Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, an Australian community, in a worldwide religious congregation.
Jesus loved with a human heart: with him we proclaim his love to the world.
We work to discover through advocacy, healing and reconciliation, God's presence in our world.
We are to be on earth the heart of God. God has no other heart but ours.
- Published: Tuesday, 23 October 2018 22:30
LITURGY NOTES: 30th Sunday of the Year
October 28th 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,
and the great loss of life from all kinds of violence and disease,
and that the land was never given away.
If we are to love our neighbours, before doing anything else we must see our neighbours.
With our imagination as well as our eyes, that is to say like artists,
we must see not just their faces but the life behind and within their faces.
Here it is love that is the frame we see them in.
Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark
First Reading: Jeremiah 31:7-9
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 126:1-2, 2-3,4-5,6
- (3) The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Second Reading: Hebrews 5:1-6
Gospel Reading: Mark 10:46-52
- You open the eyes of those who are blind. Jesus, have mercy.
- You give courage to those who afraid to see. Christ, have mercy.
- You strengthen the faith of those who dare to stand up. Jesus, have mercy.
- Jesus, you see the needs of the human family and hear their cries. Jesus, have mercy.
- Jesus, you notice the hunger for warmth, the craving for justice and human dignity of friends and neighbors. Christ, have mercy.
- Jesus, you feel the desire in people for hope and meaning in their lives. Jesus, have mercy.
- Christ Jesus, you are the light of the world: Jesus, have mercy.
- Christ Jesus, you open the eyes of the blind: Christ, have mercy.
- Christ Jesus, you shine in our hearts today: Jesus, have mercy.
God of light,
open our eyes
to see the needs of those who cry out
or suffer in silence,
and give us the courage to bring them
your healing compassion.
God of light,
you are very near to us in our joys and pains.
Give us the eyes of faith and love to see
the mission you have given us in life
and the courage and grace to carry it out.
Make us also clear-sighted enough to see
the needs of people who cry out their misery
or suffer in silence,
that we may bring them your healing compassion
and lead them to you.
Prayers of the Faithful
Let us pray to Jesus, who restores the sight of the blind, so that we too may see the needs of our sisters and brothers everywhere. Let us say in response: God of light, we look to you in hope.
We pray that we be open to the life stories that people have to tell, especially those of Indigenous Australians, refugees and victims of torture, we pray: God of light, we look to you in hope.
We pray for all people who speak out for women and girls deprived of their human rights, we pray: God of light, we look to you in hope.
For asylum seekers who seek protection from civil war, massacre, prejudice and threats of hunger and disaster, may we not be blind to their plight and to their humanity, we pray: God of light, we look to you in hope.
For all refugees who have died in their search for freedom from persecution and torture: may we together challenge inflexible and inhumane policies towards people who seek asylum in this country. We pray: God of light, we look to you in hope.
Fear can cause blindness and dull our vision: may we see that our fears are overcome through our solidarity and cooperation with those who challenge violence, injustice and abuse of power, we pray: God of light, we look to you in hope.
Courage begins with the capacity to see through the eyes of God’s love: may we be open to the concerns of others knowing that when the least of us is threatened, we are all at risk, we pray: God of light, we look to you in hope.
People who are visually impaired perceive what others do not see: may we as a society accept them and their gifts, and appreciate the generosity of their carers, we pray: God of light, we look to you in hope.
Blindness prevents us from recognizing the image of God in other people: may we realise that the indignity and injustice perpetrated against people indiscriminately and unlawfully detained in Guantanamo Bay, we pray: God of light, we look to you in hope.
Concluding Prayer: God of light, you hear our prayers. Give us the eyes to see people and the world with your vision. We make this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Concluding Prayer: Christ Jesus, make us open our eyes, our hands, our heart and so we can look on this world and on people with the same gentle eyes as you, who are our Lord for ever and ever. R/ Amen.
Prayer over the Gifts
God of light,
your presence is reflected throughout the world.
Give us eyes to see in these signs of bread and wine
the love of Jesus
and give us the faith and courage
to make that love effective our world.
God of light,
the whole world is a sign of you:
Your beauty is reflected in every living thing.
Give us new eyes to discover
in these signs of bread and wine
the love and the life of Jesus your Son.
Give us faith to see your presence in your people.
Prayer after Communion
God of light,
we recognise Jesus in the breaking of the bread
and as the one who opens our eyes
to the needs of our world.
May this celebration be effective in our lives
by our deeper understanding and response to those needs.
God of light,
we have heard and recognized Jesus
in the breaking of bread.
In his light may we understand
the deeper meaning of suffering and pain.
- May God give us a full life by being open to compassion. AMEN.
