6th Sunday of EASTER
17th MAY 2020
Acts 8:5-8,14-17; Psalm 66; 1 Peter 3:15-18; John 14:15-21
Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47 p.75; Ephesians 1:17-23; Matthew 28:16-20.
This week in the parish.... LOCK DOWN
HOMILY FOR 6th SUNDAY OF EASTER (home)
A student of theology was writing his thesis on Faith and he was sent to a small village in England to interview an elderly Catholic man. The interview was a bit like you might have heard from the late comedian, John Clarke. The student asked the man “What do you believe?” and the man answered “The same as the Church.” He asked “Well, what does the church believe?” and the man answered “The same as me.” The student then asked “So what do both you and the Church believe?” and the man said “Well I suppose it’s the same thing.”
It’s not news to us that many Christians, Catholics in particular, are unable to explain clearly what they believe and why they believe it. Yet right from the beginnings of Christianity we were urged to be able to answer such questions. In the 1st reading – one of Peter’s letters – his instruction is “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope,” Those first Christians lived in a pretty hostile environment. Their way of living and their worship would have looked pretty strange to people who observed them.
In the past few weeks our worship and some of our devotions have been displayed on screens every day, all over the world for anyone who wanted to watch or pray with us. I wonder how ready we would be with answers and explanations about the Mass liturgy– our strange clothing, our flowery language and so on. I have already had a question from a friend in another church, a question I couldn’t answer: Why would we read the Word of God from a digital device and not the Book.
Did we not have a special place of respect for the Book of the Word in our Liturgy? I watched that particular mass and had the same question myself.
But perhaps as we come through this experience of the Covid-19 pandemic we could direct a few questions to ourselves, questions that are relative to our belief and practice. A major question is – has the forced lockdown, cutting us off from our Christian community and the celebration of Eucharist made us think more deeply about our need for community – our Christian family – and of the Sacrament? Our need for community support in our faith is essential but the gathering of our faith family leaves a lot to be desired.
Because of the size of our congregations at Mass, we can, and we do go for years scarcely knowing many others and people can have no sense of family closeness or sense of church as their home.
Maybe the experience of liturgy at home has helped us to realize a bit deeper the need for coming together in smaller groups in the parish so that we can really get to know our faith family better.
Then there is the place of Eucharist in our Christian living.
Do we come to Eucharist, do we celebrate Eucharist, just to answer a personal need or to get the strength to live the Eucharist in the midst of our world.
I heard an interview the other day where a social worker said “Thank God for the gift of Covid-19. It has brought so many of our helping organizations together. We’re feeding the hungry, helping the lonely and housing the homeless. It’s the pandemic that’s done this, but we’ve had all the resources all the time.” I couldn’t help thinking that the same words could apply to the Eucharist.
During this strangest of times we have experienced the action of the Holy Spirit as Jesus promised, buoying us up, strengthening our patience and hopefully pointing out some new ways of praying and coming together, both in our homes and with others, through modern technology.
But there is much more involved in this moment of time. Last month, Pope Francis reflected on Jesus’s Resurrection and the current crisis and how the time is ripe for “new imagination” allowing the “breath of the Spirit to open new horizons.” Here are some of his words:
Easter invites us to renounce anything that impedes new life from flourishing.
The time is ripe for a new imagination allowing the breath of the Spirit to open new horizons before us.
We urgently need to discern and discover the Holy Spirit’s pulse leading us to collaborate together to channel the new life the Lord wants to generate in this concrete moment of history.
Only the Gospel and openness to the Spirit can inspire us with the new imagination necessary at this time.
We are called to work with God’s Spirit and the Spirit will not be closed down or exploited by fixed or outdated methods.
Rather, the Spirit proposes that we join the movement that is capable of ‘making all things new’.” (Rev 21:5).
Out of those words comes a further question: When this crisis is over are we just going to go back to everything as it was – same old, same old? Or are we going to look for new ways of doing things in our Christian living, in our worship, in our parish? It seems that that is what the Pope is asking of us.
