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In the busyness of today’s fast paced, noisy and ever changing world we long for peace- in our hearts, in our homes, in our workplaces. This day of reflection will immerse you in the ancient wisdom of the Rule of St Benedict, who in his “little rule for beginners” provides practical tools for living a life of peace with oneself and the world. We invite you to come and explore Benedict’s way to peace in a day of prayer and reflection. Date: Saturday 8 September | Time: 10am-3pm. Cost: Gold Coin Donation – Morning Tea provided, BYO Lunch. Reserve your place by email email@example.com or ph 8752 5390 | Where: 449D Pennant Hills Road. Entrance off Hull Road.
Dinner with John Allen Jr September 7th, 2018, at Villa Maria Parish Hall, Cnr Mary St & Gladesville Rd, Hunters Hill, 7pm for 7.30pm. Topic: “Pope Francis and His Critics” – A Vatican Insider’s View. $60 ph. Reservations essential. Phone: 02 9990 7003 (Messagebank), Email firstname.lastname@example.org or send cheque to PO Box 265, Swansea 2281.
Rosemary Goldie Lecture September 9th, 2018, at Verbrugghen Hall at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Macquarie Street, Sydney, 2pm to 4pm. Speaker: John Allen. Topic: “Pope Francis’ Efforts for Reform, and Implications for the Australian Church preparing for its Plenary Council”. $30 ph. Bookings essential through TryBooking https://www.trybooking.com/VZHF or contact the Secretary, Catalyst for Renewal, PO Box 265, Swansea 2281 or Phone (Messagebank) 9990 7003 or email: email@example.com.
During my nine-day retreat on life’s healing journey, I listened to a lot of presentations, talks and stories. One story in particular remains with me.
Peter Campbell was an American MSC and the co-founder of the Life’s Healing Journey Retreat Movement helping people deal with their hurts, pains and sufferings with the grieving, accepting and forgiving processes in the way of heart spirituality. One day he was invited to see this man who hadn’t been talking to anyone or even leaving his home for around ten years. So Peter went to see him. Over some time, the man started to share his story.
He was a very successful businessman who headed a successful company with his partner. That month, he came back from his cruise holidays with his family only to find out that his partner had taken away all the money of the company and run away. A quarter of a million dollars!
Saddened, angered and disappointed in everything, ten years on this man couldn’t do anything else but to isolate and distance himself from people and the world around him.
Peter, after hearing the story, asked this poor man if he had any friend at the time he lost everything. He did. And Peter asked if he could have borrowed some money in order to try to recover. He said he could have… Peter asked him to imagine if he could have tried to borrow some money and recover from the lost, how much more he could have made until now. He said that he could probably have made three quarter of a million dollars!
Peter said to him: “So you lost a quarter of a million and wasted three quarters of a million.” The man realised that he could have done better, he could have chosen better for his life.
At times, we feel we are put in situations, given things that we never wish for. But we always have a choice of what to do with it.
The readings this weekend reminds us that we always have freedom to choose: Freedom to choose God or idols (like the Israelites in the first reading), freedom to leave Jesus or keep following him (like the disciples in the Gospel reading), freedom to choose how to love one another in marriage life (as suggested in the second reading).
As Christians, we all probably decide to choose God. But more than often, we choose to worship the wrong images of God – a God of prosperity, might and power, a punitive and punishing God, a distant and immovable God, or a testing God. These are not the images of God that are revealed in Jesus. The God Jesus reveals, particularly in John’s Gospel, is a God who is with us, who cares for us to the point of not only feeding us what we long for but also giving God’s very self to nourish us, a God who is vulnerable to be broken and eaten so God can give life and life to the full.
No wonder it was too hard for some of the followers of Jesus to accept. Can we really accept this? Can we choose this God over our other false images of God?
Br Khoi msc
A retreat is offered to those who are living with a life limiting illness that causes them to ponder and reflect on their situation and life. Date: 17-20 September 2018. Place: St Mary’s Towers Retreat Centre Douglas Park. For further information contact St Mary’s Towers 4630 0233 | firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I was a boy (is it so long ago?) it was still the rule at Mass that only the priest drank from the chalice. One of the great actions of the Church over the last fifty years has been the recovery of the ancient practice of offering Holy Communion under the appearance of both bread and wine.
The reception of both the consecrated bread and the consecrated wine is in perfect harmony with today’s Gospel: ‘Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life.’ Note the present tense: ‘has’ – right now! This is because, as St John Paul II put it: ‘We digest, as it were, the secret of the Resurrection.’
Of course, Our Risen Lord is really present under the appearance of either the bread or the wine. For a Jew, (unlike the Greeks) the body was absolutely core to being the person one is. For a Jew, blood was identified as the life-force of any animal. So, for the Jewish Jesus, to say ‘This is my body… this is my blood’ was to gift us his core identity, his deepest vitality. Either the consecrated bread or consecrated wine gives us His whole life.
But to receive both the Heavenly Bread and the Spiritual Drink does enable us to more fully respond to Our Lord at the Last Supper: ‘Take, eat … take, drink’. Then the words of today’s Gospel can more physically resonate in our own bodies: ‘He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I in him.’
We could take a moment to pray in thanksgiving that we are able to join in the tradition starting with the Apostles at the Last Supper and, in doing so, to enter into Holy Communion with the only One who can embody in us the secret of His resurrection.
By Fr Michael Tate
Join us on Saturday 1st September at 3pm in the Rosary Room for the Rosary followed by afternoon tea. Children welcome.