Morena/ Good morning, Passionist Family Group members and friends,
Do you Evangelise?
As soon as we see this word, we recognise that it comes with negative connotations and/or reactions. An Evangelist by definition, is simply someone who spreads ‘good news’. In the Christian tradition that could be one of the four gospel writers or someone preaching the message of the ‘good news’ of Jesus Christ. I like this simple view as it encompasses what we have traditionally believed about what an evangelist is and it also stretches us to add some more thought and reflection to it.
Ronin Sharma in his book ‘The Greatness Guide’ suggests a broader view. That it is someone who gets stuck on a big idea or a passionate cause and then walks into his or her day and spreads the message. It’s being so engaged that one dreams about it, thinks about it, and talks about it. He suggests that this troubled and uncertain world needs more evangelists: human beings doing great things, blessing lives by their actions, making a difference.
This is what Jesus did with his life – for 30 years we don’t know what he did but would seem that there wasn’t anything extraordinary about him. Yet, when he opened the scroll in the Synagogue in Luke 4; Jesus steps onto the world stage with his vision wrapped in the words of the prophet Isaiah. “The spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has sent me to bring good news…..”
Sharma challenge’s us in these words: “You are meant to shine. I believe that fiercely. You are here to find a cause, that main aim, that vital destiny that will move you at the more visceral level and get you up at the crack of dawn with fire in your belly. You are meant to find something that your life will stand for that will consume you, something so beautiful and meaningful that you’d be willing to take a bullet for it….your cause might involve elevating communities or helping people in need”.
Sometimes we spend more time discussing faith rather than living it. The recent floods, the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle have shown the resilience of people, the kindness of others and the service to the community through all the agencies. Putting their lives at risk to ensure the safety of others. Humbling stuff and the reminder that one catches faith through the actions, care, concern, and compassion for others.
It may be the challenge to us in our Passionist Family Groups where we have a vision that is bold and big. Connecting people to others, living like the early Christians, being a welcoming presence and action to all in our parish community. To see, that leadership comes in the form of ‘service to others’ it’s a way of being a point of difference and instead of just discussing things! We see people following the example of Jesus in being a ‘family for all’.
“Show the same kindness to everyone, and live detached from all created things.” Paul of the Cross
“What destroys community is judging other people’s actions while losing sight of one’s own.” Paul of the Cross
“Learn jhow to share your sufferings and to help one another in need.” Paul of the Cross
Have a good week,
Scripture Reflection: Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A, 19 February 2023.
The Lord is compassion and love
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that, always pondering spiritual things, we may carry out in both word and deed that which is pleasing to you.
First reading: Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 102(103):1-4, 8, 10, 12-13
Second reading: 1 Corinthians 3:16-23
Gospel: Matthew 5:38-48
Link to readings – click here
We live in times when many of our conversations exaggerate difference and division. But the scripture for this Sunday proclaims a radical message of love that overcomes hatred, and a compassion that heals and unifies.
Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (Second Reading) teaches that the Spirit of God is within us. Together, we are a temple of God proclaiming God’s wisdom. This wisdom challenges human notions of tribalism that can ultimately lead to division and hatred, when we see ‘others’ as our enemies.
Moses (First Reading) is commanded to profess God’s wisdom by telling the people that holiness is based on love and forgiveness: ‘You must love your neighbour as yourself.’ In the Gospel, Jesus reveals the full expression of the wisdom of God’s Law of Love: ‘love your enemies’. We are called to respond with radical non-violence to all forms of hatred and division.
The Psalm that sits at the centre of this week’s scripture is a beautiful song of gratitude to a God full of forgiveness, who is slow to anger and abounding in compassion and love.
Last Saturday, II was at St Peter Chanel church, Hastings where we celebrated the 30th anniversary of Passionist Family Groups in Hastings/Havelock North. This was delayed due to Covid. Fr Trung was very supportive of the PFG’s and was strong in his message to its work in the parish communities. Margaret and Graeme Armstrong (Parish Coordinators) did a great job promoting this event and we had 40 attend a meal celebrating at Jark’s. A lovely evening and lots of animated conversation.
“A friend is one who strengthens you with prayers, blesses you with love and encourages you with hope”
On Sunday I was able to speak at the 9am Mass at St Mary’s, Taradale and then we had a morning tea followed by a formation session on Belonging. We had over 30 people attend and with the weather shaping as an unknown quantity it was a great response. Norma Bellamy was in her usual caring and connecting role. Fr Barry Scanlon was very supportive and we will look forward to a relaunch in a few months’ time for the Napier region.
I will be home this week preparing for a Passionist Companion’s Retreat, this letter and my journey North. Palmerston North on Monday this has now been postponed to 28th February; Hawkes Bay next Tuesday, Paeroa Wednesday, Orewa Thursday, East Coast Bays Friday and Companions Retreat Saturday Sunday and then track down home arriving back on Tuesday.
Also, as advised previously in May this year we celebrate 50 years of Passionist Family Groups in Terrey Hills, Sydney. I plan to attend this event representing PFG in Aotearoa. Also I need to advise that in June 2023 we celebrate 35 years of Passionist Family Groups in Paeroa and East Coast Bays. We believe this is a significant milestone that we will be celebrating in June. I would hope to get Fr Brian Traynor out for these celebration and to make this an opportunity to connect with members from all over the country.
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
Pease remember in your thoughts and prayer:
- Please keep in your prayers the people from Auckland, Northland and Coromandel Hawkes Bay, Gisborn who are dealing with the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle.
- Keepin prayer the people of Turkey and Syria and all who are assisting and supporting their efforts in dealing with the aftermath of earthquakes.
- Please remember Les Maloney who died on the 13 January and also for his wife Pat. Awesome couple. A real blessing on Hoon Hay parish under Christchurch South.
- Remember Passionist Fr Chris Mithen and Fr Brian Glesson both are currently in hospital
- Please pray for Dot and Neill Wilson (Invercargill) – their son-in-law Mark married to Dot’s daughter Anita has been diagnosed with aggressive brain tumour, Please keep in mind their daughter Bailey and son Taylor.
- Keep in your prayer Anne & Peter Green who have lost another daughter recently in the UK. Our hearts go out to them.
- Remember Pat and Rod Carson
- Remember a friend whose sister’s son is awaiting trial.
- Aidan son of Josie and Phil 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
- Jenny Wullings – has an Op in late January – in a lot of pain. John is supporting her.
- Paul Darbyshire (Linda and family)
- Gerard and Linda Daly – tragic loss of their son, Brett. Keep the family in your prayer.
- Boyd Dunlop (Judith and family) Boyds is recovering very well.
- Remember Fr Ray Sanchez CP – for his health concerns
- Fr Gerard Aynsley
- Your own intentions
Some Funny Covid jokes:
- Two grandmothers were bragging about their precious darlings. One of them says to the other, “Mine are so good at social distancing, they won’t even call me.”
- Who’s idea was it to sing “Happy Birthday” while washing your hands? Now every time I go to the bathroom, my kids expect me to walk out with a cake.
- My husband purchased a world map and then gave me a dart and said, “Throw this and wherever it lands—that’s where I’m taking you when this pandemic ends.” Turns out, we’re spending two weeks behind the fridge.
- Ran out of toilet paper and started using lettuce leaves. Today was just the tip of the iceberg, tomorrow romaines to be seen.
- My mom always told me I wouldn’t accomplish anything by lying in bed all day. But look at me now, ma! I’m saving the world!
- After years of wanting to thoroughly clean my house but lacking the time, this week I discovered that wasn’t the reason.