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: Thursday, 12 July 2018 17:44
LITURGY NOTES FOR THE FIFTEENTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME.
15th Sunday of the Year
July 15th, 2018
Suggested formula for recognition of indigenous people and their land.
(Any of these can also be recited by all in the congregation)
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land where we are now gathered,
(the ……) 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.
As we do this, we must also acknowledge the loss of their hunting grounds,
the destruction of their ceremonial places and sacred sites,
and the great loss of life from all kinds of violence and disease,
and that the land was never given away.
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we stand
We pay our respects to them for their care of the land
May we walk gently and respectfully upon the land
that was never given away.
We acknowledge the …………………….people the first inhabitants of this land.
We honour them for their care of the land
on which we gather today, and with them,
and as we pray for justice and their constitutional recognition
may we also be mindful that the land has never been given away.
Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero,
and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.
Kahlil Gibran, from The Garden of the Prophet
Reading 1 Amos 7:12-15
Responsorial Psalm Ps 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
- R. (8) Let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
Reading II Ephesians 1:3-14 or 1:3-10
Gospel Mark 6:7-13
- Jesus, you sent your disciples to preach the peace of God’s reign to the nations: Jesus, have mercy.
- Jesus, you call us to be your disciples who incarnate love and compassion: Christ, have mercy.
- Jesus, you send us to be signs of God’s presence with all people and within all creation: Jesus, have mercy.
Ever loving and challenging God,
you have set us free
by the life, death and rising of Jesus Christ, your Son.
May his life and message inspire us
to voice his truth and bring his freedom
to everyone on this earth.
Prayer over the Gifts
Ever loving and challenging God
you give us your own Son Jesus
in these signs of bread and wine.
Help us to be to the world today
a message of hope and justice.
As the bread is broken for us,
may we be read to give ourselves for others;
to bring food to the hungry
and love and truth to the comfortable.
Prayer after Communion
Ever loving and challenging God,
you have given us yourself
in Christ Jesus, your Son.
May we see that the life and love you give us
become powerful in our sharing
with our sisters and brothers.
Presider: We are all called to make the Good News known. Let us all pray with one another and for each other that we may respond to God’s call according to the grace he gives each of us. Let us say: Here we are……send us so that love and faithfulness meet.
- We pray for peace: for peace among the nations; for peace between neighbours; for peace within families and communities; for peace within our hearts … we pray, Here we are……send us so that love and faithfulness meet.
- We pray for the church: for the mission of the church in the world; for all those who work as missionaries; for the strength to continue the work of service in all that Jesus came to do … we pray, Here we are……send us so that love and faithfulness meet.
- We pray for all who raise their voices against injustice: may we support those who have the courage to speak promote the humanity of their sisters and brothers and find the strength in ourselves to be prophetic in our lives according to our baptism….we pray, Here we are……send us so that love and faithfulness meet.
- We pray for those who do not know Christ and his Gospel: may we continue to see and find them inspiring examples of faith, goodness and humanity … we pray, Here we are……send us so that love and faithfulness meet.
- We pray for those who lack confidence or courage in their calling: give to all the courage to raise their voices wherever people are dehumanized and so make Christ present….we pray, Here we are……send us so that love and faithfulness meet.
- We pray for those who most need our support: for those who are hungry and those who struggle with eating too much; for those without a home and seeking asylum; for those who have lost their jobs and those unable to work; for those in prison and those imprisoned by anxiety, addiction or abuse; for all who are suffering today … we pray, Here we are……send us so that love and faithfulness meet.
- We pray for those who serve at all levels of government in our country and those in other nations: may leaders, public servants and all people of influence be inspired and dedicated to serve the common good….we pray, Here we are……send us so that love and faithfulness meet.
- We pray for countries where there is oppression, war, violence: may those affected be assisted to find protection, healing and compassion… we pray, Here we are……send us so that love and faithfulness meet.
