September 29th 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             From the Book of the prophet Amos  (6:1.4-7)

The almighty Lord says this: "Woe to those ensconced so snugly in Zion and to those who feel so safe on the mountain of Samaria. Lying on ivory beds and sprawling on their divans, they dine on lambs from the flock, and stall-fattened veal; they bawl to the sound of the harp, they invent new instruments of music like David, they drink wine by the bowl full, and use the finest oil for anointing themselves, but about the ruin of Joseph they do not care at all.

That is why they will be the first to be exiled: The sprawlers' revelry is over."


SECOND READING         From the First Letter of Paul to Timothy (6:11-16)

As a man dedicated to God, you must aim to be saintly and religious, filled with faith and love, patient and gentle. Fight the good fight of the faith and win for yourself the eternal life to which you were called when you made your profession and spoke up for the truth in front of many witnesses. Now, before God the source of all life and before Jesus Christ, who spoke up as a witness for the truth in front of Pontius Pilate, I put to you the duty of doing all that you have been told, with no faults or failures, until the Appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who at the due time will be revealed by God, the blessed and only Ruler of all, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who alone is immortal, whose home is in inaccessible light, whom no man has seen and no man is able to see. To him be honour and everlasting power. Amen.



GOSPEL READING           Luke 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees: 'There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. And at his gate there lay a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs even came and licked his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.

'In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his bosom. So he cried out, "Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames." "My son," Abraham replied "remember that during your life good things came your way, just as bad things came, the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. But that is not all: between, us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to stop anyone, if he wanted to, crossing from our side to yours, and to stop any crossing from your side to ours."

'The rich man replied, "Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father's house, since I have five brothers, to give them warning so that they do not come to this place of torment too." "They have Moses and the prophets," said Abraham "let them listen to them." "Ah no, father Abraham," said the rich man "but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent." Then Abraham said to him, "If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead.'"


Sunday Reflection 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Eyes Wide Shut

Can you recall standing, mesmerized, in a supermarket? Before you were well-stacked shelves. Your eye searched for a product you had previously bought but now failed to see. Having 'eyes wide shut' is something akin to that. The eye and brain, for some inexplicable reason, fail to coordinate. Perhaps the product had been repackaged, given a change of colour and you were unable to identify it. Your preconceived memory acted as a block to the present reality. When you asked a person for help, you discovered that the item was immediately in front of you all the time!

The Gospels reveal multiple examples where Jesus used actions and words to reveal his development of The Truth to his fellow Israelites as well as his apostles and disciples. Though they, at first hand, listened and observed him, they failed completely to recognise the developed Truth Jesus revealed. In some instances, he found more faith in non-Israelites. An example would be the Roman Centurion's Israelitic servant who was dying (Luke 7:9ff) The centurion's depth of faith in Jesus caused him to say: "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel."

Sometimes we fear advancing beyond the routines of long- established forms of prayer and belief. How often adults choose an Act of Penance that can be traced back to a primary school classroom in its format and content, though we have long left behind our childhood. There can be lingering, sometimes painful, memories of occasions when we attempted to make changes in both the format and the practice of our baptismal faith and earned ourselves a sharp rebuke. Sometimes we pay the price for not having made time to reflect upon the gift of faith which we have received. We may also have failed to discern how our faith interacts with our daily life.
Consequently, there can be a significant chasm between some adult Christians' technological/scientific knowledge and abilities and their comprehensive overview of their spirituality. Then there is the 'shortage of time' factor. Overextended tiredness, spiritual or physical, deters many from drawing closer to Jesus, despite His saying: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28) Plus, dare one say it, it is all too easy to surrender to temptation and find our love, that once was for Jesus, squandered in other directions.

The adventurous spirit of youth becomes, in most of us, more measured as we advance along the path of life. Specific experiences such as betrayal, war, injury, protracted illness, bereavement can curtail our ability to trust. As a consequence, we view almost everything unrecognised through, as it were, caution-reinforced lenses.

Unforgiven personal and corporate sin can have a similar effect upon our spiritual life. The soul's unhealed scars not only hold our growth towards Jesus in a type of abeyance, they act as receptacles for the infectious and avaricious activity of Satan. Spiritual weariness affects many today, just as it did in the days of Jesus.

One wonders how many times the unnamed rich man, featured by Jesus in the parable we read this 26th Sunday (Luke 16: 19-31), being permanently preoccupied by his business-affairs, arrived at and left his house without ever seeing Lazarus, the beggar, at his gate. One suspects that had the rich man's attention been directed to the beggar, he might have said that he had never noticed him before.

Possibly, the first time we saw a person sleeping rough on a city street or a park bench, we were disturbed, if not a little scared. Scared, not so much for our own safety but that this could happen to a fellow human being. Then, as these sightings became more frequent with increasing numbers of homeless populating our cities' streets from dusk to dawn, we tended to no longer see them. Our busy, self-focusing minds had merged these bedraggled, cardboard-covered shapes into their unspecific and unrecognised background. We even found ourselves accepting hearing them referred to as 'the homeless', as if they were no longer deserving of the title 'people', like us. A disabled friend used to become irate whenever he heard himself categorised as 'disabled'. "I'm not a 'disabled', he would say forcibly to the offending speaker from his low wheelchair, "I am a disabled person and just as much a person as are you!"

There are two classic Gospel events that highlight Jesus' struggle to endow his apostles with developing Truth. Both occur on Jesus' last night on earth in that Jerusalem Upper Room of the Last Supper. The first is recorded by John (13:1-7)
Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet.
"….. Jesus rose from supper … laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?" Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.'"
Not infrequently, it is the persevering implementation of faithfulness that, eventually, brings the blessing of understanding. As Jesus once said:
"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." (Luke 16:10)

The second is recorded by Luke (22:19); Matthew (26:26) and Mark (14:22.) "Jesus said: 'Take this, this is my Body' …. 'Take this, this is my Blood'."

This Sunday's Gospel has challenging home-truths.
Are we conscious of any gap between whom we publicise ourselves to be and who, in fact, we are? If there is a gap, then we can petition the Holy Spirit to help us more authentically fill our Christian profile.

Christian ethics calls for a just distribution of the world's resources which, currently, are more often motived by selfish greed. We may not be able to change the world, but we can and must review our own behaviour for it is here and now that the eternal die is cast.

Christianity calls us to value the potential of each individual. When we are willing to allow God to love us through the least likely people it is a clear sign that this love comes from God.