- May Christ Jesus open our eyes to the wonder of life and all creation. AMEM.
- May the Spirit fill us with courage and the faith that makes us whole. AMEN.
In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Into his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
Everywhere I go - from villages outside Kandy, Sri Lanka, to community centers in Amman, Jordan, to offices at the State Department in Washington, D.C. -- I find people with a similar story. When thousands of people discover that their story is also someone else's story, they have the chance to write a new story together.
Eboo Patel, Acts of Faith and founder of the Interfaith Youth Core
It seems to me that people have vast potential. Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people don't. They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever.
Philip Adams, broadcaster
It is the minorities who have made the history of this world. It is the few who have had the courage to take their places at the front; who have been true enough to themselves to speak the truth that was in them; who have dared oppose the established order of things; who have espoused the cause of the suffering, struggling poor; who have upheld without regard to personal consequences the cause of freedom and righteousness. It is they, the heroic, self-sacrificing few who have made the history of the race and who have paved the way from barbarism to civilization. The many prefer to remain upon the popular side.
When you invite people to think, you are inviting revolution
When the people liberate their own minds and take a hard clear look at what the 1% is doing and what the 99% should be doing, then serious stuff begins to happen.
The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Lunch Hour Christ
I see him busking in the mall,
where people hustle by,
his oboe plays a haunting tune
that keeps my woes at bay.
I watch his eyes upon the crowd
that mass of many moods,
he seems to play for one and all
as if they each were gods.
His tune keens down to secret depths,
then joys above the stars,
but few are hearing any sound
their minds fixed on their cares.
I watch him busking in the mall,
his oboe tunes my soul.
There are a few coins at his feet
but grace is not for sale.
I leave him busking in the mall
although its starts to rain,
the shoppers run for dry arcades
while he plays on alone.
He’s waiting there at home for me
when I come in the door,
He asks me how my day turned out
and I kneel on the floor.
© B.D. Prewer 2002
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.
Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life.
John Muir, A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf
Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful
and the powerless
means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
Not one of God's children can be evil.
At worst, he or she is hurt.
At worst, he or she attacks others,
and blames them for their pain.
But, they are not evil.
Yes, your compassion must go this deep.
There is no human being
who does not deserve your forgiveness.
There is no human being
who does not deserve your love.
Paul Ferrini, American Author and Inspirational Speaker
Of the Good in you I can speak, but not of the Evil.
For what is Evil but Good tortured by its own hunger and thirst?
When Good is hungry, it seeks food, even in dark caves,
and when it thirsts, it drinks even of dead waters.
Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese Poet and Philosopher
Sometimes a man imagines that he will lose himself if he gives himself, and keep himself if he hides himself. But the contrary takes place with terrible exactitude.
Ernest Hello, 1828-1885, French Author and Philosopher
That's when I want you - you knower of my emptiness, you unspeaking partner to my sorrow. That's when I need you, God, like food.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Awareness requires a rupture with the world we take for granted,
then old categories of experience are called into question and revised.
Whatever joy there is in the world, all comes from wanting others to be happy; and whatever suffering there is in this world, all comes from wanting oneself to be happy.
Sure, people need Jesus, but most of the time, what they really need is for someone to be Jesus to them.
The market for private police and private jails is booming, while all of us - some more, some less - are turning into guards and prisoners: guards keeping an eye on whoever's nearby and prisoners of fear.
... No ‘terrorist’ gene is known to exist or is likely to be found... Surely the(y), and their supporters were afflicted by something that caused their metamorphosis from normal human beings capable of gentleness and affection into desperate, maddened, fiends with nothing but murder in their hearts and minds. What was that? Simple logic says that we must go to the roots of terror. Only a fool can believe that the services of a suicidal terrorist can be purchased, or that they can be bred at will anywhere.
Ouch Borith, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom Of Cambodia To The UN: 10/03/2001
Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak; and that it is doing God's service when it is violating all his laws.
If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless and ineffectual.
When I tell the truth, it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those that do.
The first time it was reported that our friends
were being butchered there was a cry of horror.
Then a hundred were butchered.
But when a thousand were butchered
and there was no end to the butchery,
a blanket of silence spread.
When evil doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out 'stop!'
When crimes begin to pile up they become invisible.
When sufferings become unendurable,
the cries are no longer heard.
The cries, too, fall like rain in summer. -
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.
Reconciliation is the ultimate aim of non-violence because non-violence 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
God the world-maker is God the care-taker. Humans properly stand over other creatures only as they stand with other creatures, showing them love, giving them space, and granting them 'rights'.
