Morena – Passionist Family Group members and friends,
Advent is upon us and over the next four Sundays we will be reminded yet again of the call of Jesus, and its implications. We are challenged through themes that resonate in our own lives. The importance of expectation, being awake, and waiting while being reflective on who Jesus is for us in our life.
As parents we need to ‘stay awake’ in terms of giving witness to our children. We need to ‘stay awake’ in terms of our relationships and friendships and not take people for granted. As Samuel Johnson wrote, “Keep your friendships in constant repair.” What a lesson in these times when people are fearful or feeling the loss of energy, and wonder about whether Passionist Family Groups is worth the effort let alone going to church when I can experience it online?
Then, there is Hope and Expectation for us, our children, our faith, and belief. We hear more and more people disillusioned by feeling a loss of connection and a loss of community. What is our Hope? What are we expecting as a follower of Jesus? What things are we doing to contribute to community? Not easy questions in these not so easy times.
From my travels visiting various parishes and Passionist Family groups along with other along the way there is a gnawing sense of listlessness, of feeling exhausted. Something, we have all experienced in some sense through this Covid period and now a how to move forward? Some even suggesting or questioning – do I want to move forward?
We are aware that it is challenging as we live in a world that wants to ‘consume’ and seeks direction on the way of what ‘I’ want rather, than being attentive to other’s needs. It is important during this Advent time to be reflective, to hold back and wait! If, we look more deeply then we raise our ‘hope’ of what we really want to be and search to find this path to Jesus. This discernment will allow for the experience of ‘real joy’ even though still living through the trial and tribulations of ordinary life.
Michael Fallon MSC a scripture scholar suggests; “the task, is to live the good news; to be a servant, listening for the master’s call; to live as a disciple of Jesus, proclaiming the good news by one’s life.” Therefore, in ordinary terms what does that mean for us in our Passionist Family Groups? If we were following Jesus what would our Family groups look like? Feel like? If people in our local parish just see us as groups that gather socially with no connection or invitation to others, then what purpose or example do we provide? What has happened to our reflecting on the Aims and Goals of Passionist Family Groups? For example, to share our Christian lives together, to live like the early Christian’s etc.
We have done so well continuing in our support and care for one another and at this time of the year a review might be just what we need to re-evaluate, reenergise, and reconnect with one another. Living as a follower of Jesus does not come with age time limit. There is no Gold Card in the gospel… we follow Jesus in our prayer, our pain and suffering, our laughter and friendships, our sharing’s and caring for each other, our gatherings, our listening and doing practical things to show kindness creating a sense of not being alone then, one starts to see in and through our actions that these things work for good.
Our humanity is our gift, and the way we live, interact, and invite others in; the ways we look out and serve others brings the opportunity to experience these gifts identified in this Advent season: peace, joy, hope and love. The Passion of Jesus is in our midst and through it we can raise our minds and hearts and see the joy of life, creation, people and therefore, in and through Christmas, we experience Emmanuel – God with us.
Prayer and blessings,
Scripture reflection: First Sunday of Advent Year A, 27 November 2022. Let us walk in the light of the Lord as we prepare for his coming.
First reading: Isaiah 2:1-5
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 121(122):1-2, 4-5, 6-9
Second reading: Romans 13:11-14
Gospel: Matthew 24:37-44
Link to readings – click here
This Sunday we enter into the beautiful season of Advent. Our attitude at this time is one of watching and waiting, and the graces to pray for are joy and hope. Our weary world is in so much need of this spirit, and of the light and peace of the coming Christ.
The First Reading from Isaiah looks forward to the time when the whole world will be gathered together in the peace of God’s kingdom. The Psalm – one for pilgrims going joyfully up to Jerusalem – picks up this theme. They pray for peace: peace in the city, in their homes, and among all whom they know. The Second Reading from the letter to the Romans is a reminder to ‘wake up’, for salvation is near. It is also an encouragement to live in the light.
Jesus tells us in the Gospel to stay awake – we must not become so engrossed in our daily lives that we are unprepared when the Lord comes. Let us renew our spirit of joyful hope this week. We also place the needs of our world before Jesus as we prepare for his coming.
