Morena/Passionist Family Group members and friends,
I won’t write much at this stage as I am in Australia and I just wanted to share what Brian, my brother had written on Passionist Family Group
Have a good weekend and week. Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday
Kind regards and blessings,
Sixth Sunday of Easter Year A, 14 May 2023.
The Father will give you another Advocate to be with you forever
First reading: Acts 8:5-8, 14-17
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 65(66):1-7, 16, 20
Second reading: 1 Peter 3:15-18
Gospel: John 14:15-21
Link to readings – click here
Eastertide is nearly at an end. There is a sense that an important event is about to happen. As the readings this week seek to reassure us, we will not be left without comforting support.
In the First Reading, we see how active the Apostles are in spreading the Good News. They are welcomed even in Samaria and the people receive the Holy Spirit. The Psalm expresses the joy they must have felt. We can imagine the grateful disciples praying: ‘Before you all the earth shall bow, shall sing to you, sing to your name!’ But all was not plain sailing for these new communities. They often encountered persecution (Second Reading). Peter tries to encourage them, reminding them of the sufferings of the innocent Jesus. They are to answer their accusers with courtesy and respect.
In the Gospel, Jesus reassures his friends. He will not leave them without support, as ‘orphans’, but will ask his Father to send them help after he has left. The Spirit of truth will be with them.
In my prayer this week, I may want to reflect on Jesus’ promises and draw strength from them, so that I can speak to others about my beliefs with greater confidence. I continue to ask Father, Son and Spirit to inspire all peoples to work for peace.
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, living and those gone before us. We wish all mothers a very special day. We hope and pray that they can perhaps receive more recognition and gratitude for their sacrificial love and care.
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
PFGM GOLDEN JUBILEE CELEBRATION:
Below are some less quality photos (extracted from the Provincial Newsletter) of the celebration of the Passionist Family Group Movement 50 years Jubilee celebration over the weekend in Sydney.
As you may already be aware, we had representations from Holy Cross Community, some of whom are (as in the photo) Brian Traynor and Tina Minichill. Tim Horlock must be either hiding or taking the photos.
There Eucharist was celebrated, stories shared and jubilee tree planted in the presence of many PFGM people and special guests. Tom McDonough the provincial reported in the newsletter saying “everyone went to bed, tired but happy, after a day well spent…” We wait to hear more from those who were there in person.
Blessing and planting the jubilee tree.
Jesus’ Vision & PFG’s (Part 1) Written by Brian Traynor C.P.
It is common to hear a person comment, “That wasn’t very Christian!” Normally this means something they did or said ‘wasn’t very nice.’ We often equate being like Jesus with being polite, not disturbing the peace, etc. There used to be talk of Jesus being ‘little Jesus meek and mild!’. What does it fact mean to ‘be like Jesus’? If we include some criteria from Jesus’ own challenge: ‘Love your enemies’, ‘turn the other cheek’, ‘welcome the stranger’, ‘forgive seventy times seven’. Jesus saw God present in the ‘little’ people, those who were maginalised and he called us to do the same. So what does it really mean to say “that wasn’t very Christian?’
When Jesus appears in John’s gospel, the first question he asks is ‘What are you looking for?’ This is in response to his finding two disciples of John the Baptist following him. When he finds Temple priests and other officials in Gethsemane about to arrest him, he asked them ‘Who you looking for?’ When he appears after his resurrection he asks this question again, ‘Who are you looking for?’ The progression of questions and their meaning is significant, and is an invitation to us, to search not for ‘something’ but for someone – Jesus.
Jesus grew up on the edge of an international city with people of different cultures and languages. Sepphoris was less than an hour’s walk from Nazareth. Because it was being rebuilt, it would have attracted tradesmen from a variety of places. Joseph and Jesus would have found plenty of opportunity to find carpentry work there. We note in the gospel that Peter is identified as being from Galilee because of his distinctive accent which was influenced by Greek speakers. Jesus would have spoken Aramaic, some Hebrew law and scripture, and probably a lot of Greek. At least some of his disciples (such as Simon, Andrew and Philip) would have been ‘Greek speakers’.
Jesus was baptised by and became an assistant to John the Baptist. After John was arrested, Jesus left the desert, gave up baptising and started a new ministry of preaching and healing in Galilee. He focused on the poor, the sinners, the sick; ‘the lost sheep’ of Israel. This was the result of contemplation and reading the signs of the times. Possibly Jesus had not preached in Galilee before because it was his own territory ( “prophets are not accepted”).
