- Published: Monday, 15 January 2018 10:36
LITURGY NOTE FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
Third Sunday of the Year
January 21st 2018
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 and respectfully upon the land.
I acknowledge the living culture of the ……..people,
the traditional custodians of the land we stand on,
and pay tribute to the unique role they play in the life of this region.
Reading I Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Responsorial Psalm Ps 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9 R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Reading II 1 Cor 7:29-31
Gospel Mk 1:14-20
God of the living,
You have formed us in your own image.
Dispel from us, your people, the fear of death
and awaken within us
a liberating faith, hope and love
so that we may take our place in the new creation.
Your loving presence, O God,
draws near to us in the person of Jesus.
Your word calls us to faith;
your power transforms our lives.
Free us to follow in Christ’s footsteps,
so that nothing may hold us back
from answering your call.
Presider Let us join with believers all over the world and pray for those whose lives are at risk, those who are suffering and in need of protection. The response is: God hears the cry of the poor
- For countries that continue to use capital punishment: may they come to see that justice is not served in this way, and like all violence, is a failure of humanity, we pray, God hears the cry of the poor.
- For those who serve in government: may they make decisions that protect the most vulnerable without attention to personal or political gain, we pray, God hears the cry of the poor
- For political leaders: may they speak out on behalf of all people who are denied their political freedoms rather than be selective, we pray, God hears the cry of the poor
- For the work of the church: may it affirm and protect the lives of the most vulnerable — the very old and the very young and those yet to be born; prisoners, refugees, the very sick, the poor and all those whose voices are not heard, we pray, God hears the cry of the poor
- For church authorities: may they use their voice to proclaim the presence of God’s reign present for those who live in fear of torture, political oppression, prejudice, discrimination, and even death, can call abusers of all kinds to repentance, we pray, God hears the cry of the poor
- For all Christian congregations: may they come together in service to those in need, we pray, God hears the cry of the poor
- For the underemployed and the unemployed as they struggle to find a job, pay their bills and provide for their families, and those who have no home in which to sleep this night, we pray, God hears the cry of the poor
Presider Loving God, creator of all life, we join together with believers everywhere and ask that you hear our prayers this day. Give us confidence in your love for us and your power to provide what we need. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Presider Compassionate God, we acknowledge that we are all in need of repentance. Grant us the humility and the courage to become the people you call us to be. Help us especially when change seems difficult, or even impossible. May we choose to walk in the ways of your Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen
Prayer over the Offerings
with these gifts of bread and wine
we bring before our desire to follow Jesus your Son.
Accept us with these offerings
and give us the strength to follow
the words of life and the example of Jesus.
Prayer after Communion
God of the Living,
Jesus has spoken to us and calls us
to be his disciples and to come after him.
Open us to his new world to all that is true, good and loving.
Give us the courage to go where he goes
and follow him on the road to you.
January 25 Promulgation of Second Vatican Council by Pope John XXlll in 1959
January 26 Survival Day (for some) and Australia Day (for others).
Janaury 26 Establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra in 1972
January 27 UN International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust
Jesus’ calling ordinary working people to follow him (as in the case of Simon and Andrew, James and John and Levi) occurred far more frequently than we usually thing. If Jesus lured the brothers by telling them that they would soon be fishing for people, what image might he have used in called farmers, or shepherds, or artisans, or house wives, or even tax gatherers? Would he have told villagers from the Galilean countryside that he would teach them how to harvest people, or shepherds that they would learn how to pastor men and women, or tax gatherers how to collect human lives, or bakers how 6to make living bread? Indeed, if Jesus could invite a married man like Simon to discipleship and expect that he readily would follow him, what would have prevented him from called a married woman?
William Reiser, Jesus in Solidarity with His People: A Theologian Looks at Mark, pp. 60-61.
My greeting is one filled with hope for a more serene world, a world in which more and more individuals and communities are committed to the paths of justice and peace.
Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Day of Prayer for Peace 2006
The members of the Church, as members of society, have the same right and duty to promote the common good as do other citizens. Christians ought to fulfill their temporal obligations with fidelity and competence. They should act as a leaven in the world, in their family, professional, social, cultural and political life.
Bishops Synod, Justice in the World, #38
Daily human events clearly evidence how much forgiveness and reconciliation are undeniably needed for bringing about a real personal and social renewal. This is valid in interpersonal relations but also among communities as well as nations.
John Paul II, Lent 2001
Prayer of Solidarity
Holy Compassion, you who hear the cries of those in anguish,
Be with us now to bring them to safety and to speak out against those who exploit.
