LITURGY NOTES FOR THE THIRTY THIRD SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME, 2018
November 18, 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.
Liturgy of the Word
First Reading: Daniel 12:1-3
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11 R. You are my inheritance, O Lord!
Second Reading: Hebrews 10:11-14, 18
Gospel: Mark 13:24-32
God of Hope,
we do not know the day or the hour
when the old world will be gone.
Open our eyes to the continuing signs of Jesus’ presence
and may we see him walking by our side.
Keep us faithful in hope, firm in love for you
and consistent in our concern for one another.
Prayer over the Gifts
God of Hope
in this bread and wine
we offer ourselves to you.
Expand our hearts and lives
with the courage to commit ourselves
to your vision for the world
in order to bring you Reign to completion.
Prayer after Communion
God of Hope
as we have taken delight
in the sharing of the body and blood of Jesus,
may we also delight in serving others in faith and love.
Challenge us to creatively build a new world
by the power of Jesus,
in whose name we pray.
For the prayer of the faithful
Introduction: Let us pray with hope and trust to the God of the Cosmos who waits for us at the end of life’s journey. The response to each prayer is: We place our trust in you, O God.
* For indigenous people around the world, especially in Australia: may all Australians continue to believe in the enduring value of their cultures and come to see that their survival also affects us. We pray: We place our trust in you, O God.
Concluding Prayer: Loving God, hear the prayers of your people this day. Be the light of our lives, our hope when life is difficult, and give and make our hearts sensitive, so that we can continued to be inspired to involve ourselves in the service of the life to which you call us.
November 18 Second World Day of the Poor
Message of Pope Francis for Second World Day of the Poor
Resources from Presentation Sisters Australia: Encountering the Poor as a Way of Life
November 20 Universal Children’s Day
1959: Declaration of the Rights of the Child
1989: Convention on the Rights of the Child
November 25 Solemnity of Christ the King
November 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Why don't church leaders forbid Catholics from joining the military with the same fervor they tell Catholics to stay away from abortion clinics?
If you had only known the man you were trying to kill, you would have risked your life, to save his.
If we listen attentively we shall hear, amid the uproar of empires and nations, a faint flutter of wings, a gentle stirring of life and hope.
Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it.
Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held.
Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books.
Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin.
Believe nothing just because someone else believes it.
Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true.
Buddha - Gautama Siddhartha
Do not say, that if the people do good to us, we will do good to them; and if the people oppress us, we will oppress them; but determine that if people do you good, you will do good to them; and if they oppress you, you will not oppress them.
We kill at every step, not only in wars, riots, and executions. We kill when we close our eyes to poverty, suffering, and shame. In the same way all disrespect for life, all hard-heartedness, all indifference, all contempt is nothing else than killing. With just a little witty skepticism we can kill a good deal of the future in a young person. Life is waiting everywhere, the future is flowering everywhere, but we only see a small part of it and step on much of it with our feet.
I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have: three meals a day for their bodies,
education and culture for their minds - and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Only a large-scale popular movement toward decentralization and self-help can arrest the present tendency toward statism... A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude. To make them love it is the task assigned, in present-day totalitarian states, to ministries of propaganda, newspaper editors and schoolteachers.
Aldous Huxley, (1894-1963
We stand today at a crossroads: One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other leads to total extinction. Let us hope we have the wisdom to make the right choice.
Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves.
In a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.
As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.
…..most men have bound their eyes with one or another handkerchief, and attached themselves to some one of these communities of opinion. This conformity makes them not false in a few particulars, authors of a few lies, but false in all particulars. Their every truth is not quite true. Their two is not the real two, their four not the real four; so that every word they say chagrins us, and we know not where to begin to set them right.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
We are to cast out demons, be healers, artists, musicians,
the builders of caring institutions.
Creativity is not the work of a few. …
We each have the task of making the earth into a fairer, kinder place.
The first step is imaging a better world,
and that is most apt to happen
when we suffer or look upon suffering.
The End is Not Yet
Mark 13 and Romans 8:18-25
When you hear war, and rumours of war,
the end is not yet, just wind and tide.
These are birth pangs of mother earth,
in travail with children of God.
Don’t be mislead, don’t grow anxious,
do not follow men of great pride.
Keep your hearts true, all will be well,
slow turn the years, patient is God.
When you’re abused, if you are beaten,
do not lose heart, I’m at your side.
Don’t practice speeches, nor try slick words,
just tell the truth, honest to God.
