Tag Archives: Connection

The Cathedral Connection 8 October 2017

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Isn’t life frustrating? You can do everything right, ensure everything is prepared, feel like you’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s and then things don’t quite work out the way you thought they would.

We see this in the first reading today where the vineyard owner does everything “right” and yet the crop is nowhere near what he expected.

In the Gospel the vineyard owner also expects that by sending his son, the tenants will pay up, but once again his expectations are dashed.

I read recently that an expectation is a disappointment waiting to happen. When we live life expecting certain behaviour from others, we live in constant flux.

The Gospel confirms for us that yes we will be treated badly in this life, yes things don’t always go the way we want them to, yes our expectations are often dashed and yes there are people that will want control no matter the price.

Paul shows us in the second reading that we can be at peace despite our circumstances. Here he is, in prison yet fully at peace with his situation.

Often we are the architects of our own lack of peace. When all hell is breaking lose around us it is much easier to walk in that spirit than it is to be counter intuitive and walk in a spirit of peace and love. Think of any hero or great person and what set them apart almost always was their working in a spirit opposite to that which was happening all around them.

Take Jesus for example. He never let his circumstances become the excuse to give up hope. In today’s readings he once again makes this point. Even though at times it is so hard to remain peaceful and gracious when every hair on our body is aching to scream out at the injustices we see happening all around us, we are called to be people of justice, people of love, people of forgiveness, people of honour. This does not mean that we do nothing but that whatever we do is done from a peaceful centre. Then it won’t be our circumstances dictating our behaviour but our behaviour being led by a spirit of peace.

Fiona Rammell
Lay Pastoral Leader

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The Cathedral Connection – 1 October 2017

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As a mother, this Gospel story really resonates with me. So often I ask my children to do something and the reply is, “yes I’ll do it later.” What I hear is, “I’m not going to do it but by telling you I am going to do it later it will mean you will get off my back.” On a good day I will let it go. But on a day when I am feeling a bit stressed I’ll argue the fact that I want it done now. And we all know only too well how that scenario plays out!

In the story it says the son changed his mind. In reality both sons changed their minds. They both did the opposite of what they said they were going to do. But what if what they did was more than just changing their minds? What if what really happened was a change of heart? It was this same change of heart that was easy for the tax collectors and prostitutes to do but for some reason the ‘so called learned’ just didn’t get it.

What is it that stops us from having a change of heart? What is it that makes us say one thing but then we do something else?

So often we find ourselves doing this. We may say we will pop in and have a cuppa with someone but we never really find the time. Or we may say we will get onto that pile of paperwork but there is always something more interesting to spend our time on. What really matters is right practice and right words.

Not so long ago, after hearing someone saying wonderful words but seeing their actions were not reflecting what they were saying, it made me sit up and think, “Am I like that? Do I do that?” I sat down and wrote in big bold letters: May my actions always reflect my words. We know the saying actions speak louder than words but what if we made a real point of our words and actions singing from the same song sheet and really resonating rather than being a clanging bell?

There’s a song by Neil Diamond called “What a beautiful noise.” It speaks about a beautiful noise going on everywhere and that it’s the music of life. It’s well worth listening to. Perhaps we can be the start of a revolution that has our words and actions singing off the


same music sheet creating a beautiful noise.

Fiona Rammell, Lay Pastoral Leader


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The Cathedral Connection 17 September 2017

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We have a friend who we just can’t outgive. Her generosity is second to none. There is no sense of her keeping an account of what she has given, she just simply gives. Somehow she does accounting like Jesus does. He is not into balancing the books. His account is one of giving.

In today’s Gospel Peter thinks he is being totally generous when he asks Jesus how many times should I forgive? Don’t you just love how Peter is so human. He knows the law requires him to forgive three times so he goes to ask Jesus how many times but suggests the number seven. He has doubled what the law tells him and has added one on. So he is feeling pretty stoked thinking Jesus is going to say, “Well done faithful servant. You’re amazing. I’ve taught you well.” Instead Jesus says something so ridiculous that Peter must have thought Jesus had lost his marbles.

What Jesus is trying to say is that there is no limit to how many times we should forgive. Why? Because Jesus knows we are punished by our sin way more than we are punished for our sin.

Jesus’ teachings are not random commands that we must obey ‘or else’, but they are observations for how life actually works. Jesus advises us not to gossip because in so doing it will wreck relationships. Jesus advises us not to be greedy because greed will wither our hearts and suck the joy out of our life. Jesus advises us to keep on forgiving because unforgiveness will cut us off from the flow of grace and make us miserable.

It’s for no reason that Jesus taught us a prayer that says, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

Forgiveness…..often the hardest thing to do but also the most liberating.

Who is someone in my life who I need to forgive?

  Fiona Rammell,
  Lay Pastoral Leader

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The Cathedral Connection 10 September 2017

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We have a situation! A few of my boys have gone into business together and are struggling with someone whom they have to deal with on a daily basis. They got this feeling that things were not right and instead of going to speak to her they just allowed every little thing that she does to confirm for them their thoughts around this situation.

Sound familiar? We often do this. Instead of going and seeing the person we are upset with, we talk to others about it.

In today’s Gospel Jesus clearly tells us that if we feel like this we should always in the first instance go and speak to that person. But what stops us from doing this?

Pope Francis reflects in his letter Laudato Si ’ the importance of social cohesion that can enable all people to participate in society and to cultivate meaningful relationships with each other. We are born into family, whānau, neighbourhoods and communities. They are not always perfect but God intended that we grow through our interaction with others.

But it is these interactions with others that can cause us deep concern and heartache and so we often choose to do nothing. The second reading today reminds us that “love does no evil to the neighbour.” We are called into community to be beacons of love. The kind of love that at times hurts, consumes and doesn’t ‘feel’ great. But the kind of love that helps transform not just others but ourselves in the process.

And even when these neighbours refuse to listen we are called to treat them as a Gentile or a tax collector. On first reading this we may think that means to exclude them but what Jesus is trying to tell us here is to continue loving others despite their faults. Our challenge is to always think of ways in which we can add value to the lives of others. Social Justice Week gives us just that opportunity.

Fiona Rammell
Lay Pastoral Leader

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The Cathedral Connection 3 September 2017

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When Father James asked me to write some words on “what it means to be a dad” I had to reflect deeply on the question. Being a dad is hard work and on occasion my two children have even told me that I’m the worst dad in the world! Frankly, I often wonder whether I’m a good enough dad. Am I engaging, supportive, helpful, or spending enough time with my children? Moreover, being a dad means acting as a role model to your children – and that’s a big responsibility. Part of that includes demonstrating enough love, respect, and support toward their mum so when they grow up they will value the important role that women play in their lives and society. Sometimes it’s a matter of checking myself to ensure I’m doing the right thing by them!

Traditional Catholic moral authority says that we can’t or shouldn’t judge good or bad. These are subjective or conscience matters. We can, however, judge whether our actions are right or wrong. Being a dad means teaching our children right from wrong. Having integrity means doing what you know is right, and showing the virtues that are important to you. This includes being responsible so that children know that they can count on you as a dad. It’s about being honest, kind, respectful, grateful or thankful, co-operating with others, and being friendly. It also means showing a wider regard for our communities.

On Father’s Day we shouldn’t forget our own dads. It’s good to identify the qualities in the dad that you know, even those who have died, and cultivate them in yourself; that way, you keep them alive.

As a dad, there are eight letters and three words I tell my children before they go to sleep each night …… I love you.

Nigel Ingram

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