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The central place of the Eucharist PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 23 June 2019: The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

The body and blood of ChristEvery time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord

...The gospel reading from Luke makes clear the central place given to the Eucharist in the community for which the gospel was written. In Luke’s narrative, Jesus, after completing his Galilean ministry, turns his attention to the formation of the apostles. He has them share in his mission by sending them to preach the good news and to heal the sick. Confronted by a crowd that has neglected to provide themselves with nourishment in their eagerness to stay in his company, Jesus has a new lesson for The Twelve. ‘Give them something to eat yourselves’, he tells them. There can be no doubt, as the narrative continues, that Luke sees these words as pointing to the Eucharist, the nourishing of the people of God that will be the centrepiece of the apostolic ministry. Taking the loaves and fish, Jesus ‘raises his eyes to heaven’, pronounces ‘the blessing’ over the loaves, and then ‘breaks them’. Though provided by Jesus, the nourishment is given to the people through the ministry of the apostles – who are instructed to organise the people ‘in parties’, to distribute the loaves and fish, and to collect the scraps...

Extract by John Thornhill sm - read more at The Emmaus Series | Image courtesy of pixabay.com

17 June 2019: World Day to Combat Desertification

Human beings have always had to endure drought and deal with deserts. In the Old Testament Elijah meets a widow and child on the edge of death by starvation in a drought. In Jesus’ life the desert was central. It was seen as the edge of the human world – a place where human beings only with difficulty could hold on to life and sanity. As an edgy place it was considered inhabited by demons. It was contrasted with the green and wellwatered valleys that reflected God’s care for humanity.

Deserts and drought were then an unavoidable feature of life, sometimes seen to be sent by God as punishment, but certainly beyond human control. In our world we know that droughts and deserts can be made more acute by global warming, and that global warming is caused by human activity. When we remove trees from marginal land and cultivate it intensely, we are likely to turn it into desert and may also deplete the underground supply of water. The elements necessary for plant growth are also likely to be leached out. In recent years an increased proportion of the earth has become desert. The rise in temperature around the earth is also likely to lead to more and more severe droughts. Their impact will fall disproportionately on people who are poor, because the poor are forced to settle in ever more marginal areas.

We have now become more attentive to the fragility of our environment and to the effects of mining, burning coal and fossil fuels and of land clearing on our world. We can see that the prosperity and fertility of our world depends on establishing good relationships between human beings, and also between human beings and the environment of which we are part. Poverty and the degradation of our world both spring out of a lack of respect for our fellow human beings and for our world. They reflect the pursuit of profit at the expense of respect.

The remedy for desert and drought making begins with respect: to stop seeking profit at the expense of the environment and people who are poor, and to ask more urgently how we can heal the human wounds of poverty and an abused environment. If deforestation makes deserts and contributes to global warming, the proper response is to plant out vulnerable areas. It is not to expel native people from their forest habitat so that we can build mines that will poison the surrounding environment, cause sedimentation of rivers and affect fishing in the rivers and the sea. The proper response is to protect both the environment and culture so that people can thrive.

Fr A Hamilton SJ

Father, Son and Holy Spirit PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 16 June 2019: The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Blessed TrinityWhatever the Father has is mine. The Spirit will receive what I give and tell you about it

...The ultimate mystery of God's life is – not surprisingly – far beyond our complete comprehension. It would be tragic, however, if it remained for us no more than a daunting abstraction. Christian faith should bring us the joy of recognising that - in the overflowing tumult of the divine life that we call the BLESSED TRINITY – we find three friends who invite us to share in their common life as the ONE TRUE GOD. Today's gospel from John expresses this sharing in simple terms, and it brings us this astounding invitation: the Spirit 'will lead us to the complete truth', since he shares all with the Son, who in turn shares in 'everything the Father has'.

Extract by John Thornhill sm - read more at The Emmaus Series | Image courtesy of Hermanoleon Clipart

We Care - Responding to the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act

From the earliest times, Christ's followers have set themselves apart by their care of the vulnerable (Acts 4:34). On 19 June 2019, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act comes into effect. This law legalises euthanasia and assisted suicide. Despite what the law may say, our Christian tradition affirms that every life, including those of the sick and suffering, is sacred. For us, euthanasia or assisted suicide are never part of end of life care.

Pope Francis has encouraged ordinary Catholics everywhere to resist euthanasia and to protect the old, the young and the vulnerable from being cast aside in a "throw-away culture". We are called to follow Christ by accompanying people with compassion, sharing hope not fear.

