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Monthly Archives: April 2015

Wednesday Second Week of Easter

Today’s Readings
Acts 5:17-26
Ps 34:2-9
John 3:16-21

1-13               It is just nine days since we have celebrated Easter Sunday. The celebration continues really throughout our lives, but it is more prominent in our thoughts and liturgies during Easter Season.

There was great alarm among the religious leadership, who saw the apostles acting on the basis of a faith (a Saviour risen from the dead) which they regarded as heretical. During the next three days (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) we will be hearing a description of the leaders’ efforts to put a stop to the apostles’ work. We are told that the main motive for their displeasure was jealousy.  The apostles were attracting large crowds, apart from the fact that they were disseminating a doctrine which the Sadducees denounced.  So they had the apostles arrested and thrown into the public jail.

As with the apostles, we cannot acquiesce in a situation where truth and justice are being attacked.

Today we continue reflecting on the meeting of Jesus with Nicodemus.  The dialogue has given way to a theological reflection in which the words of Jesus and of the author cannot easily be distinguished. The theme is the relationship between God and the world.

It is not God who abandons us; it is we who abandon him.  We are our own judges when we deliberately prefer darkness to light.  We put ourselves beyond the reach of his love, which is there and only waiting for us to turn back.  On the contrary, the one who “acts in truth comes into the light, to make clear that his deeds are done in God”.

It is not God’s judgment that we are to fear. Rather it is our own choices which can bring us closer to him or away from him; it is our own choice whether we wish to live always in the light or choose darkness.

It might be good for us to reflect today on those dark corners of our life – present and past – which we keep hidden from others. The person who lives in the light, the person of integrity and wholeness, has nothing whatever to hide.

Wednesday Second Week of Easter

Celebrant: We are greatly consoled by the words of Jesus   who assured us that he had come, not to condemn the world, but to save it.           

May the faith of all believers be strengthened during this Easter Season, and their hope in eternal life made firm. Lord, hear us.

May those who have strayed from their Christian faith, rediscover the beauty and goodness of Christ, and so return to him with thankful hearts Lord, hear us.

May those who are fearful of Christ, or are scrupulous in their religious practices, come to know that Jesus does not condemn them but embraces them with salvation. Lord, hear us.

May the sick and frail aged of our parish be remembered by us in prayer today. Lord Hear us

May the contribution of Australian Catholics through Project Compassion this year begin to have positive results around the world. Lord, hear us.

 Celebrant: Loving Father, from all our terrors set us free and give us the joy and peace of knowing that your Son Jesus is with us until the end of time. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tuesday Second Week of Easter

Today’s Readings  Acts 4:32-37    John 3:7b-15

Now that we are in Easter time, our readings focus on how the community of believers is to try to live in the Spirit.

Today’s reading from the Acts is one of three portraits of the early Christian community.  Probably it is more the expression of an ideal than a historic description but it is no less valid for all that.  Today’s description emphasises the communal ownership and mutual responsibility of the community members for each other. It is important to note that this was possible because “the community of believers were of one heart and one mind”.  Their material sharing was simply an expression of the care which they felt for each other at a much deeper level.

1-13We continue today Jesus’ night-time dialogue with the Pharisee Nicodemus.  Nicodemus, while accepting in principle what Jesus has said about being born again in the Spirit, now wants to know how it can be brought about. Jesus accuses Nicodemus and his fellow-leaders of a lack of spiritual insight and a refusal to accept his testimony as coming directly from God.  “If you do not believe when I tell you about earthly things, how are you to believe when I tell you about those of heaven?”

The only solution is to put all our focus on Jesus.  “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that all who believe may have eternal life in him.”  This is a reminder of the incident in the book of Numbers where, as a punishment for their sins, the Israelites were attacked by serpents.  God told Moses to erect a bronze serpent on a pole and all who looked at the serpent were saved.

Jesus, in a much greater way, will also be “lifted up” both on the cross and into the glory of his Father through the Resurrection and Ascension.  And he will be a source of life to all who commit themselves totally to him.  Only then will we be washed clean by the water from the pierced side (cf. John 19:34 and Zechariah 13:1).

Tuesday Second Week of Easter

Celebrant: We share this Eucharist, a people who have been reborn in Christ through the life giving waters of baptism. And so then let us pray. 

That our parish community   be united in the teaching of the apostles, the fellowship, the breaking of the bread and the prayers. Lord, hear us.

