Morena and greeting to all our Passionist Family Group Members and friends,
Well, I am home again after my journey through the Hamilton Diocese and I greatly appreciated the hospitality, warmth, friendship and honesty we shared at each meeting. It was great that so many took the chance to come out during this Covid time and trust each other as we gathered, shared, laughed and had a great sense that we are doing well and there is still much we can do. However, with Omicron all in good time.
The reading for this Sunday while hard in some ways reflect the need for us in our PFG’s to continue to reach out and connect with others. You have been doing so well and thank you for your continued efforts. We will continue to support, encourage and be a pastoral presence to you all. Perhaps St Paul’s words from Corinthians bring home the reality of following Jesus and being in our Passionist Family Groups and local parish community. He tells us that we should never give up, never admit defeat, because, while we are working at the Lord’s work, we can never be labouring fruitlessly. Below are the reflection for this Sunday and also reflection on Ash Wednesday for March 2.
Have a good week,
Love and blessings, Paul
Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C, 27 February 2022
If we trust in God we will flourish like a palm tree by an oasis.
Scripture reflection: The disciple will imitate their teacher
First reading: Ecclesiasticus 27:4-7
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 91(92):2-3, 13-16
Second reading: 1 Corinthians 14:54-58
Gospel: Luke 6:39-45
Link to readings – click here
This Sunday’s readings remind us that our words and actions reflect the reality of our inner selves. Even as we pray and long to live the values of Jesus, our speech may betray the ways in which we have yet to be fully converted, and show our need for God’s mercy.
The First Reading encourages us to be discriminating in conversation with others, noticing the quality and content of another’s speech before choosing to imitate them. The Gospel invites us to have Jesus for our teacher and guide: ‘the fully trained disciple will always be like their teacher’. We are reminded to avoid the temptation to follow others blindly or to criticise them when our own faults are much more evident. Our lives will reflect our own purity of heart and likeness to Jesus.
While this may seem a hard teaching and difficult to put into practice, St Paul tells us that we should never give up, never admit defeat, because, while we are working at the Lord’s work, we can never be labouring fruitlessly. God will always give us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (Second Reading)
From the ashes from Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ – Ash Wednesday 2 March 2022
Ashes are a powerful symbol of humility and loss but they do not hold the last word as we journey to the glory of Easter.
The symbolism of Ash Wednesday is strong and stark. In the Catholic Church it marks the beginning of Lent when churches traditionally change their appearance. Vestments and altar cloths change from white or green to a sober purple. Statues are covered in purple and flowers disappear from the altar. Taken together with practices such as fasting and other acts of self-denial, they define Lent as a time of austerity. It fits naturally with austere and straitened times and moods in public life – with war, for example, bushfires, covid, political fecklessness and recession.
Ashes themselves are a powerful symbol. They are the remains of destruction by fire. They remind us of the loss of wealth, power, status or health that comes with age, defeat or social change. The bonfire of the vanities collapses into the ashes of loss. In Catholic life the symbolism of ashes is made even more stark by association with the fires of hell and purgatory, with the history of the burning of heretics, martyrs and churches, and the bombing of Coventry, Dresden and Hiroshima. Ashes remind us of the insecurity of lives, the transient glories of power, wealth and intelligence, the human capacity for savagery beneath a veneer of civilisation, the death and dissolution that come to all human beings, and the seriousness of the call to conversion. These are the themes of Lent.
Ashes are also a symbol of humiliation. In our culture civilisation and elegance are often seen to begin with sweeping dust and ashes from houses and with removing them from our skin and clothing. A substantial part of our economy is based in producing cleanliness. As a result, we identify burned or scorch-marked clothing and a dirty skin as a sign with poverty, a lack of due self-care, or with human decline. To be dirty humiliates us. The word ‘humility’ comes from the Latin word for soil. It points to the bare, forked reality that we share with animals. In Christian term it also reminds us of the weakness, betrayals and neglect that mark our lives, no matter how elaborately we create a self-image to conceal them. The humiliation of Lent is to recognise what and who we are, and to know that God loves and cares for us as we are. To leave ashes on our foreheads after Mass is a strong and challenging symbol.
Ashes are also a symbol of the seasonal regeneration that follows burning. After bushfires tree trunks remain black and leave marks on us if we brush against them. Green shoots, however, gradually emerge from ashes and sprout from blackened tree branches. In the forest death yields to life. That, of course, is also the whole point of Lent. Its ashes do not have the last word. Life continues, regenerates, and spreads from the ashes. In the Christian story the ash of bare and sinful humanity reflects the love that leads God to share the ashes of our life, the humiliation of dying naked on a cross, and to rise green from the ashes.
The ashes of Lent look forward to the green and spreading vine of Easter by which in Christ we are received into the happiness of the kingdom of God.
“What kind of shoes do ninjas wear? Sneakers!”
- “How does a penguin build its house? Igloos it together.”
- “How did Harry Potter get down the hill?” “Walking. JK! Rowling.”
- “I used to be addicted to soap, but I’m clean now.”
- “A guy walks into a bar…and he was disqualified from the limbo contest.”
- “You think swimming with sharks is expensive? Swimming with sharks cost me an arm and a leg.”
- “When two vegans get in an argument, is it still called a beef?”
- “I ordered a chicken and an egg from Amazon. I’ll let you know…”
- “Do you wanna box for your leftovers?” “No, but I’ll wrestle you for them.”
- “That car looks nice but the muffler seems exhausted.”
- “Shout out to my fingers. I can count on all of them.”
Have a good week – God go with you.