Concluding Prayer: Ever loving God, you call us to follow Jesus, your Son, and to pray in his name for the needs of all people of this world. May we become willing to voice his truth and bring his freedom to everyone on this earth.
Send us your Spirit, Loving God,
The Spirit of Truth,
To open our eyes and ears:
To see where we are afraid to look,
To hear you in voices
That offend our sensitive ears.
We seek you in the spectacular and extraordinary,
And you come to us poor,
Hungry, thirsty, naked,
Diseased, in prison, alone,
And as the least of our brothers and sisters.
Teach us to see you, hear you, touch you, know you,
Where you really are,
And not where we would like you to be.
Fr Ted Kennedy (adapted for gender inclusivity)
‘The Almighty conceived the cactus plant. If God would choose a plant to represent (him), I think (he) would choose of all plants the cactus. The cactus has all the blessings (he) tried, but mostly failed, to give to (man). Let me tell you how. It has humility, but it is not submissive. It grows where no other plant will grow. It does not complain when the sun bakes its back or the wind tears it from the cliff or drowns it in the dry sand of the desert or when it is thirsty. When the rains come it stores water for the hard times to come. In good times and bad it will still flower. It protects itself from danger, but it harms no other plant. It adapts perfectly to almost any environment. It has patience and enjoys solitude. In Mexico there is a cactus that flowers only once every hundred years and at night. This is saintliness of an extraordinary kind, would you not agree? The cactus has properties that heal the wounds of (men) and from it come potions that can make (man) touch the face of God or stare into the mouth of hell. It is the plant of patience and solitude, love and madness, ugliness and beauty, toughness and gentleness. Of all plants, surely God made the cactus in his own image?’
(Bryce Courtenay The Power of One. pp. 154 – 155)
God's Spirit (Leadership Conference of Women Religious Prayer)
In this time of pain and promise,
we call on God’s Spirit to bless
the leadership of LCWR, of our
Congregation, and all women religious
who strive to live the gospel in these
We call on the Spirit of God to reveal
the way forward that is faithful to God’s
dream for us and our lives together.
May all who are called to engage
in prayer and conversation come to
the table with hearts that are open,
transparent, and faith-filled. May their
reflection be marked by a deep listening
to the voice of the Spirit at work in
May the holy ones who have gone
before us inspire us by their courage
and wisdom and affirm that we are
May we continue to faithfully live the
questions of our time and witness to
the people of God that we are women
at home with mystery and filled with
fierce hope for our shared future.
Sr. Chris Koellhoffer, IHM
Hypocrisy is not the hobgoblin of enslavable minds so much as it is the hallmark of their would-be slave masters.
The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-face for the urge to rule it.
- H. L. Mencken- (1880-1956) American Journalist, Editor, Essayist,
Humanity's most valuable assets have been the non-conformists. Were it not for the non-conformists, he who refuses to be satisfied to go along with the continuance of things as they are, and insists upon attempting to find new ways of bettering things, the world would have known little progress, indeed.
Josiah William Gitt- (1884-1973)
Government, when it is examined, turns out to be nothing more nor less than a group of fallible men with the political force to act as though they were infallible.
Robert LeFevre, in his essay, Aggression is Wrong
It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.
Voltaire François Marie Arouet (1694-1778)
‘The greatest mystery to us is not the most distant person, but the one next to us.’
Eyes are vocal,
tears have tongues,
And there are words
not made with lungs.
Richard Crashaw, 1613-1649, English Poet
The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always a tomorrow. Today I am blessed.
Maya Angelou, American Author, Poet and Actress
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)
'If, while there is yet time, we turn to Justice and obey her, if we trust Liberty and follow her, the dangers that now threaten must disappear, the forces that now menace will turn to agencies of elevation. Think of the powers now wasted; of the infinite fields of knowledge yet to be explored; of the possibilities of which the wondrous inventions of this century give us but a hint. with want destroyed, with greed changed to noble passions, with the fraternity that is born of equality taking the place of the jealousy and fear that now array men against each other, with mental power loosened by conditions which give to the humblest comfort and leisure; who shall measure the heights to which our civilisation may soar?