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
We need a type of patriotism that recognizes the virtues of those who are opposed to us. We must get away from the idea that America is to be the leader of the world in everything. She can lead in some things. The old ‘manifest destiny’ idea ought to be modified so that each nation has the manifest destiny to do the best it can - and that without cant, without the assumption of self-righteousness and with a desire to learn to the uttermost from other nations.
Francis John McConnell
Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings.
Helen Keller from My Religion
The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theatre.
Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one's thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down
Liberty is not for these slaves; I do not advocate inflicting it against their conscience. On the contrary, I am strongly in favour of letting them crawl and grovel all they please before whatever fraud or combination of frauds they choose to venerate...Our whole practical government is grounded in mob psychology and.. the Boobus Americanus will follow any command that promises to make him safer.
- L. Menchen
I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.
He who dares not offend cannot be honest.
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.
. . . in America, we have achieved the Orwellian prediction - enslaved, the people have been programmed to love their bondage and are left to clutch only mirage-like images of freedom, its fables and fictions. The new slaves are linked together by vast electronic chains of television that imprison not their bodies but their minds. Their desires are programmed, their tastes manipulated, their values set for them.
Gerry Spence, From Freedom to Slavery.
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country . . . we're dominated by the relatively small number of persons . . . it is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.
Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing.
Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895)
This is, in theory, still a free country, but our politically correct, censorious times are such that many of us tremble to give vent to perfectly acceptable views for fear of condemnation. Freedom of speech is thereby imperiled, big questions go undebated, and great lies become accepted, unequivocally as great truths.
The press is the best instrument for enlightening the mind of man, and improving him as a rational, moral and social being.
The ruling class has the schools and press under its thumb. This enables it to sway the emotions of the masses.
Albert Einstein, (1879-1955) Physicist and Professor, Nobel Prize 1921
We are not worth more, they are not worth less.
- Brian Willson
Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.
What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do.
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
in the midst of suffering,
help us to resist the depression and marginalization
that suffering can bring.
In difficult times help us to remember
who and whose we are in You
and to live with hope
because of your unfailing love.
Reflections on the readings
The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland seems to have a connection with today’s gospel. Alice follows a rabbit down a hole and finds herself in a place where different values apply. She encounters animals with a superior air and treat her as inferior. The usual roles are reversed. Alice is trapped in her narrow, human way of viewing life and reality, which for her is the only way to see them. It is a terrifying experience. Her fear is actually unfounded as she gradually experiences a movement from a narrow frame of reference within which she viewed reality and to see the limitations of her assumptions, judgments and stereotypes about life and people.
The disciples also seem trapped within their inherited, rigid expectations of Jesus and his mission. But, Jesus shows them that reality is much deeper, and filled with many more possibilities than their assumptions will allow. The Christian’s life revolves around seeing – and seeing what others do not. Two weeks ago, Jesus’ encountered a rich young man who was caught up in a world of keeping commandments and saving himself. Jesus tried to open him up to change of focus from that of his wealth to the people, people who are poor; from things to people he had not noticed before.
Last week the focus of the disciples was on where they would sit with Jesus when their dreams of triumph and success was realised. They had still not heard and seen what Jesus was about. In their own way they were blind. The blind man Bartimaeus stands in stark contrast to Jesus’ inner circle who sought power and honour for themselves. Bartimaeus also stands in contrast to the ‘in-crowd’ – marginalised, as was the haemorrhaging woman. These lowly people, unacceptable in polite society, demonstrated a trust and faith that neither the Synagogue ruler (5:21ff) nor the rich man (10:17ff) could muster.
Though considered a ‘nobody’, sitting by the roadside, on the margins of life, he realises his dignity as a human being. He also defies those who try to silence him. Bartimaeus sees what others cannot see - Jesus true identity. He is not afraid to proclaim that Jesus has come to liberate humanity from a narrow view of reality; a narrow view of others and the world. ‘When Jesus asks ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Bartimaeus’ answer is a simple: ‘Master, I want to see.’ When Jesus asked the same question, the disciples wanted to be in seats of power. Here Jesus interrupts his final journey to Jerusalem and to the cross, to perform the last miracle of healing recorded in Mark’s Gospel. The faith that is Jesus acknowledges is not that of a clearly espoused doctrinal confession but the persistent belief that Jesus can make and will make a difference. It is the faith that keeps squeaking when other voices seek to drown them out. The voices come not only from around us but also from within. Who are you to think you deserve something from Christ? With Bartimaeus we see that Jesus is displacing the powers, not to occupy their place, but to make room for a different kind of kingdom where blind beggars are asked, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’
Despite Jesus saying the last shall be first in his way of doing things; his followers are still willing to push this blind man to the edge of the scene or the end of the line of people waiting to receive mercy from Jesus. We see it on the borders of Europe, Australia and the USA as people cry out for mercy- from us. Our churches, neighbourhoods, communities and families are filled with people living with endless challenges and suffering: grief, addictions, life-threatening illness, anxiety about loved ones, extreme poverty, unemployment and violence. Bartimaeus represents those people who are unwilling to remain on the margins, unwilling to listen to others who suggest that things cannot be different; that change is only daydreaming. We have seen that as women and men cry out to be heard, to be understand and seek justice when they have been abused in institutions in this country.