Holy Love, you who shout with us ‘No’ to human trafficking in all its forms,
Be with us now to restore freedom to the trafficked and their families.
Holy Justice, you who rage with us against the injustices of trafficking,
Be with us now to take action to prevent and end this violence.
Holy Wisdom, you who know the worth of every human being,
Be with us as we erase this sinful practice from the face of the earth.
Every time you make a choice, you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And, taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a Heaven creature or into a hellish creature - either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is Heaven: that is, it is joy, and peace, and knowledge, and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.
C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
ring out the narrowing lust of gold,
ring out the thousand wars of old,
ring in the thousand years of peace.
Alfred Lord Tennyson
A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
Dear young people of every language and culture, a high and exhilarating task awaits you: that of becoming men and women capable of solidarity, peace and love of life, with respect for everyone. Become craftsmen of a new humanity, where brothers and sisters — members all of the same family — are able at last to live in peace.
Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Day of Prayer for Peace 2001
Peace remains possible. And if peace is possible, it is also a duty!
Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Day of Prayer for Peace 2004
Perhaps it's the belief that we shouldn't have any problems, any discomfort, any pain, that makes modern life seem so distressing. Life doesn't match our image of how it should be, and we conclude that life itself is wrong. We relate to everything from that narrow, fearful perspective of ‘I want’ - and what we want is to feel good. When our emotional distress does not feel good, we recoil from it. The resulting discomfort generates fear, then fear creates even more distress, and distress becomes our enemy, something to get rid of. Let us instead examine our basic requirement that life should be comfortable. This one assumption causes all of us endless difficulties.
Ezra Bayda, Saying Yes to Life: (Even the Hard Parts)
No one wants to have a sore spot touched, and likewise a society with many sores will twitch when someone has the courage to touch one and say: 'You have to treat that. You have to get rid of that.'
I no longer pray for God to be present, or God to give me guidance. What I pray for is openness to God…. God is always present. We build the walls that separate us from God. It is our responsibility to tear them down and open ourselves to God.
Mary Kay Sauter, Unmasking the Holy
The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
John Kenneth Galbraith
The enemy aggressor is always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, rapine and barbarism. We are always moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the Deity to regenerate our victims while incidentally capturing their markets, to civilise savage and senile and paranoid peoples while blundering accidentally into their oil wells.
John Flynn, 1944
Of all forms of tyranny the least attractive and the most vulgar is the tyranny of mere wealth, the tyranny of plutocracy.
John Pierpont Morgan
Every morning is a fresh beginning.
Every day is the world made new.
Today is a new day.
Today is my world made new.
I have lived all my life up to this moment,
to come to this day.
This moment - this day –
is as good as any moment in all eternity.
I shall make of this day –
each moment of this day –
a heaven on earth.
This is my day of opportunity.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Mark Twain American Author
How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one's culture but within oneself? If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox.
Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing. Arundhati Roy:
We do not want a PAX Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women -- not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.
John F. Kennedy (1963)
When the rights of just one individual are denied, the rights of all are in jeopardy!
Jo Ann Roach
Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them. There is almost no kind of outrage-----torture, imprisonment without trial, assassination, the bombing of civilians-----which does not change its moral color when it is committed by 'our' side. The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.
Strike against war, for without you no battles can be fought!
Strike against manufacturing shrapnel and gas bombs and all other tools of murder!
Strike against preparedness that means death and misery to millions of human beings!
Be not dumb, obedient slaves in an army of destruction!
Be heroes in an army of construction!
Don't be deceived when they tell you things are better now. Even if there's no poverty to be seen because the poverty's been hidden. Even if you ever got more wages and could afford to buy more of these new and useless goods which industries foist on you and even if it seems to you that you never had so much, that is only the slogan of those who still have much more than you. Don't be taken in when they paternally pat you on the shoulder and say that there's no inequality worth speaking of and no more reason to fight because if you believe them they will be completely in charge in their marble homes and granite banks from which they rob the people of the world under the pretence of bringing them culture. Watch out, for as soon as it pleases them they'll send you out to protect their gold in wars whose weapons, rapidly developed by servile scientists, will become more and more deadly until they can with a flick of the finger tear a million of you to pieces.
Jean Paul Marat
The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing
The plea of necessity, that eternal argument of all conspirators.
William Henry Harrison - (1773-1841), 9th U. S. President . Letter to Simon Bolivar, 27 September 1829
We tell lies when we are afraid...
afraid of what we don't know,
afraid of what others will think,
afraid of what will be found out about us.