What will be our response?
R J S
Link for Pope Francis’ reflection:
Please pray ...
We pray for the recently deceased including Francis Connors, Bruce Macken, Beryl Harris, Eric Verdonk and Bob Bovelander and for all those whose anniversaries occur at this time.
LAUDATO SI WEEK
2020 is the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’, which was signed on 24 May 2015.
Pope Francis’ encyclical on care for our common home, Laudato Si’, is an inspiration during moments of difficulty. It encourages us to reflect on the values we share and create a more just and sustainable future.
The theme of Laudato Si’ Week is “everything is connected.” During Laudato Si’ Week, we come together as one people around the world to prayerfully discern the lessons of this moment. While the world experiences a history-defining crisis, we reflect and prepare to build a better world.
The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change." #13
Pope Francis Laudato Si
SCHOOL ATTENDANCE DUES COVID-19 FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE:
Financial assistance is available to assist families who may need financial support as a result of the Covid-19 Virus with the payment of 2020 Attendance Dues for students attending Catholic schools in Auckland Diocese, both primary and secondary.
Families facing financial difficulties can contact their school office, their Parish Priest or the Revenue Manager on 09-360-3069 at the Catholic Diocese of Auckland for further information.
Application forms for this assistance can be down-loaded from the Catholic Diocese of Auckland Website:
Prayer in Many Ways
We are greatly gifted in the Catholic tradition with ways to petition, thank and praise God i.e. pray. In the rosary we meditate on Christ’s life, we have novenas, the tradition of Lectio Divina a prayerful contemplation/meditation on Scripture. We can also pray where we are, with what we have in many, many ways. Making our homes domestic Church, places of prayer is encouraged. The Praying at home pdf/photo gives encouragement to do so. There are resources for family prayer at here please use your networks to promote.
APPLICATIONS INVITED for Semester 2, 2020 Applications close Thursday, 4 June 2020.
Applicants must be Catholic and contributing to the mission of the Catholic Church in the Auckland Diocese.The bursaries are a contribution toward university fees for Theology and RE courses.
For information and an application pack please contact: Michelle Jarvis Ph:(09)360-3091
That the House of Representatives urge the Government to urgently hold a referendum to allow the New Zealand people the opportunity to have their say on whether the Abortion Legislation Act 2020 should be repealed.
Pamela McIlwraith says: "In my view the abortion legislation was rushed through Parliament while the entire country was distracted with COVID-19. I think there needs to be a referendum so the people can have their say - MPs should not be able to vote against giving the people their say in such important matters, especially a law legalising full term abortion."
So please take just a minute and sign this petition. The closing date is 21 May. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/petitions/document/PET_97570/petition-of-pamela-mcilwraith-referendum-on-abortion-legislation
Background: As reported by NZ Catholic on 18 March on the eve of the Covid 19 Lockdown ‘The New Zealand Catholic Bishops are deeply disappointed that the New Zealand Parliament last night passed the Abortion Legislation Bill by a margin of 68 to 51.’
At its first reading the margin was 94 to 23, narrowing to 81 to 39 at the second reading. The overwhelming number (92%) of submissions to the Select Committee were against this Bill but it was left to MP Agnes Loheni to produce a ‘minority’ Select Committee Report to express the views of the majority of submitters. See e.g. https://voiceforlife.org.nz/blog/read-mp-agnes-lohenis-minority-report-on-labours-abortion-bill/
As Howick Parishioner Kevin McCormick said recently: ‘Despite announcement of a global pandemic on 12 March, the government gave greater priority to its agenda of passing the most liberal abortion laws in the world, spending two days rushing it through Parliament concluding on 18 March. Only then were sittings of Parliament suspended so full attention could turn to COVID-19!’
The issues involved were very well presented by Agnes Loheni’s superb speeches to Parliament: Here is video of Agnes' 3 March second reading speech (script also attached): ( https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/combined/HansDeb_20200303_20200303_16/tab/video?page=2 .