I’ll show the way, the Spirit your Friend,
just keep the faith, however you’re tried.
Though friend forsake, or child betray,
hold your heads high, faithful is God.
Temples shall fall, stone upon stone,
rubble and dust, all human pride.
Watch through dust storms, be there at dawn,
when the end comes, you’ll know your God.
© Bruce Prewer 2002
The Peace Prayer
Lead me from death to life, from falsehood to truth.
Lead me from despair to hope, from fear to trust.
Lead me from hate to love, from war to peace.
Let peace fill our heart, our world, our universe.
Peace. Peace. Peace.
Adapted from the Upanishads by Satish Kumar
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.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The church that preaches the gospel in all of its fullness, except as it applies to the great social ills of the day, is failing to preach the gospel.
The prophet courageously challenges oppressive social structures of which the church may be an integral part. The prophet is the end result of the best in the tradition and spirituality of the church, which soon, sadly, drives him or her out.
We're not made by God to mass kill one another, and that's backed up by the Gospels. Lying and war are always associated. Pay attention to war-makers when they try to defend their current war: if they’re moving their lips they're lying.
If any preacher tells you that personal salvation can be achieved without first paying attention to social justice, you may know by this sign alone that you are listening to a false prophet.
You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.
It may well be that the greatest tragedy of this period of social change is not the glaring noisiness of the so-called bad people, but the silence of the so-called good people.
Dr Martin Luther King. Jr.
War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.
John F. Kennedy
If you see injustice and say nothing, you have taken the side of the oppressor.
Praying for peace is like praying for a weedless garden. Nothing will happen until you get your hands dirty.
John K. Stoner, co-founder of Every Church A Peace Church
A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.
We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we do about peace - more about killing than we do about living.
Omar Bradley, WWII General
Military power is as corrupting to the man who possesses it as it is pitiless to its victims. Violence is just as devastating to the soul of the perpetrator as it is to the body and souls of those who are victims of it.
American Friends (Quakers) Service Committee
The most profoundly creative way to overcome enemies is to make them our friends. But this involves a series of painful acts, a constant decision never to achieve our goals by destroying or humiliating others.
Dom Paulo Cardinal Arns, former archbishop of Rio de Janeiro
We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
Aesop (c. 550 B.C.)
Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.
Justice Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941)
The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.
Albert Camus (1913-1960)
Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive.
Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) Historian and author
The psychology of 'bigger and better', of the record smasher, the money maker, the imperialist, the speed maniac, the time saver, and the religious fanatic is the psychology of the drug addict. He has not the faintest idea of when or where to stop. He knows only that he wants more and more and more of the same--more speed, more cash, more power, more territory, more converts, more thrills. He wants to possess infinity, whereas the man of sensibility asks only to be possessed by infinity. Thus in the certainty of his given and eternal identity with the ultimate Reality, man is at last free to love things and people for themselves rather than for what he can get out of them. Free from anxiety and impatience he can concentrate on the creation of quality rather than quantity. Free from the compulsion to deserve eternal life by piling up merits, he can love people with their benefit in mind rather than his own salvation. Free from the craving to possess spirit and life, he can devote himself to the perfection of form and matter.
Order, beauty and discipline, harmony and co-operation, exist already in nature below the human level. But the infinite Reality expresses itself as man to introduce a yet more complex and exquisite order. When man considers himself separate from the infinite, he manifests a chaos parallel to the necessary element of chaos in nature. Yearning for the infinite, he wrecks the finite limitations that seem to bar its attainment, first spiritually and then physically. But when he realizes that he is after all one with the infinite from the beginning, he is in a position to be a creative instrument and to fulfill the positive aspect of his destiny.’
Alan Watts, The Supreme Identity: An Essay on Oriental Metaphysic and the Christian Religion, New York: Random House: Pantheon Books © Alan Watts 1972
We declare how we value God as much by our actions, by the way we treat other people, by the manner in which we do our work, as by anything we say. If my actions are wrong or wrongly motivated prayer cannot make them right. If however, despite my failures and inconsistencies, I do on the whole want to put God above all things then prayer will help to purify my motives and clarify my judgment.
Christopher Bryant, from The River Within
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.
The depth and strength of a human character are defined by its moral reserves. People reveal themselves completely only when they are thrown out of the customary conditions of their life, for only then do they have to fall back on their reserves.
Leonardo da Vinci
Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair but manifestations of strength and resolution.