But every time we tell a lie,
the thing that we fear grows stronger.
Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice.
A human being is part of a whole, called by us the 'Universe,' a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest--a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
The aim of military training is not just to prepare men for battle, but to make them long for it. Louis Simpson
Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear.
Be not intimidated... nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice.
They tell us that we live in a great free republic; that our institutions are democratic; that we are a free and self-governing people. That is too much, even for a joke. ... Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder... And that is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles.
Eugene Victor Debs
It is only through the heart that one sees clearly ~ what is essential is invisible to the human eye.
Antoine Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince
A Listening Heart
There is a magnet in a seeker’s heart
whose true north is God.
It bends toward the Voice of God
with the ear of the heart
and, like sunflowers in the sun,
turns all of life toward
the living of the Word.
This listening is pure of pride
and free of arrogance.
It seeks wisdom—
everywhere, at all times—
and knows wisdom by the way
the call of the scriptures.
The compass of God implanted
in the seeker’s heart
stretches toward truth
and signals the way to justice.
A truly listening heart knows
that we lose the chance for truth
if we give another—any other—
either too much, or too little,
control over the conscience
that is meant to be ours alone.
And yet, at the same time
forever seeks the spiritual dialogue
holy wisdom demands.
This listening with the heart
to the insights of another
is not the obedience of children,
It is the obedience given to a lover
because of love alone.
Joan Chittister, The Monastery of the Heart: An Invitation to a Meaningful Life (BlueBridge)
Christianity is not supposed to make you secure. Christianity is supposed to give you the courage to walk into an insecure world knowing that you’re not alone and to embrace the radical insecurity. If you’ve got to spend your time proving that you’re better than someone else — males are better than females, whites are better than blacks, heterosexuals are better than homosexuals — you’re always building yourself up by pushing somebody else down. But, you shouldn’t need to build yourself up unless you’re radically insecure. Religion feeds into that radical insecurity with triumphalism — ours is the only religious route you can take to get to God. That’s a really strange idea.
John Shelby Spong
Anybody can observe the Sabbath but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.
Alice Walker, from In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens
The work of God is the calling of a people, whether in the Old Covenant or the New… That men and women are called together to a new wholeness is itself the work of God, which gives meaning to history.
John Howard Yoder
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motion of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Wendell Berry, poet, environmentalist, farmer
The nature of water is yielding, and that of a stone is hard. Yet if you hang up a bottle filled with water above the stone so that the water drips drop by drop, it will wear a hole in the stone. In the same way the word of God is tender, and our heart is hard. So when people hear the word of God frequently, their hearts are opened to the fear of God.’
What we do is very little. But it is like the little boy with a few loaves and fishes. Christ took that little and increased it. [Christ] will do the rest. What we do is so little that we may seem to be constantly failing. But so did [Christ] fail. [Christ] met with apparent failure on the Cross. But unless the seeds fall into the earth and die, there is no harvest.
I will always be on the side of those who have nothing and who are not even allowed to enjoy the nothing they have in peace.
Weapons are the tools of violence; all decent men detest them. Weapons are the tools of fear; a decent man will avoid them except in the direst necessity and, if compelled, will use them only with the utmost restraint. Peace is his highest value. If the peace has been shattered, how can he be content? His enemies are not demons, but human beings like himself. He doesn't wish them personal harm. Nor does he rejoice in victory. How could he rejoice in victory and delight in the slaughter of men?
War on the other hand is such a terrible thing, that no man, especially a Christian man, has the right to assume the responsibility of starting it.
[He] who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.
Am I not destroying my enemies what I make friends of them?
Did you know that the worldwide food shortage that threatens up to five hundred million children could be alleviated at the cost of only one day, only one day, of modern warfare.
Five enemies of peace inhabit with us--avarice, ambition, envy, anger, and pride; if these were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace.
For it isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it.
We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men ... who feared ... to defend causes which were unpopular .... The actions of the junior senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay ... and whose fault is that? Not really his; he didn't create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it, and rather successfully. Cassius was right, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.
(Excerpted from the March 9, 1954 See It Now broadcast, as quoted in In Search of Light: The Broadcasts of Edward R. Murrow 1938-1961, pp 247-8.)
No one can find a safe way out for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result.
Ludwig von Mises
We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men— not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.
This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy's methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.
Edward R. Murrow. US broadcast journalist & newscaster (1908 - 1965) Speech to his staff 1954,
A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices.
