Morena/ Good morning, Passionist Family Group members and friends,
Well another week has gone as we embark on another. We are passed the half way mark for the Lenten season. It had been a busy week and then last weekend I have three lovely days at Waihi Beach with my wife Clare, her sister’s Brigid, Mary Alice and husband Craig and two family friends from Winter’s, California that Clare’s family have known for over 40 years. It was a good chilled time and a lovely mass at Waihi where I caught up with some of our Waihi PFG people.
The readings this Sunday assist us in looking past the letter of the ‘law’ and being conscious of applying the ‘spirit’ through compassion, mercy and forgiveness. It’s all too easy to judge and expect people to comply when all we see around us is people caught up with the ways things should be and what we are required to do. Yet, our gospel points out that we are all a bit blind not seeing the essential elements of the message of Jesus; not seeing the good in others; not seeing our own shortcomings and weaknesses; not seeing that other cultures can open our eyes and hearts to other ways of living and sharing life.
Our communities are changing and it is upon us to move to others, to welcome those who have left homelands to make a new start here. To open our eyes and see the needs – just like many communities have done post the floods and cyclone. Just dropping things and reaching out to ensure others are OK and able to survive. We in our Passionist Family Groups and parish communities should avail ourselves of this leadership to remind us that ‘family’ is important and provides an avenue to welcome, support, encourage and build relationships that will endure when tough times come and celebrate in the good times. Our building community relies on making and maintaining connections. Living a practical faith that focuses on serving others as Jesus did. It is being human and following the values and messages of Jesus, bringing people along and connecting with them and others to build a more realistic and faith-filled parish community. It is an action centred road where we live the good news that puts us on the real path to faith and freedom. “In so much as you did this to one of these little ones you did it to me” (Mt 25)
Nga Mihi – prayer and blessings
Scripture reflection: Fourth Sunday in Lent Year A, 19 March 2023.
O God, who through your Word reconcile the human race to yourself in a wonderful way, grant, we pray, that with prompt devotion and eager faith the Christian people may hasten toward the solemn celebrations to come.
First reading: 1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 22(23)
Second reading: Ephesians 5:8-14
Gospel: John 9:1-41
Link to readings – Click here
Before we enter the darker days of Holy Week, we celebrate Laetare (‘Rejoice!’) Sunday. Today we are reminded of the joy of the presence of Jesus, the light of our world, and of the love of God shining through our lives.
Both the First Reading and the Psalm speak of the shepherd caring for the flock. Despite David’s youth and outward appearance, the Lord sees the strength of his heart, which will enable him to lead God’s people. The Psalm speaks of the certainty that I can rely on the Lord as my shepherd, keeping me safe from harm whatever happens in my life.
In the Second Reading, St Paul reminds the Ephesians (and us) that God’s light in us shines out for others when we live in goodness and right living and truth. In the Gospel, the blind man’s sight is restored and he comes into the light. Not only is he physically able to see for the first time, but he also recognises Jesus as the Son of Man. In contrast, those around him remain in the darkness of un-belief, trapped by their unwillingness to see Jesus as he really is.
This week, we pray for those who have yet to allow the light of Christ into their lives. We pray that we will carry Christ’s light to others as we walk beside them, sharing their hardships and sorrows.
People who fare the best in retirement find ways to cultivate connections with others, according to Harvard’s 85-year happiness study. (Marloes De Vries for CNBC Make It)
To create more meaningful connections, ask yourself:
- Who are the people I most enjoy working with, and what makes them valuable to me? Am I appreciating them?
- What kinds of connections am I missing that I want more of? How can I make them happen?
- Is there someone I’d like to know better? How can I reach out to them?
- Who is different from me in some way (thinks differently, comes from a different background, has a different expertise)? What can I learn from them?
At the end of the day, notice how your experiences might affect your sense of meaning and purpose. It could be that this influence is, on balance, a good one. But if not, are there any small changes you can make?
This week, I have a meeting in Palmerston North on Wednesday March 15 and a meeting with Stokes Valley and Heretaunga PFG people on Friday March 17 – also Mary Ellen Leen’s 60th birthday.
Christchurch South: A great relaunch took place and last weekend the groups had around 38 families added and they started two new groups. Fantastic effort from the team under the leadership of Pamela and Bob Arthurs and great supported from Fr. Peter Head SM. Pamela is going to send an article about it all which will be shared with you.
Lower Hutt: Also, a great response with over 30 families signing up. Great work by Pauline and Michael Prendergast and their team and great support from Fr. Patrick Bridgeman PP.
Also, as advised previously in May this year we celebrate 50 years of Passionist Family Groups in Terrey Hills, Sydney. I will be attending this event representing PFG in Aotearoa. We have advised that we want Passionist Family Groups to have a get together near this time of May 7 to celebrate this great milestone. This will give us an opportunity to connect with Passionist Family Group members all over the Aotearoa/new Zealand.
Also, I wish to advise that on June 10, 2023 we celebrate 35 years of Passionist Family Groups in Paeroa 6pm Eucharist followed by Pot Luck dinner and on June 17 we celebrate 35 years for East Coast Bays. We believe this is a significant milestone that we commit to celebrating in June. My brother, Fr Brian Traynor has been invited out for these celebrations. He was there to begin these parishes 35 years ago along with Lynn and Rob Hill and many others who will be invited to join in on these celebrations.
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 remember Fr Peter Gaughan who died on Wednesday night 7pm. A Kiwi Passionist who was a great administrator, kind hearted, gentle and courageous facing death. He lived the Passion. We remember his family and friend s and of course his Passionist brothers and sisters.
- Please keep in your prayers the people from Auckland, Northland and Coromandel Hawkes Bay, Gisborne who are dealing with the after effects of Cyclone Gabrielle.
- Keep in prayer the people of Turkey and Syria and all who are assisting and supporting their efforts in dealing with the aftermath of earthquakes.
- Remember Passionists: Fr Chris Mithen and Fr Brian Glesson
- Please keep Nick and Leah and daughter Heidi Darbyshire whose 21 week old died – Still born. Please keep Linda and Paul in your thoughts and prayer as they travel to Melbourne to support them in their grief and loss.
- 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 – who is now recovering positively from her back operation
- 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) Boyd is recovering very well.
- Remember Fr Ray Sanchez CP – for his health concerns
- Fr Gerard Aynsley
- Your own intentions
Some Funny Covid jokes:
- If you bought 144 rolls of toilet paper in preparation for a 14-day quarantine, you probably should have been seeing a doctor long before coronavirus.
- How did the health experts lie? They said a mask and gloves was enough to go to the grocery store. When I got there, everyone else had clothes on.
- Quarantine has really put a damper on comedy. For months nobody has walked into a bar.
- Did you hear about the guy speculating on hand sanitizer? He was rubbing his hands together.
- I thought you had to wear a mask when entering businesses. They kept yelling at me to put on some pants.
- I’ve gained so much weight during lockdown my bathroom scale is telling me that it can only weigh one person at a time.
- How do you socially distance while around family? A high-fiber diet.
- What’s the difference between COVID and politics? Politics doesn’t end after two weeks.
“A Family for All”.