This past weekend it was an awesome experienec to be past of the Passionist Instirute. Many challenges to face and great to connect with our brothers and sisters in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam all part of the Passionist Holy Spirit Province. The increasing secularism is challenging us all in the area of faith, life and mission. These days at the Passionist Institute reminded us of all those who have gone before usto pave a way througn unselfish service and sacrifice. The Passion as St Paul of the Cross (the Founder0) said, “The Passion of Jesus is the most overwhelmn power of God’s love”. We are all challenged to embrace the call of Jesus and see that we must enter the pain inpeoples live and be present to tyhem and the Jesus we believe in. Faith will sustain us if we love what we talk about. Importantly, life the Passionist Congregation Passionist Family Group have relied and been supported by those who went before us. We Stand on their Shoulders and in this action we take up the cross to live like the early Christians.
This week I am off to New Pymouth for a relaunch of Passionist Family Groups. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayer. I then fly to Melbourne to meet with the Austrlian National Passionist Family Group Team . This is an important time to reflect on where we are currently and what strategies and learning do we have to consider as we move forward. I will also be working with my brother Brian on some resources that we can share with Passionist Family Groups in both Australia and New Zealand.
Pease remember in your thoughts and prayer:
- Aidan son of Josie and Pat McIntyre – he is very sick and his parents are his caregivers.
- John Arthurs – brother of Bob. We remember John’s wife Valerie and Bob & Pamela’s family
- Ursula Corcoran’s family
- Jenny Wullings – has an Op in January – in a lot of pain. John is supporting her.
- Paul Darbyshire (Linda and family) Paul is not at home slowly recuperayting.
- Gerard and Linda Daly – tragic loss of their son, Brett. Keep the family in your prayer.
- Boyd Dunlop (Judith and family) Bods is recovering very well.
- Paeroa PFG lost their dear friend and long time member Liz Taylor
- Wilma Schimanski and family
- Julie Neve her two children, family and friends. – Julie is mending
- Please remember Carmel Cole’s family– she and her late husband Don a long time benefactors of “The Fort” (Passionist Retreat in Brisbane)
- Remember Fr Ray Sanchez CP – for his health concerns
- Fr Gerard Aynsley
- Your own intentions
Reminder: 5 Aims and Goals
- share & celebrate life & faith
- support one another (especially in need)
- reaching out to & include others
- build community/extended family
- show example to children
- “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.
- “If a child refuses to nap, are they guilty of resisting a rest?”
- “What country’s capital is growing the fastest?” “Ireland. Every day it’s Dublin.”
- “I once had a dream I was floating in an ocean of orange soda. It was more of a fanta sea.”
- “Did you know corduroy pillows are in style? They’re making headlines.
Some quotes from ‘Yes Minister’
Sir Humphrey Appleby:
1. “It could be argued that the Sermon on the Mount, had it been a government report, would never have been published”.
2. “I do see that there is a real dilemma here. In that, while it has been government policy to regard policy as a responsibility of Ministers and administration as a responsibility of Officials, the questions of administrative policy can cause confusion between the policy of administration and the administration of policy, especially when responsibility for the administration of the policy of administration conflicts, or overlaps with, responsibility for the policy of the administration of policy”.
3. “We can’t worry about entertaining people. We are not scriptwriters for a comedian. Well not a professional one, anyway”.
4. Sir Humphrey: “It is tiny mistake. The sort that anyone can make”.
Minister: “A tiny mistake? 75,000 pounds? Give me an example of a big mistake”.
Sir Humphrey: “Letting people find out about it”.
5. “Ministers should never know more than they need to know. Then they can’t tell anyone. Like secret agents, they could be captured and tortured. By the BBC!”
6. “It was a conversation to the effect that in view of the somewhat nebulous and inexplicit nature of your remit and the arguably marginal and peripheral nature of your influence on the central deliberations and decisions within the political process, that there could be a case for restructuring their action priorities in such a way as to eliminate your liquidation from their immediate agenda”.
7. “In practical terms we have the usual six options. One, do nothing. Two, issue a statement deploring the speech. Three, lodge an official protest. Four, cut off aid. Five, break off diplomatic relations; and six, declare war. I we do nothing we implicitly agree with the foreign minister’s inflammatory speech. Two: if we issue a statement we’ll just look foolish. Three: if we lodge a protest it will be ignored. Four: we can’t cut off aid because we don’t give them any. Five: if we break off diplomatic relations we can’t negotiate the oil rig contracts. And six: if we declare war it might just look as though we were over-reacting.
Foreign Secretary: “In the old days we’d have sent in a gunboat”.
Minister: “I suppose a gunboat is absolutely out of the question”.