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: Wednesday, 03 October 2018 11:35
LITURGY NOTES FOR THE 27th Sunday of the Year
October 7th 2018
Suggested formula for recognition of indigenous people and their land.
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,
the great loss of life from all kinds of violence and disease,
and that the land was never given away.
Hospitality is politically subversive.
- Richard Beck, Unclean
The universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.
Reading 1 Gen 2:18-24
Responsorial Psalm Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
- R. (cf. 5) May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Reading II Heb 2:9-11
Gospel Mk 10:2-16 or 10: 2-12
- For hands across the table, for hands across the sea and for hands around the world. Jesus, have mercy.
- For eyes meeting across a room, for eyes opened to different lifestyles and for eyes shining in new friendships. Christ, have mercy.
- For ears that can hear the beating of a heart, for ears that pick up the cries of the voiceless and for ears that respond to the pulses of the world. Jesus, have mercy.
- Holy One, you have made us so that we may not be alone. Jesus, have mercy.
- Holy One, you have made us to see you in and through our relationships. Christ, have mercy.
- Holy One, you have joined us together so that we may expand our circles of relationships. Jesus, have mercy.
- Christ Jesus, you taught us to love one another: Jesus, have mercy.
- Christ Jesus, you blessed the little children: Christ, have mercy.
- Christi Jesus, you showed us how to live in the kingdom: Jesus, have mercy.
God, source of all love,
in Christ you have created us all in your image.
Your love and goodness
is beyond what our spirit can touch. .
Lead us to courageously seek
beyond our reach in relationships
because it is you whom we also touch.
Keep us in your peace
as we conform our lives to your gracious design.
Prayer over the Gifts
God, source of all love,
may our offering of the gifts of bread and wine
serve to remind us of our call
to give ourselves wholeheartedly
in service of one another especially the most vulnerable.
Deliver us God, source of all love, from every evil
and grant us the capacity to love
without conditions or compromise.
Give us a love that stays faithful
and grows deeper in days of trial.
Keep us free from all fear
of committing ourselves to one another,
as we wait in joyful hope
for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Prayer after Communion
God, source of all love,
may the Eucharist we have shared
make us mindful that we are filled with your Spirit
and that we carry this Spirit in our connections with others.
Prayers of the Faithful
Introduction: Let us pray to God that the work of love and faithfulness in relationships may be realised more fully in our lives. Our response is: Keep us in your love, O God
Introduction: God created us to live in harmony with one another, to care for each other and to pray for each other. Confident that God hears our prayers, let us pray today for our families and all those whom we love. Our response is: Keep us in your love, O God
- For Pope Francis, that he may continue to proclaim a revolution of tenderness and mercy in all our dealings with one another especially those who cry out for acknowledgement, dignity, acceptance, we pray: Keep us in your love, O God.
- For the people of Sulawesi, and people elsewhere who are caught up in natural disasters: may our hearts reach across the seas to our sisters and brothers that they may find in us and in those who are equipped to help them strength, support and hope: we pray: Keep us in your love, O God.
- For our country and our leaders; for journalists who tell the stories and for public servants who seek the common good; for resolve in the face of all odds to do what is right, we pray: Keep us in your love, O God.
- For people liv9ing the single life that they may see that they witness to the God who has made a covenant with us through our friendship, service and care for others, we pray: Keep us in your love, O God.
- For all people torn away from their families, loved ones and home by government policies, genocide, war and conflict, we pray: Keep us in your love, O God.
- For those who experience the pain of divorce, and who grieve the loss of hopes and dreams, for courage and for consolation, we pray: Keep us in your love, O God.
- For people whose sexuality is a cause of suffering and embarrassment that they may find that they are beautifully created by God and that they are made for friendship, companionship and love, we pray: Keep us in your love, O God.
- For peace and understanding between nations, ethnic and racial groups, and people of different cultures that they may recognise in each us the sacred image of God and that all bear God’s graciousness to the world, we pray: Keep us in your love, O God.
- For our homes and communities, that they may be built on love and respect so that their members may understand more deeply the love of God, we pray: Keep us in your love, O God.
- For homes and families where there are broken relationships and dreams that understanding, forgiveness and reconciliation might be shown as signs of God’s loving kindness, we pray: Keep us in your love, O God.
- For homes that are broken and for partners who have failed each other, that people may show them understanding and that God may give them mercy, we pray: Keep us in your love, O God.
- For all our beloved sick, for those who face addiction or depression each day, for those who live with dementia or mental illness, and for families and caregivers who love them, we pray: Keep us in your love, O God.
