Catholic in Yanchep

Go out into the deep.


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2nd Sunday of Lent, Year B | Can you sacrifice what you love the most?

Abraham and Isaac, Henry Davenport Northrop, 1894, Treasures of the Bible, illustration.

Abraham and Isaac, Henry Davenport Northrop, 1894, Treasures of the Bible, illustration.

This Sunday’s readings link Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac with the Transfiguration of Christ.  What’s the connection?  And how are we to respond when people like Richard Dawkins say things like this in The God Delusion?

“Any modern legal system would have prosecuted Abraham for child abuse, and if he had actually carried through his plan to sacrifice Isaac, we would have convicted him of first degree murder.” 

Mass readings, Word format:Year B Lent 2nd Sunday

Mass readings, Pdf format:Year B Lent 2nd Sunday

John Kincaid lays it out brilliantly for you at The Sacred Page and Fr Barron also speaks about the meaning of the Abraham and Isaac narrative in his Lent reflections.  If you haven’t signed up to these yet, please do!  His homily for today focuses on the mystical experience of God.

Click-here-to-listen

The trouble with Dawkins is that he does not understand the manner of God’s revelation of himself, and neither does he want to.  If you really desire to understand God, pray for a heart that is humble and open to a mystical experience of him.  Nothing gets in the way of experiencing God like arrogance and self-righteousness.  And read a commentary that explains how the Bible works, such as Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins’ Walking with God.


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6th Sunday in Ordinary Time | The leprosy left him and he was cured

Ilyās Bāsim Khūrī Bazzī Rāhib,  Jesus Cleanses a Leper, Arabic Gospels, 1684, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, Manuscript W.592, fol. 89b.

Ilyās Bāsim Khūrī Bazzī Rāhib, Jesus Cleanses a Leper, Arabic Gospels, 1684, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, Manuscript W.592, fol. 89b.

How interesting it is that at the same time that Stephen Fry’s YouTube video on God is going viral, our Gospel Readings are all about the healing miracles of Jesus.  This Sunday’s readings can be downloaded here:

Word format: Year B 6th Sunday

Pdf format: Year B 6th Sunday

We can respond to Fry’s comments on suffering in a variety of ways.  Two of these are:

1.  Suffering can be redemptive (if you are willing to offer it in this way).  Many Saints offered their suffering united with the cross of Christ: think of Therese of Lisieux, Gemma Galgani, Maria Goretti, Chiara Badano … the list is very long.

2. Suffering can be healed.  Jesus provides ample evidence of his ability to perform miracles through our faith-filled prayer.  Two huge volumes by Craig Keener give numerous examples of well-attested miracles, for those who want to take a scholarly, historiographical approach.  And then there are websites like this giving public testimony of Jesus’ miracles, intended for a more general audience.

But if you just want to reflect on today’s Scriptures, I would recommend this Scripture Study by Dr John Bergsma, and this homily by Fr Robert Barron.

Click-here-to-listen

Apologies for the irregularity of my posts lately.  I have been in South Africa and when I returned, my internet connection was down as a result of lightning strikes!

 


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4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B | He taught them with authority and power

Jesus casts out an Unclean Spirit, illuminated manuscript, folio 166R, Tres Riches Heures du Duc du Berry, Limbourg Brothers, 1412-1416, Musee Condee, Chantilly, France.

Jesus casts out an Unclean Spirit, illuminated manuscript, folio 166R, Tres Riches Heures du Duc du Berry, Limbourg Brothers, 1412-1416, Musee Condee, Chantilly, France.

Apologies for not posting last week.  I am in South Africa visiting my mother who has been ill.  Your prayers for her would be greatly appreciated.

One of my friends recently told me it was her opinion that the Bible was ‘man-made’ and not inspired by God.  One of the many counter-arguments to this is the numerous fulfilments of Old Testament prophecy in the person of Christ.  In this week’s readings, Jesus reveals himself as the prophet foretold in Deuteronomy 18 (First Reading).  The Gospel describes the astonishment of the people in the Synagogue as Jesus supports his authoritative teaching by carrying out an exorcism.

The people were so astonished that they started asking each other what it all meant. ‘Here is a teaching that is new’ they said ‘and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.’ And his reputation rapidly spread everywhere, through all the surrounding Galilean countryside.

Jesus didn’t just talk, his miraculous acts provided the evidence that here indeed was someone possessing supernatural power.

Word Format: Year B 4th Sunday

Pdf Format: Year B 4th Sunday

For a Scripture Study on this week’s readings, read Dr John Bergsma’s article here.

And to listen to Fr Robert Barron’s homily, click here.


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The Baptism of the Lord | Did Jesus need Baptism?

