Monday, July 8, 2013


Go to Bishop Anthony’s Commissioning Mass Homily
Photography: Alphonsus Fok
The Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, presided at the Commissioning Mass for the Diocese’s World Youth Day pilgrims on Sunday 30 June.
More than 1,100 people filled St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta for the Mass.

Listen to Bishop Anthony’s Homily

Eighteen-year-old Harrison Craig recently won the second season of the Australian song talent show, The Voice. He won against the odds because of a serious stutter that makes him less than ideal for a voice job. Seal, his coach, congratulated him saying: “You sing for a lot of people without voices.” Not only did the boy’s father walk out on him when he was just six years old, but he’s needed regular speech therapy ever since. But Harrison had a sense of his destiny and dedicated himself to it heart and soul.
In tonight’s Gospel (Lk 9:51-62) Jesus teaches us about discovering our destiny and never looking back. It’s not just about a hobby or career. Jesus is talking about vocation, which is more than jobs and personal goals.
When Catholics hear the word ‘vocation’ they usually think priests and nuns, and we certainly need more of both. But the word comes from vocare, to call, and to say someone is ‘called’ is to say that they are selected from among ordinary people and graced for a particular life.
The Second Vatican Council taught that all the baptised are called to holiness and must discern by prayerful faith and critical reason how best to serve.
Young Harrison thought his destiny was to be a singer, knew it would be tough, but gave his all to his music, whatever the risks. For this we admire and congratulate him.
Yet he knows and we know that there is more to life than stardom. Our lives are for our deaths, our deaths for our eternal lives. God has destined us for heaven and our vocation is to be the best we can be till we get there. Your vocation is your custom-fit path to sainthood!
We can easily forget that. In a career-oriented society the focus is on skills and training, on things to help get ahead in a competitive job market, on things that will make people admire you, but not necessarily on helping us know ourselves and our high calling.
I trust our Catholic schools and universities are better at raising those not-for-profit sorts of issues. But even those with the benefit of Catholic family, education and parish can forget that life is about more than money and career, personal ambitions and work targets.

He never imposes. He invites, He calls

Tonight’s Gospel (Lk 9:51-62), on which we also reflected together last time we met, marks a major turn of events for Jesus and the disciples and so for us.
Jesus was popular while ever he worked miracles and taught nice things like the Sermon on the Mount. Now it’s as if He’s decided it’s time for some adult-to-adult talk.
My News really is Good News. It’s the way to happiness on earth and beatific vision in heaven. But to some it may look like Bad News, because it inevitably involves suffering from time to time. You’ll have to endure hard bits if you want to be a star in my contest. You won’t always have the acclaim of the crowd. My pilgrimage has many joys but also requires endurance. It will mean conversion, change of heart, new directions. That’s grown-up faith and that is what I’m calling you to now.
Tonight Christ encounters three kinds of resistance to that call. The first guy is the immediate enthusiast who then flags. Eager at first, he says he’ll follow the song coach wherever he goes. But when Christ says “The Son of Man has no place to lay his head” – in other words, the adventure of the Gospel can be tough at times – the guy slinks away …
The next contestant is the yes-but sort. Sure, I’ll come sing with you, she says, “but first let me bury my father.” We don’t know if that girl’s dad was actually dead yet or just old. Perhaps she was just sticking around for the inheritance.
If you’re alive to me you’ll put God’s kingdom before all your own plans, He says. You’ll make your life a pilgrimage to heaven, not a joy ride to the land of the dead. “Let the dead bury the dead.”
The last contestant is the professional procrastinator. In the Voice of God competition he says: “yea, I’ll come along for the ride, but first I gotta say my good-byes”.
Jesus calls for resolution: Commit now; surrender to the Father’s will. You can deal with the niceties later. You’ll never join me on my way to Jerusalem if you expect to tie up all the loose ends first.
Like we all soon will be, the apostles are on a pilgrimage – from Palestine to Jerusalem to the ends of the earth and finally to heaven. But like the other guys – the fitful enthusiast, the cautious yes-butter, the eternal procrastinator – they resisted sometimes.
They tried their hands at evangelising and the Samaritans wouldn’t listen. What’s their response? Kill ’em all Jesus, call down fire from heaven.
Not a very ‘Christian’ response, we might say. Christ Himself only ever proposes, He never imposes. He invites, He calls, He never forces Himself on people. We are free to accept, free to answer that call – or not.
No one can make you go on pilgrimage. People can make you go on a trip, sure. But pilgrimage starts with a choice. Yes, Lord, I hear you. I will open my heart and mind and ears to you.
Now if it was confronting for the apostles, it might be for us. But pilgrimage is about that. You Lord are the song that God the Father has sung from all eternity: the Word of God. I will join in singing that song. It requires training. It risks rejection. But my destiny is worth it.