Henry George 1839 - 1897
One of the world's greatest problems is the impossibility of any person searching for the truth on any subject when they believe they already have it.’
It was for this world that Christ had died; the more evil you saw and heard about you, the greater glory lay around the death. It was too easy to die for what was good or beautiful, for home or children or a civilization—it needed a God to die for the half-hearted and the corrupt.
Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory
The gospel of Christ knows of no religion but social; no holiness but social holiness.
John Wesley, from the preface to Hymns and Sacred Poems (1739)
Everywhere and at all times of greatest trial [people] have appeared, prophets and saints who cherished their freedom, who preached the One God and who with [God's] help brought the people to a reversal of their downward course. Man is free, to be sure, but without the true God he is defenseless against the principle of evil.... We will not be silent. We are your bad conscience.
Sophie Scholl, and her co-resisters in The White Rose, a nonviolent student movement against the Nazis.
When two elephants struggle, it is the grass that suffers.
East African Proverb
Indifference to injustice is more insidious than the injustice itself.
Dr. Cornel West
None of us dared to go forward to help the injured as they writhed. ... I was cowering behind a layer of other people whom I hoped would absorb bullets; the notebook in my hand was stained with perspiration from fear.... Finally, some unlikely saviors emerged — the rickshaw drivers.
Nicholas D. Kristof, on witnessing the Tiananmen Square massacre from his New York Times op-ed, ‘Bullets Over Beijing’ (June 3, 2009).
On Israel, North Korea, United States of America….
Politically speaking, tribal nationalism always insists that its own people is surrounded by ‘a world of enemies’, ‘one against all’, that a fundamental difference exists between this people and all others. It claims its people to be unique, individual, incompatible with all others, and denies theoretically the very possibility of a common mankind long before it is used to destroy the humanity of man.
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism p.227
As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become victims of the darkness. Justice William O. Douglas
The whole drift of our law is toward the absolute prohibition of all ideas that diverge in the slightest form from the accepted platitudes, and behind that drift of law there is a far more potent force of growing custom, and under that custom there is a natural philosophy which erects conformity into the noblest of virtues and the free functioning of personality into a capital crime against society.
- H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American Journalist, Editor, Essayist, Linguist, Lexicographer.
For Justice in our Hearts and in our World
Oh God, each day you bring us new possibilities for the proclamation of your peace and justice. Not limited to our human imagination, in every age you go beyond our thoughts and invite us to deeper insight into the wisdom of your loving.
This day we confess our failure to gather our life together in peace, to carve laws more in keeping with your mercy, to build up our society in justice and harmony. Too often fear, greed, and pride have led us to forget the presence of the poor and the widowed, the orphan and the stranger. Countless homeless people wander our streets while we pursue our own security.
Stir up your Spirit in our midst. Speak your voice of caring to governments and every human gathering so that our life in this world will reflect the gospel commitment to tend the wounded and set the captives free.
We ask this through Christ and the Holy Spirit, with you, One God, forever and ever. Amen
Prayer adapted from Edward Gabriele Act Justly, Love Tenderly, Walk Humbly.
The only theology worth doing is that which inspires and transforms lives, that which empowers us to participate in creating, liberating, and blessing the world. This is a basic tenet of feminist liberation theology and it is also Anglicanism at its best.
Rev Carter Heyward, Female Episcopalian priest
In the Spirit which draws us into honest engagement with one another, including those who may be very different from us in various ways, God calls us to wake up and learn how to love and respect one another, period.
Rev Carter Heyward
Love is a choice - not simply, or necessarily, a rational choice, but rather a willingness to be present to others without pretense or guile.
Rev Carter Heyward
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.
