Fr Bert had another story to focus last Sunday’s homily:
PARISH MULTICULTURAL DAY This will be held on Sunday 1 October at 11am in the Parish Centre. Tickets cost $10 and food will be provided. To take part in this great celebration of diverse cultures within our parish contact Garnet Jacob or the Parish Office. All proceeds will support the Parish Youth Group.
FR BERT’S HOMILY FROM OUR PARISH FACEBOOK PAGE……INCLUDING LIBRARY PHOTO.
THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY
The assumption is not just about Mary. It is about Jesus, Mary and us.
JESUS died on the cross, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. Through his death and resurrection Jesus has opened the gates of heaven for us.
MARY: Because God chose Mary to be the Mother of Jesus, Mary gets first place in heaven. God would not allow sin to touch Mary, and he also would not allow her body to rot in the grave. God took her up to heaven body and soul.
US: What happened to Mary gives us hope that one day God will take us up to heaven to be happy with him forever. It is through the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus that Mary was saved and taken up into heaven; and that we too are saved and will one day join Jesus, Mary and all the saints in heaven. The Solemnity of the glorious Assumption of Mary into heaven is so important a feast that the Church has declared it to be a Holy Day of Obligation.
9.30am St Anne’s Church
12.30pm Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church
6.30pm St Anne’s Church
FR BERT’S HOMILY FROM OUR PARISH FACEBOOK PAGE……INCLUDING LIBRARY PHOTO.
Palestine was probably the most fought-over country in the world. It was not uncommon for people to hide their valuables in the ground before taking flight from the conflict zone. One day they hoped to return to reclaim their treasure. If they died in the meantime their treasured remained buried. The man who found the treasure was an ordinary honest farm labourer. The lesson of the parable suggests that true happiness can be found as we go about our day’s work.
Brother Lawrence, great saint and mystic, spent most of his working life in the kitchen surrounded by dirty dishes. He used to say, ‘I feel Jesus as close to me in the kitchen, as ever I did in the chapel before the Blessed Sacrament.’ Whatever, our state in life – whether priest, Brother, Sister, housewife, tradesman or school teacher – God is never far away. If we live by the words of the ‘Our Father’ – ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done’ – we are on track to finding true happiness. There is no better formula for peace of mind and heart in this life, no better guarantee of glory in the next, than to live consciously aware that in our work we can find the hidden treasure. In doing God’s will, we gain entrance into the kingdom of heaven.
A legend tells how at the beginning of time God decided to hide himself within his own creation. As God was wondering where to hide himself, the angels gathered around him. ‘I want to hide myself in my creation,’ God told them. ‘I need to find a place that is not too easily discovered for it is in their search for me that my creatures will grow in spirit and understanding.’ ‘Why don’t you hide yourself deep in the earth?’ the first angel suggested. God pondered for a while and then replied, ‘No. It will not be long before they learn how to mine the earth and discover all the treasures that it contains. They will discover me too quickly and they will not have had enough time to do their growing.’ ‘Why don’t you hide yourself in the deepest ocean?’ a second angel suggested. God thought this over and then replied, ‘No. That won’t do either. Soon they will learn to dive to the deepest ocean bed before they have had enough time to do their growing.’ Finally, after many suggestions, one angel came up with a bright idea. ‘Why don’t you hide yourself within their hearts? They will never think of looking there.’ ‘That’s it,’ said God, delighted to have found the perfect hiding place.
And so it is that God hides deep within the human heart until a person has grown enough in spirit and in understanding to risk the great journey into the deep core of his being: there to discover the treasure of the divine indwelling. Men have climbed the highest mountains; they have dug deep into the earth; they have plumbed the depths of the ocean; they have even flown into space, all to no avail. If we discover God deep within us, we will have found a hidden treasure, a pearl of great price, our true worth. To believe that God dwells within us is a profound truth.
In one part of the Mass, as the priest mingles water with the wine, he prays… By the mingling of this water and wine, May we come to share in the divinity of Christ, Who humbled himself to share in our humanity… God can be found within a quiet and reflective heart.
Fr Bert Fulbrook sdb
FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN IN YEARS 1 & 2 IN OUR PARISH
Families are asked to attend a session preparing the families as their children begin to take part in the first Sacraments since their Baptism. The session will be held in the hub of St Anne’s School this Wednesday 2 August at 6.30pm. Both children and parents from both of our schools will have their own activities during the session which will last one hour. The input and format will be different from the 2016 session.
Families will then be asked to attend Mass on Sunday 6 August at 10.30am to celebrate as a community.
The time for Children’s Liturgy Mass next weekend has been changed in order to match with the Family Mass.
It will now be on Sunday 6th August at 10.30am.
