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The third part in the series from the Missionaries of God’s Love, an Australian Order of priests and religious sisters and brothers.
19 February is Chinese New Year, and here we are going to celebrate the Year of the Wooden Sheep at the 9.30am Mass, Sunday 22 February.
The church will be festively decorated, children will receive special red packets, and we are inviting all parishioners to come dressed in red!
We are asking parishioners to bring special foods to share for the celebration for a special Chinese New Year Morning tea after Mass.
I was advised by some parishioners who have an Asian background to find alternative treatment for a Brother with cancer, since contemporary medical science appeared to be less than successful in helping him recover. I was reluctant to do so because the Brother had made a choice to rely on a medical approach over some other sort of alternative treatment, and honestly, I don’t know which one is the best.
I also heard from members of certain charismatic groups or Pentecostal churches claiming that there are some preachers, pastors and priests who have a gift of healing and that this may provide support as well for the Brother. Once again, I was not sure about these people or their gifts because I have never had any experience with them.
This Sunday’s (5th Sunday in Ordinary Time) Gospel shows that Jesus has a healing power. He didn’t just cure people, but He healed them. Healing and curing are inherently different. Curing means “eliminating all evidence of disease,” while healing means “becoming whole.” Curing is related to the physical wellbeing; meanwhile healing is more about the holistic well-being of a person.
A person can be cured but not necessary be healed. Medical doctors can provide treatment to cure a patient, but ordinary people who are not able to cure are able to heal.
I visit some of the elderly and sick people in our parish and most of them appreciate my company. They share with me their illnesses, struggles, loneliness and many other things. I suppose that when they are sharing about their sickness and frailty they surely are not expecting a cure from me. They simply just would like to release of the tensions from within that are caused by physical frailty, and they want someone who is willing to listen to them. However, when Jesus cured the mother in-law of Simon and some other sick people of his time, he healed them as well. He was there and showed his kindness and compassion to them. As disciples of Jesus we are called to heal the world. We may not be able to cure but we are certainly able to heal the world in which we live through our presence, love and compassion.
For those who are not well or sick with illness, this gospel of today is really the good news of assurance that God’s presence heals. He is with you. Jerome, an early church bible scholar and translator (c. 347-420), reflects on this passage:
“Can you imagine Jesus standing before your bed and you continue sleeping? It is absurd that you would remain in bed in his presence. Where is Jesus? He is already here offering himself to us. ‘In the middle,’ he says, ‘among you he stands, whom you do not recognize’ (Cf. John 1:26) ‘The kingdom of God is in your midst’ (Mark 1:15). Faith beholds Jesus among us.
If we are unable to seize his hand, let us prostrate ourselves at his feet. If we are unable to reach his head, let us wash his feet with our tears. Our repentance is the perfume of the Savior. See how costly is the compassion of the Savior.”
Evangelisation Core Group
Meeting Report | Feb 4, 2015
Present: Br Pat, Ross Martin, Fr Alo, Virginia Black, Thelma Slunsky, Sarina Capo, Francine Pirola
Apologies: Dewi and Gus.
- Living Faith (Adult Education) – Br Pat has prepared a description of the Lenten series with Br Gerard Rummery FSC. Fridays March 6, 13, 20 |7-9:30. He will forward this to Francine to prepare promotional materials (bulletin advertisement, flyer, enews, website). Francine to reply to enquiry regarding Lenten groups.
- Parent Educator OLRPS (Virginia) – only the first week but some interesting insights are emerging. Virginia working on ways to support the faith of parents while being sensitive to resistance from some.
- RCIA – four candidates currently in the program. Eager to make the work of RCIA more visible to the parish and to promote it to parishioners so the following suggestions were made:
- Have brochures readily available for interested candidates. Thelma to obtain from the archdiocese. Francine to post information from this to the website.
- Include a regular column in the parish bulletin/website/enews with a one paragraph insight from the topic of the week. Ross to look into this Dewi.
- Include a prayer of intercession weekly. Thelma to sources sample prayers from the archdiocese.
- RCIA team will review website from perspective of the ‘customer journey’ to see how it might be improved.
- Sacrament catechists to be equipped with brochures and information to make the most of interactions with non-Catholic parents.
- Sacraments (Sarina) – urgent need for more catechists. Francine to invite kidsChurch catechists and prepare a bulletin advertisement.
- Scheduling: proposed dates from OLRPS are:
- Reconciliation – Wed Sep 2, Th Sep 3 | 6:30pm
- Eucharist – Sundays Oct 11, 18, 25.
- Confirmation – waiting on Archdiocese (Wed Aug 5/12/19 TBC)
- There are complications with the preparing parish kids on this schedule as we don’t have enough catechists and Eucharist follows the school holidays. Sarina was also concerned that Oct 11 would clash with OLR feast day but the parish can make other plans for the feast day. It was suggested that an additional Mass at 11am be considered for the school Eucharist services. It was also suggested that for 2015 it might be advisable to run the parish program for Reconciliation and Eucharist separately to OLRPS.
- Sarina and Virginia to form a ‘sub committee’ to draw up a proposal for Fr Alo. The proposal will include a long term goal and a transitionary plan. Francine available if needed.
- Scheduling: proposed dates from OLRPS are:
- Youth Group (Francine). There is a parent information evening Thursday 5 Feb. Fr Alo has also given approval to employing a youth minister and Francine has drafted a job description. The position will be advertised in the parish bulletin and other networks as soon as possible.
- Next Meeting: Thursday May 7, 8pm Parish house.
The second part of a series by the Missionaries of God’s Love, an Australian Order of priests and religious sisters and brothers.
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 | email@example.com
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.