We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...
Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.
Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
George Carlin, comedian
I am only one,
but I am one.
I cannot do everything,
but I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do
the something that I can do.
What I can do,
I should do.
And what I should do,
by the grace of God, I will do.
Edward Everett Hale
Reflections on the readings…
Just recently, during NAIDOC week, there were many programs on radio and television of how First People women had influenced communities and influencing change in our society. In particular, an elderly woman, I cannot recall here name, danced outside the High Court of Australia after the Wik Decision. She said she was on fire and had to dance in response. Where lies had predominated and a people held down, she responded with her beautiful dance on the forecourt of the High Court of Australia. She represented a people often estranged, marginalised, neglected and said here we are-with our bodies, our stories, our culture, our history.
Last week Jesus was made to feel a stranger in his home town and expelled from the synagogue, as Amos today is expelled from the sanctuary. Today, the disciples are called to make their home amongst strangers. Amos has just delivered an eloquent call for social justice. He condemned those who try to please God with ‘worship’ whilst their lifestyles were based on dishonesty and oppression of the poor. Amaziah was used to prophets who told people what they want to hear and makes it clear that Amos is not welcome and must take his message elsewhere. He does not stop because he is responding to God’s call to prophecy. Amos not silenced by this rejection.
The biblical narratives do one thing. They disrupt conventional assumptions. They use a different vocabulary and emphasise certain words - justice, trust, risk, invitation, and journey. They are bold and anything but conventional. There is the unmistakable feel that when faithful read and interpreted that ‘a prophet has been among us.’ God’s messengers, in all their guises, even that rejected local boy from Nazareth, are disrupting our assumptions and certitudes. Through the sending of the disciples story, we are invited to do God’s work within the authentic outline of our own personality and history and capacities and opportunities. It is an invitation ‘to say’ and ‘to do’ as only each of us can- ‘It’s me here.’
Organisations and nations need those who will speak truth to power. Leadership must be held accountable to the standards of God’s Reign – justice, peace, equality, compassion, good management, and the good of the people and the planet. Often, leaders get co-opted into the agendas of special interest groups. It can be a risky to speak truth where lies predominate and where injustice goes unchecked. It can be difficult to stir up the flames of caring and compassion when people are apathetic or indifferent. But we, like Amos and the disciples, are called into the minefields of ministry: to speak to and serve people we would not normally associate with. Amos could have stayed with his sheep and sycamores rather than take on religious elites to confront injustices. It would have been safer and less risky. He had to speak a harsh truth to an educated and sophisticated regime which was not inclined to take notice of him or his message. It is like going to meet politicians who are not always ready to listen and take notice. With Amos there is no silence or smooth talk when it comes to social injustice and doing God’s will. Prosperity and wealth co-mingled with social Here was a place of prosperity and wealth but rife with social inequity, injustice and immorality. We saw how Amaziah represented a religion closely linked to state power – the kind that would support political decisions in its favour; wave flags and bless troops on their way to war and preach ‘God is on our side.’ How dare anyone bring up the ‘Frontier Wars’ in Australia when we should talk up ANZAC Day? For Amaziah, religion implied loyalty to the status quo and dissent was betrayal. Amaziah was about smoothing things out whereas Amos spoke out against a peace and security only a privileged few enjoyed and called them to account for their silence, negligence and mistreatment of poor people.
To crush the voice of hope, prophets need to be silenced when vested interests are threatened. Amos was faithful to his God-given task as God calls people from all walks of life to confront abuse, injustice and hunger. The new foreign interference laws (in Australia) are clearly attempts to silence people and avoid exposure of illegal activity. These laws threaten whistle blowers and media freedom. Anyone who exposes illegal government activity can be considered criminal. Doctors, nurses and other employees have been threatened when they drew attention to the abuse of children and adults in hell holes such as Nauru and Manus Island. The prophet, the whistle blower , calls us to hope in another reality-the reality that would not say invading another country is liberation; that would not say that confrontation and bullying is dialogue; and that would not proclaim war as right just.