The Bishops of the Catholic dioceses of Melbourne, Ballarat, Sale and Sandhust, echoing Pope Francis, have published a pastoral letter and We Care which provides practical guidance on ways we can be conscientious objectors to euthanasia.  Please download these documents below and share them.

FileDescriptionFile sizeLast modified
Download this file (2019-vad-pastoral-letter.pdf)2019-vad-pastoral-letter.pdfA Pastoral Letter re: Voluntary Assisted Dying403 KbSun 16 Jun 2019 09:06 PM
Download this file (2019-vad-we-care.pdf)2019-vad-we-care.pdfWe Care: ways that those who conscientiously object to this law can accompany people who suffer234 KbSun 16 Jun 2019 09:06 PM
The gift of the Holy Spirit PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 09 June 2019: Pentecost Sunday

God's Spirit renews the earth

The Holy Spirit...The season of Easter concludes with today's celebration, the feast of Pentecost. On Pentecost we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem; this event marks the beginning of the Church. The story of Pentecost is found in the Acts of the Apostles, today's first reading. The account in today's Gospel, taken from the Gospel of John, also recounts how Jesus gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to his disciples. There is no need to try to reconcile these two accounts to each other. It is enough to know that, after his death, Jesus fulfilled his promise to send to his disciples a helper, an advocate, who would enable them to be his witnesses throughout the world.

Read more at Sunday Connection, Loyola Press, A Jesuit Ministry | Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Jesus has been taken into heaven PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 02 June 2019: The Ascension of the Lord

While blessing them, he was taken to heaven

The Lord ascends into Heaven...Jesus directs the disciples to return to Jerusalem to await the fulfillment of his promise to send them the Holy Spirit. Curiously, only Mark and Luke actually report Jesus' Ascension into heaven. Matthew's Gospel concludes with Jesus' promise to remain with his disciples forever. Only the Gospel of Mark notes that Jesus ascended to sit at the right hand of God. In noting this, Mark teaches that Jesus' Ascension affirms the glory Jesus received from God after his death and Resurrection...

Read more at Sunday Connection, Loyola Press, A Jesuit Ministry | Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Pope’s Intention for June

That priests, through the modesty and humility of their lives, commit themselves actively to a solidarity with those who are most poor.

This month Pope Francis asks us to pray for an intention that has been close to his heart since he first became Pope. He wants us to pray for priests because their place in the life of the Church at every level in local congregations is so vital. He wants us to pray specifically that their attitudes and way of living be modelled on Jesus, who lived simply, focused on what mattered and loved to be with people who were poor and neglected.

In many of his talks to priests Pope Francis contrasts this way of life to clericalism. By this he means an attitude that emphasises the distance between priests and laypeople. It makes central to Catholic life obedience to the detailed laws, customs and beliefs of the Church, and sees the Church as the biggest and only show in town. Pope Francis believes that priests’ business is to bring the message of Jesus to people at the edge of the Church and society. They are servants and not bosses.

For Pope Francis this matters because to be a Christian is to be a follower of Jesus called to bring the attractiveness and strength of the Gospel to people at the margins. Priests are called to lead and encourage the people to do this, not to hide the treasure of the Gospel in a locked church.

His intention makes clear what he hopes for in priests: modesty and humility. Modesty is a personal style that prefers to listen rather than to speak, and sees the church community as a ‘we together’ and not as a ‘me over you’. Modesty looks up to the people on the edge of church and not down at them.

Humility means standing on the ground of the reality of ourselves, not on an inflated image of ourselves. The reality is that we are sinners whom God loves and calls each day to follow Jesus. If we see ourselves as weak human beings captured by God’s overwhelming love, it will be impossible to see ourselves as superior to others or to see others as unloved by God. Going out to people who are poor and are regarded by the comfortable as a waste of space reminds us of God’s love and of who we are.

Pope Francis’ ideal is very high, not only for priests but for all Christians. It is a gift, and we should be grateful that we find this gift among priests as often as we do, and pray that it may grow deeper, not simply among priests but in the church as a whole. It is easy to curse the darkness and blame those who live there. It is better to thank God for the candles who give light in the dark night of the church, and so to encourage the priests whom we see going beyond the borders of church to walk with people are on the edge. The best way to help priests do this, of course, is for us to invite them to walk with us as we go there.

Fr Andy Hamilton SJ

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