News & Bulletin

Respect for the Sacred Place

Gospel | Luke 1:26-38

People might think that the title of the reflection of this week is related to the story of Jesus casting out people from the temple. In some ways it does, but I would like to focus on why a place is called a sacred and why we should respect a sacred place. One of the past reflections in the parish bulletin I mentioned some examples of people who have respect for sacred places, like churches. In the Philippines, people passing a Catholic Church building usually make the sign of the cross. In my village, where all people are Catholic, there is a big wooden cross in the middle of the village. Everyone who passes it makes the sign of the cross. Another experience was last month, when I did a wedding at the Little Bay Non Denominational Chapel, I had to ask dispensation from the Archbishop to officiate the wedding because that place is not considered a sacred place.

The focus of this reflection is not about places, such as what I mentioned above, but about people (or a person) themselves as the sacred place. Churches, chapels, basilicas, and shrines are symbols of God’s presence. However, Christians believe that the most precious dwelling place for God is within a person. The gospel of today is directing us to this understanding. God has chosen the person of Mary to conceive divine life. It means that God respects human beings and entrusts a human person to bring forth his son (Luke 1:28). The new era of salvation begins with the miraculous conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary. When we celebrate Christmas, we celebrate what happened in the past history of salvation and at the same time we celebrate Emmanuel who comes to dwell in our hearts. Therefore, those who believe in Christ Jesus respect the most sacred place of all – human beings, their fellow persons.

Acts like the tragedy of Martin Place and the killing of school kids and teachers in Pakistan are the the ultimate sign of disrespect for human beings, the ultimate desecration of the most sacred place. The actions of people like Man Haron Monis and Taliban rebels demonstrate that they have no respect for a human being as a dwelling place of God. As such, they violate not only the Christian faith’s sense of the sacredness of human persons, but also Islam’s teachings on the sanctity of human life. People who commit evil acts like the ones we’ve seen this week are people who fail to love and appreciate others, and ultimately, themselves. It is because they have no respect and love for themselves, they cannot love and appreciate others.

In preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ we must not only prepare ourselves to be the “womb” for Christ, but also to respect “our wombs and others’ womb” as dwelling place of Christ, as a sacred place. In a very practical way I may quote what Fr. Michael Fallon MSC says: “Let us respect this sacred place especially in our children, and by our reverence for them let us teach them what a sacred place they really are. …… As we reverence our children, we are reminded that we are all children, children of God, and so, mindful of our own ordinariness and imperfections, let us be gentle with each other, so that our love, like Gabriel’s words to Mary, will awaken others to the intimate invitation offered each of us by God to be bearers of his Word”.

The Wisdom of Teresa

January 30 – February 1, 2015
Presenter: Fr Paul Maunder, ocd.
Cost: $220 (concessions available)
Where: Mt Carmel Retreat Centre, 247 St
Andrews Road, Varroville, NSW, 2566.
Contact: 02 8795 3400,
email: retreats@carmelite.com
www.carmeliteretreats.com.au

Divine Friendship: spiritual guidance in prayer, holiness and mission from the writings of St Teresa of Avila.

Formation & Training Workshop for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion & Readers at Mass

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
(Beginning or Refreshing)
Our Lady Star of the Sea Miranda
Wednesday 25th Feb and 4th March 2015,
7.00pm-9.00pm.

Readers at Mass
(Beginning or Refreshing)
St Jerome’s Punchbowl
Saturday 7th and 14th February 2015,
9.30am-12.00pm

Registration is Essential. Forms and further details are available on the Liturgy Office website: www.liturgy.sydneycatholic.org

CHRISTMAS ROSTER

Please contact Kristina Keneally, email: keneallykk@gmail.com, if you would like to join our Christmas Roster

Christmas Season Services

Reconciliation (Confession), Dec 17
7.00pm – Second Rite

Christmas Eve, Wednesday Dec 24
6.00pm – Carols
6.30pm – Vigil Mass (Children) (shepherds & angels welcome!)
8.30pm – Indonesian Community Mass
11.00pm – Parish Mass (Youth)

Christmas Day, Thursday Dec 25
9.00am – Carols
9.30am – Christmas Day Family Mass
(No evening Mass on Christmas Day)

Holy Family, Sunday Dec 28
9:30am: Mass & KidsChurch + Morning Tea
Also: Sat 6pm, Sun 3:30pm (Indonesian), Sun 6pm

Mary, Mother of God, Thursday, Jan 1
9am: Mass

Epiphany, Sunday Jan 4
9:30am: Mass & KidsChurch + Morning Tea
Also: Sat 6pm, Sun 3:30pm (Indonesian), 6pm