The Baptism of Jesus, fresco, Orthodox Church of St John the Baptist, Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan, Jordan.

The Baptism of Jesus, fresco, Orthodox Church of St John the Baptist, Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan, Jordan.

Why on earth does Jesus, the sinless God-made-flesh, need to be baptised?

For the background on this, first download this Sunday’s readings:

Word format: Year B Baptism of the Lord

Pdf format: Year B Baptism of the Lord

Some answers:

  1. The humility of God expresses itself through His immersion into the human condition so that he can lift people out of their slavery to sin. (listen to Fr Robert Barron’s homily here);
  2. This is the first great theophany of The Trinity (see Fr Steve Grunow’s comments here);
  3. Just like David and Solomon before him, Jesus is being anointed for his kingly mission (see John Bergsma’s comments here).

 


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Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year B | His reign will have no end

The Annunciation with St Dominic, Fra Angelico (1395 – 1455), Cell No. 3, Fresco Cycle in the Dominican Convent of San Marco, Florence.

The Annunciation with St Dominic, Fra Angelico (1395 – 1455), Cell No. 3, Fresco Cycle in the Dominican Convent of San Marco, Florence.

In the Gospel reading for this Sunday, the angel says, “He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.”

How is Jesus the fulfilment of Old Testament expectations?  Fr Robert Barron talks about kingship from Adam to Jesus in his homily here:

Click-here-to-listen

 

Download the readings here:

Word format:Year B Advent 4th Sunday

Pdf format: Year B Advent 4th Sunday

For a scripture study on these readings, see John Kincaid’s commentary at The Sacred Page.

And if you are fascinated by the idea of angels bringing messages from God, watch Professor of Philosophy, Peter Kreeft, discussing angels (and demons) here:


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All Saints and All Souls

An angel frees the souls from Purgatory (detail), Ludovico Caracci, 1610, oil on canvas, Pinacoteca Vaticana

An angel frees the souls from Purgatory (detail), Ludovico Caracci,
1610, oil on canvas, Pinacoteca Vaticana

The Solemnities of All Saints (1 Nov) and All Souls (2 Nov)  are particularly poignant to me this year.

I lost my husband to cancer in March, and I remember thinking, as I said goodbye to his body, that Chemistry and Biology could only go a certain way to explaining what had happened.  The essence of Bill, his irrepressible cheerfulness and zest for life, his forgetfulness of self, his ridiculous jokes, his kindness and generosity, the way he would give a chirpy greeting to everyone he passed – in short, those elements which made up his transcendent soul – had moved on, and all that was left behind was merely a shell.

As Fr Barron says in his homily,

We are more than our bodies, more than our memories, more than our imagination, more than our senses.  There is a mysterious spiritual capacity within us.  That’s what the church calls the soul.

 

Click here to listen:Click-here-to-listen

Fr Barron also has a beautiful take on All Saints’ Day here:

The takeaway message is that once you surrender your life to Christ, you find your deepest self.  The saints are those people who have surrendered their lives to God so completely, that they have lit up the world around them with God’s love.  Yes, the saints are heroes and role models but they are also still alive, and they are our spiritual friends – and we can ask them to pray for us and act on our behalf (think of St Therese of Lisieux – ‘I will spend my heaven doing good upon earth.’)

Here are this Sunday’s readings for Australia.

Word format: All Souls Day Year A

Pdf format: All Souls Day Year A

Don’t forget Fr Augustine will join with other Northern suburbs’ priests to celebrate Mass for All Souls at the Chapel at Pinnaroo Memorial Park, Whitfords Avenue on 2 November at 2.30 p.m.  We particularly remember our former parishioner, Veronica (Ronnie) Spratling, who died on 29 October in Victoria.  Our condolences to all the Spratling family.

I have also written a list of deceased members of our parish in the intentions section of the Newsletter. If I have left anyone out, please email me and I will add them to our November list.


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20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A | Jesus and the Canaanite Woman

Jesus and the Canaanite Woman, illuminated parchment, folio 164r, Les Tres Heures du Duc du Berry, 1412-1490, Chateau de Chantilly, France

Jesus and the Canaanite Woman, illuminated parchment, folio 164r, Les Tres Heures du Duc du Berry, 1412-1490, Chateau de Chantilly, France

Here are the readings for this Sunday’s Mass:

Word document: Mass Readings, 20th Sunday Ordinary Time Year A

PDF document: Mass Readings 20th Sunday Ordinary Time Year A

Do you find the story of Christ and the Canaanite woman one of the “hard sayings” of Jesus?  Then listen to these podcasts by Fr Robert Barron …

  1. How great is your faith?
  2. Strength through resistance

 

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.  Please go 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