Eli and Samuel, John Singleton Copley (1780), Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut.
Today in our readings we have the story of the call of Samuel. To appreciate the story fully, read the whole of 1 Samuel, Chapter 2 and 3. The priest, Eli, has not fulfilled his responsibility as a priest in teaching his sons to respect God, and God raises up Samuel to prophesy against him. God will allow Eli to be chastened by his enemies. In his homily for today, Fr Robert Barron relates this story to our own times: many priests and bishops have not fulfilled their responsibilities in caring for their flock, and so the Church in many ways is being chastened by its enemies (largely the secular media and secular society in general), in order to cleanse and purify us.
We can see this also in the wider world in the events of the past two weeks. Aggressive secularism (typified by the blasphemous magazine, Charlie Hebdo) does not teach people to respect God, and so God allows them to be chastised by their enemies, aggressive Islamic fundamentalists.
Parable of the Talents, Speculum Humanae Salvationis, c. 1360 Artist Unidentified, Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Darmstadt Manuscript illumination, Darmstadt, Germany
Please bring a plate for tonight as we farewell Sophie Bird after Mass! Sophie is moving to Launceston to join the rest of her family now that she has finished her Year 12 exams. Sophie and her family have made a wonderful contribution to our local church through their many years of altar serving and helping with preparation for Mass. Thank you, Sophie, for all your years of service – we will miss you!
But while God takes away, He also gives back in plenty! So today we unexpectedly welcome nine new members: young men from East Timor on the Pacific Nations Seasonal Workers’ Program. Bem-vindos! Gil, Thomas and the team will be working at Jason Neave’s farm in Carabooda for the next six months. Please give them your hospitality to make their stay here easier!
This brings me to the theme of this Sunday’s readings: the Parable of the Talents. The more we share our faith (invest our talents), the more our faith grows (talents at compound interest)! Awful warning: if we keep our faith to ourselves, we are likely to lose it! Similarly, the more we share God’s Divine Mercy, the more we are likely to receive it with interest. And so on. Listen to Fr Robert Barron’s explanation here:
Archbasilica of St John Lateran (San Giovanni in Laterano), part of the nave with statues of the twelve apostles, in front of the baldacchino (canopy) over the altar containing the heads of Sts Peter and Paul. The papal cathedra is in the apse beyond.
To us in Australia, it may seem a bit strange to have a feast to celebrate the dedication of a Church in Rome. But let’s not be superficial.
If we want to understand this feast we need to be attentive to the meaning of church buildings, says Fr Robert Barron. Click on the links below to listen:
Additional material here:
Fast facts about St John Lateran:
St John Lateran is the oldest of all the Roman Basilicas.
It is the mother church of all Catholics. The dedication plaque describes the church as: Omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater, et caput or, “of all the churches of the city and the world, the mother and head”.
Enclosed inside the stone and marble altar, is an ancient wooden altar which tradition says is the altar used by St Peter when he was leader of the Church in Rome. It was brought by Constantine and Sylvester from the church of Santa Pudenziana which was built in 140-155 A.D. during the pontificate of the 10th pope, Pius I. Santa Pudenziana is the oldest place of Christian worship in Rome, and was the residence of the Pope prior to the move to the Lateran.
Inside the canopy above the altar are reliquaries containing the heads of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Paul was beheaded around the years 64-67.
It was consecrated in 324 A.D. by the 33rd Pope, St Sylvester I.
In the apse of the church is the cathedra of the bishop of Rome, that is the teaching chair of our spiritual father, the Pope.
The land was donated by Constantine to the then bishop of Rome, the 32nd Pope Miltiades who presided over the Lateran Synod in 313, which declared Donatism to be a heresy. (The Donatists held that people who had fallen away from the faith during the persecution of Diocletian, could not be forgiven and go on to become priests dispensing valid sacraments.)
The name Lateran comes from the land which was owned by the noble Imperial Roman family of the Laterani.
Finally, it is important to remember that it is the original dedication of this church to Christ the Saviour that we are celebrating on 9th November. St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist are co-patrons of the cathedral.
We’re asked the question, “How do we respond to God’s invitation to join him?” Do we trash the invitation (after all, we might mistake it for another bit of spam) or realise what it is and respond with joy? Click on the image to listen to Fr Barron explain …
Also, this is the last week you can make a submission to the Euthanasia enquiry. If you don’t know what this is about, let me explain. Green’s Senator, Richard di Natale, tabled a draft bill in parliament in June, proposing that doctors be allowed to prescribe and administer an end of life substance to a terminally ill person. Pleasego here to find out what you can do.
Some points to remember (quoted from ACL):
Legalising euthanasia puts at risk the lives of society’s most vulnerable people – the elderly, the lonely, the sick, and the depressed. Euthanasia transmits the message that some lives are no longer worth living or worth caring for.
Euthanasia undermines the fundamental relationship of trust between doctor and patient. Patients trust doctors to act in their best interest.
Euthanasia puts pressure on patients who are concerned about being a burden to their families or friends.
Despite safeguards, in countries where euthanasia has been legalised, a large number of euthanasia deaths occur without the explicit request or consent of the patient.
After euthanasia is introduced, the strict boundaries are often relaxed to include, for example, mental illness but no terminal physical illness. Euthanasia for children as young as 12 is permitted in the Netherlands, and for children of any age in Belgium.
In most cases, physical pain can be treated with palliative care.
Also this week, Senator Eric Abetz has been shot down for suggesting there is a link between abortion and breast cancer. MercatorNet has a great take on this issue here. Stay informed because you probably won’t be informed by the main stream media. By the way, Senator George Brandis has been a great defender of religious freedom and will this week be delivering the University of Notre Dame’s annual lecture on religious liberty. Read more here. (… and sorry, it’s in Sydney, not Perth).
And now a quote for the day:
“Love and ever more love is the only solution to every problem that comes up. If we love each other enough, we will bear with each other’s faults and burdens. If we love enough, we are going to light a fire in the hearts of others. And it is love that will burn out the sins and hatreds that sadden us. It is love that will make us want to do great things for each other. No sacrifice and no suffering will then seem too much.”
― Dorothy Day