This is where you will find updates weekly while we move totally online during the COVID-19 outbreak and as we celebrate our Holy Eucharist.
Homily from Fr John
Sunday 21st June 2020
Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew (10:26-33)
Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows:
‘Do not be afraid.
For everything that is now covered will be uncovered,
And everything now hidden will be made clear.
What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight;
What you hear in whispers, proclaim from the house-tops.
‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
Fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell.
Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny?
And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing.
Why, every hair on your head has been counted.
So there is no need to be afraid;
You are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.
‘So if anyone declares themselves for me in the presence of people,
I will declare myself for them in the presence of my Father in heaven.
But the one who disowns me in the presence of people,
I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.’
Entering Through Locked Doors and Breathing Out Peace
‘This can’t be happening to me, can’t be happening to us, can’t be happening in our church, it can’t be happening in our world.’ The reality of denial in our lives and in our world is never too far away at times when we are going through challenging times, vulnerable times. There is a healthy sense of denial when we look back on the early days of entering into the pandemic. It gives us a chance to adjust and just experience it. It’s going to take time to come to terms with it. ‘I can’t take it all in at once.’ Then there is that sense of denial which goes on for too long. We can be really imprisoned from life by our denial. We shut out what needs to be faced. We keep on running from things; keep on saying, ‘This is not happening to me, I just don’t want to know at the moment’. Look at the reality of our government with the robodebt; ‘It’s all going beautifully, it’s running well,’ and that denial went on for a long time. Now the real damage is evident that that robodebt has done to many welfare recipients in our community. With this pandemic various countries know it’s just another form of a virus that will pass us by and yet the call and the damage that it did, and continues to do in the various countries of our world where the denial in leadership is there.
The call to find the courage to face things is what we hear in our readings today. We have Jerimiah who is going through his own personal denial – ‘Do I have to go through so much suffering Lord, disparaging thoughts, people denouncing me, against me and I am just trying to open up the truth that we are going to be overtaken by a foreign power, we are going to be taken over by Babylon and taken to a foreign land’. The leadership is in denial and there is a bit of denial in Jerimiah’s heart – ‘Do I have to go through so much suffering in order to bring about the truth?’
Then we have our Gospel story where we have Matthew’s community making their journey in a sense of a painful separation from the Synagogue. They are saying, ‘Believing in you Risen Christ is so hard. Do we have to go through so much uncertainty and rejection, even by our own families? Do we have to be whispering things in the quiet because we are afraid of the retribution from even those closest to us?’ Jesus says he comes to help them face that they will be secure even though they are going through very difficult times and they are feeling afraid.
One spiritual writer, John McMurray, wrote about fear and religion. He said, ‘We can distinguish real religion from unreal by contrasting their motivation. Illusionary religion runs, ‘Fear not! Trust in God and he will see that none of these things you fear will happen to you’. Real religion – ‘Fear not the things that you are afraid of are quite likely to happen to you but they are nothing to be afraid of’. The call for us today to receive that Spirit of the Risen Christ, who as we’ll proclaim in our Apostles’ Creed, that we too often we say so quickly, the Christ who has descended into hell, into all those non-life places of our lives and our world when we feel in that hellish time, all these things are happening and when we really need to know that we are not going to be overwhelmed by that. That Christ who says, ‘I have entered into that place and cried out with you, ‘My God, My God, why have you abandoned me,’ and led us through.
The call for us as Jerimiah and as Matthew’s community said, the only way that you are going to be a Christian community, the only way that you are going to be a healthy church, the only way that you are going to come back from this pandemic is by following me through the cross of sacrificial love. The call for each one of us, we have our own call as we live out our lives, our own circumstance, as fellow parishioners here to keep on making our way through the tensions and uncertainty at this time to offer that gift of love.
Ronald Rolheiser, one of my favourite spiritual writers says it very beautifully,
‘To find this place of sacrificial love that mirrors the way of the cross into resurrection,’ as we support one another in our families and regather as a church and offer what we can. In our presence in the wider world as our Mission community just in welcoming those who are afraid in the midst of homelessness. It’s the presence of the person that they meet giving the food, offering the advice, staying with the fears that make the sign that, ‘I am willing to enter into what you are most afraid of,’ helps people to admit their fears and find their way. So, these words of Ronald Rolheiser that gather the spirit of what we are called to be fed by today:
‘What the cross of Christ reveals is that when we are so paralysed by fear and so overcome by darkness that we can no longer help ourselves. When we have reached the stage when we can no longer open the door to let light and love in. God can still come in through our locked doors and stand inside our fear and paralysis and breathe out peace. The love that is revealed in Jesus’ suffering and death, a love that is so “other-centred” that it can fully forgive and embrace its executors, can precisely pass through locked doors, melt frozen hearts, penetrate the walls of fear and descend into our private hells and then breath out peace’.
So let us like Jerimiah and Jesus did today, they looked to the faithfulness of God revealed and breathed out peace.
Latest Changes to Numbers for Mass Attendance
Late last week we announced that following new government regulations and Archdiocese direction, we would open up our masses to 45 people per Mass as of Monday, 22 June. However, on Saturday afternoon, the Premier, Dan Andrews announced that due to the jump in new Corona Virus cases, he was rescinding his earlier decision and scaling down numbers for gathering to twenty. This was swiftly followed by direction from the Archdiocese that parishes are to hold to twenty people per mass. Therefore, for the next few weeks, we will be open to masses for up to twenty people per mass. We ask that you continue to register for your preferred mass and we will rotate people through a roster, where it is necessary. Your mass place will be confirmed by the parish office on a weekly basis. Thank you for your patience and co-operation.
Notices news and prayers
The Candle in Isolation
A series of short prayers written by Michael McGirr because of this Easter and Easter Season, “... we could not come to the candle, (so) the candle might come out and meet us where we are.” There are 17 images and prayers, each showing that Jesus is alive among us, wherever we are
The Emmaus Prayer
The Emmaus Prayer by Fr Michael Van Sloun. A lovely prayer to accompany Mass 26th April
Giving at this time
How to still participate in our in service and support program during Covid-19
Please continue to give to the various collections either via Tithe.ly (here is how) or you can use direct deposit to our bank account
BSB: 083 347
Australian Psychology Society
Handy Resources for coping during COVID-19
Isolation during COVID-19
Maintaining your mental health during social isolation
Anxiety & mental health
Coronavirus (COVID-19) anxiety and staying mentally healthy - for older adults
Tips for coping
Tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety
Prayer for a Pandemic
By Cameron Bellm, The Celtic Christian Tradition
May we who are merely inconvenienced
remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
remember those who must choose
between their health and making the rent.
May we have flexibility to care for our children
when the schools close.
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
remember those who have no place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money
in the turmoil of the economic market
remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for quarantine at home
remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country.
let us choose love during this time
when we cannot physically wrap our arms
around each other,
let us find ways to be the loving embrace
of God to our neighbour.
Some handy resources
Both government and Catholic resources that will help during COVID-19
Latest news, information, and changes to gatherings. Also, your questions answered on the response to Coronavirus. Prayers, reflections, and video streaming.
Pray At Home
Catholic Church Resources
Catholics are encouraged to utilise the resources below to support your prayer life and especially to allow you to continue to keep Sunday as a day when prayer is prominent.