We are experiencing some beautiful weather around the country. The Wairarapa has been sensational these past three mornings. A relief from all the wet we have all struggled with. I have shared a reflection on this Sunday readings that I wrote for the Passionist Monthly reflection which I along with many others contribute to. Good to catch up on some things at home as well reflect on the good things happening around the country with Passionist Family Groups.
Next Tuesday, I am in Nelson to meet with Nelson PFG people and them to Richmond to meet the new PP and assistant priest and talk to them about coordination of PFG’s as Jerri and Doug Pirc have gone to live in Portugal.
Then I am off up to Waihi/KatiKati/Whangamata to work with them on a relaunch of Passionist Family Groups in their region. They are a good dedicated and committed crew.
Have a great week – God go with you
Blessings and best wishes, Paul
Scripture reflection: Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A, 3 September 2023.
For you my soul is thirsting, O Lord my God: God of might, giver of every good gift, put into our hearts the love of your name, so that, by deepening our sense of reverence, you may nurture in us what is good and, by your watchful care, keep safe what you have nurtured.
First reading: Jeremiah 20:7-9
Responsorial psalm: Ps 62(63):2-6, 8-9
Second reading: Romans 12:1-2
Gospel: Matthew 16:21-27
Link to readings – click here
Today’s readings remind us that the path of love leads us away from ourselves. This is always painful, but ultimately it is a path that leads us to the fullness of life.
Peter’s journey of faith (Gospel) earns him the severe disapproval of Jesus, who has started to speak openly of the shocking nature of his Messiahship. Peter rejects the idea: his thoughts are human rather than those of God. Jesus explains that being his disciple means being prepared to shoulder his cross: a metaphor for suffering for what we believe in.
Jeremiah (First Reading) gives remarkable insight into how costly his own prophetic mission is. He shares his profound struggles and suffering, as well as the intensity and depth of his relationship with God. The Psalmist speaks passionately of our life-giving desire and thirst for God – and by implication, of the personal cost that following the Lord may involve.
In the Second Reading, Paul encourages the Romans to see all aspects of their lives as a living sacrifice. Paul is offering a radical, new teaching on the concept of sacrifice. Sacrifice is now to do with transforming our way of life from within, and modelling ourselves on the person of Christ.
This week, we pray for the grace to deepen our relationship with God. We ask for the human freedom to offer our whole being in loving service of Christ and the world.
Reflection for this Sunday:
I have always been challenged by Jeremiah. He is honest, forthright, open, and full of expression. His faith with God is real – he lays it down seemingly in the terms of “what you see is what you get”. “You seduced me, and I allowed myself to be seduced.” Faith shows him, God is and was, the stronger one. It’s a point of trust and belief that is also found in Paul’s letter to the Romans and in Matthew’s gospel. It is a place where one hands over. It’s like an analogy, that in our life we are asked to hand it over to God.
We find in the gospel a reality that Jesus’ whole ministry was one of liberating others to the full. It is, as the evangelist Mark suggests, a paradox, between the secret of the kingdom and the ways of the world. So, for most of us if not all, this is very challenging – the way we are to follow is through emptying ourselves, in and through our service to others. That, through humility we too can be like Jesus, and he will be with us. Faith, hope, love and trust are tools we carry to follow. Death is a given and this is what causes a stir for Peter. Too much to handle but Jesus strongly rejects his notion and reminds all the disciples that man’s way is not God’s way.
Jesus, does not seek power or glory nor is he afraid of the leaders who plot against him. Like many so-called religious leaders of our time who lurk in the shadows to plot against Pope Francis. They do not want to lose power or honour. Jesus continues faithfully on his mission and service expecting us to also follow living as the compassionate creator. Yet, to follow Jesus is to front up and hand over our very selves with the belief that God will bring us home and make all things new.
Jeremiah is moved and this internal burn moves him to speak, to utter the way of God. In his passion and in his zeal to be a prophet, burns honesty and right relationship.
The way of love is a way of sacrifice – we are always giving or handing over, it is the essence of loving. It is never easy! It is a struggle to follow love, let alone live it. Jesus shows us the way and through those words from Matthew 28; “Be compassionate as your heavenly father is compassionate” these are the qualities that will get us there.
With this in mind, we see this path in following Jesus will test us and lead in ways that will open us to the needs and cares of others.
As in the lyrics of Kevin Johnson’s song “There is nothing I would rather do, than love you”.
Life is like that,
it builds you up and then it lets you down,
And all the brand new hopes you found,
Are lying there, in pieces on the ground around you.
How we need someone,
to help us find those things so hard to find,
A friend who’ll follow close behind,
Through the unexpected turnings of our minds.
And I’d give you loving of a kind you’ve never known before,
I’d give you everything I have and still I’d want to give you more,
Get you back to being what you ought to be,
I’d be standing there when you needed me,
So let me help you,
let me take your whole life in my hands,
And give you all the best I can,
‘Cause I tell you, there is nothing I would rather do than love you.
Click on the link below to listen to the song:
Social Justice Week runs from 3 – 9 September 2023.
Social Justice Week in 2023 is the beginning of something very special. For the next three years the focus will be on peace and responding to conflict.
The overarching tagline is:
‘Imagine Peace For All / Pohewatia te Rangimārie mō te Katoa’.
Each year there will be a unique focus and for 2023 it is:
‘Peace begins with you! / Ka tīmata tonu te Rangimārie i roto i ā koe!’.
Resources can be found on the Caritas Page: https://www.caritas.org.nz/schools/social-justice-week
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 Robert van de Pas in your prayers – he continues to struggle with pain etc from Chronic Pancreatitis.
- Please keep Richard and Sue Gibbs in your prayers -He has been up and down and in and out of hospital. Very unwell but they still cannot work out what is going on. Tough on them both.
- Please keep Debbie and her husband Bryan in your prayer. Deb is battling with thyroid cancer she is undergoing Radiation treatment
- Please keep Bernie Metcalfe and family in your prayers
- Please keep in mind Merrilyn Barron who is still unwell
- Please remember Martin van der Wetering in your prayers as his health is not good currently.
- Please remember Phil Drew a former Passionist who has had a massive stroke. Please remember his wife Anne and family
- 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 Ukraine
- Please keep Somalia and the surrounding countries dealing with their sixth year in a row of drought.
- Please keep Nick and Leah and daughter Heidi Darbyshire along with Paul and Linda in your thoughts and prayer.
- 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.
- Remember Pat and Rod Carson
- Aidan son of Josie and Phil McIntyre –his parents are his caregivers.
- Your own intentions
- Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. Summer wasn’t too bad either.
- When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar.
- What’s a zebra? A couple sizes bigger than an A.
- Did you hear about the bossy man at the bar? He ordered everyone around.
- Did you hear about the broken guitar for sale? It comes with no strings attached.
- I wanted to take a bath, but decided to leave it where it is.
- Once I read a book about glue. I couldn’t put it down.
- A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Why the long face?”
- Why’d the roofer go to the doctor? He had shingles.
- Did you hear about the woman who couldn’t stop collecting magazines? She had issues.