Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, an Australian community, in a worldwide religious congregation.
Jesus loved with a human heart: with him we proclaim his love to the world.
We work to discover through advocacy, healing and reconciliation, God's presence in our world.
We are to be on earth the heart of God. God has no other heart but ours.
- Published: Tuesday, 08 November 2016 22:07
LITURGY NOTES FOR 33rd SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
This 4 minute YouTube was sent in yesterday afternoon. It may be of use to anyone concerned with prison ministry particularly that this Sunday is Jubilee for Prisoners.
Claude Mostowik msc
33rd Sunday of the Year
November 13, 2016
Suggested formula for recognition of indigenous people and their land.
We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which we stand. We pay our respects to them and for their care of the land.
May we walk gently on this land.
We acknowledge the traditional owners and occupiers of the land where we are now gathered, (N….) and recognise that it continues to be sacred to them.
We hail them: as guardians of the earth and of all things that grow and breed in the soil; as trustees of the waters – [the seas, the streams and rivers, the ponds and the lakes] - and the rich variety of life in those waters.
We thank them for passing this heritage to every people since the Dreamtime.
We acknowledge the wrongs done to them by newcomers to this land and we seek to be partners with them in righting these wrongs and in living together in peace and harmony.
Hurricane Matthew 2016 USA Hurricane Matthew Philippines
The war on children and civilians in Yemen and elsewhere
First Reading : Malachi 3:19-20a
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 98:5-6, 7-8, 9 R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
Second Reading : II Thessalonians 3:7-12
Gospel: Luke 21:5-19
- Christ Jesus, you call us to be holy: Jesus, have mercy.
- Christ Jesus, you call us to live in your kingdom: Christ, have mercy.
- Christ Jesus, you call us to create heaven on earth: Jesus, have mercy.
§ Christ Jesus, you brought us pardon and peace: Jesus, have mercy.
§ Christ Jesus, we seek your face: Christ, have mercy.
§ Christ Jesus, we trust in you, your strength and your love: Jesus, have mercy.
God of peace and justice,
we believe that your plans
are for peace and not disaster.
Keep us open to the signs
of the constant coming of Jesus your Son.
Help us to commit ourselves untiringly
to the growth of the kingdom among us
by carrying out your plans for peace and love.
Introduction: Let us pray that all people may be set from fear and danger, and let us say: R/ Save us with your justice, O God.
§ From religious violence and intolerance, especially in Iraq, for our failure to see the other as a sister and brother, protect us: Save us with your justice, O God. .
§ From wars between nations and from civil strife, from conflicts near and far, and from nuclear arms, protect us: Save us with your justice, O God. .
§ From disasters and tragedies that destroyed people and their livelihood, from earthquakes, inundations, and epidemics, protect us: Save us with your justice, O God. .
§ From lack of education, disease, lack of sanitation, famine and malnutrition, from the indifference of those who have all they need and more, protect us: Save us with your justice, O God.
§ From our refusal to take the risks of faith and raise our voices in the face of injustice for fear of persecution, protect us: Save us with your justice, O God. .
§ From our failure to hear the gospel call to be outrageous in our peacemaking, sharing our possessions and loving our enemies, protect us: Save us with your justice, O God. .
§ From unemployment and misfortune, from injustice and guilty compromises, protect us: Save us with your justice, O God. .
Presider Faithful God, creator of all that is good, hear our prayers and keep us in the ways of faith and hope and love.
Prayer over the Gifts
God of peace and justice
accept this bread and wine
as signs of our commitment.
As we seek your love and service
By constructively and creatively
giving shape to a new earth.
Prayer after Communion
God of peace and justice
Jesus your Son has destroyed death by dying
and by rising he restored our life.
By our celebration of this Eucharist,
may we, and the whole of humanity
grow in Christ each day
through the pains and tensions of growth
and keep alive in us the firm hope
that your dawn of justice is coming
to make all things new.
A Prayer for Social Justice
God, we pray that Your Spirit may rule over all things.
May Your Spirit rule over kings and presidents
over prime ministers and generals
over CEOs and party bosses
over the legislature and over the bureaucrats
over all citizens.
May Your Spirit guide us on the way of peace
on the way of honest dialogue
on the way of reconciliation between peoples
on the way of disarmament and justice
on the way of freedom and life for all.