Edward R. Murrow US broadcast journalist and newscaster (1908 - 1965)
When the politicians complain that TV turns the proceedings into a circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already there, and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are well trained. Edward R. Murrow US broadcast journalist & newscaster (1908 - 1965)
Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices - just recognize them.
Edward R. Murrow
If we were to do the Second Coming of Christ in color for a full hour, there would be a considerable number of stations which would decline to carry it on the grounds that a Western or a quiz show would be more profitable.
Edward R. Murrow
Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.
Edward R. Murrow
No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices.
Edward R. Murrow
The obscure we see eventually. The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer.
Edward R. Murrow
The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue.
Edward R. Murrow
We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.
Edward R. Murrow
We cannot make good news out of bad practice.
Edward R. Murrow
We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.
Edward R. Murrow
Christians and all other believers have a specific role to play in proclaiming moral values and in educating people in ecological awareness, which is none other than responsibility towards self, towards others, towards creation. What is required is an act of repentance on our part and a renewed attempt to view ourselves, one another, and the world around us within the perspective of the divine design for creation. The problem is not simply economic and technological; it is moral and spiritual. A solution at the economic and technological level can be found only if we undergo, in the most radical way, an inner change of heart, which can lead to a change in lifestyle and of unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. A genuine conversion in Christ will enable us to change the way we think and act.
Every time you make a choice, you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And, taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a Heaven creature or into a hellish creature--either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is Heaven: that is, it is joy, and peace, and knowledge, and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.
C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
O God, all holy one, you are our Mother and our Father and we are your children. Open our eyes and our hearts so that we may be able to discern your work in the universe. And be able to see Your features in every one of Your children. May we learn that there are many paths but all lead to You. Help us to know that you have created us for family, for togetherness, for peace, for gentleness, for compassion, for caring, for sharing.
‘May we know that You want us to care for one another as those who know that they are sisters and brothers, members of the same family, Your family, the human family. Help us to beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks, so that we may be able to live in peace and harmony, wiping away the tears from the eyes of those who are less fortunate than ourselves. And may we know war no more, as we strive to be what You want us to be: Your children. Amen.
Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa
I have never been especially impressed by the heroics of people convinced they are about to change the world. I am more awed by those who struggle to make one small difference after another.
As an artist I come to sing, but as a citizen, I will always speak for peace, and no one can silence me in this
Paul Robeson, actor, singer, author, and political activist (1898-1976).
The world is holy. We are holy. All life is holy. Daily prayers are delivered on the lips of breaking waves, the whisperings of grasses, the shimmering of leaves.
Terry Tempest Williams
This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek.’
Terry Tempest Williams
The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time.
Terry Tempest Williams
Faith is not about finding meaning in the world, there may be no such thing -- faith is the belief in our capacity to create meaningful lives.
Terry Tempest Williams
I wonder how it is we have come to this place in our society where art and nature are spoke in terms of what is optional, the pastime and concern of the elite?
Terry Tempest Williams
How do we remain faithful to our own spiritual imagination and not betray what we know in our own bodies? The world is holy. We are holy. All life is holy.
Terry Tempest Williams
Philosophy should always know that indifference is a militant thing. It batters down the walls of cities and murders the women and children amid the flames and the purloining of altar vessels. When it goes away it leaves smoking ruins, where lie citizens bayonetted through the throat. It is not a children's pastime like mere highway robbery.
I will be harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject i do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present.
William Lloyd Garrison (1805 - 1879)
To think deeply in our culture is to grow angry and to anger others; and if you cannot tolerate this anger, you are wasting the time you spend thinking deeply. One of the rewards to deep thought is the hot glow of anger at discovering a wrong, but if anger is taboo, thought will starve to death.
Jules Henry, Culture Against Man, 1963.
Hope has two beautiful daughters: their names are anger and courage. Anger that things are the way they are. Courage to make them the way they ought to be.
As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
Bishop Desmond Tutu
How many does it take to metamorphose wickedness into righteousness? One man must not kill. If he does, it is murder.... But a state or nation may kill as many as they please, and it is not murder. It is just, necessary, commendable, and right. Only get people enough to agree to it, and the butchery of myriads of human beings is perfectly innocent. But how many does it take?:
Adin Ballou, The Non-Resistant, 5 February 1845
There have been periods of history in which episodes of terrible violence occurred but for which the word violence was never used.... Violence is shrouded in justifying myths that lend it moral legitimacy, and these myths for the most part kept people from recognizing the violence for what it was. The people who burned witches at the stake never for one moment thought of their act as violence; rather they thought of it as an act of divinely mandated righteousness. The same can be said of most of the violence we humans have ever committed.