Concluding Prayer: Good and gracious God, watch over and protect us and our homes. Strengthen the love that unites families in peace and joy and grant that our parish family may know the peace and unity that is a sign of your presence among us. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
October 10 World Mental Health Day
October 10 World Day Against the Death Penalty
October 11 International Day of the Girl Child
October 11 Feast of Pope St John XIII
October 11 Opening of the Second Vatican Council 1962
Reconciliation is the ultimate aim of nonviolence because nonviolence holds not only for the absolute inviolability of the human person, both friend and enemy, but maintains that human beings are ultimately one family, brothers and sisters to each other.
Niall O'Brien, Columban priest in the Philippines
So let us regard this as settled: what is morally wrong can never be advantageous, even when it enables you to make some gain that you believe to be to your advantage. The mere act of believing that some wrongful course of action constitutes an advantage is pernicious.
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.)
So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men:
Voltaire. François Marie Arouet (1694-1778)
The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means.
How you can win the population for war: At first, the statesman will invent cheap lying, that impute the guilt of the attacked nation, and each person will be happy over this deceit, that calm the conscience. It will study it detailed and refuse to test arguments of the other opinion. So he will convince step for step even there from that the war is just and thank God, that he, after this process of grotesque even deceit, can sleep better.
War paralyzes your courage and deadens the spirit of true manhood. It degrades and stupefies with the sense that you are not responsible, that 'tis not yours to think and reason why, but to do and die,' like the hundred thousand others doomed like yourself. War means blind obedience, unthinking stupidity, brutish callousness, wanton destruction, and irresponsible murder.
‘I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.’
Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird
‘First of all,’ he said, ‘if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view--until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.’
Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird
It seems that 'we have never gone to war for conquest, for exploitation, nor for territory'; we have the word of a president [McKinley] for that. Observe, now, how Providence overrules the intentions of the truly good for their advantage. We went to war with Mexico for peace, humanity and honor, yet emerged from the contest with an extension of territory beyond the dreams of political avarice. We went to war with Spain for relief of an oppressed people [the Cubans], and at the close found ourselves in possession of vast and rich insular dependencies [primarily the Philippines] and with a pretty tight grasp upon the country for relief of whose oppressed people we took up arms. We could hardly have profited more had 'territorial aggrandizement' been the spirit of our purpose and heart of our hope. The slightest acquaintance with history shows that powerful republics are the most warlike and unscrupulous of nations.
Ambrose Bierce, Warlike America
We should take care, in inculcating patriotism into our boys and girls, that is a patriotism above the narrow sentiment which usually stops at one's country, and thus inspires jealousy and enmity in dealing with others... Our patriotism should be of the wider, nobler kind which recognises justice and reasonableness in the claims of others and which lead our country into comradeship with...the other nations of the world.
My kind of loyalty was to one's country, not to its institutions or its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death.
In reviewing the history of the English Government, its wars and its taxes, a bystander, not blinded by prejudice nor warped by interest, would declare that taxes were not raised to carry on wars, but that wars were raised to carry on taxes.
What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is [the human being]! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment & death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment ... inflict on ….fellow [humans] a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose.
One needs to be slow to form convictions,
but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds.
We must be prepared to make heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudgingly for the cause of war.
Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.
Theodore Roosevelt, April 19, 1906
The slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.
Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark;
the real tragedy of life is when people are afraid of the light.
Plato, (adapted for gender sensitivity)
The state has, in order to control us, introduced division into our thinking, so that we come to distrust others and look to the state for protection! But the roots of our individualism remind us that what we are is inseparable from the source from which all others derive; that coercive practices that threaten our neighbor also threaten us.
I am done with great things and big things, great institutions and big success, and I am for those tiny invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which if you give them time, will rend the hardest monuments of man's pride.
A time will come when a politician who has willfully made war and promoted international dissension will be as sure of the dock and much surer of the noose than a private homicide. It is not reasonable that those who gamble with men's lives should not stake their own.
The soul of our country needs to be awakened . . .When leaders act contrary to conscience, we must act contrary to leaders.
Veterans Fast for Life
If we work in marble, it will perish; if we work upon brass, time will efface it; if we rear temples, they will crumble into dust; but if we work upon immortal minds and instill into them just principles, we are then engraving upon tablets which no time will efface, but will brighten and brighten to all eternity.
The evils of government are directly proportional to the tolerance of the people.
What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.
Robert E. Lee, in a letter to his wife, 1864
The belief in the possibility of a short decisive war appears to be one of the most ancient and dangerous of human illusions.
Robert Lynd (1879-1949), Anglo-Irish essayist, journalist
The cry has been that when war is declared, all opposition should therefore be hushed. A sentiment more unworthy of a free country could hardly be propagated. If the doctrine be admitted, rulers have only to declare war and they are screened at once from scrutiny.
William Ellery Channing
Because we fear the responsibility for our actions, we have allowed ourselves to develop the mentality of slaves. Contrary to the stirring sentiments of the Declaration of Independence, we now pledge ‘our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor’ not to one another for our mutual protection, but to the state, whose actions continue to exploit, despoil, and destroy us.
