FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER 2020 – 3rd May 2020
INTRODUCTION – Fr Ian McGinnity
The coronavirus pandemic has affected us all. As individuals, as families, as friends, as a global world and as a Church. Whilst some restrictions are being lifted in some States, some children are returning to school, some people returning to their workplace’s, others’ lives have been turned upside down completely. Some may have lost their jobs or have now a severely reduced income, others’ studies have been postponed or interrupted, both at school and university, although teachers and lecturers are doing a remarkable job adapting to different styles of learning online. We are still not out of the woods yet whilst the famous curve is flattening it is still hard to hear of people in the aged care sector being hit so tragically with their families powerless to do much.
This situation has also brought about new possibilities and creative imaginations. New industries are being developed to meet different needs, companies are adjusting to people working from home, people have been called on to multitask and to do things very differently from the way they were done before. Some people have had to change their vocations to survive in this fast-changing world.
There is no doubt that this has brought with it some stress and anxiety for those who find change difficult and particularly for the poor and disadvantaged who may seem to have an insurmountable mountain to climb. It would be very understandable if you feel angry, upset and worried at this time. Indeed, as we are now over six weeks into this pandemic, I do not think that any of us would be human if we were not feeling frustrated or annoyed at present. That said, at this time there is an opportunity here for all of us to take stock of what really matters, to be gentle with ourselves and patient with others.
I am reminded of a quotation from a Stoic philosopher! (Times of crisis is when both philosophy and faith come to our aid). Stoicism was a branch of philosophy that developed around 300 BCE by the Greek philosopher Zeno. The stoics, as they were called, believed that the world was always changing and for this reason the only real control we have in life is control over ourselves, our behaviour and our actions. We can control our personal response to the outside world, by building character and integrity. This philosophy became quite popular in Rome with Marcus Aurelius and Seneca. Marcus Aurelius (who became a Roman emperor) said: “Look within. Within is the foundation of good and it will ever bubble up, if you will ever dig”. In times like this, this is good advice as well as keeping a healthy balance between work and recreation.
Today is traditionally Vocations Sunday, a day to pray for those heeding the call of God in their life. For many years it’s been a day to pray for more priests and religious to minister to the needs of the people of God. I’m wondering however if the Church is not called to think a little bit more creatively when it comes to ministry. A friend of mine once said “we don’t have a crisis in vocations, we have a crisis of imagination!” I think this might be true. With the restrictions to travel we may have to look at different ways of ministering to people: recognising our primary call from God at baptism to be disciples; maybe looking at different forms of ministry for different circumstances – short-term or long-term; allowing women to have more roles of leadership in ministry and even some form of ordained ministry; of disconnecting mandatory celibacy with ministerial priesthood in the Latin rite Church as the Eastern rites of our Church have done for many centuries. We may have to listen to God’s Spirit more attentively in this crisis. What is God calling us to? And how can we reflect the resurrected Christ to the world at this time?
I’ll leave you with a verse from the psalm this weekend Psalm 22/3:
‘The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose. Near restful waters he leads me to revive my drooping spirit.’
Stay safe and strong.
PLEASE CONTINUE TO KEEP IN YOUR PRAYERS:
Mr Tony Hughes, Principal of Christ the King Primary, who once again had to have more eye surgery last week. He continues to recover slowly.
READINGS FOR THE MASS: Provided by Universalis, can be found here: www.universalis.com
THOSE IN NEED: During this difficult time, if you hear of anyone in need of assistance from a priest or the Parish Office, please do not hesitate to contact us on 9871.8710 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or requiring assistance from Vinnies, please call 13 18 12.
IN YOUR MERCY, PLEASE REMEMBER THOSE FOR WHOM PRAYERS HAVE BEEN REQUESTED:
THE SICK: Arthur John Meston, Mary Magill, Joe Frare, Afifi Elchaar, Daniele Donu, Patrick Wheeler, Sylvette Marsh.
RECENTLY DECEASED: Fr Pat McAuliffe (former Parish Priest of Cabramatta Parish)
ANNIVERSARIES: Peter Murphy, William Lum.
DECEASED: Yvonne Boulous, Phillip Boulous, Charlie Karam, Leila Karam & All Souls.
THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
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As the school holidays finished and Term 2 commenced this week, parents may be feeling a little overwhelmed and confused during this isolation period …