Pastor’s Desk – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today we read about the Judge whom we are told ‘had no fear of God or Man’. He was in such a position of authority that people were at the mercy of his decisions with no recourse to any appeals it seems. It appears that perhaps he may not have always granted the correct justice due to individuals in all matters that came before him.  

The widow wants justice for some wrong that has been done against her although we don’t hear what it was. It’s obvious that she had come to court seeking justice before but those attempts have not had the deserved outcome. Not giving up she becomes a one-woman pressure group and keeps up her quest in the belief that she will get justice in the end as a result of her persistence.

Eventually, not out of any moral duty or fear for God or man, the Judge grants the woman her request simply because he knows that the woman will persist with ‘pestering’ him. He wants an easy life without having to answer to anyone else for his decisions – good or bad.

Jesus promises that justice will be done in due course to all who call on him night and day in prayer. Like the woman in today’s parable who didn’t abandon her quest, he urges us to never be discouraged and encourages us to do likewise in daily prayer.

In the last line of today’s Gospel Jesus asks the all-important question ‘when the Son of Man comes will he find faith on earth’?

Daily prayer is essential to living faith filled lives.

Fr. Gerry

Pastor’s Desk – 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today we have the classic parable that most of us have been familiar with since our Primary school days. We hear how the ten lepers come to Jesus and ask him to cure them. He takes pity on their plight but rather oddly requests that they are to go and show themselves to the priests. As they are going away, we hear how they were cleansed.

Very quickly, their miraculous cure becomes evident to each of them. One man, who was a Samaritan – turns back and he thanks Jesus, who declares immediately that the man’s faith has saved him.

We are all so good at ‘Prayer of Petition’. The sort of prayer we turn to God with when we are faced with bad news, bereavement, illness etc. But just like the other nine who were cured in today’s story we are not so good for going back to God to give thanks. Often we get discouraged when we feel that our prayer is not being answered the way we wanted or in the time frame we hoped for. Sometimes its months or years later that we realise God did answer my prayer but in a way that was better for all involved in the end.

Are we part of the grateful minority? Perhaps in the week ahead we may turn to the Lord in prayer and give due thanks for all he has done for us.  We need to be able to surrender and trust in his plan.

Fr. Gerry

Pastor’s Desk – 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the very first line of today’s gospel the apostles look for an increase in their faith from Jesus. We are not told why they make this request. Perhaps it results from an encounter or experience in their daily lives that has challenged their faith in God. Or simply that they feel weighed down with those highs and lows of daily living that we all encounter from time to time.

Using the mustard seed as an example Jesus tells them that even the tiniest grain of faith has the potential to grow into something big and strong. But, he also makes it clear that faith demands trust from us. Trust in God, in his word and in his providence.

Many of the Saints experienced a crisis of faith at some point in their lives. St. John of the Cross once wrote of ‘The Dark Night of the Soul’. When our belief is tested we can come away from the experience with a deeper and stronger faith than we had before. Through the passage of time we realise that God was actually with us in the midst of our pain, difficulty or sadness and had never abandoned us.  However, when we are in the midst of a crisis we often fail to see or recognise that.  

As the last line of today’s gospel tells us, we are the Lord’s servants and merely doing his work. He does not owe us any gratitude for our service. We should always be thankful to God for all of his gifts to us.

Fr. Gerry

Pastor’s Desk – 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today we read about the rich man who dressed in fine clothes, and dined well each day. In contrast we hear how poor Lazarus was in a pitiful state at the man’s gate, covered in sores and starving with hunger. The rich man does nothing to ease Lazarus plight. When he dies we are told that Lazarus was carried away immediately to his eternal reward where all of the hardship that he endured in life is now gone.  The rich man also died but unlike Lazarus he ends up in Hades where he suffers great torment. The man realises that he has been a fool for not taking care of others and in a vision he asks Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house to warn his brothers that they need to change their ways before it is too late. Abraham is quick to point out that they should listen to the teaching of Moses and the prophets if they want to be saved. But he hints that they would probably not be convinced ‘even if someone should rise from the dead’.

What had happened the rich man was that his comfortable lifestyle prevented him from seeing his need for God in his life and now he realises that he has been foolish.

In our world today there is a huge disparity between the rich and the poor. So much of the wealth is owned by a few. There are those who have done well in business and life who share their good fortune with those less well-off but they tend to be a minority. Today’s gospel is a reminder of how we should store up things in this world for the next, instead of just storing up things so we have a comfortable lifestyle in the present.

Fr. Gerry

Pastor’s Desk – 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The rich man we hear of in today’s Gospel had gone off to enjoy life and left his property in the capable hands of one of his stewards. Everything was well for some time but then the steward got lazy and wasted a lot of his time enjoying life too. To facilitate this, he took advantage of his position and began to appropriate some of the master’s money coming in from the tenants for his own personal use.

Eventually the rich man returns home, asks him to give an account of his stewardship and discovers what’s been going on. He immediately sets about dismissing the steward. Realising what was about to happen to him and declaring that he was no good for digging or begging he decides to ingratiate himself with the master’s debtors by writing down the value of the debt they owed to the Master. They were all vulnerable and so they took the opportunity to pay back considerably less than they owed even though they knew the steward had no authority and was being dishonest with the master’s money.

It seems strange that Jesus would use an example of dishonesty to illustrate his message, yet he says we could learn something from the dishonest steward. The steward in today’s story used all his resources to secure his future.  As children of light we are challenged to have that same dedication and use all our blessings, our time, talents and health – wisely and justly so that we can all give a good account of our stewardship when we are asked by God.

Fr. Gerry