Accepting the Invitation

In Matthew 22:2-3 Jesus says “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come.”  So, the question I pose is how can we partake in the Wedding Feast in the kingdom of heaven rather than declining to be part of Jesus’ mission?

Too often I can claim to have other things I need to do rather than giving up my time to proclaim the Gospel to others. That is why it is important to find a life balance.  For me it is a matter of prioritizing what is important in my life and how that affects not only my relationship with others but my relationship with God. Thus, it is essential that I make the time to fit everything in.

Moreover, I would argue that to find this equilibrium I need to be proactive in relationships. That is giving quality time to my family and friends therefore witnessing the gospel values through positive interactions. Furthermore, this is evident through my dialogue and active listening that will ensure this is an enjoyable experience for all parties. Additionally, for that life balance it is making time for my passions, that enables me to release the pressure from my study and work and is special to me. However, a word of warning it is important that my interests don’t override my relationships with God and others.

This brings me to my final point that is for my life to be productive I need to make time for reflection. This is a period where I can reflect on my experiences, relationships and devote myself to prayer, or go to a mass celebration and share my thoughts with God. I think it helps me towards a perfect life balance of spiritual, social an emotional necessity. These translate into positive relationships with God and others whom I encounter daily. Besides, it enhances my experiences and well -being which enables me to proclaim the Gospel through my personal witness. Likewise, it gives me the opportunity to ensure I am ready to accept the invitation to wedding feast in the kingdom of heaven.

The Message

In Matthew 28:19, Jesus says to his disciples, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” My question is how do the disciples and Christians today turn these words into actions?

For me I would liken it to the game plan a coach gives his team before they go out to play. The coach reiterates his game plan to the players and exhorts them to carry it out. However, what if the players fail to respond to the game plan or the game plan was flawed and the team loses. How does the coach react?

Some coaches with their assistants like to watch the game again analysing where the team went wrong.  Though, I would call this paralysis by analysis as you can have all the game plans you want but it doesn’t necessarily correlate into victory.  When Jesus told his disciples to preach the message of the Gospel, I am sure not everyone embraced them or Jesus’ teachings but what the apostles did was persist with Christianity having the world’s greatest following.

Next, I believe that all coaches should go with their gut instinct. That means relaying too much information to players gets lost in translation. I would argue a coach should welcome feedback from the players although he/she should trust in their own game plan as ultimately, they are responsible for the team’s performance. I would think that Jesus would have engaged in ongoing conversation with his disciples nevertheless, what they had to say would not have deterred him from his mission. For example, Matthew 16:21-23 “He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man”.

Finally, a coach needs to fix his eyes on the prize and cut him/herself off from mass and social media. For media sometimes does not promote team harmony and can create disunity within the team organisation and the fanbase. Thus, it is not going to be a fight that a coach can win and distracts him/her from what is important his /her own appraisal about the team both on and off the field.  For Jesus it was the Pharisees that tried to bring him undone and eventually their planning led to Jesus’ death. However, Jesus was strong in his own convictions rebuking them when they tried to undermine his mission. For Jesus as it should be for a coach, “Press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14.

The Art of Forgiveness

In John 22-23, Jesus says to his disciples,  if you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

I would suggest that Jesus believed that when confronted by a dilemma, that requires contrition, to achieve a positive resolution, forgiveness needs to occur. Why is this so?

I would argue that disagreements when both people do not actively seek to resolve the issue will see the problem continue to linger and sometimes even spiral out of control. That is why the first step in any conflict that is starting to escalate is to remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible. This I consider assists in creating an opportunity for a successful outcome.

The second step once you have detached yourself from the scene is to reflect on the circumstances, owning your contribution to the problem and formulating strategies that will help you move forward with the other person. Until you begin to do this you can’t even contemplate reaching a solution.

The final step is to set up a meeting with the person to reconcile your differences over the dispute which escalated and now requires both people to forgive one another. This I feel necessitates both parties to strive for a compromise where both their needs can be met otherwise you are back to square one. Jesus offered the best solution that is forgiveness of one another for failing to reach an agreement in the first place.

Seeking Compromise

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6: 37

In Luke 6:37-42 Jesus tells a parable about people judging others with the emphasis on your actions rather than your neighbours when faced with challenging situations where you feel angry and annoyed. So, Jesus is asking us to think carefully about what were my actions in the situation that led to me to being despondent and disappointed.

I often think the immediate reason is usually the reaction of the person or people involved in the situation. The words or actions on both sides might be considered harmful on how we can try to resolve the situation. Therefore, the onus is on the two parties to listen to each other’s points of view to achieve a fruitful outcome.

The next damaging factor to achieving a resolution is both parties holding steadfast to their position. If the other party and I approach the challenge facing us with a fixed mindset then we deny ourselves the opportunity to solve the problem. Thus, we need to be open and engage in dialogue that will present us with possibilities to determine a positive result.

Jesus, however gives us the message in Luke 6:37 to remain level headed and if we feel slighted to forgive that person rather than hold a grudge the next time, we encounter that person. Most importantly, reflect on how we can work through this issue successfully in the future.

