June 26th 2022

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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
  5. Archbishop Malcolm celebrates 40 years of priesthood
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This Sunday's Readings



First reading        1 Kings 19:16,19-21 

Elisha leaves the plough to follow Elijah

The Lord said to Elijah, 'Go, you are to anoint Elisha son of Shaphat, of Abel Meholah, as prophet to succeed you.'

Leaving there, Elijah came on Elisha son of Shaphat as he was ploughing behind twelve yoke of oxen, he himself being with the twelfth. Elijah passed near to him and threw his cloak over him. Elisha left his oxen and ran after Elijah. 'Let me kiss my father and mother, then I will follow you' he said. Elijah answered, 'Go, go back; for have I done anything to you?' Elisha turned away, took the pair of oxen and slaughtered them. He used the plough for cooking the oxen, then gave to his men, who ate. He then rose, and followed Elijah and became his servant.




Second reading        Galatians 5:1,13-18 

When Christ freed us, he meant us to remain free

When Christ freed us, he meant us to remain free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. My brothers, you were called, as you know, to liberty; but be careful, or this liberty will provide an opening for self-indulgence. Serve one another, rather, in works of love, since the whole of the Law is summarised in a single command: Love your neighbour as yourself. If you go snapping at each other and tearing each other to pieces, you had better watch or you will destroy the whole community.

Let me put it like this: if you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence, since self-indulgence is the opposite of the Spirit, the Spirit is totally against such a thing, and it is precisely because the two are so opposed that you do not always carry out your good intentions. If you are led by the Spirit, no law can touch you.



Gospel Reading        Luke 9:51-62

Jesus sets out for Jerusalem

As the time drew near for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely took the road for Jerusalem and sent messengers ahead of him. These set out, and they went into a Samaritan village to make preparations for him, but the people would not receive him because he was making for Jerusalem. Seeing this, the disciples James and John said, 'Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to burn them up?' But he turned and rebuked them, and they went off to another village.

As they travelled along they met a man on the road who said to him, 'I will follow you wherever you go.' Jesus answered, 'Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.'

Another to whom he said, 'Follow me', replied, 'Let me go and bury my father first.' But he answered, 'Leave the dead to bury their dead; your duty is to go and spread the news of the kingdom of God.'

Another said, 'I will follow you, sir, but first let me go and say goodbye to my people at home.' Jesus said to him, 'Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.'


Sunday Reflection Thirteenth Sunday of the Year

Every human person in today's world seeks to find meaning to his or her life. People particularly young ones are often discouraged when they are unable to perceive the why of life and aim to search for it in wrong and absurd ways. According to the theologian Paul Tillich the word God translates as the depth of our life, the source of our being, and our ultimate concern, what we take seriously without any reservations. Every human person has a purpose to fulfil in life. All have a specific task and are individually called by God for a task or a mission. The call that God gives is personal. We will not comprehend the mission easily unless we are totally attentive to his calling. There is the constant search for God in the heart of every person. There is a need of quietness and withdrawal to recognise the presence of God in our life.

In the first reading the Prophet finds a candidate who is totally committed to God to succeed him. Elijah the Prophet presumed his service to God was at an end; he even prayed for his death. But God had several plans and kept many things in store for the prophet to do, including the anointing of his successor. Elijah finds his successor busy at work ploughing a field. But the prophet makes it clear that the call is not human but from God himself. He receives the mantles from Elijah which represents the personality of the owner and indicates the official clothes of the Prophet with a divine call. He is chosen to care the people of God.

In the second reading of today Paul teaches a lesson to the gentile converts that they must not give any attention to the false teaching of Judaizers. Jesus Christ has come to free them from the slavery to the Old Law and remove from them the burden of religious legalism. They are to practice the freedom that comes from the Spirit. This freedom will make them slaves of one another in love.

The opening passage of the Gospel of today begins with the journey of Jesus and his disciples from Galilee to Jerusalem where his mission on earth was to end. Luke tells us that he was resolutely determined, indicating of setting something up that will be immovable, like setting something in concrete. Jesus, in walking toward Jerusalem, is walking toward the celestial city, to embrace his sufferings and cross. He was on his way to the triumph of his glory: throughout all his life here on earth, he proclaimed his glorification on the cross and his triumph at the end times. His purpose of coming into this world was to proclaim the Kingdom of God. He proclaimed this Kingdom at the beginning of his ministry to the people.

Jesus voluntarily set out on this journey towards Jerusalem. No sooner did his journey begin then the serious opposition he encountered. The Samaritans rejected the attempt of Jesus to enter the village because they knew he was heading towards Jerusalem, and at that time the animosity between the Samaritans and Jews was harsh and explosive. The solution of James and John to this rejection was to call down fire and destruction on the Samaritans. Jesus came not to enforce violence but to break its destructive cycle. He rebuked his disciple for revenge is not response of the merciful Christ. He could fully understand the reason for this lack of hospitality.

