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When I was a superior of the MSC in the Central Pacific I was not really pleased with one of the MSC priests serving in quite a big parish in Suva, the capital city of the Republic of Fiji Islands. When this priest wanted the parishioners to listen to him he would drop my name, or the archbishop’s name. Often neither I nor the archbishop had anything to do with whatever this priest was saying to his parishioners. One day I confronted him about this matter and he said that it was useful to have a “back up” from “authority” (Archbishop and the MSC Superior) for the good things he was doing in the parish – it made it easier for him to gain the support of the parishioners. I understood then that, psychologically, this priest had no confidence in his own abilities or ministry and relied on the implied authority of others to lead his parish.
In today’s Gospel, and in the entire life of Jesus, we can see that Jesus speaks and does things with “authority”. His authority was totally different from the other teachers in his time. The teachers of the law didn’t speak with their own authority. They necessarily prefaced their comments with something like “There is a saying that…” or “Rabbi such-and-such said…” Even the prophets rightly attributed their pronouncements to “Thus says the Lord…” But Jesus said simply, “I say to you…”Here was a man who spoke with his own authority, not in the name of another. That alone was amazing. But if that were not amazing enough, Jesus demonstrated his authority when he told an evil spirit what to do, and the evil spirit obeyed.
Speaking with authority doesn’t mean that Jesus was an authoritarian. People who use their authority for their own sake could be classified as authoritarians for abusing their authority. And we could see many examples of those people around the world like the late Saddam Hussein of Iraq or Al Assad from Syria and many others. There is an insatiable hunger in such people to use their authority to dominate others to their own will. Jesus did things not for his own sake but for the sake of the Kingdom of God, which was his Father’s will, and for the salvation of the world. Jesus did not use his incomparable authority the way we humans tend to use our little sprigs of authority. He took action when necessary. Jesus did not stifle normal living by trying to prevent all possibility of something going wrong. He didn’t post sentries at the doors to keep all potential demon-possessed-looking people from coming in. He simply dealt with the problem decisively when it arose. He was like that because he was so confident in his identity as the beloved one of the Heavenly Father.
My spiritual journey came to the stage of great confidence in my identity some years back when I reflected on the “Baptism of the Lord”. As Jesus was baptized and proclaimed as the beloved Son of God, through my baptism I too have been proclaimed as the son of God. We all possess this identity and it enables us to have an authority to do good things for the Kingdom of God. And our authority is mainly for service. Jesus wants us to use the authority we have. Whether our authority is at home, at work, or somewhere else, he wants us to use it to help others, not to make ourselves into big shots. Jesus gives us the example: use your authority to serve and not to be served (Mark 10:42-45).
Next Meeting – Wednesday 4th February, 2015 | 7:30pm
If you are interested in joining the Evangelisation Core Group, please contact Francine 0433 451 433 | firstname.lastname@example.org
The next meeting of the Group will be held at 7:30pm on 9th February 2015 at OLR Parish House.
At the last meeting, current Parish activities were identified and other activities were identified as possible future activities for introduction to the Parish.
Included in these Mission and Outreach activities are St Canice’s Kitchen, Cana,
St Vincent de Paul, reaching out as a Parish to those in need in other parts of the world eg., Cuba and involvement and response to Catholic Social Justice issues.
At the 9th February meeting the Group will work at composing the Parish vision for Mission and Outreach and then focus on strategies for achieving our goals for fulfilling that vision.
- For High School Students, Yr 7-10 in 2015
- Meetings: Sundays 6-8:30pm
- Ready for radical fun
Information for Parents
If you have children in the age range (or close to it), register your interest.
Get updates as we move towards the launch of the program in on February 22nd.
Receive free articles and practical tips on how to engage your young teens in their faith.
Get 2 free audio talks from Christopher West, internationally acclaimed speaker on the Theology of the Body talking to parents. Beyond the Talk: Sharing God’s Plan for Sexuality with Your Kids (Parts 1 & 2).