My Mum

This Sunday, May 10th, all over Australia we celebrate Mother’s Day. This had me thinking about what kind of influence my Mum had on me. Firstly, she was always welcoming, providing relatives, friends and my own family hospitality without requiring notice. Thus, no need for invitation at our house as visitors were always warmly accepted.

Secondly, my mum from a young age was always there to lay down the foundation for my future by enrolling me in a Catholic School something that resonated with her own faith. She worked hard to provide me with an education that would assist me in my learning, gaining valuable life experiences and developing faith and beliefs that enabled me to form strong relationships with both God and people. It taught me to look beyond the inner bubble of family and friends as the importance of socialising with others ensured my knowledge and experiences would enable me to grow as a person.

Thirdly, my mum and I also shared some of the same interests, predominantly reading, having a perspective of world events and the need for a sense of humour, evident by the tv comedies she watched and stage plays she attended. I consider that it is meaningful for my mother and I to engage in dialogue about our passions as it created more stimulating conversations for both of us.

Finally, my mum has imparted on me pearls of wisdom from which I draw on throughout my life. One that particularly sticks in my mind is “a still tongue is a wise head.” Which to this day I interpret as only giving your opinion when it is relevant and informative, not just idle gossip and ensure you listen to what others have to say. Hence, when I have taken this advice on board it has helped me to make worthwhile and, in some cases, valuable contributions to discussions both privately and professionally.

Therefore, I am extremely grateful to my mum and how she has shaped my life. The significance of being hospitable, educated, sharing your common interests and being engaging and interactive in your dialogue with others has enabled me to build positive relationships with other people and grateful for what I have experienced throughout my life. I thank God for my Mum.

Holy Thursday

Please view below a re-enactment clip of Jesus sharing his bread and wine with his apostles at the Last Supper.

 

 

 

Where  you can view  Holy Week Events

There are a range of ways that we are being invited to join in the liturgical events of Holy Week and Easter in the absence of being able to attend services at Mass centres and in our parishes. Please find below initiatives shared from the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide through both live streaming and the use of Channel 44 on free to air television. Please share these with your school

communities.

 Live streaming and TV broadcast of Masses over Easter

 As indicated in the last RE Communique, Palm Sunday Mass was live streamed from St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral last Sunday. The Cathedral also commenced live streaming of daily Mass from today at 12.10pm. Please let your communities know that these can be viewed live and on demand on the home page of www.adelaide.catholic.org.au. They will also be available via Facebook or YouTube.

The following Easter services will be broadcast on free to air television on Channel 44, a community television station, at the following times:

  • Holy Thursday – Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 6.30pm – 7.30pm
  • Good Friday – Passion of the Lord, 3pm – 4pm
  • Holy Saturday – Easter Vigil in the Holy Night, 6pm – 7pm
  • Easter Sunday, 9am – 10am

In addition, the Passionist Community at The Monastery, Glen Osmond, has pre-recorded the 2020 Stations of the Cross. This can be viewed on YouTube at https://youtu.be/l26jKw-KHwM.

Thinking of Others

As we approach Holy Week, I often contemplate how difficult it might have been for Jesus to carry out God’s will. Ultimately, it is surpassed by realising his death and resurrection were the fulfilment of his mission. Furthermore, what is most compelling to me during Holy Week is that despite what Jesus is going through he is always thinking of others.

In Matthew 26:17-35, Jesus prepares the Passover Meal for his disciples knowing that this will be the last meal he will share with them. There must have been conflicting emotions going through his mind as he sat down to eat knowing one of his disciples, Judas, was going to betray him and another disciple, Peter would deny him three times. Yet he ate, drank and broke bread together with them all. Jesus does not discriminate or judge but still includes them in his final meal. It causes me to reflect on how many times I have excluded others because of a breakdown in my relationships with them.

The story continues, when Jesus was brought before Pilate accused of false charges, he did not defend himself but remained silent. “But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.” Matthew 27:14 Jesus’ eyes were fixed on doing God’s will, not his own personal self-aggrandisement. Thus, it makes me think how often do I lash out when I feel aggrieved instead of maintaining self-control and looking at the bigger picture.

Furthermore, Jesus while nailed to the cross and struggling with pain looks to his followers in the distance. Matthew 27:55 This made me realise how frequently our family and friends are there for me in the most challenging times which I believe extols upon me to show my appreciation and recognise their kindness.

Holy Week concludes with Jesus’ resurrection, John 20:1-31. The fulfilment of the scriptures occurs when Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene. John: 20:15. Jesus’ selfless act of dying on the cross culminates in his glorious resurrection which enables everyone to enter God’s Kingdom and experience eternal life. “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:28-30

This inspires me to think how many things am I willing to sacrifice or let go to bring about change to a difficult situation because it is only then that I can see beyond the issue and glimpse with hope into the future. This can only be achieved if I think of others before myself just like Jesus did in his death and resurrection.