It is clear from Matthew 11 that Jesus was not doing what John had expected of him. Jesus began to criticise the law and associate with tax collectors and well known sinners. Proclaiming that such people were good in God’s eyes, went totally against Jewish teaching. Jesus refers to himself being derided as a ‘drunkard and glutton’ (Mt 11:19). This was a technical term used in Deut 21:21. It means rebellious and disobedient. Such a person was to be taken outside the city and put to death by stoning! Overly serious Christians seem to overlook this caricature of Jesus
The global Roman Empire and Greek culture influenced the rich and powerful, and many of them lived lives of luxury and decadence. Carpenters and fishermen were poor, exploited and oppressed by the Romans, by the Jewish leaders and by rich landowners. Their increasing debt led to a spiral of violence as they sought unsuccessfully to overcome their oppression. This is why there was a Roman presence in Galilee. Owners had to contribute labour and provide seed, food, and fodder for next year’s crop. They needed reserve money for births, death and marriage parties, for the purchase of new farm equipment and had to pay taxes which were sometimes 40% and 60%. If a land owner had a bad harvest and was forced of his land, sometimes he had no choice but turn to trades that were forbidden to Jews.
A Jew was not as helpful an employee as others because he was forbidden to work on the Sabbath. Many were forced to disobey this law in order to gain employment. These people were victims, not criminals, and that’s how Jesus accepted them. By doing so, he was in opposition to the law. John had been calling people back to ‘authentic Jewish life’. Jesus saw a deeper need. Jesus knew people’s basic goodness and the burdens they were under. He was moved with compassion for them, He knew his Father God was too.
The priests controlled temple worship. They insisted on animals being sacrificed. People had to purchase these animals to fulfil their legal obligations, so the Temple was a place of flourishing trade from which the priests profited. Jesus challenged the corruption of the priests. He was more impressed by a poor widow putting a small coin in the treasury box than with the magnificent Temple in Jerusalem.
Jesus became proactive. He chose synagogues and the Sabbath day, to publicly challenge the teaching of the elders. In a synagogue he called out a man with the withered arm. Jewish law permitted an action to save life on the Sabbath, but only if necessary. Jesus said ‘No’. There is no waiting with God. God heals every day. For Jesus. personal virtue, social position or possessions did not matter. Faith (trust in God’s goodness) mattered.
Jesus rarely asked people to change and then follow: He just said ‘Follow me’. People of religion were scandalized by his free mixing with sinners, his apparent disregard of the seriousness of sin, his permissiveness towards tradition and his free and easy way of treating God. He did not make authority his truth, he made truth his authority! He was driven by a profound experience of compassion and he developed a solidarity with people from every walk of life. Even his enemies admitted about him, “we know that the rank of a person means nothing to you”.
In Jesus’ world, a Samaritan and a shepherd could be good; a shepherd could even leave 99 sheep to look for 1 that was lost; a father could make himself stupid by partying on the return of a worthless son. Precious seed could be thrown carelessly among thorns, on rocky ground and on pathways. It went against everything the elders believed, and it sounded foolish – but that is what Jesus implied God was like.
Jesus was passionate that all humans are equal in dignity and worth. He treated beggars, the lame and crippled, with as much respect as those given high rank or status. He ignored the custom that considered women and children as inferior. He encouraged people not to seek status but to ‘go down the ladder’ by seeking the lowest place, and advised his disciples to be like a child who has no rank or status. Jesus spoke of a justice born of generosity. He told the story of the vineyard workers who received a generous day’s pay despite many of them working entirely different hours. While the pay was generous, some were envious that others received greater generosity.
The late workers had been unable to find employment and presumably their family needs would have been greater. Just as the early workers could not rejoice that these more needy workers had been paid, the elder brother in the prodigal son story could not be generous. He would have preferred to see his brother punished than to be forgiven. Could those in the crowd listening to the story; can we, hear the challenge to forgive?
Jesus spoke of turning the other cheek instead of seeking revenge, of loving one’s enemies, of doing good to those who hate you, blessing those who curse you, and forgiving others seventy times seven. More challenging were his words about the rich and poor. He proclaimed the opposite to popular belief. “Blessed are the poor”, he said. How fortunate they were, not to be among the rich and wealthy. The rich will find it hard to live in the kingdom where everything will be shared. Visit any poor village in the world and you will see a level of sharing never experienced by the rich.