May Your Spirit lead us on the journey of
blessings shared with all,
on the journey of educational opportunity for all our children
on the adventure of research and study that helps
all men and women
on the road to meaningful work for all people
on the path of solidarity and love between all our
brothers and sisters.
May Your Spirit help us
to speak up with courage
to share what we have and what we are
to challenge the powers that be
to offer a message of liberation and life.
We make this prayer through Christ, our Lord. Amen
Pax Christi USA
Small Random Acts Of Peacemaking
John van de Laar
In a world where violence seems to rule,
we commit, O God, to small random acts of peace making.
Where people are oppressed
because they look, act, speak, think or love differently
we will affirm their freedom.
Where people are exploited
because they lack the strength or resources to refuse,
we will seek to create alternatives.
Where people are controlled
through threat and fear,
we will offer safety and hope.
Where people believe their violence and power
give them the right and ability to act as they please
we will call them to account.
Wherever violence is done to another,
through physical force, manipulation of truth,
or the subtle workings of power,
we will opt out,
we will speak out,
and we will stand out in opposition,
through small, random acts of peace making.
Father Daniel Berrigan, sj
(Dedicated to all to keep at it)
Some stood up once, and sat down.
Some walked a mile, and walked away.
Some stood up twice, then sat down.
‘I’ve had it,’ they said.
Some walked two miles, then walked away.
‘It’s too much,’ they cried.
Some stood and stood and stood.
They were taken for fools,
they were taken for being taken in.
Some walked and walked and walked —
they walked the earth,
they walked the waters,
they walked the air.
‘Why do you walk?’ they were asked, and
‘Why do you stand?’
‘Because of the children,’ they said, and
‘Because of the heart,’ and
‘Because of the bread,’
‘Because the cause is
the heart’s beat, and
the children born, and
the risen bread.’
When I was growing up, it was 'Communists'. Now it's 'Terrorists'. So you always have to have somebody to fight and be afraid of, so the war machine can build more bombs, guns, and bullets and everything.
I'm going to speak to you as organizers. Listen carefully. The object is not to win. That's not the objective. The object is to do the right and good thing. If you decide not to do anything, because it's too hard or too impossible, then nothing will be done, and when you're on your death bed, you're gonna say, ‘I wish I had done something. But if you go and do the right thing NOW , and you do it long enough ‘good things will happen-something's gonna happen.’
Bill Moyers, Shades of Howard Zinn: It's Okay If It's Impossible, CommonDreams.org November 2, 2010
[In fascist regimes] The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
Dr. Lawrence Britt
When we peel away all the layers of burning flesh, all the carefully constructed fiction of human progress and benefits of science and technology, we must face a reality perhaps even more grim. There simply is no 'us versus them'. The side claiming to represent progress has done more and done worse, using as low-tech and brutal methods as any on either side of the technological and cultural divide.
Daniel Patrick Welch
Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it.
Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.
We do not know what awaits each of us after death, but we know that we will die. Clearly it must be possible to live ethically -with a genuine concern for the happiness of other sentient beings- without presuming to know things about which we are patently ignorant. Consider it: every person you have ever met, every person you will pass in the street today, is going to die. Living long enough, each will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime?
A life in prayer is a life in open hands where you are not ashamed of your weakness but realize that it is more perfect for a [human] to be led by the other than to seek to hold everything in [her] own hand.
Henri J.M. Nouwen
When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.
People are, if anything, more touchy about being thought silly than they are about being thought unjust.
Awareness requires a rupture with the world we take for granted; then old categories of experience are called into question and revised.
... There is one thing you have got to learn about our movement. Three people are better than no people.
Fannie Lou Hamer
By revolution we become more ourselves, not less.
Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong.
Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.
The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal - that you can gather votes like box tops - is... the ultimate indignity to the democratic process.
Adlai Stevenson, speech, Democratic National Convention, 18 August 1956
The major western democracies are moving towards corporatism. Democracy has become a business plan, with a bottom line for every human activity, every dream, every decency, every hope. The main parliamentary parties are now devoted to the same economic policies - socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor - and the same foreign policy of servility to endless war. This is not democracy. It is to politics what McDonalds is to food.
