Above photograph: thanks to Matt Botsford
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
The first reading is taken from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah 20:7-9 in which we hear Jeremiah giving voice to this internal anguish of mind; he hates what he has to say to his people, yet he is compelled by God to say it.
The second reading is from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans 12:1-2 in which he tells the Roman Christians (converts, for the most part, from paganism) that they must prove themselves worthy of this great favour, they must live truly Christian lives.
The Gospel is from Matt. 16:21-27. From all eternity this was God's plan for mankind. But because sin had entered into the world before the Incarnation took place, the Son of God in his human nature had to suffer the violent death of the cross at the hands of sinners. In this very suffering he became the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world, as the second-Isaiah had foretold in his "suffering servant" prophecies (Is. 53: 1-7; 42: 1-9 etc). His death, because he was God as well as man, was a sacrifice, an atonement, of infinite value, and therefore obtained forgiveness from the Father for all the sins of the human race.
In foretelling his sufferings and death, which took place some months later, Christ intended to prepare his disciples and other followers for what he knew would be for them a severe crisis of faith. He also took occasion from it to remind his disciples, and all others who would follow him, of what their attitude to suffering and death should be. He told them, and us too, that we must be ever ready to accept sufferings in this life, and even an untimely death if that should be demanded of us, rather than deny our Christian faith.
To prove their loyalty to their faith in Christ thousands of Christians in the early Church, and thousands more during persecutions in later centuries, gladly took him at his word and went joyfully to their martyrdom. It is to be hoped that, aided by God's grace, we would all be ready to imitate their example, if called on to prove our fidelity to Christ and our Christian faith. But at the moment what Christ expects and asks of us is that we should bear the sufferings and hardships of daily life cheerfully and gladly for his sake.
This daily carrying of our Christian cross can be, and is for many, a prolonged martyrdom. Poverty, ill-health, cruelty and hardheartedness met with in the home and in one's neighbors, are heavy crosses which only a truly Christian shoulder can bear. But, if we were offered health, happiness, peace, wealth and power for the next fifty or seventy years on this earth, in exchange for an eternal heaven after death, what rational one among us would accept that offer?
Christians know that this life is a period of training, which makes us ready hereafter to receive the eternal reward which Christ has won for us. Every trainee knows that one must endure certain hardships and sufferings in order to merit graduation into one's chosen profession or trade. On our Christian graduation day we shall, please God, hear the welcome words : "Well done good and faithful servant; because you have been faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater, come and join in your Master's happiness" (Mt. 25: 21). May God grant that every one of us will hear these words of welcome.
Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.
Pohutukawa Coast Prayer Group
People from various churches are gathering to pray at St Mark's Anglican Church, 102 Maraetai Drive, Maraetai, Thursday mornings 7am. Open to all.
This group will meet via Zoom while present restrictions are in place.
Please contact Vivienne Gosbee at email@example.com if you would like to join in.
Caring Group to help our community
They'll know we are Christians by our love. And one way we can show our Christian love is to care for one another, especially in times of need or distress.
Several people have already volunteered their services to start the Group but we need more. We also need to know if there is anyone who needs help from the Caring Group. So, if you would like to be a volunteer who may be called upon from time to time please contact Glenis Clapham (ph: 09 536 6305) or Kathie McNabney (ph: 09 530 8130). If you need some help or know of someone from our community who needs help please let Glenis or Kathie know.
Have you considered joining the parish planned giving programme? No more searching through your purse or wallet at collection time. You will be provided with a set of envelopes which need only be placed in the basket with your donation inside. And best of all at the end of each tax year you will receive a statement of your contributions so you can make a claim on your tax return.
Why not join up now. Contact the parish office or follow the link below for further information. Ph 5348710
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How giving a little can mean a lot
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)
There are always people in need, sometimes long term, sometimes short term, sometimes in an emergency. The parish Food Bank, run by the Howick branch of the SVDP society, helps many families who find themselves in need of basic food items. Through supporting this we are putting into action the Church's principles of Social Justice: Human Dignity, Preferential Option for the Poor, the Common Good, Solidarity, Subsidiarity, Stewardship and Participation.
When you come to Mass at Beachlands try to bring one food item, a packet or can that can be added to the Food Bank, and place it in the basket on the table when you come in.
Giving a little can mean such a lot.
Please continue to keep Eileen Gallagher, John Clapham, Allan Saunders, Francis McNabney and other members of our community in your prayers.
John also asks us to pray for a breakthrough for treatment within New Zealand for neuroendocrine cancer.