Here is video of Agnes's 18 March third reading speech: https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/combined/HansDeb_20200318_20200318_24/tab/video?page=4&mode=form
Care of Creation:
forgive the sins we have committed against your creation.
Give us strength to no longer misuse natural resources and
help us stop treating living beings with disrespect or neglect.
Give us strength to work towards a world
in which everyone can thrive by caring for the whole of your creation.
Please enjoy reading New Zealand’s only
national Catholic newspaper.
Read it ONLINE here....
EMERGENCY HELP AVAILABLE
If you are unable to afford groceries or are in self-isolation with no access to other support networks, you can phone Auckland Emergency Management 0800 22 22 96 between 7am and 7pm, every day from Wednesday, 1 April.email@example.com or
This works well and the people are very helpful.
- St Vincent de Paul: email them on firstname.lastname@example.org
Or phone 09 8156122. Special conditions apply.
Catholic Caring Foundation website
Auckland Emergency Management
The Auckland City Council have announced that they have a Group called Auckland Emergency Management and it is setup to help with those needing food, or grocery delivery to the stranded, and emergency accommodation.
It is part of the Civil Defence effort.
Phone number 0800 22 22 96.
MERCY SPRITUALITY CENTRE:
104 The Drive, Epsom, (09) 638-6238.
- WOMEN IN THE BIBLE with Br Kieran Fenn fms. Virtual teaching series: Wednesday's 10.30am-12.30pm Zoom session. $10 per person/ per session. 20 May-24 June. Each session can stand alone and is also complimentary to each other. This week the book of Esther (Old Testament).
- CARERS SUPPORT GROUP with Laetitia Puthenpadath. Thurs 21 May, 1-2.30pm Zoom session. Free. Repeat of 11 May session
Contact us if you would like a booklet for full information or if you wish to book:
Shine TV will be broadcasting Mass from 2.00pm
Free-to-air Channel 25, Sky TV channel.
A parishioner is looking to buy a 2-3 bedroom home in the general Hibiscus Coast area.
Please contact 021 311859 if you or someone you know is selling a home.
GET YOUR NEWSLETTER EMAILED
During the lockdown period our weekly newsletter is still being produced. Please pass the message on to others that if they would like the newsletter sent to them directly, to visit the parish website www.hbcparish.org.nz and
A bit much...
After being away on business, Tim thought it would be nice to bring his wife a little gift.
"How about some perfume?" he asked the cosmetics clerk. She showed him a bottle costing $50.00.
"That's a bit much," said Tim, so she returned with a smaller bottle for $30.00.
"That's still quite a bit," Tim complained.
Growing annoyed, the clerk brought out a tiny $15.00 bottle.
"What I mean," said Tim, "is I'd like to see something really cheap."
The clerk handed him a mirror.
Not Your Doggy
Two men who are out walking their dogs meet on a street corner. One says to the other, "I'm really hungry and I'd like to go into that restaurant over there and get a bite to eat, but the sign on the front door says, 'No Pets Allowed,' and I can't leave Fido alone on the street."
The other man replies, "No problem, just stand by the door and watch me, I'll show you how to get in!"
The second man reaches into his pocket, puts on a pair of dark sunglasses, and then walks into the restaurant.
The waiter says, "Hey buddy, you can't bring that dog in here!"
The man replies, "But I'm blind, and this is my seeing eye dog!"
The waiter responds, "Oh, okay then." The man orders his meal.
The first man also puts on dark sunglasses and enters the restaurant.
The waiter says, "Hey buddy, you can't bring that dog in here!"
The man replies, "But I'm blind, and this is my seeing eye dog!"
The waiter says, "Oh really? I've never heard of a Chihuahua seeing eye dog!"
The man, thinking quickly, blurts out, "What? You mean they gave me a Chihuahua?"
The little kid sat on the side of the road with a fishing line down the drain.
Feeling sorry for him, and wanting to humor him, a lady gave him a dollar and kindly asked, "How many have you caught?"
The kid replied, "You're the tenth this morning."