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 24th May 2020
The Ascension of the Lord
Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20
The eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated. Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been give to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.
Homily by Fr John: Signs of New Life
When you go through a shock, something comes to an end, we often say, in a sighing, exasperated way, ‘I just can’t believe it’s happened’. It takes a while for things to come into some sense of acceptance and I know my dear mother, my dear Irish mother when she received a shock would say,”Don’t talk to me”. That sense of we need time to adjust, we need expressions and we need people around us. Like the Early Church gathered, when they had received the greatest shock of all, seeing their Messiah, their teacher, their Rabbi, one they had placed their hearts into, taken away and crucified. How could this ending produce anything?
When we think about what we are going through at this time in our world, we’ve had many big and small shocks to our own hearts, near and far - just hearing that I can’t go to work in the same way I used to, that I need to be in lockdown. We’ve been living it for a long time and it’s taken us a long time to adjust to the ending of one way of living. Now we’re talking about opening up restaurants a bit and being able to go and visit a few friends. Still it’s a time of recognising that there have been many losses and some of the losses are not coming back in their way we thought they might, and there have been painful endings, particularly the tragic loss of so many lives across our world. Real death has happened and there are change in societies - in ways that we are yet to discover.
In that spirit of our time, we are like the Early Church where we hear today that they needed forty days. They needed time to adjust, they needed time to see signs of new life. As I said at the beginning of Mass, the birth of my nephew’s son has been a beautiful experience in our family. New life has emerged in the midst of all the struggle of the pandemic, consoling and focusing our eyes on his movements, even though I have to watch him through a window at the moment, not be able to be as close as I or his family would like. We can name signs of new life that have given us hope that life will go on and there will be new ways of living and loving and the call to support one another.
The journey of the Ascension is really about allowing ourselves to hear that call of letting go of the old that can’t give us life anymore. That call to be in the present in faith to receive the blessing of the Risen Christ. As Jesus says to his disciples: ‘Unless you let me go, I cannot bless you as your Risen Lord, you will always hold onto me in a nostalgic, earthly, limited way. He wants to be our Lord, the power of God transforming our lives and our suffering. We hear from the Early Church in the first reading, again that sign, the message of saying to the disciples who see Jesus go out of their sight in one way, and a messenger say he will come back to you in the same way he went to God. The way that Jesus went to God was not pleasantly heading off, but though his painful, self-giving heart. He told and showed us that God is a God with you in the suffering of things, when the world is a mess there is the love of God in the heart of Jesus being crucified, embracing all. God is a real God who wants to be a Lord of your life into the future and no matter what you have to face, he will be with you, as said in the Gospel, ‘to the ends of time’. So the Ascension is not a time to huddle into the past but to let go off what needs to be let go off, yes we might not be able to gather in the same way we have as church but we are still called to receive the new Spirit of being gathered in new ways and maybe we will have to be attentive to certain ways. That doesn’t mean that the Spirit can’t come to us, to ascend into us and to be sent out to one another. We are called, not to passively receive the old way of Jesus but be empowered to be responsible and responsive to the people around us in new ways and even though we are celebrating the mass like this, the church continues to gather in the Spirit and find new ways of communicating. The call for us is to keep on watching for ways of re-ordering our society and advocate for the way the new Spirit of Jesus needs to come to us and how we can respond to receive that Spirit.
So the Ascension, yes the earthly Jesus has gone in one way, the journey of the pandemic, our lives have ended in many different ways but Jesus teaches us today that his Spirit can come ever more deeply and ever more fully for us and through us, as we trust in that Jesus who continues to want to reveal his heart to us, that Jesus who says:
‘And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time’.
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.