From Fr Greg's Pew: 21st June
|Fr Greg welcomes back parishioners to Masses.|
I wrote this reflection on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Friday 19th June) because the heart of this Feast, of the compassionate love of Jesus for all of us, is what inspires me to act, to keep giving of myself and be of service to as many people as possible, even if I might sometimes feel tired, or overwhelmed by the work, or whatever.
And for that reason I figured it might be helpful to all of you, because, well, life can be full of days like that!
The Gospel we had that day says it all so beautifully:
'Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.' (Matt 11, 28-30)
What Jesus is saying here, is that he understands what we are going through, and wants to help lift the burden. Actually, he offers to replace it ... with his own, entrusting yours all into his care.
The image of the Sacred Heart shows a heart on fire with love, with rays of light and warmth extending outwards, thawing the hardened hearts of those who come to him, giving them a way forward, like light showing the pathway up ahead.
Many people around us are in need of love like that, and the way we show love to them is by copying Jesus, taking on the 'yoke' of their burdens, powered by the love of Jesus. That actually gives us rest, at the same time as it gives rest to others.
The Feast of the Sacred Heart is about living in the permanent springtime of Jesus' love. Even when it feels a bit 'wintery', when we grow cold in our relationships with others, or find it hard to smile at someone who's hurt us or wounded someone we love, that's when this Feast Day makes sense.
Because Jesus's kind of love draws us out of ourselves, when we withdraw into ourselves, our safety zones, and try to live happily there. Like a tortoise which pulls back inside its' protective shell, we tend to pull back from loving others, because love makes us vulnerable and we fear being hurt. But inside our shells we can't touch anyone else either. It just doesn't work, because we were not built for that!
In the Gospel of this coming Sunday, three times Jesus tells us not to be afraid. It is a bit confronting, really:
"Don’t be afraid of those who can kill the body, but cannot kill the soul..." because your soul is the real prime mover in your life.
Don't be afraid of those who might give you cause for tears and pain; don't be afraid of carrying the weight of one another's loads, or giving of yourselves even if you feel it is not returned.
When we want to shirk the load, or run away from responsibilities, when we are tired of the duties of care, we can turn to Jesus on the Cross, and it let his gentle humble love take the burden off our shoulders. Let him carry yours as well.
All the very best for this beautiful week ahead of us. I look forward to seeing you all at Mass. And if you can't get a place at the Mass of your choice, go to one of the others. We are one Parish, with two Mass centres, and you are equally welcome at either of them.
And, if they happen to be full, watch the live transmission at youtube.rgcp.org.au and come up afterwards to receive Holy Communion. Please God the "50" restriction will soon be lifted, and more people will be able to share in our weekend celebrations.
Have a blessed week! I'll be away from next weekend onwards for a few weeks of silent retreat, but Fr. Alfredo and Fr. Daniele will be around for all your needs.
And please keep Br. Steve in your prayers, as he will soon be ordained to the Deaconate on Sunday 19th July, Bishop Terry Brady presiding. God willing, Steve should be ordained a priest early next year.
Br. Dan is completing his final studies in our Verbum Dei Theological Institute in Spain and should be back here with his smiling face sometime in September. More news about him later on.
And that's about it for now. You can sign up for regular updates of our eNews on our website at www.rgcp.org.au. We are also on Facebook and Twitter, details of which can be found on our website.
Your brother in Christ, as always,