John Pilger (05/11/2009)
This is the fundamental debate in our society: Are we a nation of citizens or a nation of consumers? Are we a democracy run by citizens, or are we a corporatocracy that holds consumers locked in dependency by virtue of their consumption?
The Lighthouse Story: ‘A Parable of the Parish’
On a dangerous seacoast, where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a little hut, and there was only one boat. But the completely devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves, they went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost. Many were saved by this station, so it became famous.
Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its life-saving work. New boats were bought and crews were trained. The little life-saving station grew.
Now some of the members of the life-saving station became unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. So they replaced the cots with beds and put better furniture in and enlarged it to a more elaborate building.
Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, who were proud of it. And they redecorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely because they used it as a kind of club. Few of the members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they hired life-boat crews to do this work. The life-saving motif still prevailed in the club’s decorations. And there was a liturgical life boat in the room where club initiations were held. About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet half-drowned people. They were dirty and wounded and sick and some had black skin and some yellow. The beautiful new club was left untidy, muddy and generally messed up. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where the victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned up before coming inside.
At the next meeting there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s activities as being somewhat beneath them and an unpleasant hindrance to the normal social life of club. Some of the members insisted that life saving was their primary purpose and pointed out that they were known as a life-saving station, but they were finally voted down. They were told that if they wanted to save all those various kinds of people with different colours of skin, strange languages and odd religions who were shipwrecked on those waters, they could start their own life-saving station down the coast.
And so they did. And as the years went by the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a club. And yet another life-saving station was founded. And history repeated itself. And if you visit that seacoast today you find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent, but most of the people drown.
Bishop Kenneth Untener, Diocese of Saginaw Michigan
Charter for Compassion
The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.
It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.
We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.
We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.
Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.
Samuel Butler, Note-Books, 1912
If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.
The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined. If beef is your idea of ‘real food for real people’ you'd better live real close to a real good hospital.
Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends.
George Bernard Shaw
If you knew how meat was made, you'd probably lose your lunch.
Nothing more strongly arouses our disgust than cannibalism, yet we make the same impression on Buddhists and vegetarians, for we feed on babies, though not our own.
Robert Louis Stevenson
My situation is a solemn one. Life is offered to me on condition of eating beefsteaks. But death is better than cannibalism. My will contains directions for my funeral, which will be followed not by mourning coaches, but by oxen, sheep, flocks of poultry, and a small traveling aquarium of live fish, all wearing white scarfs in honor of the man who perished rather than eat his fellow creatures.
George Bernard Shaw
The Good Life: An Alternative
Luke 21: 12-19
Stand firm, don’t fear the cost,
and not a hair on your head
shall be lost.
I have not shown how to attain
to wealth or power;
not the way to court success
or reap the praise of men;
not how to manage pain
or even master Zen;
But how to be true
as I am to you.
I have not shown how to be smart
or not to get arrested;
not the way to never faint
or never be molested;
not how to win the day
or even be a saint:
But how to be true
as I am to you.
Stand firm, don’t fear the cost,
and not a hair on your head
shall be lost.
© B.D. Prewer 1993
God of harmony and diversity,
God who created the wolf and the lamb, the lion and the ox,
help us to take a long view toward the change you have promised.
Let us not be so intent on seeing the transformation of the lions
that threaten our lives and haunt our experience
that we fail to notice those who might be pinned
under our claws, those who also cry out for delivery and safety.
Out in Scripture
Reflections on the readings
Jean Paul Sartre, the French philosopher, once wrote, ‘Hell is other people’. Some people think that ‘Hell is for other people’. Dante Alighieri, the Italian poet, exercised that kind of prerogative by identifying people he believed should be relegated to hell. Certainly, a number of artists had put the faces of popes and bishops in hell in their artworks. When we hear today’s readings we might believe that they apply to ‘other’ people too. Certainly it is tempting but the scriptures are directing our attention elsewhere. We are called personally and as a community to look at God and take our cue from those who went before us and had learned to discern God’s presence by remembering all that God had done for them. Malachi invites us to see God in our world and our experiences: ‘Look around you! God speaks to you in everything.’ The references to destruction and disaster in Luke such as revolts, war, religious persecution, disease, famines, earthquakes, floods and storms are not a long way off but enter our homes on a regular basis with the help of modern communications. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the evil and suffering in the world as well as the grand scope and challenge of the Gospel and its vision of a restored world. But, in the midst of these two overwhelming realities is a simple, but powerful response – the contribution that is made by a life of daily discipline and faithfulness to what is right. Such small contributions, when put together, make a significant difference in the big scheme of things.
