What has happened to spirituality….Part 1

It is suggested that in England one thousand years ago, most people never travelled more than fifteen kilometres from their place of birth. The roads were poor, the hospitality inns were run down and means of travel were limited. People’s lives were tied up with their nearby neighbours and there was little awareness of happenings ‘in the outside world’. This reality us how different modern life is from every previous generation that has lived on earth.

Admittedly, a thousand years is a long time ago, but even just one hundred and thirty years ago in 1893, the first private motor vehicle was unveiled in Sydney. Ten years later, the Wright brothers flew their plane one hundred metres! One hundred years after that primitive flight, the Sojourner spacecraft landed on Mars and began collecting and photographing rocks and soil matter and sending the photos back to earth!

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Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need
Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need is conducting an emergency appeal to
support the Church in Ukraine. Funds are being sent direct to clergy and religious on
the ground assisting people. Please visit: www.aidtochurch.org/ukraine
There will be some donation forms at the back of the chapel on Sunday.

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Palm Sunday…the Passion according to Luke
Every Good Friday we hear the same version of gospel. It is John’s account. On Passion (or Palm) Sunday this year we will hear Luke’s version. Luke and John have many differences. In fact each of the four gospels describes how Jesus died, in a different way.

In Mark, Jesus “screamed in a loud voice and breathed his last ” and the text says that “hearing his cry and seeing how he died” the Roman Centurion said “Indeed this man was the Son of God”.

In Matthew, Jesus cries out with a loud voice and gave up his spirit. Then he breathed his last”. the Roman Centurion: “seeing the earthquake and all these things he exclaimed, “Surely he was the song of God”

In Luke, Jesus says, "Father into your hands I commend my spirit" and the text says that “following all these events, ”The Roman Centurion says This man was truly righteous”.

In John, ”Jesus says, “It is accomplished, and bowing his head he gave up his spirit”. There is no Roman Centurion mentioned, and it is the only gospel that mentions Mary was there at the cross.

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During the past week, four of our men in St Brigid’s community, Marrickville have contracted COVID. That provides a real challenge for a large community. Likewise in St Paul’s, Saigon, most of the men have had COVID over recent weeks. May you be safe.

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Dear all at Holy Cross Community

It was an opportunity for me of great transformation and to rediscover new ways to live a faith-filled life. Holy Cross is so visionary, bold, and creative in a prophetic way, respecting the work of the Spirit in each other. I really enjoyed living in Templestowe which for me is based on relationships, not on our ministerial roles or duties but fraternal friendships and charity. Templestowe welcomed me with a warm heart and open arms, making space for me to enter and experience your culture and the vast treasure of who you are.

Of all the things that I learned from you, I can assure you nothing today will be the same in my future ministry here in Tanzania. Because you have shaped my whole life specifically spiritually in a way that is very creative and inspirational. And that is what I am taking home with me in my ministry.

Templestowe has been about weaving fraternal relationships together so that life for all of us is more deeply rooted in love, justice, and fairness. Thanks, Brian.

Templestowe has been a community with shared talents, stories, and jokes in all spheres of life but more so in Sacred Scriptures in a professional and prophetic way. Thanks, Chris.

Templestowe has been a lively and welcoming community, full of smiles and laughter. Ready to help, direct and pray for. Thank you, the Holy Cross family.

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God and Religion 5: Sin and evolution
Both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures teach that God is good and has made a good world. In the first chapter of Genesis after every stage in creation, we are told that God looked at what had been made and saw that it was good. The heavens and the earth and the sea, the plants, and the animals are all good. All of this is said before humanity entered the scene. The world before and without people is good in and of itself, and is seen to be good in God's eyes.

Another significant theme of Genesis, is the ‘fall’ of creation. The original goodness of creation is seen to have been corrupted by the sinfulness of humanity (Adam and Eve). Some people today suggest that we should abandon this idea because we know that a perfect paradise never existed in any literal sense before or after the ‘arrival’ of humanity. The story of cosmic and biological evolution teaches us that the universe emerged from a flaring of light ("big bang") 13.8 billion years ago, and expanded and developed into the present world. Death has always been a part of that expansion and development. Earth formed from a star that died!

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Volunteer help during the floods
Sue McMahon passed on this ‘information which is inspiring as well as disturbing because it is an insight into the terrible loss, inconvenience and destruction caused by the NSW floods.

“Fiona has been in the thick of things with the floods. Although Byron Bay itself is not flooded, it was affected by blocked roads, no internet, empty supermarkets, dry petrol stations and closed schools and businesses. But once the roads opened, so many locals have volunteered to help at Lismore and other surrounding towns. Fiona has spent the last 4 days volunteering in many different ways: sorting and distributing donated food and clothing at evacuation centres, cleaning out the home of an elderly woman, assisting with the relocation of people to various evac centres and providing them with food and personal items.

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My 2 weeks is up!
Two years ago today we moved to Holy Cross as an interim arrangement. Sr Joan went home to Ireland accompanied by Sr Karen who remained in Dublin to study. I was to stay two weeks and then go to Vietnam but Covid 19 changed that plan so I have been blessed to be part of the community at Holy Cross all this time.

Karen returned in Sept having completed a Master’s in Spirituality. She is now in ministry at Sacred Heart Mission at St Kilda. It is a considerable journey from here so we have accepted an invitation to move into the Parish house at Elwood which has been vacant for some time! We will move on Sunday 6th. However it is not goodbye as we will still have connections with Holy Cross.

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GOD and RELIGION….Part 3
The prophet Isaiah brought a refinement to how God could be experienced. He had a vision while praying in the Temple, that amid the incense and blood of sacrificed animals, he ‘saw’ God sitting on a throne wrapped in a cloud, expressing God’s ‘otherness’. He heard the chanting of ‘Holy, Holy’. Which meant ‘other’ or ‘separate’. There was a huge gulf between God and humans. Isaiah became aware that this God, YHWH was no longer a god of war, nor a tribal deity.

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GOD and RELIGION….Part 2
The ‘Enuma Elish’ is a lengthy Babylonian creation story. A written version dating to the 12th century BCE was found in Nineveh about two hundred and fifty kilometres north of Babylon. Nineveh had been the capital of Assyrian. Babylon no longer exists, but at that time it was about eighty-five kilometres south of modern-day Bagdad, in Iraq.

Famous stories such as the ‘Fall of Man’ and the ‘Great Flood’ were originally written down in Sumer. They were then translated and modified later in Babylon, and reworked by the Assyrians before they were used by the Hebrew scribes for the versions which appear in the Bible. Scholars have been able to establish that the Genesis account borrowed from this myth and made significant changes to it. Both Genesis and Enuma Elsih are religious texts which detail and celebrate cultural origins. Enuma Elish recounts the origin and founding of Babylon under the leadership of the god Marduk: Genesis describes the origin and founding of the Jewish people under the guidance of the Lord (Elohim in Genesis 1 or Yhwh in Genesis 2).

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