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Morena – good morning,

There is good reason for celebrating the Feast of the Ascension as it is an important lead up to Pentecost. In the Ascension readings there is so much challenge, wisdom and depth, on how to follow Jesus and in truth it is not for the faint hearted! Paul’s exhortation from his letter to the Ephesians is particularly challenging from one who is so honest and passionate about preaching the gospel.

“ Live a life worthy of your vocation” as he points to virtues that when lived; will draw us into a deeper understanding of Jesus and allow us to more easily identify with the mind and heart of God. In simple terms, take up these virtues, live them, and you will be transformed – be patient with oneself, and others;  be humble – don’t compare, be your best and live your best, appreciating the gifts in others, and where possible celebrating these people and their gifts; be gentle  be a God centred person, long suffering and never bitter, showing restraint when under attack, use appropriate anger when one sees injustice. The other virtue is love this means our ability to seek out the lost, accept differences, uphold the good in ourselves and others, and not entertain or be involved in the bitterness of others. Be transformers in people lives – acceptance and tolerance based lined through compassion and forgiveness.

Mind you, as I write and then read this, I find myself saying God, “I have a long way to go and I fall so short of the mark”. But, I also find this encouraging, that the God of Jesus loves us as we are, not as we want to be. We are being handed the oars; to row our faith and belief in the direction of others, not self -serving but involved in the ministry of bringing Jesus to others and also bringing others to themselves.

So, as we listen to the exhortation from Jesus  before he ascends, listen to him: -“don’t look in the sky” there is work to do, and be open to the spirit, which will give you all you require to do this work, of evangelisation.  Thus, it places us in the realm of the birth of the church, a church very different to our rolling up for mass and the sacraments. Rather, a church enlivened with the Spirit, to go out to everyone. When we read the Letters of Paul and the other early church writers, it is a church alive, in a sense ‘it’s on fire’ to live and follow Jesus. To choose to follow could mean death and many took it upon themselves to live this message even those it could mean death.

In parts of the world there are those living this quiet unassuming yet, astounding faith. Some from other faith traditions. Let us join hands and unite as a community, alive in supporting, encouraging, urging each other on, to be the best we can be  showing mercy, along with living the virtues espoused by Paul to the Ephesians. Passionist Family Groups were always since their inception 50 years ago, to have and live five important aims –  The first I want to reiterate “To live and love like the early Christians”. We should continue to support and strive to make this happen despite our ageing in our groups. Every day is an opportunity to see and find God around us. So let’s work for good and let God do the rest.

May we be communities that are not satisfied with keeping things nice and comfortable. Rather let us stir the fires of  faith, love and service to show what is possible when we seek out the lost, the lonely, the afraid and those who desire a better life. Maybe Romero’s words will echo the truth of “Ask not to HAVE more, but to BE more”.

Nga Mihi and Aroha

Have a good week – blessings on each of our Mothers both past and present and remember they walk with us in faith and love. We remember all those struggling especially in war torn countries and unjust regimes.   

Nga Mihi

Paul.        

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This Sunday, May 12, we celebrate Mother’s Day; for some this bring back memories of solace, joy, love, mercy, understanding, humour, laughter, fun loving, comfort and compassionate. I am sure there are many more. Suffice to say that much of who we are today is a result of how we were and are loved and our mother’s played a significant role in that growth and development. 

We recognise those who were unfortunate not to know or understand their mother and those who were separated from them for a variety of reasons. 

The link below is to a lovely song that we used often to celebrate our mother in our family. It spoke and still speaks too us of a good, humble, compassionate and fun-loving woman ever ready to love, to forgive to soothe and to show humanity the simple path. 

To all mothers – blessings on you and all whom you love.

Clink on the link below:

https://youtu.be/buorQDsvoH4?si=hXy0-dmcr4n0a8lE                                                                              My Mother was her name by Hurricane Smith

“He who works with his hands is a labourer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
― 
St. Francis of Assisi

Scripture reflection:  The Ascension of the Lord Year B, 12 May 2024.                                                     We commemorate all Mothers everywhere.

Go out to the whole world!

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Gladden us with holy joys, almighty God, and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving, for the Ascension of Christ your Son is our exaltation, and, where the Head has gone before in glory, the Body is called to follow in hope. 

LECTIONARY READINGS
First reading: 
Acts 1:1-11
Responsorial psalm: Ps 46(47):2-3, 6-9
Second reading: Ephesians 4:1-13. / Ephesians 1:17-23
Gospel: Mark 16:15-20
Link to readings – click here

I come to pray the texts for the feast of the Ascension and ask the Lord for a deeper understanding of this mystery of Christ. Throughout the Eastertide readings, we have watched the disciples grow and mature in faith – I wish to do the same.

The First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles marks the end of Jesus’s earthly ministry as he returns to the Father and promises to send the Holy Spirit. The Psalm is a joyful prayer of praise and an acclamation of Christ’s victory. He is Lord of all people, of the universe.

St Paul describes the meaning of the Ascension – the Father has raised Jesus above all powers and made him Lord of creation. The gifts of the Spirit are given for the good of all, to lead us to full maturity in Christ. (Second Reading)

 In the Gospel, Jesus ascends to heaven and continues to work with his disciples as they preach the Good News. The signs he works confirm their message.

This week, we might want to pray for the opportunity to proclaim the Good News to as many people as possible.