Malachi and Luke’s Gospel speak directly about this, and of how God protects God’s faithful ones through such turbulent times; that of restoration and peace. God is active in human affairs: though evil and strife exist in the world, and people who live according God’s alternative values are misunderstood and persecuted, God’s reign continues to work, and to transform the world and its people into loving, peaceful and just men and women. It seems less like a war between good and evil but a movement from chaos and immaturity into beauty, creativity and maturity in God’s gracious, compassionate purposes – and thus Jesus calls us away from fear and to place our trust in the heart of a God of love. ‘Do not be afraid’ because it is the fear that paralyses that leads to failure in compassion, welcome and openness. Seeing our world and others through the prism or lens of God’s love enables us to look at others with compassion, appreciation and respect.
Given this perspective, we cannot ignore how again in recent times, ‘marginal’ people, poor people, vulnerable people have endured another disastrous hurricane called Matthew. Like famine, poverty, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and fires are labeled as ‘acts of God’. Who could not have been affected by the recent disaster again in Haiti and its aftermath? Who cannot be indifferent to the gut wrenching personal tragedy of Typhon Matthew in the Philippines and other Pacific nations with the loss of life and devastation? Who cannot be indifference to and sympathise with parents frantically seeking their children or children seeking their parents? Haiti is still reeling from a disastrous earthquake about three years ago, followed by cholera and other diseases brought in by UN troops who were meant to render assistance. When evangelical pastors in the US blamed the Haitian people for the earthquake at the time for having made a ‘pact with the devil’, one might ask who is really doing the cursing. The curse came when foreign powers such as France and the USA never allowed the people to be free and independent. It was their punishment for having ousted their French masters. The control by France and later the USA contributed to the poverty and lack of infrastructure making disproportion destruction inevitable in time of disaster.
Insurance companies and media use the term ‘acts of God’ when referring to natural disasters. The ‘acts of God’ are made visible, not in the disaster, but how God intervenes in human affairs in the way that shelter is given to homeless or orphaned children; food and drink is shared; aid donated and distributed; when neighbors and rescuers use their bare hands to dig through rubble hoping to find people alive or find the dead; when people, e.g., climate change scientists, eco-justice activists, and concerned people stand in solidarity with such people and raise their voices against those who are blind to the causes of such catastrophes. God is certainly present in the disasters we experience or hear about, not in punishment but in the good done, the compassion shown, the lives risked, the assistance offered, the care taken; the voices raised and strong calls to be just and respect human dignity.
In the gospel, Jesus appears to be talking about a future event (the Temple had already been destroyed decades earlier), he is actually talking about the hope necessary to work towards building a new world based on justice and peace. This future does not come easily because God calls for solidarity and identification with people who might suffer from the very structures that often give us comfort and apparent safety.
Whenever people turn to futuristic predictions for the world, it is often at the expense of justice making and peacemaking. Use of such texts as we today can be used to bludgeon or frighten people into submission or instill fear that might bring about conversion and repentance; to take care of oneself and one’s own without looking beyond and stretching our relationships. Politicians can be very clever at getting people to be so concerned about themselves to the detriment of others and the future of others.
