Dear Passionist Family Group members and friends,
Another week passes and we have seen the polarising effect of Covid especially in the Wellington protests. The consideration of others has fallen away due to the self-entitlement that our cause be met front and centre. The impact on locals, their businesses and the blocking of streets plus health behaviours have been less desirable and ended, putting others at risk. There are many causes being touted so as an onlooker it is hard to understand their motives and their point. Yes, they have a right to ‘protest’ but is it OK to then crush the rights and entitlements of others? It is not for me to judge that it is a factor that I am left to reflect on and consider.
This week’s gospel from Luke has Jesus proclaiming the ‘Golden Rule’ (Luke 6:27-28) – “basically do unto others as you would have them treat you”. This rule is basically found in all five major religious traditions and dates back to Confucius in 500 BCE. While the execution of this rule differs in each culture all at some stage saw it as a necessity to look out and look after others. It has a societal expectation which Jesus pushes to a level that suggests – practice unconditional love. Yes, even to your enemies.
So, lets step back and see what humans have done and we will find in our churches and religions the response is rather similar. It’s seen as an ideal for a Utopian world and we don’t live there so we give it lip service. But, the call of Jesus for us as Christians is still there. Paul, the apostle saw that in his small communities there was an expectation to live this principle or rule. Is it hard? Yes! Do we practice it in some ways? e.g. when you son or daughter goes out we tell then “to be good”. It is expected through the family practice and beliefs that they know what that will mean.
So, as church people we speak about going to church to be closer to God, to follow this golden rule and other teachings from the church. However, we can go into the church head bowed and find our common seat and it becomes a private practice which we depart from often not speaking or knowing anyone around us. Well, it could be said, ‘no-one spoke to me’. But, this golden rule is a challenge that we are expected to take up and over our life journey allow it to stir our minds and hearts into a loving practice where others see in us the God we speak about. It is something we practice and move towards and some get there quicker than others.
That said, it work better in small groups where people can actively engage with other and apply these loving ways and principles toward others. Passionist Family Groups were and are called to live and practice as the early Christians.
- share and celebrate life and faith – support one another (especially in need)
- reach out to and include others – create community/extended family
- show Christian example to children – contribute different talents
We are in some troubling times and there is much fear about but we all have as I have shared over recent weeks an opportunity to reach out and ‘connect’ with others. Loving those who love you anyone can do that but our call is to reach out and ‘be’ for others. Our Family Groups are not a clique rather a call to be a “Family for All”
At the end of the Second World War, when the Nazi death camp of Ravensbruck was liberated, this prayer on a scrap of dirty paper was found next to the body of a dead child:
“O Lord, remember not only the men and women of goodwill but also those of ill will. But do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted upon us; remember the fruits we have brought, thanks to this suffering – our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of this; and when they come to judgment, let all the faults which we have borne be their forgiveness. AMEN.”
A humbling prayer that raise the bar and challenges us without a prejudice to age – reach our, share your faith, build your spiritual live through down to earth practical ways of being a person who wants ‘to be compassionate as our God is compassionate’.
Thank you for all you do and keep connecting and reaching our in practical ways and then our groups will shine in that others will see us and our efforts and say, “See these Christians, see how they love one another.”
God go with you -love and blessings,
We pray this week that our sisters and brothers everywhere may be open to God’s compassion and love. Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C, 20 February 2022
First reading: 1 Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23
Responsorial psalm: Ps 102(103): 1-4, 8, 10, 12-13
Second reading: 1 Corinthians 15:45-49
Gospel: Luke 6:27-38
Link to readings – click here
Today’s readings invite and challenge us to live generous, kind-hearted lives of compassion, mercy and love. In the First Reading, David, the future king of Israel, shows great magnanimity in sparing the life of his persecutor Saul. The dramatic incident in the camp highlights David’s ingenuity and his sense of honour, and indicates that Saul’s days as king of Israel are numbered.
These events prepare us for today’s challenging Gospel, where we hear Jesus urging us to show forgiveness even to our enemies, and to be ‘compassionate as your Father is compassionate’. However, the last verses make it clear that the demands of the kingdom can only be understood in the light of our relationship with God.
St Paul teaches that though there is much of the ‘earthly Adam’ in all of us, our desire and yearning must be to live and love as did Jesus Christ – the ‘heavenly Adam’ (Second Reading).
The Psalm is a song of praise and gratitude for the Lord’s own compassion and love. Given our ‘earthbound’ nature, we are all too aware that we cannot live out the teachings of Jesus without help! We pray, that our sisters and brothers everywhere may be open to God’s compassion and love.
Thanks from Paul on his travels: Hastings/Napier/Whakatane/Cambridge/Paeroa/ Waihi/ Hamilton and Otorohanga/TeAwamutu.
Just a big thank you to all the Parish and Regional Coordinators for their work in getting groups together so we can meet and discuss our current issues and stories and look at how we grow, sustain and reinvigorate our Passionist Family Groups; Thanks also to our PP’s who have made themselves available to support the Family Groups. I have met with each PP from the regions and have appreciated their honesty, insights and advice. Together, let us continue to grow, love and support our Passionist Family Groups and reflect and consider ways that we can extend invitations to others and be welcoming to them.
- “What do you call it when a snowman throws a tantrum?” “A meltdown.”
- “How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh? Ten tickles.”
- “I have a joke about chemistry, but I don’t think it will get a reaction.”
- “What concert costs just 45 cents? 50 Cent featuring Nickelback!”
- “What does a bee use to brush its hair?” “A honeycomb!”
- “How do you make a tissue dance? You put a little boogie in it.”
- “Why did the math book look so sad? Because of all of its problems!”
- “What do you call cheese that isn’t yours? Nacho cheese.”
- “My dad told me a joke about boxing. I guess I missed the punch line.”