Hard as it may be to believe in these days of infectious greed and sabers unsheathed, scientists have discovered that the small, brave act of cooperating with another person, of choosing trust over cynicism, generosity over selfishness, makes the brain light up with quiet joy.
I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness.
If all my friends were to jump off a bridge, I wouldn't follow. I'd be at the bottom to catch them when they fall.
Spread love everywhere you go: First of all in your own house...let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness.
Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism - how passionately I hate them!
Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.
George Bernard Shaw
It is discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.
We have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. Our minimal expectation is to occupy it as an American colony and maintain social stability for our investments. This tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and Peru. Increasingly the role our nation has taken is the role of those who refuse to give up the privileges and pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.
Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
What is dissent?
I don’t remember exactly when I first began to notice the shift of circumstances, the change in attitudes, but I do know that every day the truth of the difference between past and present religious evolutions got more and more clear for me.
What has for long years been considered ‘dissent’ in the churches by those who want more answers than questions, more clerical authority than spiritual investment may not be real dissent at all. People are not challenging Christianity and leaving the Church. They are not arguing against the need for a spiritual life. They are not denying God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit. They are not ridiculing religion and going away. On the contrary. People currently considered ‘excommunicated’ or ‘suspect’ or ‘heretical’ or ‘smorgasbord’ believers are, in many ways, among the most intense Christians of our time. They do more than sing in the choir or raise money for the parish center or fix flowers for the church. They care about it and call it to be its truest self. They question it, not to undermine it, but to strengthen it. They call for new ways of being church together. They do not dismiss the need for the spiritual life. They crave it. What’s more, they look for it in their churches. But they crave more than ritual. They crave meaning. They look for more than salvation. They look for authenticity and the integrity of the faith.
Women, in particular, find themselves with theological questions that will not go away and immerse themselves in the struggle to bring the churches to be what the churches say they are. Men grapple to reconcile what the institution teaches with what the institution does. These men and women do not abandon the spiritual life, however distant their association with the churches that feel so distant from them. If anything, they try harder to provide for themselves the kind of fullness of the spiritual life their churches fail to provide or even deny, for whatever reason. They reach out everywhere to everything that will provide new insights, new awareness of the presence of God.
Sr Joan Chittister osb
We begin, sometimes without realizing it, to worship things, to relate to them as persons. And in the process, we inevitably relate to other persons as if they were things.
Edward J. Farrell
For a better world
Generous God, we thank you:
For the gifts you have given us,
the abundance of your Creation,
and the beauty that surrounds us.
For the people whose lives have touched ours,
for the love they show,
the burdens they lift,
the hopes we share.
Compassionate God, we ask you:
to fill us with your love,
to place in our hearts a spirit of courage,
to move us to reach out to others in need.
And lead us to play our part,
now and in generations to come
all your children may share in
our hope for a better world.
We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Written by Catherine Gorman/CAFOD for the Your Catholic Legacy consortium
Reflections on the readings
Today’s readings seem to be filled with gloom and doom. They are not meant to be threats or make us fearful. We are invited to reflect about how we live our lives today. The references to war, famines earthquake, families torn apart, persecution, conflict and other fearful phenomena seem very contemporary. But, the intent of the scriptures is hopeful. The ‘Son of Man’ (‘the truly Human One’) will be the source of hope. His coming is to offer hope and the possibility that we possess the creative energy to making all things new. Consider the beautiful words in Daniel: ‘But the wise shall shine brightly like the splendour of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.’ I am aware of so many people at all levels of education prepare young people for ‘participation in the creation of a more just and humane world’? Anne Frank says, ‘How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.’
We are challenged to look at life with new eyes ...not with self-centred concern but with compassion and care. To serve each other does not just involve thinking differently but also taking the necessary steps to move outside ourselves: to lend a hand to those in need, a listening ear to those who are lonely and a compassionate, and offer and understanding heart to those who find themselves living on the fringes of society. It is only in giving ourselves to each other that we gain a proper perspective on life and let Jesus Christ lead us so that we might, in the words of the prophet Daniel, ‘be wise and shine brightly...like the stars forever.’ We know of these stars through their words and actions for justice; Fr Ted Kennedy in his solidarity with Aboriginal people in inner west of Sydney; Mum Shirl who took in troubled Aboriginal youth; Nelson Mandela and his struggle for freedom in South Africa; St Oscar Romero and his call for Christians to transform history; Malala Yousafzai and her brave insistence on education for women and girls in Pakistan; the late Wangari Maathai with her creative healing of the Earth by planting 1000’s of trees. We might think of other examples of wise teachers who shine bright in our live and hopefully led us on the path to justice.
