For those who require transport to Br Khoi’s Ordination a bus will be leaving from the front of the church at 8am on Saturday 8 September.
Please register your name with Maria at the Parish house as seats are limited: 9663 1070.
Is God our genie?
As a school boy I often prayed to God prior and during my exam times. In my innocence, I hoped that God would guide me to do well in my exams and I would get good results. Now as I look back on this, I see that I was picturing God as my magical genie in the famous cartoon movie, Aladdin, who could fulfil all my wishes. I’m sure it was just me imagining God that way!!!
The readings this weekend point out that the imagination of God as our genie is often the case for human beings. The Israelites saw God as a mere material provider for their physical needs – food in this weekend’s first reading and prior to and after this, in the book of Exodus, God provided them water to drink in the wilderness.
The crowds that followed Jesus to Capernaum had similar mentality. They saw Jesus as a genie that could work miracles to feed the multitude with so little. They wanted his miraculous power but not himself. Jesus pointed them to go beyond the miracle, the physical and material satisfaction, to recognise the sign revealing who he was. He was the Word Incarnate, the Word becoming flesh, the flesh that can feed us so we may grow in our maturity and relationship with the reality bigger than ourselves – God.
God at times (or most of the times) works through physical and material signs, not for the sake of fulfilling our physical and material needs and desires, but for the sake of relationship with Him/Her.
So when I prayed for good results for my exams back in my school time, sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. The more I grew up, the lesser what I wanted in prayers has been satisfied. It is not because God doesn’t want to answer my prayers. God always answers our prayers, but not in the ways we might expect or hope for. But moreover, I have learnt that God is a lover who cannot be manipulated as a genie from the oil lamp, and I’m continuously called to learn to be in a loving relationship with God more than having all my desires and concerns solved and sorted miraculously. Relationship and shallow satisfaction are very different things.
Lots of people begin their faith journey by experiencing significant miracles that God gives them in their lives. But when these unbelievable miracles stop, their faith also starts to shake. That’s an indication that our faith basically relies on whether we are satisfied or not. And be sure, that’s not what faith is about, that’s not what God wants for us.
God wants to be our lover, a real lover, not our magical genie.
Br Khoi msc
Greetings from the MSC Mission Office Australia.
I am pleased to send links for the latest Mission Outreach newsletter on our web site. Visit the web site at http://www.mscmission.org.au/mission-outreach to View Online or download the PDF. Also, don’t forget to log in to our facebook page from time to time for updates. Please feel free to share with others.
Fr. Adrian F. Meaney MSC
Friday 10 August 12.30pm Lunch at Randwick Golf Club Malabar. All Welcome. Bookings: Martin O’Loughlin – Ph: 9662 8559 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Scarcity and God’s Abundance
I was born and grew up in the post-war time when Vietnam was recovering from many wars in previous decades. Economic system of the communist government imposed on the whole country was obviously not efficient and sufficient to boost the country out of poverty and the lives of many people were in desperation.
My family, fortunately, was not desperate but merely average. We, my siblings and I, were taught very strictly to save and not to spend, just in case something might happen unexpectedly. That “saving” mentality sticks with me and at times manifests itself in “scarcity” mentality – it might not be enough, I often think.
I think not only those who grow up in financially tough circumstances might have that scarcity mentality. I have spoken to many people who were born rich, more than sufficiently provided materially, but still have doubt that life is not enough.
I think the mentality of scarcity is common with human condition because we are limited but our desires can grow into impossible, selfish ambitions.
The readings this weekend challenge our normal thinking that life is not enough for us, everything is not going to be enough. In the first reading, Elisha’s servant asked: How can twenty barley loaves can be enough for a hundred men? But eventually they ate and even had some over.
Similarly, in the Gospel, Phillip and Andrew struggled with scarcity of food for the large crowd following Jesus. Two hundred denarii were not enough to give each a small piece. Two hundred denarii, back in that time, was like a whole year wage of a hard-working worker. Two fish and five loaves were as nothing to five thousand men (let alone probably ten thousand women that were not mentioned!). Eventually, Jesus fed them all and twelve harpers full of scraps left over from the five barley loaves were collected.
The point of the two readings is to remind us that our God is a God of abundance, an abundant provider who gives us enough and even overflowing. God is not a God of scarcity that we might have imagined ourselves.
On Wednesday evening, I was watching the news about the terrible bushfire happening in Greece which have caused more than eighty people’s deaths. This woman was being interviewed in the middle of the rubbles of her house; and she said to the interviewer that she was very grateful that she was still alive with her son. That was enough for her despite the loss of her house and everything she had.
How often do we feel that our life is enough, whatever we have and wherever we are? Only when we feel and experience the “enough-ness”, the fullness of the life God has graciously given us, we can really follow what St Paul says in the second reading: “Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience.”
Br Khoi msc
Join us on Saturday 4th August at 3pm in the Rosary Room for the Rosary followed by afternoon tea. Children welcome.
Meeting of people interested in missionary, evangelical, and social activities is being held on Saturday August 4th 2018 at the Sacred Heart Monastery – 1 Roma Ave, Kensington, 2033 at 10.30am. We are open to all ideas – please stay for meal. All welcome. Phone 9697 0983 call for more information email: email@example.com. Fr A F Meaney msc.
Next weekend is a great opportunity for you to help out your parish in a meaningful way by supporting one of its charitable appeals. The Charitable Works Fund (CWF) is the premier charity of the Sydney Archdiocese, covering social and pastoral services, education and training, and advocacy services to all sections of your community – regardless of race, religion or social status. Your gift will help someone in your community who could use a helping hand or be given better opportunities, so please give generously. Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible, thank you.
Every 4th Sunday of the month at 9.30am Mass, we will have children reading at the Mass. We are inviting children (confident reader from primary school Year 2 and above) to join us for New Reader’s Training on Sunday, 29th July after 9.30am mass with Brother Khoi Nguyen MSC. Please fill up the form at the back of the foyer if your child/children would like to participate. Contact Lena on 0416 679 888 for more info.