop appointed me to this great parish community. It is my hope and prayer that we be filled with blessings through our journey together as disciples of Jesus Christ. I was born on 27th February 1982. Sadly, my beloved father Joseph and my elder sister Sr. Joe Maria. C. M. C who inspired me to become a priest passed away in January 2019 and November 2018 respectively. I miss them so much. In my home, I have my mother, one older sister who is also a nun and my twin brother who is married with two kids. I come from the southern part of India called Chandanakampara, in the state Kerala.
I was ordained to the priesthood on 30th December 2008, in India. The Religious order of priests to which I belong, is the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (MCBS). I was then appointed as the associate pastor in one of the parishes in Kerala. I have worked as a pastor in different parts of India. Finally, I was appointed as the administrator in our minor seminary. Then I came to Australia in 2015.
My first appointment was to Ipswich Parish for one year. My second to Burleigh Heads for the term of two years as associate priest. I’ve been Administrator of Stanley River Parish for two years. I am filled with hope that this new journey will bring abundant blessings, joys and spiritual fulfilment as we begin the new year. Thank you for welcoming me into your wonderful parish community. So please keep me in your prayers as I begin the next part of my journey, my ministry in this parish.
I look forward to meeting and working together with you all. God’s blessings and peace be upon you and Happy New Year....
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.
Christmas is just around the corner. I take this opportunity to wish all of you a very happy and holy Christmas and a New Year full of grace and peace. Emmanuel - God is with us – is our joyful word of praise. When we gather this Christmas it is Jesus who draws us and who gives meaning to our experience of family and Church.
In fact we find Jesus in the sweet taste of mercy and compassion. Jesus makes our hearts burst with willingness to help all those in need. Jesus enables us to be close to everyone and everything. He was born to make us available for everyone. You will find Him in the beauty of nature, children, elderly and the young. Especially in those who are weak, sick and poor. Let us remember that Christmas is a wonderful gift. Emmanuel helps me to
go out to the weak and fragile and show them the way to health and wholeness. To be a real comfort for all who are sad and suffering.
God’s glory is shown in us when we are fully alive for others. Joy, peace and love all come from the heart in love of God and from a will full of goodness. Let us make this Christmas a true time of peace and adoration. To be still and feel the presence of God in each other.
Nine years ago I left Guayaquil in Ecuador to come back to Australia and start again as a parish priest in a new diocese. I had been twenty five years a priest and most of that time had been as a missionary priest in Latin America.
The only reason for leaving was due to serious health issues that made it impossible for me to remain. It broke my heart to leave and I felt that sorrow for a long, long time.
The beautiful people of Manly and Gumdale made me feel very welcome and it has been a joy to me to be part of this wonderful Catholic community. I celebrated my silver jubilee as a priest at Manly and will cherish the memories of these past nine years. Not only is it a beautiful place to live, it is also a place I call home where I have forged great friendships and a deep sense of belonging.
Within six months of being at Manly, I had the privilege of being appointed as parish priest to Birkdale and Manly together. The last eight years have been a time of a great deal of pastoral work and many changes. I love Birkdale parish and will always feel part of this very generous Catholic community that have welcomed me into their homes and hearts. It is a very blessed community of friends and family. I leave with a heavy heart but also one filled with deep gratitude and joyful memories.
Both communities have very generous volunteers who create a parish of spirituality and care. I have witnessed the practical charity of the St Vincent de Paul Society and the warm loving care given to the bereaved by the ladies and gentleman of Birkdale who serve the families after funerals with real compassion. The Rosary group at Manly founded by our dear Sr Teresa PVBM have inspired me with their spirituality and practical charity.
The many people of our parishes who help the care of the sick and home bound is just wonderful. The catechists who serve the sacramental programmes and the generous teachers of our two schools who give of their time and expertise is so admirable. The sacristans who keep our liturgies alive are so loyal and generous. The people of the music ministries are just so important and we are blessed to have their service.
Both our parish councils and finance committees are so kind and generous with their time and expertise and they have forged these communities into vibrant sound parishes. We hand on the baton to a new priest with confidence.
I wish to thank Fr Prem for his generosity and goodness to me and our parishes and to Fr Epati who worked bedside me for eight years. I am extremely grateful to them. It was wonderful to be part of Fr Tom Zaranski's journey to the priesthood. He has been a real blessing for us.
I cannot finish without thanking our two parish Secretaries Lisa and Collette. Without them the parish would not function. They have been loyal generous friends to me and to all of us. Over the years they have achieved a great legacy for our parishes. Their professionalism and generous service can never be repaid. It has been a tremendous privilege to work beside them and I have received so many blessings because of them. Thank you both sincerely.
In conclusion, I wish to express my deepest gratitude to everyone for your acceptance of me and the spiritual gifts you have given me. The love of Christ in the Eucharist and His Word alongside our love for Jesus in His poor, especially in our school that we have established with our sister parish in Metinaro, Timor Leste is reason enough for all of us to celebrate our Catholic faith and joy of being a parish family that makes a real difference in the world.
Ad multos anos and I finish with St Mary MacKillop's words "gratitude is in the memory of the heart" and St John Vianney who said "God is everywhere ready to hear your prayers..remember.. He is here.."
Thank you everyone
God love you
As our two schools close for the Christmas Holidays, we all turn our attention to the coming birth of Jesus. This week’s Gospel centres on reconciliation and being tolerant with each other. I encourage everyone to make available this opportunity to make a good confession in the sacrament of Penance before Christmas.
The gift of forgiveness is so important for every person to feel loved and to be able to make new beginnings and restore relationships.
As the “wolf lies with the lamb,” with a “little boy to lead them.” We hear that enemies become friends and “they do no harm, no hurt” to each other. What a beautiful image of the Christ Child leading us to be reconciled with God and with others.
Now at this Advent time, we try our best to be tender, loving and forgiving with each other.
It is now the time to leave past injuries done to us behind. It is with Jesus, the prince of peace, that we choose to forgive and get on with living our lives in the presence of God – Emmanuel – present in every person, especially those we find most difficult to love. It is what we do for them, not what they do for us, that matters.
May our generosity in forgiving be the start of a truly blessed Christmas.
God love you,
Fr Frank Farewell
Mass will be celebrated on Sunday 15th December at 8:00am followed by morning tea and refreshments. Please bring a plate of food to share. Donations towards a farewell gift for Fr Frank can be made at the Parish Office during business hours or by placing an envelope on the collection plates at weekend Masses marked “Fr Frank Farewell”. Everyone is welcome to come and share memories and wish Fr Frank farewell.