The rich, Jesus said, will be like camels trying to get through the eye of a needl!. The poor will share gladly, they already do! He allowed God to break out of the captivity of tradition and institution. He said God isn’t impressed by personal virtue or status, (not even by being a priest) nor put off by our sins. All God wants is faith and then God can act! Jesus said, “If you ask you will receive, if you seek you will find and if you knock, the door will be opened for you”. Being anxious about yourself blinds you to the abundance that the kingdom offers. Faith leads to truth, and truth sets you free.
He used his meals with people to speak of the future in terms of the joy of a great banquet to which all are invited, all made welcome and no one felt excluded. In Judaism sinners were outsiders and forbidden to share meals with faithful Jews. For Jesus there were no outsiders. The feeding of the 5000 is a reminder that God can and does feed all of his people. Those people were not asked to declare their moral status before they could share the meal. This was Jesus’ dream; ‘a kingdom of universal fellowship’.
(To be concluded next week)
Pease remember in your thoughts and prayer:
- Please keep in your prayer Elaine Hallam whose husband of 55 years, Ted, died after a long painful and stressful illness. Thank God he is now at peace. We remember Elaine, her children and both families.
- Please remember Aileen and Murray Straight’s daughter, Nicola whose husband Dave Kempton died tragically as part of a work related accident. Please remember their children Olivia & Shaun as well Aileen, Murray and their family and of course the extended family
- Please remember Sally van der Wetering whose dad died this week. We offer our prayer and support to Sally, Martin and her family and extended family.
- Please remember Joseph Nguyen Bao Toan. He recently decided to leave the Passionist after 6 years. He returned home two weeks ago. Toan had been working this computer when a sudden stroke occurred, where he was
found by his Dad. We remember his family at this sad and distressing time.
- Please remember Phil Drew a former Passionist who has had a massive stroke. Please remember his wife Anne and family
- Please remember Irene Maguire who is recovering from knee surgery
- Please remember Bronwyn Hallot whose brother is in palliative care. Keep Bronwyn and her family in your prayer.
- Please remember Frances Bleaken’s mother who recently. Our love and thoughts to Frances, Clive, and family.
- Please remember Simon Langley whose mum died recently. We remember Simon, Anne-Marie and their family at this sad time
- Please remember Phil Drew and ex Passionist who I worked and lived with. Phil is in critical care due to a massive stroke. Please remember him, his wife Anne and children, and extended family.
- Please remember Rosie Crawford who is recovering after a knee operation.
- Please remember Fr Peter Gaughan CP, A Kiwi Passionist who died recently. We remember his family and friends and his Passionist brothers and sisters.
- Please keep in your prayers those who continue to deal with the after effects of Cyclone Gabrielle and other weather events.
- 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.
- Please keep Somalia and the surrounding countries dealing with their sixth year in a row of drought.
- Remember our people suffering from the intolerance of difference. May we be open to listen respectfully and not move to violence because we don’t agree.
- Please keep Nick and Leah and daughter Heidi Darbyshire whose 21 week old George Darbyshire died – Still born. Please keep Linda and Paul, Nick Leah and Heidi and the Leah’s family in your thoughts and prayer
- Remember Passionists: Fr Chris Mithen and Fr Brian Glesson
- 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
- Paul Darbyshire (Linda and family)
- Gerard and Linda Daly – tragic loss of their son, Brett. Keep the family in your prayer..
- Remember Fr Ray Sanchez CP – for his health concern
- Your own intentions
- What should you do if you don’t understand a coronavirus joke? Be patient.
- The grocery stores in France look like tornadoes hit them. All that’s left is de brie.
- I’ll tell you a coronavirus joke now, but you’ll have to wait two weeks to see if you got it.
- Finland just closed its borders. You know what that means. No one will be crossing the finish line.
- What do you tell yourself when you wake up late for work and realize you have a fever? Self, I so late.
- Still no toilet paper in the stores. They’re wiped out and you’re shit out of luck.
- So many coronavirus jokes out there, it’s a pundemic.
- What did the man say to the bartender? I’ll have a corona, hold the virus.
- If there’s a baby boom nine months from now, what will happen in 2033? There will be a whole bunch of quaranteens.