Butler D. Shaffer
Listen to the dreams of the world's children in John Denver's song, ‘I Want to Live.’
There are children raised in sorrow,
on the scorched and barren plain
there are children raised beneath the
golden sun. There are children of the
water, children of the sand/
and they cry out through the universe,
their voices raised as one.
I want to live, I want to grow,
I want to see, I want to know.
I want to share what I can give,
I want to be, I want to live.
We are standing all together, face to face and arm in arm/
we are standing on the threshold of a dream.
No more hunger, no more killing,
no more wasting life away/
It is simply an idea, and I know its time has come.
I want to live, I want to grow,
I want to see, I want to know.
I want to share what I can give,
I want to be, I want to live.
God of our relating
for hands across the table
for hands across the sea
for hands around the world
for eyes meeting across a room
for eyes opened to different lifestyles
for eyes shining in new friendships
for ears that can hear the beating of a heart
for ears that pick up the crises of the voiceless
for ears that respond to the pulses of the world
Kate Compston, England, from 600 Blessings and Prayers from around the world compiled by Geoffrey Duncan, Twenty-Third Publications, Mystic CT 2000
A Marriage Blessing
The all-forgiving Saviour walk behind you
to pick up the broken pieces
and fashion them into new beginnings;
the ever present friend stay by you
to bring you delight and joy in your relationship
with him and with each other;
the [Lord] of space and times go before you
to keep you in the paths of peace and hope;
Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and forever,
Bless you and make your marriage fruitful to his glory.
David l. Helyar, 600 Blessings and Prayers from around the world compiled by Geoffrey Duncan, Twenty-Third Publications, Mystic CT 2000
Most people are, at heart, well-meaning but, in action, hypocrites. They will weep tears of blood over a child killed in the street. They will accept, without a pang, the deaths of hundreds of thousands from malnutrition. The loss of a lifeboat is an epic tragedy; tribal genocide is a paragraph hastily read, lightly dismissed. Sixty dead in a train crash is a disaster; six million dead in the camps and gas ovens is an historical statistic. The charitable will airlift a thousand tons of food to the victims of an earthquake; they will not raise voice or hand in defense of twenty thousand swept into the oblivions of the disappeared dissidents.Morris West in Images and Inscriptions, HarperCollins, Sydney, 1997
Giver of all life,
move among us and through us,
in our loving and our living.
Draw us toward your community of welcome.
Blessing the Animals
You who created them
and called them good:
bless again these creatures
who come to us
as a blessing
fashioned of fur
formed of flesh
that breathes with
your own breath,
that you have made
from sheer delight,
that you have given
in dazzling variety.
who curl themselves
around our hearts
who twine themselves
through our days
who companion us
in our labor
who call us
to come and play.
who will never be
and so remind us
that you love
what is wild,
that you rejoice
in what lives close
to the earth,
that your heart beats
in the heart of these creatures
you have entrusted
to our care.
© Jan L. Richardson. janrichardson.com.
Reflections on the readings…There is much food for thought and dispute in today’s readings. They can raise many antennae in us. Most couples walk down the aisle on their wedding day filled with the promise of love and dream of a mutually life-giving relationship. The Gospel today begins with a painful description of what happens when love is wounded beyond healing; when bonds are fragmented beyond repair; and when trust is shattered beyond hope. The divorce of someone close to us can leave us feeling disillusioned and helpless. However, the way Jesus welcomed the little children immediately after being tested by the Pharisees points to how he wants us to support those going through the heartache of divorce, or for that matter, any other difficult and complicated experience. We see that human creation in all its forms is about companionship, not compulsory heterosexuality or divinely-ordained patriarchy; that sexual unity is about mutuality, joy and freedom from fear; that relationships are not about possessiveness, and that not all suffering should be endured. But, Jesus’ words about divorce and remarriage seem to resist interpretation in how they have been interpreted so literally in the Catholic tradition. But life is messy. The image of Jesus was probably not that idyllic: children dirty or dirtying their pants toddlers screaming and hanging on to mother in stranger-danger fear; two siblings beginning arguing and pushing each other around? The parents were not reprimanded for failing to contain the children’s youthful energy but Jesus welcomed the mess with an open heart. In fact, the disciples were reprimanded for trying to avoid it by their attitude. Jesus calls us to faithfully and courageously wade into the mess with those who are struggling, so they do not have to face it alone. In the first century, children’s lives were precarious and servile. They had no rights and often regarded as possessions or property. This might explain the disciples’ attitude. Jesus would surely have had better things to do than waste time with children or risk his honour by this undignified behaviour. Jesus turned common perceptions upside down by embracing those that society did not value. Jesus tells us that by serving children, we serve God. If we are following Jesus’ lead, we will encircle those who are feeling vulnerable and marginalised with the same tender care. The reference to the acceptance of children, least of the least, expresses a way of being in solidarity with the ‘little ones’ in our world. It is not about being sentimental or just welcoming cute children. It was not their cuteness that made them attractive to Jesus but their helplessness. Remember Pope Francis ditching a meal with Congress in 2013 in favour of sharing with Washington’s poor and homeless people. The Pharisees tried to trip Jesus up with their legalism, but Jesus modelled a different way of relating. He welcomed the bedlam and commotion of children, embraced their humble, seemingly insignificant lives, and lifted them up in blessing. Left with the image of Jesus willingly being tackled by a throng of kids, we can ask ourselves, ‘How good are we at welcoming, embracing and blessing the messiness of life?’ With marital relationships, we need to recognise that people live longer; that marriages, even when entered into with love, hope and resolve, might die; and that there might be the possibility of new life and in a second marriage. Would Jesus’ intent be to cause pain for couples and families dealing with divorce and remarriage? Jesus’ response seemed to be to challenge a mindset that only found fault. Is there a way to reconcile the emphasis on unity, companionship, love, and self-sacrifice with the apparent stark prohibition? It is complicated. Let’s remember that Jesus’ context was definitely patriarchal. The prohibition of divorce and remarriage was to protect women and deal with an imbalance where women did not have the option of divorcing a man. Though repudiation was very commonplace by men, women could be rejected for very insignificant things. Jesus was not going to get trapped about marriage and divorce, but addresses the system of power and privilege where a woman who has been dismissed by her husband became a social outcast without being able to support herself. He questioned the pretenses of a male-biased system that rejected women, just as it rejected children, the poor, the sick, and the outsider. In defending women, Jesus is speaking on behalf of all who are rejected and excluded, those without rights. Jesus often made seemingly strong and outrageous statements about how we ought to live: ‘If your right eye offends you, pluck it out!’ ‘You must hate your mother and father!’ As far as I know, they are not usually taken literally. When Jesus was asked whether one can send his wife away, the question was less about divorce, but about domination and manipulation in relationships. In Jesus’ time women rarely, if ever, owned property. They had no way of making a living. Marriage was for them a lifesaver by guaranteeing support for the most vulnerable members of society, women and children. Laws forbidding divorce indicated that women and children should not be left on their own. In criticising those who advocated divorce, especially for frivolous reasons, Jesus was taking up the cause of the poor and the weak. Jesus was not condemning divorced persons but was coming down squarely on the side of the defenseless. ‘Don’t do that to women!’ is his stern message.’ With this background, we can understand Jesus’ words not as condemnation, but as an expression of compassion. The male-biased/patriarchal approach to marriage is out of the question. These go further and deeper than a marriage commitment but the commitment that we make for right and just relationships within our families, our communities and even more the relationships we have as a universal church. Each of us as female, male, adult or child is call to honour that. With this call comes the respect for the individual and is reinforced in marriage, the single life, religious life and another other committed relationship. We are all called to live in right relationship with each other. Our task is to redistribute power that is unequally concentrated in every social relationship. The alienation in marriage coming from abuse of power also applies to racism, sexism, ageism, classism, homophobia and other forms of oppression. We see that Jesus' quarrel with his disciples was that they did not get it. They had missed the point of his teaching. His response to them goes back to their attitude toward the marginalised. Jesus wanted to ensure that his followers formed a community of equals. So, what a distortion when the church continues to be a community where a few have power and position, contrary to everything Jesus said, can lord it over others. This so-called ‘lording over others’ is seen when we deny the truth that people are made for relatedness and engagement and that we cannot be whole persons in isolation or insulation from the world and each other; it is seen when some members of the community are denied leadership or to proclaim the gospel because of their gender. If only the church would emulate the compassion, the kindness and respectful sensitivity of Jesus when dealing with its children who are struggling with divorce, remarriage, and sexuality. Although the social context of Jesus’ day no longer exists, his message of compassion and his desire to protect the weak and defenseless continues to apply. We need to proclaim the message of liberation that Jesus gives to all, as he did to the women of his day, and we need to address oppressive attitudes and structures women that women face today – whether it is domestic violence, female genital mutilation, and any other oppression or inequality the face. Whether single, married or divorced, whether gay or straight, all people are cherished creations of God. Like Jesus, we are to be compassionate and caring, trusting in the good consciences of others and respectful of the difficult decisions they have to make. To exclude those who are most in need of the ministrations of the faith community would not only be unkind; it would be contrary to the example set by Jesus and the Gospel he came to proclaim. The Gospel insists that no one, not a displeasing spouse, not a helpless child, not an immigrant, not even a criminal, is dispensable.