Be alert that dictators have always played on the natural human tendency to blame others and to oversimplify. And don't regard yourself as a guardian of freedom unless you respect and preserve the rights of people you disagree with to free, public, unhampered Expression.
Gerard K. O'Neill, 2081
25 GREAT TRUTHS TO LIVEBY
William Blake wrote ‘we are put on earth a little space to bear the beams of love' but very few have the courage to follow the path of the heart. Here are 25 great truths to help guide you: Allen L Roland
Here are25 truths to live by but the greatest of them all is this one~ the most powerful force in life is love.
And the path of the heart is the only path that leads to your authentic self and your part in the loving plan~ and relationship is the vehicle.
The most destructive habit. Worry
The greatest Joy. Giving
The greatest loss Loss of self-respect
The most satisfying work Helping others
The ugliest personality trait Selfishness
The most endangered species Dedicated leaders
Our greatest natural resource Our youth
The greatest ‘shot in the arm’ Encouragement
The greatest problem to overcome Fear
The most effective sleeping pill Peace of mind
The most crippling failure disease Excuses
The most powerful force in life Love
The most dangerous pariah A gossiper
The world's most incredible computer The brain
The worst thing to be without Hope
The deadliest weapon The tongue
The two most power-filled words ’I Can’
The greatest asset Faith
The most worthless emotion Self-pity
The most beautiful attire SMILE!
The most prized possession Integrity
The most powerful channel of communication Prayer
The most contagious spirit Enthusiasm
The greatest test Relationship
The greatest gift Your authentic self
Yes, get our attention, God.
In the midst of the mundane,
call us and help us hear.
Appear to us and help us see.
Grant us the courage to embrace change.
From you alone comes the transformation
that creates new relationships and a new world.
May it be so.
A couple of reflections on the readings…..
How often do we write someone off? How often do we not expect much from them? How often do we disregard someone who is the equivalent to a ‘slum dog’ as seen in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’? We have power to harm, to divide, to separate, to scapegoat, to ignore. Last week I suggested that the readings continually remind us that there are no God-forsaken places or people. All are able to be transformed and live. Nathaniel quips in John’s gospel ‘What good can come out of Nazareth?’ on hearing that Jesus came from there. Indeed, what good can come out of place like that? Nothing but the one who speaks of life, peace, renewal, reconciliation, a new world, a new way of relating. Nothing but the one who lives compassionately, peacefully, and kindly and calls us to do the same. Jonah also faces that question: ‘What good can come out of Nineveh?’ I am sure we know people and places close to home that we might say that about or at least think of them in that way and dismiss them. We can have that tendency when we talk about African youth in our cities or some schools that appear to be socially deprived.
Yet, God chooses the unlikely to proclaim the good news as has happened through women, women, children and poor people. No doubt also through people who living with sickness or disability, indigenous people, gay and lesbian people. Recently, we heard of a New Zealand bishop (Bishop Stephen Lowe of Hamilton) tell us that the church is a facing a ‘Galileo moment’ with the voices and challenges that coming through many young people on homosexuality (Robert Shine Church Faces ‘Galileo Moment’ on Homosexuality Says Bishop. New Ways Ministry. https://www.newwaysministry.org/2018/01/10/church-faces-galileo-moment-homosexuality-says-bishop/).
We are all called to proclaim the good news of a new age coming and the good news is about building a ‘culture of encounter’ that takes in love of neighbour and love of the enemy and love of the stranger. We are called to ‘fish’ or draw people in as we hear in the Gospel. We are also called to listen. It might mean that those to whom we to proclaim the ‘good news’ might actually proclaim the ‘good news’ to us as Bishop Lowe suggested. We are not just those who will ‘fish’ for others but from time to time we too will be ‘fished’. Jonah was trying to avoid his call and was taken into his ministry in an unexpected way. St Paul was knocked down on the way to Damascus when he was forced to view his path. How many of us have had the experience of being in places where we have been ‘knocked to the ground’ by those to whom we are sent.