That religious men and women who have promised to own all things in common, may live joyfully the true spirit of poverty in which they imitate the generosity and contentment of Jesus. Lord, hear us

That all who believe in Jesus Christ may strive for that unity which he desires, and seek together the gift of eternal life.  Lord, hear us.

That those who were baptised or received into Full Communion with the Catholic Church at the Easter across the Archdiocese, may find their local communities welcoming and supportive. Lord, hear us.

Celebrant: God our Father, you are our King, robed in majesty. Fill your Church with your holiness, as we await the return of your Son, Jesus Christ, who is Lord, forever and ever.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Monday Second Week of Easter

Today’s Readings Acts 4:23-31      John 3:1-8
www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041315.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/15_04_13.mp3

           1-13The gospel begins a teaching on baptism as our birth to new life. Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born again. Nicodemus, who has been a bit pompous, is deflated; he doesn’t understand; he wonders how a person can enter his mother’s womb a second time. Jesus says he must be born again of water and the spirit, i.e. of water which confers the spirit. The Lord has chosen certain “signs” by which we encounter him. The signs aren’t magic. Yet, whenever there is the sign, the intention, and faith, infallibly a person is born again into the life of grace.

After they had been released by the Jewish leaders following their arrest and interrogation and had been given strict warnings not to continue what they were doing, Peter and John went back to their community and related all about their experience.  The whole community then prayed.  They recalled the words of the psalmist who asks why the Gentiles and the princes of the world conspire against the Lord and his anointed. Yet they recognise that all of this had been foreseen by God.  They beg the Lord as persecution is extended to them, too, that God will be with them through the name of your holy servant Jesus.

It is good for us too to be aware that, when, as individuals or communities, we are true to the living of our Christian faith, we can expect to face criticism, opposition, abuse and ridicule.  Then it is for us, too, to pray for the Lord’s assurance, protection and guidance.  We do not necessarily expect those against us to change their minds but that we may have the strength to continue being faithful to our convictions and the search for truth and goodness.

Monday Second Week of Easter

Celebrant:  Jesus’ word reminds us of the gift of baptism through which we are reborn in God’s love. And so we pray.

May Pope Francis be richly blessed  as he leads the Church in faith, hope and charity. Lord hear us.

May all who were baptised into Christ at Easter around the world rejoice in the gift of faith. Lord, hear us.

May the Spirit move throughout our world touching the hearts of all so that they can seek truth with sincerity. Lord, hear us.

May those who endure persecution for their faith, as did St Peter and St John, continue to witness to the Risen Lord with the boldness of faith. Lord, hear us.

Celebrant: God our Father,  you have entrusted all nations to your Son, the Prince of Peace. Move the hatred and violence of human hearts towards thoughts and actions for peace through Christ our Lord.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER

1-5 What hurts more, being called a “stupid, inconsiderate jerk” by a stranger or by a friend? What is more painful, being lied to or gossiped about by someone we barely know or by a person we consider one of our closest friends?

There is little doubt that any hurt is greater when it is caused by someone who has a place in our hearts than when it is caused by someone with whom we have no emotional connection.

Since that is the case, it follows that it is harder to forgive a friend who has hurt us than to forgive a stranger. We have no expectations of strangers other than common decency. But we expect our friends to be faithful and loyal and to treat us with love, kindness, and respect.

This Sunday’s Gospel  is about a person who forgives his friends for the pain and hurt they caused him. In fact, he forgives them even before they express a word of sorrow and remorse. That person is the Risen Lord.

We know Jesus was merciful and forgiving. He reached out to sinners and to outcasts. He offered forgiveness to the adulterous woman who was dragged before him for condemnation. “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” (John 8:11)

He forgave the sins of the paralysed man who was lowered down before him through the roof. As Jesus told him, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 5:20)

He even forgave those who crucified him. “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

However, those persons were not close friends and disciples of Jesus. They were strangers, and some were even his enemies.

In this Sunday’s Gospel (John 20:19-31), Jesus the Risen Lord forgives his closest friends. Instead of remaining faithful as they had promised, they had deserted him and run for their lives when he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. We can only imagine how hurt Jesus must have been as he saw the hateful faces of those coming to arrest him and the backs of his disciples as they fled in fear for their lives.

Yet when the Risen Lord appeared to those unfaithful disciples, those disloyal friends, that first Easter Sunday, rather than expressing his anger and disappointment, he said, “Peace be with you.” And he said it not once but twice.