The second part of the gospel contains the lesson that should strike all of us most, is the insistence of Jesus on total dedication on the part of his true follower to his service. We cannot be for Christ and against him at the same time. Jesus had already said that he, who did not gather with him, would scatter. This reminds us of the sincerity of the following of the master and our dedication to him. When the person volunteered to follow him, he was told that if he wanted to be a disciple, his life must be a life of total dedication, with no fixed abode or external ties, ready to move at every call.

Jesus invited the second person who was ready to follow except for a loyal filial piety which is holding him back. He will follow when he has buried his father. It was unlikely that the father of the young man was dead. It was fulfilling his duties as a son to carry out the command of caring for his parents. Jesus is not forbidding the young man to carry out for his father what his duty as son imposes on him. He is emphasising the contrast between his gospel and the gospel of life, for which the earthly death is but a door to real life.

With the third person Jesus demanded the total dedication and not half hearted acceptance. The person placed certain conditions for following Christ on his mission. He wanted first to say good bye to his people at home. The reply of Jesus indicated that his follower must be willing to sacrifice, if necessary, any affection in the resolve to follow Christ. Jesus gives a well-known image from agriculture. The farmer while ploughing a field concentrates all his faculties and energies on what lies ahead. The man looking back will do badly. So also it must be with the disciple of Jesus.

Thus we hear the Gospel speaking about true discipleship and the faithful following of Jesus. A disciple is one who is learning or has learned from a master or teacher, or one who follows the teachings prescribed by the master. Sacred Scripture records that the disciples followed Jesus during his public ministry and received instruction from Him regarding the Good News of salvation and the fullness of revelation. It was a deep personal experience of self-discovery, struggle, service and growth. While it is personal, the journey of discipleship is not private. A Disciple does not walk alone with Christ but walks along with others. Discipleship is not for the weak and ambivalent. Jesus teaches that lesson very clearly. Those who want to be followers of Jesus must be convinced that discipleship demands priority over everything else. This requires radical commitment and faithfulness.

Once we meet Christ, only one thing is and must be important for us: to accomplish the mission which he confided in us. Yes, he who meets Christ in his life, through the calling of grace, must imitate Saint Paul, when he said: "But one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:13-14) Surely, only the future must count for us. What we are going to do for Christ, what we accomplish today to proclaim the kingdom of God in all aspects of our life, this is what is important, and this is what gives our life on earth all its meaning. Let us therefore choose God with the same responsible abandon of Elisha following Elijah.

Mr Girard, an atheist millionaire of Philadelphia, one Saturday ordered all his clerks to come the next day to his wharf and help unload the newly arrived ship. One young man replied quietly: "Mr. Girard, I can't work on Sundays." "You know our rules?" "Yes, I know, but I can't work on Sundays." "Well, step up to the desk and the cashier will settle with you." For three weeks the young man could find no work, but one day a banker came to Girard to ask if he could recommend a man for cashier in a new bank. The discharged young man was at once named as a suitable person. Although Girard had dismissed the man, he recognized his sterling character.

A certain woman given much to piety had a dream. She was told that Jesus himself would come to her and she must prepare herself and wait for him. She got up very early, cleaned the house, kept things ready for the guest including a meal and waited for the Lord. As she was standing there with expectation a beggar woman came asking for food. The woman was annoyed and chased her out saying I am waiting for an important guest and come another day and I will help you. Then her neighbour came to her and asked for some urgent help and she refused saying she was busy as she was waiting for an important guest. Then a school boy came to her asking for some help as he was not able to get the necessary books and she refused. The day went on. Several people turned up at the gate for help or request of some kind or other and Jesus did not come. That night she had a dream. The Lord came again and she began to complain to him telling how he had let her down. Jesus told her, "My friend, I came to you several times and you refused to recognize me. I was the beggar woman who was hungry, I was the neighbour who needed the help, and I was the school boy who needed support. Whatever you do to the little of my brothers you do it to me."



Fr. Eugene Lobo S.J. Shimoga, India


Archbishop Malcolm celebrates 40 years of priesthood

On Sunday 26 June 2022 Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP will celebrate 40 years of priesthood. He was ordained for the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) on 26 June 1982 by Cardinal Basil Hume OSB at St Dominic's Priory, Haverstock Hill, London.

He was ordained as Bishop of Nottingham by Bishop James McGuinness in St Barnabas Cathedral on 8 December 2000.

On 1 May 2014 he was installed as Archbishop of Liverpool in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King.

Archbishop Malcolm has been reflecting on his 40 years of priesthood with Peter Heneghan.