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Formation-Reflection and moving forward:

I was quite touched by this reflection on these reading that appeared on May 6thn in the Passionist Daily Reflections;

Readings:
Acts 16: 11-15
John 15:26 – 16:4Reflection:In these Readings today we hear that the first call to ALL his disciples, all who believe in him and want to follow him, was ‘to be with him’. The second call to ALL his disciples was to mission – ‘to be sent out as witness to the person and way of Jesus’. 

These two responses are our way to become true followers of Jesus. Jesus’ call is for us all, women, men, ordained, professed, single or in committed relationships, rich or poor, healthy or sick. Exactly as we are now, Jesus loves us and calls us into greater being … firstly into deeper relationship with him, and then into greater witness and presence in our world, in witnessing to ‘what Jesus would do’.

We need to ask ourselves ‘What sort of a person do I need to become in order to act like Jesus?’ Jesus’ first call into deep relationship with him shows us the way. Spending time with Jesus can take many forms. Our state in life may offer structured liturgical and prayer routines. Our faith or cultural upbringing may have embedded religious practices and prayers. Lexio Divina, reflection, meditation, contemplation, silence or sharing, exercise especially walking, singing, time with Jesus in the beauty of creation … all offer opportunities to grow in conscious relationship with Jesus and to begin to know him more intimately. And as we get to know Jesus more, we begin to grow more in his likeness. Now we are better prepared to respond to Jesus’ second call to be witness and presence to Jesus in our world.

This rhythm of prayer and ministry needs to be a constant pattern in our lives, for change in circumstances within our lives and our world can put us in situations of transition, where we are asking again, ‘What would Jesus do?’ And the necessary next question: ‘What sort of a person do I need to be, to give witness to his ways?’

Pam Storey is a member of the Passionist Faith Community at Holy Cross, Templestowe, and one of the founding members of Passionist Companions. After a very active and varied family, church and working life, Pam is now focusing on developing a slow spirituality.

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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 and give example to children     

                  

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Pease remember in your thoughts and prayer: 

  

  • Please remember Leanne Hintz daughter of Clair and Ray Hague from Levin. Leanne is currently in Master Masonic Hospital.
  • Please remember Terry Nelson son of father Gray Nelson and daughter Catherine in your prayers Terry has been diagnosed with brain tumours. 
  • Lease remember Clare Corcoran who undergoes a hip replacement on Tuesday next week.
  • Please keep Brian McFlynn in our prayers who is undergoing cancer treatment. Also, his wife Eleanor and their family in your prayers..
  • Please keep Brian Traynor in your prayers – he has improved and now on restful holidays. 
  • Please keep  Paul and Linda Darbyshire in your thoughts and prayer amid new challenges they face. They are in need of prayerful support.
  • Robyn Burns (Hill) in hospital for a two to three more weeks. She has a long recovery time. Also remember her husband Andrew and three daughters.
  • Please keep in your prayer Tim Bartell’s son, Sam who is currently in hospital. Prayerful support for Sue and Tom and mum Sue.
  • Please keep Jocelyn Bryant who is undergoing Chemotherapy along with her husband Kevin and family in your thoughts and prayer 
  • Please keep Christine Geoghegan and family in your thoughts and prayer.
  • We give thanks for the successful operation. Wayne keep him and Mary Dorn in your prayers
  • Please keep Richard Gibbs in your prayer he continues to slowly improve. Remember his wife Sue who has just been a pillar over the past 3 years.
  • Please keep Robert van de Pas in your prayers – he continues to struggle with pain etc from Chronic Pancreatitis. Also Adriana his mother who is supporting him.
  • Please remember Preston and Jenny Epplett’s daughter she has just completed her course of chemotherapy
  • Please keep Debbi Davidson’s husband Bryan in your prayer 
  • Please keep Charlie and Maggi in your thoughts and prayer as they support their daughter and her partner
  • Please keep David, Victoria and baby in your prayers. There has been some positive progress and it now looks as if this baby will make it to full term. 
  • Please keep a friend in mind who is in the final stages of pregnancy and ordered to bed rest until baby is born. 
  • Keep in mind all those who are struggling with various aspects of mental health.
  • Please keep in mind a son of a friend of mine who has just been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 
  • Please remember Martin van der Wetering in your prayers as his health still is causing him grief and discomfort.
  • Please remember Phil Drew a former Passionist along with his wife Anne and family
  • Please keep in your prayers those who continue to  deal with the after effects of droughts on the horn of Africa. Also weather effects on other countries across the planet 
  • Please keep Bob Buckley in your prayers- 
  • Keep in prayer the people of Ukraine
  • Keep people in Gaza and Israel in your prayer – these acts from both sides have had a horrible effect on the innocent as always. 
  • 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

Humour: 

  • Our vacuum cleaner is getting old. It’s just gathering dust.
  • Why did the thief take a shower before robbing the bank? He wanted to make a clean getaway.
  • What do lawyers wear to work? Law suits.
  • Why was the traffic light late to work? It took too long to change.
  • Why do hamburgers go south for the winter? So they don’t freeze their buns.
  • Why didn’t the sun go to college? It already had a million degrees.
  • What do you call someone who can’t stick to a diet? A desserter.
  • Why did the little strawberry cry? His mom was in a jam.
  • Why couldn’t the toilet paper cross the road? It got stuck in a crack.

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