The gospel writer tells us that after his initial greeting of peace Jesus “showed them his hands and his side.” When the risen Lord appears to them again a week later he says to the doubting Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side . . .” Even with the transformation that is wrought in the body of the risen Jesus the marks of the wounds remain. The risen Lord is the One who was crucified – the one who gave his life for his disciples in the ultimate sign of love.

They are there as enduring signs of the faithful love of Christ and of his real participation in the suffering that marks the life of every person. The Latin word for “wound” is vulnus, from which we get our English word “vulnerable.” The wounds of the risen Jesus manifest his vulnerability – his ability to be wounded by other people and by life itself. Because of his love for us he became vulnerable to the response of other human beings. Indeed, in Christ God made himself vulnerable to us and to our response in freedom.

Jesus forgave his friends, and he still does so today. He forgives us. We are the ones who are his brothers and sisters, made so in the waters of baptism. We are the ones who are privileged to share at his holy table. We are ones he calls his friends, for through the scriptures and through his Church he has told us everything he heard from the Father. (John 15:15)

But at times we are disloyal and unfaithful friends who turn our backs on him, forget our baptismal promises, and fail to live as we should as Christians. Despite that, the Lord keeps coming to us offering us peace and forgiveness. The Lord Jesus never gives up his friends, no matter how often we give up on him. He has Divine Mercy!

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Easter Saturday

1-2There is a story about a Greek philosopher who one day was seen talking to the statues in the marketplace.  When people asked him why he was talking to the statues he replied that no one who was alive would listen to him.

We cannot believe if we do not listen, if we dismiss the testimony of our ancestors in faith.   In today’s Gospel the risen Jesus appears to Mary and to the two disciples along the road.  Mary and the disciples witnessed their experience but the people to whom they witnessed did not believe.

In our first reading the Sanhedrin see that two ordinary men, Peter and John, cure a man through the power of Jesus.  Rather than believing in the power of Christ the Sanhedrin ignore this manifestation and plot against the disciples.

Both these stories hinge on the key task of witness.  In the first story, the Sanhedrin, although they recognize the miracle, seek to suppress the witness given by Peter and James.  In the second story, Jesus asks the disciples (that would be us) to go out and witness to the world.  There is an interesting reversal here – the apostles in the first reading are successful in their witness while the disciples in the second reading are unsuccessful.  Jesus does not rebuke the disciples for providing an ineffectual witness but rather he rebukes their hearers for not believing and in turn invites them to bear witness.

There is always a third reading at the daily liturgy, one that is in the process of being written—our own lives.  We have the option of talking to the statues in the church- they are very patient!  We can also tell others, bearing witness to the risen Lord.  Ignatius of Loyola gives us this principle: love shows itself more clearly in action then in words.  Instead of talking, we can do something. We witness through action as we do through words.

Easter Saturday

Celebrant:  Let us pray that the Good News of the Risen Christ may be proclaimed to all the nations.

May those who doubt the word of good and honest people learn to be more trusting from the disciples who first doubted the witness which Mary of Magdala gave to Christ’s resurrection.. Lord, hear us.

May those who are obstinate, and refuse to believe in Christ, receive the Holy Spirit, who will lead them to Christ’s truth. Lord, hear us.

May those who pass on the story and word of Jesus to others, especially parents, priests, deacons, teachers and catechists, do so with the enthusiasm of the apostles Peter and John. Lord, hear us.

May those who have asked for our prayers, those who have a right to them, and those who are in need of them, receive from God every grace and help they require at this moment. Lord, hear us.

Celebrant: Loving Father, through the raising of your Son, Jesus, from the dead, you have given us the pledge of eternal life. May we live this present life with our eyes fixed on the heavenly city. Grant this through Christ our Lord.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Easter Friday

Today’s Readings
Acts 4:1-12
Ps 118:1-2, 4, 22-27a
John 21:1-14
www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041015.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/15_04_10.mp3 

 1-6              Peter always seemed to open his mouth to insert his foot! He had the knack of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. At least that seems to have been his nature before the descent of the Holy Spirit after the resurrection of Jesus. After Easter, there was a profound change in his personality.

Peter was a man of strength of soul, a man of deep faith, a man who becomes the centre of leadership in the Church. He still has a few rough edges, however. In today’s gospel, for example, he tells the other disciples that he is going fishing. We might have expected something more profound in those days after the resurrection from the first pope! When the apostolic group catches nothing, Jesus appears on shore; he tells them to cast their net to starboard. They haul in 153 fish! The number is symbolic: This was the total number of species of fish given by ancient biologists. If so, the number represents fullness, plenitude. It means that the apostles are to fish for all souls in the entire world.