Hearts made new through pilgrimage

So off we go to Brazil. There’s some trouble there at the moment – there almost always is before a World Youth Day. It’s as if the powers of this world don’t want anything so good to happen.
Of course, when the time comes, the crime rate drops to zero, the trouble-makers realise they’re just boring, and people are hypnotised by the warmth and idealism of our young people, their faith in God and hopes for humanity.
The dozen or so Aussie bishops will join 453 Brazilian ones, who knows how many from elsewhere, and one Argentinian Bishop of Rome.
Hundreds of clergy and religious from other countries will meet 57,000 Brazilian priests and nuns.
And 250 Parramatta youth will encounter the 170 million Catholics in that one country alone – the biggest Catholic country in the world – and who knows how many outsiders!
In Peru and Brazil the Church is at the heart of almost everything good that’s happening: in Brazil alone, the Church runs 3300 centres for special education, 1600 orphanages and 22 leper colonies.
There’s still much for the Church to do in a part of the world where one-quarter of the kids are malnourished and where child labour is rife.
Yet among such disadvantage we will see faith and hope and love like we rarely see at home. God wants you to see and hear and experience all those things: the Good News and the hard bits that accompany it.
Our Aussie bellies are usually full and our beds are usually warm. It may shake us up a bit to ‘see how the other half lives’ – the other three-quarters actually.
But, ironically, we will find that people with so little have much to give. They can be the voice for God calling us to greatness. And our beautiful Pope Francis who comes from among them will be with them.
In a recent homily, Pope Francis said: “You can’t talk about poverty in the abstract. That doesn’t exist! Poverty is the flesh of the poor, [it is] Jesus in this hungry child, in that sick person, in those unjust social structures. Go, look over there, at the flesh of [the suffering] Jesus. But don’t let yourselves be robbed of hope. The spirit of well-being,” the desire to be safe and comfortable can mean you never risk trying, this “can lead you to become a nothing in life! The young must stake themselves on high ideals: this is my advice. And where do I find hope? In the flesh of the suffering Jesus and in true poverty.”
Tonight I commission you, my young friends, and your supporters, to go to meet Christ. He awaits you with arms wide open in love. He awaits you in all the fun and challenges of the people there. He awaits you in your own hearts made new through pilgrimage. Christ the Redeemer awaits the youth of the world at WYD2013 Rio! Let’s go!


 -  Drama  -  17 June 1960 (USA)
Inspired by the scriptural tale. Moabitess Ruth is drawn both to a Judean man and to his talk of a forgiving God. After tragedy strikes, she begins a new life in Bethlehem.


 Henry Koster


 Norman Corwin



 Stuart Whitman, Tom Tryon, Peggy Wood Elana Eden 


Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 383

Reading 1         GN 28:10-22A

Jacob departed from Beer-sheba and proceeded toward Haran.
When he came upon a certain shrine, as the sun had already set,
he stopped there for the night.
Taking one of the stones at the shrine, he put it under his head
and lay down to sleep at that spot.
Then he had a dream: a stairway rested on the ground,
with its top reaching to the heavens;
and God’s messengers were going up and down on it.
And there was the LORD standing beside him and saying:
“I, the LORD, am the God of your forefather Abraham
and the God of Isaac;
the land on which you are lying
I will give to you and your descendants.
These shall be as plentiful as the dust of the earth,
and through them you shall spread out east and west, north and south.
In you and your descendants
all the nations of the earth shall find blessing.
Know that I am with you;
I will protect you wherever you go,
and bring you back to this land.
I will never leave you until I have done what I promised you.”

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he exclaimed,
“Truly, the LORD is in this spot, although I did not know it!”
In solemn wonder he cried out: “How awesome is this shrine!
This is nothing else but an abode of God,
and that is the gateway to heaven!”
Early the next morning Jacob took the stone
that he had put under his head,
set it up as a memorial stone, and poured oil on top of it.
He called the site Bethel,
whereas the former name of the town had been Luz.

Jacob then made this vow: “If God remains with me,
to protect me on this journey I am making
and to give me enough bread to eat and clothing to wear,
and I come back safe to my father’s house, the LORD shall be my God.
This stone that I have set up as a memorial stone shall be God’s abode.”

Responsorial Psalm            PS 91:1-2, 3-4, 14-15AB

R. (see 2b) In you, my God, I place my trust.
You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
Say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
R. In you, my God, I place my trust.
For he will rescue you from the snare of the fowler,
from the destroying pestilence.
With his pinions he will cover you,
and under his wings you shall take refuge.
R. In you, my God, I place my trust.
Because he clings to me, I will deliver him;
I will set him on high because he acknowledges my name.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in distress.
R. In you, my God, I place my trust.

Gospel    MT 9:18-26

While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward,
knelt down before him, and said,
“My daughter has just died.
But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.”
Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples.
A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him
and touched the tassel on his cloak.
She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.”
Jesus turned around and saw her, and said,
“Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.”
And from that hour the woman was cured.

When Jesus arrived at the official’s house
and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion,
he said, “Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping.”
And they ridiculed him.
When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand,
and the little girl arose.
And news of this spread throughout all that land.