• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 28 September 2018 12:15

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B - 2018

Written by Fr Larry Nemer SVD

Fr Larry Nemer SVD 150Today’s gospel text invites us to follow Jesus by practicing three important virtues: tolerance, hospitality, and not giving scandal.

The apostle John was upset because someone who was not part of the group following Jesus was working miracles in the name of Jesus, and he thought that this was not right.  He wanted Jesus to tell him to stop.  But Jesus would not; he said that anyone who was not against Him was for Him.

It is a temptation for us to try to limit the way God works.  If the devotion of other Christians or even believers of other religions differs from our “Catholic way” we are tempted to see it as inauthentic if not downright wrong and dangerous.  Certainly we cannot trust any “miracles” that might occur among them.  Without consciously realising it we would like to limit the way God acts.

I found myself challenged to be not only tolerant of others but religiously respectful of them when I was still a young priest studying French in Grenoble.  In my class was a very pretty girl, about 19 years old, from California and we became good friends.  She was a Christian Scientist.  I was impressed when she told me that every morning she would read the Scriptures for an hour and then read the writings of Mary Eddy Baker for an hour.  Thanks to her I came to understand that they believed that the “phenomenal world” that we see and touch is not the “real world”; for them the real world was the spiritual world – the world we know only by faith in this life.  I told her I did not want to raise any doubts about her faith but I wondered if she ever thought maybe it wasn’t so.

She then told me the story of how, when she was ten years old, she fell off the bike and had a compound fracture of the bone above the wrist.  She could see the bone sticking out.  Her mother wanted to rush her to the hospital but she said “No – phone Daddy first”.    She knew her father had more faith than her mother did.  Her father came home, pushed the bone back in place, wrapped it up and stayed home all week and prayed.  At the end of the week her mother insisted on taking her to the hospital, fearing gangrene would set in.  The doctor asked:” why did you bring her?”  Her mother said: “she has a broken arm”.  The doctor unwrapped the arm and said: “I see no sign of a break.”  Her mother then insisted on an Xray.  The results came back and there was no sign of a broken bone in her arm.  So she concluded: “how can I doubt my faith?”  I think I then realised for the first time that God can work just as powerfully outside the Church as within the Church.  It was an important lesson in tolerance – and respect – for me.

Jesus then goes on to say that if anyone gives someone else a glass of cold water it would be the same as giving it to Him.  In a desert-like country a cup of water to a passing stranger is the greatest act of hospitality that could be given.  It does not sound very grand or demanding, but Jesus says that any act of hospitality to the other is an act of hospitality to Him.  And so anyone who reaches out to the immigrant to help him or her become a part of the community, who prepares and delivers a meal to a neighbour who is sick, who helps in caring for someone else – all these are acts of hospitality to Jesus as well as to those we reach out to.  In today’s world it is so important that we as a Christian community are known as a welcoming and hospitable community.  In my many years as a priest I have always been impressed – and inspired – by the many ways that people have reached out to others in need.  Today’s Gospel reminds us that even the smallest acts of kindness will not be forgotten by God.

The third virtue that today’s Gospel talks about is that we must not give scandal to – that is hurt – someone, especially a child.  The Royal Commission’s Report on Child Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church has been overwhelmingly “bad news” for so many of us Catholics.  We never could have imagined such a thing happening.  One of the feelings that I had was a sense of betrayal.  Most of the priests who abused a child in this way were my contemporaries.  They felt the same calling by God – they were trained in a similar way to me in the seminary – they started their ministry, I am sure, with the same high ideals I had – and yet they betrayed the trust of these children, of the Catholic families of which they were part, of  their fellow priests and their bishop, and I feel like they betrayed me.  I find myself praying so often for the victims/survivors of these abuses, that they may be healed, and I pray to God that such acts of betrayal may disappear from the Church.  They are such a scandal.