In Mark, Jesus stresses that following him involves radical simplicity. He also tells them that they are not responsible for how people respond to them if people will listen to them or receive them. We may find this comforting when our pleas for justice seem to fall on deaf ears. It is a lesson in realism and common sense. The Asylum Seekers Resource Centre, Love Makes a Way, Jesus Loves Refugees and many other organisations know the meaning of this. The disciples’ mission was to target the ordinary people – especially those who tended to be ‘written off’. The holiness one is called to is spelled out in love and justice - not a sterile and disengaged morality. What a challenge to those especially in the churches who refuse to include all their brothers and sisters because of sexual orientation, ethnicity, and of course gender (women).
Gospel simplicity draws our attention to the danger of accumulated ‘baggage’ (our history, our experiences, our prejudices) that threatens the mission of the reign of God. Organisations dependent on funding for services and education may find it difficult to raise their voices in times of injustice and inequality. Travelling light makes possible what the Psalm looks forward to - where justice and peace shall kiss. We must make it happen – in our community. However, fear can also lead to paralysis and threaten our following. We can ferociously cling to whatever paralyses us: fear of terrorism that justifies the use of violence; or fear of asylum seekers who might want to harm us and threaten our life style that justifies detention and abuse; fear of people from other ethnic, cultural or religious groups that justifies preventing them from expanding with schools and places of worship; fear of invasion that causes us to arm ourselves with more and more weapons and threatening peace; fear that women might win control over their lives and claim their unique power; fear of gay and lesbian people who might undermine certain traditions. This is baggage that can destroy us and separate us from one another. It prevents us from being welcoming and hospitable in our communities.
Mark’s narrative is action-oriented and heart-centred. Jesus and his followers are always on the move. Mere belief is not enough – the gospel needs to be lived as we work to deconstruct an unjust world and introduce a new world through the person of Jesus. His healings, casting out of demons and forgiveness of sins are seen as actions with deeper meanings. They were not just about alleviating personal suffering but exposing the oppressive nature of the prevailing political and religious power systems. In the face of government and corporate brutality towards vulnerable people, compassion must be our ‘protest’ and hospitality our ‘resistance’. Profoundly significant in the discipleship community in Mark are the stories of stories of women, who though still nameless, are almost always models of authentic discipleship. Like Jesus, they assertively break boundaries, defy social codes and are attuned to the liberation of the reign of God.
We cannot distance ourselves from the radical nature of Jesus call to us in Mark’s gospel or the message of Amos. The challenges are very relevant to us. We call ourselves Christian and participate in an economy that accepts 48,000 children dying each day while a minority enjoy prosperity. We accept subtle social codes of ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ when it comes to people who are outsiders, different or even enemies. We can accept the continual voicelessness of women in the church assembly and inequality in the marketplace. We overlook over 60 years of violence against the Palestinian people and call it justifiable defense when they resist. We ignore the low lying countries and islands in Pacific that are harshly affected by climate change. We ignore the people of Papua who continue to suffer violations, hunger, abuse and denial of independence. We still do not listen to the Indigenous Australians or acknowledge their dispossession of land and culture. We still accept as normal, paradigms of power and clerical entitlement in the church rather than Jesus’ definition of service. Mark does not allow us to distance ourselves from radical nature of the gospel. We must proclaim God's word even in the midst of violence - go where there is oppression and injustice and be the word of God there.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus says, ‘Many are called, but few are chosen.’ A modern spin on this is offered by the poet Lee Carroll Pieper, ‘Many are called but most are frozen in corporate or collective cold, these are the stalled who choose not to be chosen except to be bought and sold.’ Mark will not permit us to sit back and remain passive. We can only know Jesus by committing ourselves to active discipleship and following him—on the way of the cross, which is ultimately the way of resurrection.