Peter and John from the reading in Acts are all charged up with a strong sense of mission and purpose.  You can almost feel Peter’s energy across all these years reaching up to motivate us today.  As the Spirit gave them courage; we too are encouraged to stand up for our Faith today.  These men are brought in and detained until the next day for questioning, basically for curing a man in Jesus’ Name who had been crippled.  Peter is so enthused that he has their attention that he boldly proclaims from which his power came, from Jesus Christ crucified, died, buried and raised from the dead.  Like then, we face challenges to our Faith today, and like them, we have access to that same Spirit to aid us in our stand.

Easter Friday

Celebrant: Dear friends, the image of Jesus cooking breakfast for his disciples is a sign of his presence with us now, offering us the hospitality of his Holy Table. With this in mind let us pray. 

That in this Eucharist we may feel close to the Risen Christ, and through him appreciate that we are all brothers and sisters   together. Lord, hear us.

That throughout the world, from the rising of the sun to its setting this offering of thanksgiving may give glory to God. Lord, hear us.

That those who are in prison for their Christian faith, especially in China, Vietnam and Sudan, may unite themselves with Peter and John, who while under arrest, continued to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Lord, hear us.

That the work of people in the medical professions may be blessed as they strive to bring healing, reassurance and comfort to those who are ill.Lord, hear us.

May the Australian Military personnel who have died in the service of their country and in the cause of people, find the fullness of truth in God the source of all life. Lord, hear us.

Celebrant: Father of light, we give thanks to you, for your love is without end. Grant salvation to the world through Christ our Lord.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Easter Thursday

Today’s Readings
Acts 3:11-26
Ps 8:2ab, 5-9
Luke 24:35-48
www.usccb.org /bible/readings/040915.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/15_04_09.mp3

               1-11During the Octave of Easter the readings for Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours focus again and again on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. This is one of the few times of the church year when there is no Old Testament reading. Instead, we hear the story of the resurrection community.

A man is healed, Peter and John wonder why people look at them, as if they could heal him, and then Peter talks to the crowd about Jesus. You were complicit in the death of the Holy and Righteous one, the very “author of life,” Peter says. The God of their fathers, on the other hand, has glorified Jesus and it is through Jesus that the man has been healed. Peter then calls upon the people to turn to Jesus. If they do, their sins will be forgiven, they will experience times of refreshment, and God will send them the Christ. Jesus is coming, Peter says, but must remain in heaven “until the times of universal restoration. In Jesus, that which is broken is being restored.  Jesus has begun the restoration and will conclude it. What then are we to do?  We have been called to be a blessing in this world and that begins with God raising up Jesus and sending him to bless us. Blessed by Jesus, we become a blessing, but only if we are converted. To Peter, a converted person is one who listens to Jesus.

One of the great “proofs” of the resurrection of Jesus is that the disciples were not expecting it. And when the risen Christ appeared, his followers found it difficult to believe. First of all, the apostles do not believe the report given them by the women who found the empty tomb. When Jesus appears in their midst in the Upper Room, they think they are seeing a ghost.

Jesus has them touch his hands and feet to see that it really is he. Ghosts or apparitions do not have flesh and blood. They are still hesitant, so he asks for something to eat! Ghosts or mirages do not eat your food!

The scepticism of the disciples should strengthen our faith. They were convinced. We don’t see the Lord. But our faith is on solid ground. Those who were most sceptical were convinced. If Jesus has risen from the dead, his message is true. Let us live that message with all our heart and soul.

Easter Thursday

Celebrant: Sisters and brothers as the disciples of Emmaus recognised Jesus at the breaking of the Bread, so may we, through eyes of faith, see him here with us as we pray.

We pray for those who at the Easter Vigil received the Eucharist for the first time in our Catholic Church, that this Sacrament may become increasingly for them the source and summit of their Christian life. Lord, hear us.

We pray for all who believe in the Risen Christ, that their faith in him, and their commitment to charity, may grow stronger this Easter Week. Lord, hear us.

We pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, that Palestinian and Jewish people may be able to respect each other and honour each others’ human rights. Lord, hear us.

We pray for those who languish in refugee camps around the world that developed nations may come to their aid, and restore justice to them. Lord, hear us.

Celebrant: Lord our God, we are in awe that you should care for us with so much love. Help us to live in the spirit of your Son, Jesus Christ, who is Lord, forever and ever.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2015 in Uncategorized