Today’s readings testify to God’s investment in creating a new world – not destroying it. We also see people who keep on struggling and enduring with God’s persistent promise and relentless presence. These passages should cause us to long for — and call us to work for — a future that is almost beyond our imagination. We must look up and keep on working. It is not over until it is over; the end is not yet here. Certainly, destruction of some kind is in the offing. Whatever our views about global warming, we have to acknowledge that the human footprint has had a massively destructive effect on ecosystems especially in the last two centuries. Will we even have to pay for the collective ‘sinfulness’ of those in the past as the peoples of the Pacific, as well as Bangladesh, the Philippines and Vietnam, and other low-lying nations in Asia and parts of Australia are already suffering. Maybe we will have to pay some of the price! Maybe it will be our children or grandchildren! Now more and more countries are scrambling to acquire nuclear weapons again. Some countries call for the abolition of nuclear weapons whilst others keep their own with the threat always to use them. We see that the violence and counter violence in the so-called ‘war on terror’ does not bring about peace but more enemies and more destruction to the lives of people and to the planet. ‘War cannot end war’ (Cardinal Peter Turkson)
Luke indicates how an edifice or an institution will be toppled, thrown down or thrown away. Nothing lasts forever, whether it was the Temple referred to in the gospel, or the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, or idyllic holiday resorts in southeast Asia. Luke, however, is pointing to the possibility for change in traditions, edifices, institutions or empires. The good news is that even religious institutions and traditions are subject to critique and transformation, and we can participate in — and be witnesses to — positive as well as negative changes. Father Carroll Stuhlmueller remarked, ‘When prophecy dies out, apocalyptic comes in,’ that is, when the emphasis was placed on the apocalyptic books such as Daniel rather than on the prophets, people were more comfortable about focusing on future divine reward and punishment rather than confronting present day-by-day problems in the community.
The promises of positive change, as people in the peace and justice movements know, are to be trusted in and worked for, but their realisation may take a long time or occur only across generations. Again, faith involves not only a vision, but patience and endurance.
Justice will come only in partnership with justice for others. Any groups that suffers any kind of injustice must also be challenged to be in solidarity with other groups that are marginalised: the poor, women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights, people who are unemployed, gay and lesbian people, people in prison, refugees around the world, people living with mental illness and the homeless.
Paul (2Thess. 3:13) calls us ‘not be weary in doing what is right’. Whenever Christ’s Second Coming is to eventuate, we have a lot of work to do in the meantime. And the work of peace with justice always involves ‘toiling and laboring’ with others rather than living apart from or dominating them. A fascination with the end time is paralyzing and at the expense of active involvement in the present. It is difficult for many people to live lives of faith in the present. It can seem easier or more comfortable to live in the past or in the future. The ‘good old days’ are over and the way people responded in faith is history. The other alternative is to push everything into a future in which all the ‘ifs’ of this world will be turned into certainties. A just and peaceful future requires us to see both our pains and our privileges, and to become fully identified with those whom we may see as a lesser ‘other’. We must be willing to give up our privileges for the privilege of relationship.
If we are to take the Gospel call to justice seriously, the big global injustices that continue to harm people and our environment across the globe cannot be ignored. There are people and organisations that tackle these issues broadly and with great influence and reach. As followers of Christ we do well to support them but it is important that we recognise the power of our daily decisions and actions to bring about significant change. When we commit to the discipline of conscious consumerism we contribute significantly to justice in the world. When we eat mindfully and buy food that is farmed and transported ethically and with care for the environment, we make a significant contribution to justice in the world. When we treat our neighbours respectfully, regardless of religion, ethnicity or immigration status, we contribute to justice in the world. When we joyfully, honestly and generously contribute our share to society through charitable giving and paying taxes, we contribute to justice in the world. When we love even those who might persecute or attack us, and when we work towards understanding and peace with our enemies, we contribute to justice in the world. These ordinary actions are what Paul calls ‘doing what is right’, and are manifestations of God’s peaceful reign.
As important as attending to the ‘big issues’ of justice in our world are, justice also needs to be worked out right on our own doorstep. We cannot do everything but everyone can do something. I have sat on committees dedicated to fighting injustice ‘out there’ that members of the committee are not always treated with respect or even greeting not to mention ignoring battered women, neglected children, the abusive leaders and the exploitative practices and abuse of power in our own churches. So in working for justice in the world and contributing to the big issues, we must not forget the small, daily disciplines of care and nurture that ensure that together we become more whole, peaceful and compassionate human beings.
Central to the Book of Malachi is the question: ‘Where is the God of justice?’ On this second last Sunday of the liturgical year, we are reminded that for every ending there is another beginning. It will be symbolised with the lighting of the first Advent candle. We know from the mouth of Jesus is that the essence of what is most human, most just, will endure in fresh manifestations of God’s presence. We are being challenged to reflect and tend to the life of God within us. Is it vibrant and growing? Or, is it dormant and not guiding our daily lives?