From the Parish House

This week’s gospel presents us with the classic text from Matthew’s Gospel of the end times.  We read of the separation of the sheep and the goats.  The king says to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:34-36)

This text has inspired generations of Christian believers and is one of the texts that is distinctive to Christianity in that it identifies Christ with every human being that we meet.  It is a reminder to us that Christians do not just love one another or those that are easy to love, or those who repay our love.  The Christian is called to an empathy with the human condition and every human being across the globe. particularly with the poor, the homeless, the hungry, the sick and the imprisoned.

Pope Francis’ recent encyclical Fratelli Tutti is full of reminders that the human family is just that, a family made up of human beings, each with a dignity and a sacred nature that cannot be taken from them.

For Christians, the words of Jesus have an even deeper meaning.  They compel us to recognise Christ himself in each of our abandoned or excluded brothers and sisters (cf. Matthew 25:40.45).  Faith has untold power to inspire and sustain our respect for others, for believers come to know that God loves every man and woman with infinite love and “thereby confers infinite dignity” upon all humanity.  We likewise believe that Christ shed his blood for each of us and that no one is beyond the scope of his universal love.  If we go to the ultimate source of that love which is the very life of the triune God, we encounter in the community of the three divine Persons the origin and perfect model of all life in society. (Fratelli Tutti 85)

So on the feast of Christ the King, which we celebrate this weekend, we are reminded that God’s Kingdom or God’s culture is one that sets all human beings side by side.  All loved, all honoured, all precious.  It is not the hierarchical kingdom that we so automatically associate with kingdoms and kings.

Parish Priest Sacramental Life

Comments

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Tony Mcilroy

I endorse David Rush’s comments.

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David Moore

One tragedy of The Church is that so often it fails to recognise the fundamental truths of today's gospel and the values that lie behind them. This lack of recognition spills into many areas. To give just two examples;
1. Why does the diocese hold so many barely used churches, so it has become a real estate holder not a servant of the poor? The numerous scandals around The Church have driven parishioners away in droves, so even when the present restrictions are lifted, Masses will be attended by dwindling numbers. Zoom and Facebook masses will become evermore popular, so having a parish with a relatively small geographic area and multiple churches becomes increasingly difficult to justify. (These also offer Mass to parishioners like me, where my wife is undergoing treatments that lower her immune response, so I cannot afford to get sick. Staying away from crowds is my life for now.) Yes. It will be difficult to organise, but the blunt reality is that having 5 churches (Camberwell, Deepdene, Balwyn, Wattle Park, Surrey Hills) in this parish is a nonsense. We are in an affluent area where most can drive or catch public transport and Facebook and Zoom give simple options to almost all others. The parish should be actively looking at ways to sell out of its less used churches and other property and using the money to support the bottom end of society (jails, refugees, the homeless, the drug addicted, those whose lives have been shattered by priestly sexual relations, etc.) The gospels are quite clear on this. Helping people is the priority. Having fancy churches is not.
2. Why has The Church gone to such lengths to defend its upper echelons (e.g. Cardinal Pell amoung others) against serious charges when the victims of those people are, at best poorly compensated and at worst completely abandoned? What message does it send to victims when one of our less legalistic and more humane popes of recent times welcomes Cardinal Pell back to the Vatican with open arms? (I have a working with children permit. What chance of Cardinal Pell getting one?)
The great challenge of this text is that ALL of us, from Pope Francis to the people sleeping rough tonight, to treat each other with the same extraordinary dignity and respect that Jesus is recorded as treating people in the Gospels. Not easy, but nobody ever claimed Chrstianity was.

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David Rush

A brief response to say I do not share either of the views of David Moore. Maintaining our churches in their localities is critical to ensure a better attendance and loyalty

The comments about Cardinal Pell are simply wrong . An innocent victim's fight for justice was so clearly vindicated by the High Court. Furthermore his battle for justice was not undertaken by the church but supported by committed individuals. The cardinal's talent is now rightfully acknowledged by the Pope.

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