The Vatican has released a questionnaire as part of the consultation process in the lead up to the October 2015 Synod. The Australian Bishops have consolidated this into 30 questions. We encourage you all to take part in this survey.
Take advantage of this final opportunity to have your say.
Answer as many or as few questions as you wish. Approx. time frame is 2-30 minutes.
Submissions close this coming Monday, 2nd February.
Complete the Survey Online
Preview the Questions below, and use the online survey to submit your responses.
Survey in preparation for the second Synod on the Family (2015)
- Does the final Synod Document offer an adequate account of marriage and the family or does more need to be said?
- What is being done to help families cope in the midst of great social changes? What more could be done, especially in helping them to understand those changes?
- What is being done to ensure that governments support marriage and the family in every way possible? What more could be done?
- What is being done to support strong families? What more could be done?
- What is being done to help families in trouble? How might troubles be prevented? How effectively is pastoral care being offered to families “on the periphery”?
- How can we help individuals and couples grow in affective or emotional maturity?
- What needs to be done to equip ordained ministers and others to work effectively in the area of marriage and the family?
- Does the encounter with Christ shape pastoral care in the area of marriage and the family? How well is Scripture used in the pastoral care of couples and families?
- What values are in fact most important in the area of marriage and the family in the eyes of young people and married couples? What counter-values are evident?
- How can couples living together before marriage or in de facto relationships be encouraged to choose marriage?
- What is being done to help people understand the greatness and beauty of the indissolubility of marriage? What more could be done?
- How can we help people understand better the power of a relationship with God in marriage and of the grace of the Sacrament in their lives?
- How can we help people understand better that marriage is a key part of God’s original plan and is therefore a way of fulfilment not confinement, joy not sorrow?
- How can the family be helped to become “the domestic Church” with a missionary vocation? How can we help develop a family spirituality?
- What can be done to provide an effective and comprehensive catechesis of marriage and the family, starting in early life and involving life-long formation?
- Do we need to shape a new language in the area of marriage and the family? If so, how?
- How effective is the marriage preparation that is being offered? How might it be more effective?
- Do we need to do more to support couples in the early years of married life? If so, what?
- What place do marriage and the family have in the RCIA?
- What movements and associations are there in the area of marriage and the family? Can these contribute more broadly and effectively?
- What are the challenges of mixed marriages and inter-religious marriages? How can we meet them more effectively?
- Apart from sacramental marriage, what can be done to foster appreciation of “natural marriage”?
- How can we respond compassionately to people in irregular unions while remaining faithful to the teaching of Christ and the Church?
- Does the process of declaring nullity need to be simpler, less difficult and less costly?
- How can we respond better to people of same-sex attraction and their families?
- How can we communicate more effectively the Church’s vision of married love and the beauty and dignity of parenthood as presented, for example, in Humanae Vitae?
- What more can be done to promote a sense of parenthood as divine vocation? What more can be done to help parents in their educational mission, especially in transmitting the faith to their children?
- How can we encourage adoption and foster-parenting as signs of fruitful generosity?
- What more can we do to prevent abortion and foster a genuine culture of life?
- How can we help all people see that no-one is beyond God’s mercy?
This is the first part of a video series by the Missionaries of God’s Love – an Australian religious order with priests, sisters and brothers.
This Sunday, we celebrate the Epiphany – a Greek word that means ‘manifestation’. It marks the visit of the Magi from the East who followed the star seeking the Christ. We include some commentary on the feast for your reflection.
Our modern culture suggests a tension between spirituality and religion. But the Magi in today’s Gospel demonstrate that when spirituality is lifted up by revelation – when the Magi are told by the religious leaders where the Messiah is to be born – that we find the object of our spiritual longing.
To hear Fr Robert Barron’s homily (15 mins): here
If you missed the spectacular and moving light show on St Mary’s Cathedral this year, you can watch here.