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FR ALO WRITES…
What different story would we be telling today if the unnamed owners of the donkey had refused to give it up? Maybe we would have no story of the triumphal entry, at least not in the way Jesus wanted it. No matter how unknown a person is, he or she can still play a crucial role in the unfolding of God’s plan. The Lord needs each one of us as he needed the unnamed owners of the donkey in the reading.
A donkey was a very big thing in those days. The donkey was the equivalent of a car, a truck and a tractor all in one.
• It was a car because people used it to move around and do their shopping,
• a truck because it was used to carry load,
• and a tractor because it was used in cultivating the land.
I am quite certain that God wants me to give him something and sometimes:
• I don’t give it because I don’t know for sure, and then I feel bad because I’ve missed my chance.
• Other times I know he wants something but I don’t give it because I’m too selfish.
• And other times, I hear him and I obey him and feel honored that a gift of mine would be used to carry Jesus to another place.
• And still other times I wonder if my little deeds today will make a difference in the long haul.
All of us have a donkey. You and I each have something in our lives, which, if given back to God, could, like the donkey, move Jesus and his story further down the road. Maybe you can sing or hug or program a computer or speak nicely or write a cheque.
Whichever, that’s your donkey. Whichever, your donkey belongs to him. It really does belong to him. Your gifts are his and the donkey was his. The original wording of the instructions Jesus gave to his disciples is proof: “If anyone asks you why you are taking the donkeys, you are to say, ‘Its Lord is in need.'” So, what is the name of your donkey? The Lord has need of it.
It is with great sadness and heavy heart that I am saying goodbye to you over this weekend. Even though I will not leave here until December 28th, but as many of you will go away for holidays and the like, so we planned to have this farewell a bit early.
As I am looking back and reflecting on my time here – just around a year – I feel grateful and blessed with your presence, support and love for me over this short time. It has been a great joy being with you and serving you in my role of a deacon and now of a priest.
About three years ago, after taking my perpetual vows as a Missionary of the Sacred Heart, I went back to my home church with my Vietnamese community in Mt Pritchard, where I was ordained a priest recently. I remember the Gospel of that mass three years ago was the same Gospel we have this weekend: The people of Israel came and asked John the Baptist, “What must we do?” That question haunted me as I was sitting there, on the sanctuary as a brother, looking at the faces of so many of my Vietnamese people. “What must I do in order to serve these people better?” I questioned myself at that time.
Until now, I still question myself: “What must I do in order to serve you all better, as your priest and your brother?”
As I am leaving my first parish in my priestly ministry, I ask your forgiveness for the things I have not done well in my pastoral ministry and responsibility. For the things you have found graceful through what I have done, let us give thanks to our graceful and loving God.
I love what Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said: “I am a little pencil in God’s hands. He does the thinking. He does the writing. He does everything and sometimes it is really hard because it is a broken pencil and He has to sharpen it a little more.” I know that I am a mere broken pencil that God has endeavored so hard to make use of – but this is simply God’s joy, loving us, caring for us, and using us for others.
Please continue to support me in your prayers as I move to my next mission in Melbourne. I will also keep you very much in my heart with loving memories and kindness you have shown me.
Every blessing for your holidays, safe travel, and much love to you all.
Fr Khoi Nguyen msc
Come and join the OLSH Sisters for Christmas dinner at the Convent, 2 Kensington Rd Kensington, at 12 noon on Christmas Day. Phone Sr Helen or Sr Ancilla on 9662177 a few days before if you would like to join us.
Dear Parishioners of Our Lady of the Rosary Church,
We are delighted to invite you to see and purchase handmade religious articles made by the Sisters of St. Elisabeth Convent (Belarus). The exposition will take place after the Masses on Monday, December 24th.
The Sisterhood of Saint Elisabeth was founded in 1996. For more than 15 years our sisters have been rendering spiritual, social and financial support to the sick and the suffering at the National Psychiatric Clinic, the boarding home for children with special needs and mentally challenged adults, a TB clinic.
In recent years a rehabilitation center for the homeless, drug and alcohol addicts, ex-prisoners was established 20 miles away from the Convent. About 200 residents live here today. Many lost and struggling people get a chance to tackle their problems and start a new life with God. A rehabilitation facility for females was established in 2012. Women released from jail, the homeless and mentally challenged women stay there. Today there are 11 women and one toddler at this farmstead.
To help these people workshops were established on the grounds of the Convent. Many of these sick people have a possibility to express themselves in art for God working together with the nuns and sisters and making beautiful articles (hand painted icons, crosses, crucifixes, woodcarvings, embroidered and ceramic gifts, vestments).
All these goods are made with love and prayer and bring blessing to home. You will support many people in need by purchasing items of devotions for yourselves and your beloved ones.
With deep gratitude and love in Christ,
Sisters of St Elisabeth
Christmas edition then we enter the summer series until February.
Next week on The Journey, the Gospel reflection is from the Dioceses of Wollongong Advent reflection booklet, Sr Hilda shares her Wisdom from the Abbey with her Christmas reflection, Bruce Downes the Catholic Guy reminds us to be still before God, and The Pirolas encourage us to Make A Change For The Better. It is with great pleasure and gratitude that we say thank you for your support with Journey Catholic Radio for another year. God Bless, and Merry Christmas from all of us here at the Diocese of Wollongong . Go to WWW.jcr.org.au or www.itunes.jcr.org.au where you can listen anytime and subscribe to weekly shows by email.
Across Australia, Catholics are gathering to pray, talk and listen to one another about our experiences of faith and the Church. Many parishes within the Archdiocese have commenced their journey towards the Plenary Council 2020, sharing and reflecting on the future of the Catholic church in Australia. Please continue to pray for the community of the Sydney Archdiocese that we will respond well to the call of the Holy Spirit, by engaging in the preparatory phase of the Plenary with open and humble hearts, listening to what the Spirit is saying to each one of us as we share our experiences of faith towards the preparation of the agenda of the Plenary Council. The Plenary Council Prayer: http://plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au/pray/ Want to know more or on how to become involved, please contact 9390 5147 or email email@example.com .