Bartimaeus refuses to listen to those who try to stop them. We are challenged today about what we see. Whom do we shun, rebuke or quieten? What games do we employ to avoid the perennial question: ‘where is your brother or sister’? Who is crying out for understanding and compassion? Whose cries are we not hearing? Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, West Papua, Palestine, trafficked children, women and men, youth and homeless people on our streets, people in the Philippines who lose their land to Australian mining companies, people who seek full recognition of who they are: Indigenous people, women, gay people. Was there not a deep disconnect in the Prime Minister’s apology to people abused as children in our institutions and the ongoing abuse of children in offshore detention centres? Our leaders refuse to see and so do not need to respond.
Jesus comes to heal the blindness that immobilises and lead us to fuller vision and move us from being passive bystanders. Despite sharing truths about himself and his mission, the disciples are often blind and clueless. Today’s gospel asks ‘who is really blind’. Bartimaeus saw Jesus’ compassion and loving kindness; the disciples did not when they tried to send hungry people away, when they intimidated children and wanted their parents to prevent them from coming to Jesus, when they sought power and privilege.
Bartimaeus’ cry is the subversive cry of children, women, sinners, and people in need of healing. It is an incredible act of hope – a hope that things can be different. It is the refusal to remain powerless and passive. These are the cries reach the heart of God.
Bartimaeus’ desire to see raises questions about moral insensitivity and blindness to injustice. Courage begins when we see through the eyes of God's love, touch that breaking heart as our hearts break to feel for another with God’s compassion, and know God's grief and tears over injustice. We might give notional assent to the sacredness of every human being and every living thing, but action on the behalf of others can be brief and intermittent. Our vision can be dulled by the details of daily, life, the tasks before us, counting the cost and our fears. Arundhati Roy in Listening to the Grasshoppers writes on what it means to struggle against injustice: ‘It means keeping an eagle eye on public institutions and demanding accountability. It means putting your ear to the ground and listening to the whispering of the truly powerless. It means giving a forum to myriad voices from the hundreds of resistance movements across the country which are speaking about real things – about bonded labour, marital rape, sexual preferences, women’s wages, uranium dumping, unsustainable mining, weavers’ woes, farmers’ suicides. It means fighting displacement and dispossession and the relentless, everyday violence of abject poverty. Fighting it also means not allowing your newspaper columns and prime-time TV spots to be hijacked by their spurious passions and their staged theatrics, which are designed to divert attention from everything else’. [p.17]
From the ‘roadside’, today’s ‘Bartimaeus’ would see ordinary people passing by; people caught up in their world and blind to others’ needs. Ear-phones shut others out whether on public transport or on the street with their music. Today’s Bartimaeus would see people close their eyes to misfortune or blind themselves with judgments about the idleness or laziness.
So we might check our own vision and our attention. We might consider whom we might not be seeing or whom we might prefer not to focus or whose voices we may be silencing, at home or overseas. Let’s cry out: I want to see… how prejudice blinds us to the goodness of people who are different to us; how living our safe and comfortable lives can distract us from the demands of justice for the poor and marginalised; how apathy and complacency allows evil to flourish because we do not want to get involved in opposing it. The hardest challenge is to learn to look differently, to look comprehensively, to see the world as God does: with empathy and compassion for all creation. Asking to see can be risky. To see can call into question many things we have believed and devastate us. To follow Jesus is to see things as they really are and it might mean dismantling our beliefs, our theology and worldview. How do we survive seeing? We need to be careful what we ask for!! When we see things with Jesus’ eyes we will see suffering, betray, death, many broken places in our world. But, a mature faith will look at those places and see them. But when we look at what is ugliest, hardest, and fragile in our world we also see (eventually) resurrection.
Pope Francis keeps emphasizing that mercy, tenderness and compassion made concrete are what make a difference to our world. What difference it would make to our communities if we took the time to encourage people in pain to talk about it, if we made the space for them to be heard?
A final challenging quote from Arundhati Roy: ‘The trouble is that once you see it, you can't unsee it. And once you've seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There's no innocence; either way you are accountable.’