Those who preach the gospel are not the only ones who live out the gospel call or proclaim it. Teachers, waiters, bartenders, doctors, nurses, parents, neighbours, and complete strangers do it. These people through their commitment and generosity proclaim to us in different ways. People in our cities and towns – homeless, ex-prisoners, people who are addicted - who we would not give a second glance have touched the lives others in ways that made all the difference. They have tried to not take advantage of the other, forgiven offences, been patient with the people who different or annoying, refused to take part in gossip or vilify or engage in sexist or demeaning talk, shared what they have, been sensitive to people who are vulnerable or failed to do not meet the expectations of the majority. What good can come from people who are lesbian and gay? What good can come out of people who are Indigenous Australians despite the fact that they have walked with God long before Jesus or even Abraham walked the earth and have shown us much about the importance of Spirit, sharing, community and connection with others and the land? What good can come from a group of homeless people on our streets despite the fact they can show great kindness, care and support to one another?
Jesus came to inaugurate a new age which we are called to continue. The ‘new age’ comes in the moments when we go beyond ourselves, refuse to yield to the status quo or to what is comfortable, act generously towards another, work for peace rather than inflame a divisive situation. What good can come out Nazareth? What good can come out Nineveh? What good can come out of the bush? What good can come out of my life? More than you think.
Jonah was changed by the people he was sent to. He had a harsh message for them and they surprisingly and unexpectedly responded positively. These people were willing to be changed. He wanted to bring down punishment upon them, but it was through them, these Ninevites, these not so nice people, that God touched Jonah’s heart. He was able to see goodness in them and also to see that the God he thought he knew was not really God. Unlike the disciples in the gospel who caught fish, Jonah was caught by one. Can we be open to seeing God at work when we or another acts out of compassion and sensitivity rather than indifference and neglect? Can we see God at work when ordinary people will risk their lives for complete strangers whether it be a war zone or in the emergency services or a passer-by who sees someone in distress or vulnerable. such as the peace shields in Iraq to help us see the humanity of people?
Discipleship is part of a new community which through its forgiveness, receptivity, compassion, justice-making and service draws in others is not an end in itself. It is not an end in itself and nor is church membership.
God continues to send men and women towards Nineveh. Where is our Nineveh today? Nineveh is found among other places in the back-streets and lanes of our cities festering with prostitution, drug and crime. Nineveh is found in the ivory tower of the corporate establishment where the destinies of the majority of the world are decided without any attention to their interests and welfare. Nineveh is found in the diocesan offices where decisions can be made without reference to or consideration of the messiness and pain that people have to live in. But going to Nineveh is also like going out to engage with, and love the enemy. It might be those police officers carrying out President Duterte’s instructions and killing suspected drug addicts. It might be the politician whose policies are so reprehensible and inhumane. It might be the person in my own community who makes like extremely difficult because of his or her self-centredness, lack of consideration or even bullying. Loving the enemy means going to Nineveh. That is the hardest part of our faith but it is crucial. Jonah was not sent to the people of Israel who were already believers and neither are we. God invites us to bring the Good News to unimaginable places and ‘impossible’ situations. The good news for us is that these ‘hopeless’ cases are not too hopeless after all. That is the message of Nineveh today.
The story of Jonah is nothing but an outrageous story about God’s mercy. The joke was on this reluctant prophet, and many believers in our churches, who think that God has the same prejudices, hates, tastes as we do. Jonah learned a lesson about mercy when he recognised God’s love and mercy symbolised in the unexpected gift of shade in the sweltering heat. He knew he did not earn this. Our call, as that of the disciples, is to allow Jesus to open our hearts to God’s gift of love and then demonstrate God’s overwhelming kindness to others. As the scribes and Pharisees are upset at Jesus befriending sinners, giving away God’s love and upsetting the moral order and the legitimate demands of religion, we see parallels in those who are upset at people who advocate for asylum seekers, upset the rule of ‘law’, and give to people who are perceived to be undeserving. We also saw this clearly in the lead up and during the recent plebiscite on same sex marriage. We see this when people call for welfare assistance to people who are homeless, unemployed or disadvantaged in other ways. It is seen as unfair to good hardworking people who have made sacrifices to obey God’s laws when they discover that God loves everyone! These complaints are echoed in our media and in church circles. The greatest obstacle to the church becoming more and more a community of grace and mercy comes not from sinners who reject God, but from religious people who reject sinners and cannot imagine sharing the same space or table with them. The gospel surprise is that God loves everyone and will go to any lengths, as we see time and time again, to bring home the lost person. The gospel challenge is less to those who appear lost and wayward but to us, God’s family, to welcome sinners and love them as God loves them. Pope Francis has begun a revolution. He changed the conversation in the church by focusing us on the God of Mercy. Mercy is the gate that opens up a way for others to enter the community and also our hearts.