We are called to pay attention to those among us who show us a different way of responding to distress, pain, and violence. The prophet Daniel speaks to a people facing great distress with violence and fear lurking everywhere, religious freedom was really threatened and sacred sites damaged and desecrated. For many people such experiences are very contemporary. We still need to stand up for people (men, women and children) held in foreign detention centres; a caravan of immigrants threatened with violence in the USA; people seeking protection are turned away from the ‘fences’ of Europe; people in cities facing violence and poverty; investigative journalists threatened, silenced and even murdered for saying that injustice is not okay; disasters such as wild fires and hurricanes; various forms of sexual violence in our work places and families. Then there are more private distresses people carry such as sick children who in some cases need long-time or life-long care, or concern for aging parents, or living people who have mental illness, or experiencing relationship breakdowns. These can be lonely and fearful times. We might ask where is God? We should also ask where are our sisters and brothers in the faith? Where are we for those who are remembered today on this World Day of the Poor. We are reminded that God hears their cry. Do we?
In an earlier passage, when the disciples stood in awe of the temple, Jesus dismissed it by saying ‘all will be thrown down’ (Mark 13:2). God’s favourite dwelling place is in people, in all creation, not in buildings or institutions built on the exploitation of the weak and poor. True religion puts God’s treasure—the least of these—first. St Lawrence, the 3rd century Roman deacon, when commanded by Roman authorities to hand over the church’s riches was martyred for bringing the church’s ‘treasures’ - the city’s lame, sick, poor and excluded. These are the very image of God. The readings offer hope and encouragement for people who struggle for justice and oppose oppression. They question the tendency to put particular classes of people beyond the bounds of God’s love and our love and concern. They also question the tendency to put particular people beyond our humanitarian concern. We can act differently to transform our political, economic and ecological reality.
We are currently living in an age of great distress where the very existence of life on this planet is at risk through human destruction of the natural world. Fr. Thomas Berry spent much of his life warning that commercial values were a threat to life on our planet. Today, Mark might be challenging us to consider the future of our planet – especially as we approach the another UN Conference on Climate Change (COP 24) in Katowice, Poland in December. Pope Francis and many scientists warn us of what can happen if the earth is treated like a rubbish dump or as an endless source of resources. Environmental destruction is often seen as an unfortunate consequence of war. Rather than be alarmed, passive, apathetic or sceptical about the future, Mark is calling us to be engaged. He affirms that we can trust in God’s ongoing presence with us today.
Hope comes by facing the darkness, the fear, the loss and tragedy however they are manifested. The late Vaclav Havel, and former Czech President, poet and dissident, who knew persecution, said: ‘Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good’. The Trappist monk, Thomas Merton said: ‘Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.’
The constant question ringing through the scriptures is the one asked of Cain: ‘Where is your brother’? Cain, after murdering his brother Abel, was the first to build a city, to put up fences and enclosures to protect him from influences he could not comprehend and control. Control was what he and subsequent walled empires wanted: control over people (and God) and any of life’s variables that might threaten security. Walled civilisations and closed gates are symptomatic of closed minds and hearts, of an insecurity that can become aggressive and lethal if we do not watch out. Our partiality to walls remains. Today, we call it ‘border protection or border security’. When a nation’s (or Church’s) trust, curiosity, creative imagination, and courage begin to fail, there is talk of walls, closure, isolation, exclusion, and making ourselves look different to others (e.g., the new liturgy) – which lead to suffocation and a deadly ‘normality’.
Jesus preached a coming reign is characterized by gentleness, mercy, forgiving love not avenging justice. Jesus coming has not brought catastrophe upon the world except for himself: ‘……the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again’ (8:31).
So let us not be too concerned with looking at the skies for signs of the ‘end of the world’ but concern ourselves with the present moment: about engaging with the God of mercy rather than condemning others; building God’s reign by embracing the stranger rather than rejecting the different or the difficult. Let us share the vision of Jesus: that whatever is happening does not have to be that way; that it is not okay; that war will not have the last word; poverty will not raise a final triumphant fist; racism and sexism will not do victory jigs together; oppression will not have a foothold over the vulnerable. Let us look to the teachers of the past and in our midst and engage with one another where just and peaceful living is possible. But, let us not miss the world that lies at our doorstep, in our neighbourhood, community or family.