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Christmas/New Year Masses Schedule now available

Nativity sceneThe schedule of dates and times for Masses during the Christmas/New Year period is downloadable from our Mass Times page.

Please join us as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and the coming new year.

 

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Who shall follow Jesus to the end? PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 26 August 2018: Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lord, whom shall we go to? You have the words of everlasting life

Faith.  Image courtesy of pixabay.com...Today's Gospel first records the response of those in the crowd who are described as Jesus' disciples. Just as the larger crowd had struggled with Jesus' teaching, these disciples also cannot accept Jesus' words. Jesus is said to know about their murmuring. He responds by acknowledging their unbelief and by reiterating that only those chosen by the Father will follow Jesus to the end. John's Gospel reports that many of those who had been Jesus' disciples ceased to follow him at this point. The number of people following Jesus dwindled from a crowd of more than 5,000 to only 12 people. And it is to these Twelve that Jesus now turns his attention...

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

01 September: World Day of Prayer for Creation

In 2016 Pope Francis nominated September 1 as a day of prayer for creation in the Catholic Church. His initiative was of more than simply Catholic interest. He wanted to enlist Catholics into a universal movement of passionate concern for the environment of which we form part. He demanded that care for the environment stand at the centre of economics, politics, social interactions and human reflection.

In the day of prayer, too, he wanted to bring our the links between concern for people disadvantaged by inequality and greed in the world, contemplative wonder at the beauty and complexity of creation, and the vision of just relationships between human beings and with the environment. Together these help to shape a world fit to pass on to our grandchildren.

The day also encourages us to take stock and to refocus our attention. In Australia, as in most other nations, respect for the environment is regarded as a good thing but is not a high priority. People accept regulations, targets and decisions as long as they do not impede business as usual or interfere with the unrestrained making of wealth. Instead of seeing in seeing the human and financial costs of environmental change as matters to be addressed while making the changes necessary to protect our world, politicians follow voters in seeing them as reasons for doing nothing.

Pope Francis insists that care for the environment and human welfare go together. The reason why people are made poor, held in poverty and ground down in poverty is that other people are determined to make profit regardless of its effect on others. They also treat the environment as dirt to be turned into money. Because the relationships between people and the environment are delicate and interlocking, abusive relationships motivated by competitive greed destroy both people and the environment of which they are part.

Because our world and its people depend on just relationships we cannot guarantee the future of the world simply through better technology and organisation. Certainly we do need to design a more equal society, find better ways of generating energy and controlling emissions, and protect people affected by the changes those things will need.

But more deeply we need to change our own hearts so that we value and treasure the world enough to want to protect it and to support governments that promise to do so. That change is built on reverence towards other people including strangers, and towards the environment of which we are part. Our work at Jesuit Social Services with vulnerable young people who are often feared by society depends on it. A change of heart affects the networks of relationships that compose our own lives and so spreads through society. When through us it spreads through the church, it become a fire that transforms the world.

Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ

 
The bread come down from heaven PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 19 August 2018: Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Priest and the EucharistMy flesh is real food and my blood is real drink

...Among the stumbling blocks for those who heard but did not understand Jesus is the teaching that the bread that Jesus will give is his own flesh. In response to the people who quarreled over his words, Jesus teaches with even greater emphasis that salvation comes to those who eat his Body and Blood. Jesus doesn’t seem to answer the question posed about how salvation will come about, perhaps because this reality can only be understood after his death and Resurrection. Instead, Jesus teaches about the life that he will give to the world...

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

20 - 26 August: Migrant and Refugee Week

World Migrant and Refugee Sunday is celebrated by Catholics around the world. It invites us to extend our compassion beyond our own suburb, city and nation, and reminds us that the plight of refugees and immigrants is world-wide. The constant flow of people from the Middle East, the pushing back of refugees from Europe, the hostility shown by governments and people in many countries, the suspicion of migrants from Africa and the punishment of people already punished by war, are features of many societies besides our own.

Compassion and hospitality are central values of the Catholic Church. They are Jesus’ values. He invites us to feed people who seek protection and are left without any support wherever we are. He also invites us to help their children learn, to offer them free medical care, to find them work that will help them support themselves, to demand compassion from politicians, and to weep at and denounce cruelty towards them. These invitations are not made simply to saints in other places and at other times. They are made to people like us around the world.

