August 4th 2019

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Contents:

  1. Parish Bulletin for Holy Family
  2. Newsletter for St Benedict's
  3. This Sunday's Readings
  4. Sunday Reflection

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This Sunday's Readings

First Reading                  Ecclesiastes 1:2,2:21-23

Vanity of vanities, the Preacher says. Vanity of vanities. All is vanity!
For so it is that a man who has laboured wisely, skilfully and successfully
must leave what is his own to someone who has not toiled for it at all.
This, too, is vanity and great injustice;
for what does he gain for all the toil and strain that he has undergone under the sun?
What of all his laborious days, his cares of office, his restless nights?
This, too, is vanity.



Second Reading                  Colossians 3:1-5.9-11

Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God's right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed - and he is your life - you too will be revealed in all your glory with him. That is why you must kill everything in you that belongs only to earthly life: fornication, impurity, guilty passion, evil desires and especially greed, which is the same thing as worshipping a false god; and never tell each other lies. You have stripped off your old behaviour with your old self, and you have put on a new self which will progress towards true knowledge the more it is renewed in the image of its creator; and in that image there is no room for distinction between Greek and Jew, between the circumcised or the uncircumcised, or between barbarian and Scythian, slave and free man. There is only Christ: he is everything and he is in everything.



Gospel Reading                      Luke 12:13-21

A man in the crowd said to Jesus, 'Master, tell my brother to give me a share of our inheritance.' 'My friend,' he replied 'who appointed me your judge, or the arbitrator of your claims?' Then he said to them, Watch, and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for a man's life is not made secure by what he owns, even when he has more than he needs.' Then he told them a parable: 'There was once a rich man who, having had a good harvest from his land, thought to himself, "What am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops." Then he said, "This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them, and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time." But God said to him, "Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?" So it is when a man stores up treasure for himself in place of making himself rich in the sight of God.'


Sunday Reflection 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mortality and Immortality

Mortality is the state of being subject to death. Immortality is the state of being gifted with eternal life. When made by God, humankind was gifted with eternal life. In choosing to disobey God, humanity exchanged immortality for mortality, a state of exile from God, which is where we, who are alive on earth, find themselves today.
It is not only people who are subject to mortality. In this land of exile, nothing lasts for ever. Everything, including humanity, is in a state of change, perhaps the more usual word is evolution. But evolution has not and cannot deliver us from the physical decay that we have brought upon ourselves; namely, mortality, our being subject to death.

Before the Incarnation, the coming of Jesus as God-made-Man, each person born completed their physical lifespan, then died and entered an eternity that was apart from God. In other words, the rift between God and humanity, caused by human disobedience, had yet to be healed by Jesus.
Because God loves us perfectly, His love is not changed by our behaviour. When we are distant, He longs for our return and seeks us as our Good Shepherd. But the rift humanity had caused was problematic in that in God there is no death, for God is Life. The kingdom of death is the kingdom of Satan.
Therefore, God had to become human to enter humanity's entrapment in death in order to effect humanity's redemption from death. The mission the Father entrusted to his Only Begotten Son, Jesus of Nazareth, was to become like us in all things but personal sin; to experience mortal life; to suffer; to die and to rise from death and, in that rising, to overcome death and break its hold over God's beloved humanity. Not only had Jesus to take on our fallen human nature with all its sin, but he had to subsume us into himself that we, too, need no longer fear death because, in Jesus, we would rise as his adopted sisters and brothers.

Set against the unlimited and incomprehensibly magnanimous background of our heavenly Father's love for us, how puny appear the progress we make in our apportioned time of exile here in the vale of tears. This 18th Sunday's First Reading from Ecclesiastes (1:2; 2:21-23) expresses it as vanity:
"Vanity of vanities, the Preacher, the Son of David, says. Vanity of vanities. All is vanity!"
"For so it is that a man who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by a man who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. What has a man from all the toil and strain with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of pain, and his work is a vexation; even in the night his mind does not rest. This also is vanity."

Jesus' Gospel parable about the foolish rich man comes from Luke (12:13-21) with a warning against storing up treasure on earth. As the old adage tells us: There are no pockets in a shroud!

But the gem for this Sunday Scriptural reflection comes from St. Paul's Letter to the Colossians (3:1-5, 9-11):
Paul writes: "Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God's right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on this earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed - and he is your life - you too will be revealed in all your glory with him."

Jesus, the human person nailed to Calvary's Cross, died and entered death as God-in-Man. Thus, was God-in-Man able to conquer death and free those entrapped by death since Adam and Eve.

As it was for Adam and Eve so it is for us. At each conscious moment we are faced with a choice. Is our goal success in this perilously-poised time-limited world of exile or are we responding to St. Paul's encouragement? He says: (Through Baptism) "You have stripped off your old behaviour with your old self, and you have put on a new self which will progress towards true knowledge the more it is renewed in the image of its Creator (God)…"

Nothing on this earth is made to last forever ….. here.