FR BERT’S REFLECTIONS ON LAST SUNDAY’S PARISH FEAST DAY
The first apostle to die for the faith was James some time in the 40’s. The Apostles Peter and Paul were martyred in the 60’s. Eventually, every apostle – bar John – was martyred. Thus, in the last third of the first century, the early Christian communities had to go it alone without the guidance of the apostles who had been with Jesus and had encountered the risen Lord. There was no one left alive who knew, saw with his eyes, and touched with his hands Jesus of Nazareth. When no one alive could say ‘I saw the risen Jesus,’ all that was left was the story of Jesus. How did the early churches survive? Two things helped Christianity to survive: one was the story of Jesus, and the other was the Eucharist. And, of course, in the Eucharist we remember the Jesus’ story.
Because of persecution, Christians in the first century celebrated the Eucharist in catacombs, caves and private homes. Churches were not built until it was safe for Christians to gather in public. What has kept alive the Catholic faith in Sunbury is the Eucharist. In the 1850’s, the first Masses in our parish were celebrated in private homes. Some 25 years later, in 1875, Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church was opened and blessed by Archbishop Gould.
At Mass we gather to tell the story of Jesus. At the Last Supper Jesus got down on his knees to wash the feet of his disciples. He also took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘take and eat: this is my body.’ He then took a cup of wine and offered it to his disciples saying, ‘take and drink: this is my blood.’ Through these prophetic actions Jesus foretold that on the following day he was to break his body and shed his blood in self-sacrifice. Humble service and loving self-sacrifice were the examples he asked his disciples to follow when he said, ‘Do this in memory of me.’
On our parish feast day, besides doing things in memory of Jesus, we also remember the humble service and the loving self-sacrifice of our forebears. We stand on the shoulders of those who built up not only the buildings – the schools and the churches – but the faith and culture of this parish. We owe much to the Catholics who built up our parish. We gather today to tell our story, the story of our parish.
In today’s second reading, St Paul reminds us that we all have been blessed with personal gifts, and he urges us to use those gifts to contribute to the building of our parish. Even ‘a cup of water given in my name,’ said Jesus, ‘will not go without its reward.’ In my short ten years in Sunbury, I have seen much more than a cup of water given in Christ’s name to this parish. One good lady, for nearly twenty-five years, has kindly washed and kept clean the priests’ vestments. Another good lady – for more than I can remember – is the first to arrive at Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church every Sunday evening to open up and set up for Mass. And she is the last to leave. There are hundreds of other examples of selfless acts of service which I could mention, but I don’t want to embarrass any more good people. If Jesus promises a reward for a ‘cup of water given in his name’, I can’t imagine what reward awaits these good people. There are good signs for the future of our parish. One day, others will continue to tell and celebrate our story, the story of our parish. And, even when we pass on – and our name is forgotten – God will never forget.
Fr Bert Fulbrook sdb
When the simple pine coffin of John Paul II was set down before the altar in St Peter’s Square, an open copy of the book of the gospels was placed upon it. Karol Wotyla had lived his whole life – as a seminarian, priest, Bishop and Pope – under the inspiration of the word of God. Throughout his entire life he preached and lived that word. There, in death this holy man – now a canonised saint – lay quite literally beneath that same word.
The prophet Isaiah likens God’s word to falling rain that moistens the earth and brings forth growth. ‘The word that goes forth from my mouth,’ says the Lord, ‘does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do’ (Is 55:10-11). Jesus qualifies that statement a little: God’s word is not a battering ram, smashing the door to our heart. The Risen Lord says, ‘Look, I am standing at the door knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in and share a meal with that person’ (Rev 3:20).
Like the sower’s seed, God’s word can fall on the edge of the path and be eaten by birds. It can also fall on shallow soil and wither under the scorching sun. And it can fall among thorns and be choked. But, when God’s word falls on fertile ground, it indeed yields a rich harvest. The gospel of Matthew was written at a time and particular context in which his Christian hearers were feeling the effects of having been ostracised from their Jewish community. The trials had proved too much for some and they fell away from their faith. Others were confounded by the fact that other Jews could not accept the person and message of Jesus as they had. We recall last Sunday’s gospel. In it Jesus blesses his disciples for their understanding of his person and his message. It is one of the most comforting pieces of scripture.
Jesus, through the parable of the sower and the seed, makes it clear to his disciples that not everyone is ready to hear and accept the message as they had. The teaching behind the parable of the sower is as true for us today as it was in its original context. The word of God continues to fall on people who are at various stages of readiness to receive it. What Jesus suggests to his disciples – and to us – is that the ‘good soil’ can’t always be taken for granted. Jesus doesn’t tell his disciples to only sow the word in people who are receptive. Rather, he wants them – and us – to scatter the word everywhere and to rejoice when it does find good soil and yields a rich harvest. Today, as I do every Sunday, I am conscious I am preaching the word to the converted.
I am aware that I am reaching only 10% of the Catholics in Sunbury. Should I be sad about that? Sure, there is reason to be sad. But, there is also good reason to rejoice, because you are here, and the word is reaching you. The word is falling on good soil, and you are that fertile soil that will produce a rich harvest, a hundred, sixty even thirty-fold. The word will make a difference to your life, and it will also make a difference to the people who are touched by you. At the end of Mass you are sent forth to spread the word by your lives and to give glory to God.
Fr Bert Fulbrook sdb