Pope Francis is often seen as the face of the Catholic Church. His own face has certainly been turned compassionately to people who have sought protection. Early on as Pope he visited Lampedusa, the Mediterranean island to which people seeking protection often came. He prayed with them and lamented the cruelty that led so many of their relatives and friends to die at sea. Last month on the anniversary of his travel to Lampedusa he again prayed for them.

Each Migrant and Refugee Sunday he sends a message to Catholics and through them to the wider world. This year it is built around four words: welcome, protect, promote and integrate. Each is a central part of a good society. At the heart of each is the conviction that each human being is precious and is bound to all other human beings. We make a claim on each other. These words also make a claim on all our Jesuit works, including Jesuit Social Services. Refugees are our brothers and sisters, and in their vulnerability and resilience they are blood brothers of the people whom we serve.

To welcome is to smile, speak well of people, and to make them feel at home. To protect is to look beyond numbers and differences, to recognise the danger that people are in, and to respond by giving them shelter. To promote is to look to their welfare, to help them access services, to speak up for them and to make connections between them and society at large. Finally, to integrate is to invite them into our churches and local groups, to visit them in their places of worship and at their festivals. It is to make space for them by accepting their invitation to move into their space.

We can do this by prayer, by conversation, by visiting, by advocacy and by hospitality. All these things are the stuff of the Gospel.

Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ

 
Jesus is our bread of life PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 12 August 2018: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

I am the bread of lifeI am the living bread come down from heaven

...Today’s Gospel begins with a report that the Jews complained about Jesus’ claims regarding his identity. They knew his family, and they knew he was the son of Joseph. They could not comprehend what Jesus meant when he said that he came down from heaven. Jesus responds to the complaints by saying that only those who are chosen by God will recognize him as the one that God sent. This is a recurring theme in John’s Gospel, that God has chosen those who will have faith in Jesus...

Read more at Sunday Connection, Loyola Press, A Jesuit Ministry | Image courtesy of Hermanoleon Clipart

12 August: International Youth Day

Young people are endlessly fascinating for the ageing. Sometimes they come to our attention simply for looking good, and at other times for being exceptionally good at pursuits that demands high skills: football or gymnastics, for example. And sometimes we are drawn to them simply because they are young and have their lives in front of them. We are correspondingly moved when they fall seriously ill or die before their time.

More rarely we notice people who are very good in the face of great pressure. Many of us were moved by the Thai boys trapped in a cave. We sympathised with them in their terrible predicament, but were also deeply impressed by their resilience and care for one another in the face of darkness, separation from family and their inevitable fear that they would not be rescued but would die slowly in the cave. And who could not admire their coach, who led them safely to higher ground, went without food in order to keep them alive, apologised to the parents for being the cause of their plight, and insisted that he be the last to be rescued?

These boys have become heroes. But others have been trashed. With an election coming in Victoria, at least, criminal behaviour by some few young people have led to young Africans being targeted and politicians competing with one another to devise harsh penalties regardless of the background and the circumstances. The pressure is to put children into caves, not to release them. It sits ill with the theme of World Youth Day 2018: findings safe spaces for young people

The interest in young people and the way it can turn so quickly from total sympathy to total condemnation may betray a deeper anxiety about them. Because young people are the future of our society we constantly take their temperature to see that all is well. Our anxiety at youth behaving badly shows that our interest in them is serious. When we are anxious, however, we often look for a quick fix without addressing what the causes of what concerns us. We see this in the response to lawbreaking by young people in Australia. The media act as bellows to turn the embers of anxiety into flames; governments placate the anxiety by imposing increasingly heavy penalties on them, so destining many young people to a lifetime in adult gaols. That is irrational and destructive.

It is better to acknowledge our anxiety, reflect carefully on the causes of the situations that provoke it, and deal with those causes. In our policy research and advocacy at Jesuit Social Services we try to address these issues. Young people who act unlawfully have often suffered traumatic experiences in early childhood, lived in broken or dysfunctional families, experienced failure and isolation in schools and been unable to find work. Those factors need to be addressed early by support for families under stress, offering young people good role models, support them with programs to help them benefit from education and find work, and so on.

Nurturing young people is about making safe places. Places of imprisonment are never safe. Neither do they provide lasting safety for the community.

Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ

 
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