Tag Archives: Fr Ron Bennett

The Cathedral Connection 17 November 2019

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World Day of the Poor

Pope Francis invites us today to remember the 3rd World Day of the Poor, by taking the opportunity to reach out to meet people experiencing financial hardship, homelessness and isolation.

In his message announcing the theme he stressed the vital importance of the both “embracing and assisting the poor, the oppressed and outcast” who he in his typically vivid language has called the “left over people.”

His emphasis is on being with and what he described in his reference to the Church hospital as the need for “proximity”, getting close to and remaining near the poor. Moreover, the focus of the theme is a verse from Psalm 9:19 “The hope of the poor shall not perish forever”.

Pope Francis writes “If the disciples of the Lord Jesus wish to be genuine evangelisers, they must sow tangible seeds of hope”. The showing of “tangible seeds of hope” is far from a naive exhortation to a superficial optimism. It is an invitation to engage long term with the real hopes of the poor themselves. This positive engagement draws us into the “good news” stories of the poor themselves. Pope Francis closes his message by calling on all Christians and people of goodwill “to cooperate effectively so that no one will feel deprived of closeness (“proximity”) and solidarity.”

His message for the World Day of the Poor encourages us to seek people’s true needs, “not to stop at their most obvious material needs, but to discover their inner goodness, paying heed to their background and their way of expressing themselves, and in this way to initiate true dialogue.”

Let us take Pope Francis’ message to heart and attempt to live it in our own lives.

Fr Ron

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The Cathedral Connection 13 October 2019

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RESPECT LIFE SUNDAY

 In the times and places of Scripture, leprosy was a feared and dreaded disease Not only did it disable and disfigure and shorten life, it also isolated and marginalised.

However, the hopelessness and fear with which Jesus’s society regarded leprosy parallels the perception of many people today regarding the future of our planet.

This year, young people in particular have shown that they are familiar with the urgency of scientific predictions – that unless we act promptly and radically to address the climate crisis and other forms of environmental pollution and degradation, our future is at risk.

The human and the habitat are in need of healing and restoration. Pope Francis recognised four years ago, in his encyclical on the care of our common home ‘Laudato Si’, that climate change is one of the most significant challenges facing humanity. He said even doomsday predictions cannot any longer be met with irony or disdain, as the likelihood grows that we will leave to future generations debris, desolation and filth, along with the increased likelihood of catastrophic events.

But all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start, despite their mental and social conditioning. We are able to take an honest look at ourselves, to acknowledge our deep dissatisfaction, and to embark on new paths to authentic freedom.

Traditionally, Respect Life Sunday has focused on issues at the beginning and end of life, and we need to continue to focus on these questions. But our Catholic tradition has long recognised that there are many other threats to human life. Pope Francis calls it integral ecology and asks us to work together for a hopeful future for our children and grandchildren.

Fr Ron

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The Cathedral Connection 15 September 2019

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Lost and Found

On my first Camino, I remember visiting the 12th century Lyon Cathedral in Spain. So beautiful. I remember a quote written on a wall – “they (the builders) sought to describe God (through their building). Of course, they couldn’t, but they came closer than many.’

Many have attempted to describe God, with various degrees of success. We just don’t have the words or the imagination to describe the indescribable! Perhaps that is why we resort to poetry, music, art, scripture, to describe God.

How can God describe God to us poor limited human beings?  God does it in Jesus. One of the ways Jesus does this is through the use of parables. A parable is a way of helping people understand a teaching moment through story. The word “Para” can mean “alongside of.” So a parable is an  analogy or story that goes alongside a fact, event, or teaching. It helps us to understand.

In Chapter 15 of Luke’s Gospel we have three marvellous parables – the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son (the priest today may read the shortened version, leaving out the third parable.) The focus on each story is the commitment of the one who has the loss – the shepherd hunts assiduously, the woman searches, and the father runs to embrace the scandalous son. The parable of the ‘prodigal son’ is really the parable of the loving and forgiving father who abandons all propriety and decorum at the return of the son who was lost and has been found.

The three parables can speak to us – the ‘lostness’ in our own lives that only God can fill. But there is also the ‘lostness’ in the lives of so many around us who have lost hope.  We can be God’s instruments in giving them hope again

Fr Ron

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The Cathedral Connection 18 August 2019

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Jesus – Bringer of Peace or Division

 At first sight, today’s Gospel is confusing. This doesn’t seem to be the Jesus we all know! Preachers and people alike find it hard to reconcile these passages with other passages of scripture.

One explanation is that the language of Jesus’ time was not as ‘robust’ as modern languages and nuances get missed. So, in those days, in order to say, ‘I like Mary more than Jane” I would have to say, “I love Mary, I hate Jane.’ Hearers and readers would understand, but we would say it differently as our languages are more developed.

There has also been unnecessary division amongst the followers of Christ, and even Christians relationships with those of other faiths. This goes against the words of Jesus in John 17/21 – ‘Father, may they all be one, as I am in you and you are in me!’ Yes, some of our divisions have been both unnecessary and unjust, and often a scandal.

But I think Jesus’ message here is really about passion. From the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we follow Jesus’ journey from his Galilean home towards his death in Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-19:27).  There is an urgency about Jesus’ message.  In numerous passages about discipleship and judgment day, Jesus warns against stocking worldly wealth, as we read a fortnight ago about the rich fool building barns for a retirement that he did not have. The decision to follow Jesus or not will separate people.

So, the real point of the gospel is the decision to follow Jesus completely now – Yes or No.  Some points for reflection —  Is there an urgency and passion in my life? If so, what is it for? What are the costs to follow it: peace, money, time, relationships, etc.? What would be the cost if I do NOT follow that passion now?

Fr Ron Bennett, Moderator.

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The Cathedral Connection 21 July 2019

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The Family at Bethany

Today’s gospel is from Luke, but it is important to see it in relation to two incidents involving Mary, Martha and Lazarus in John’s Gospel.

In today’s gospel (Luke 10: 38-42) Martha welcomes Jesus in her home. She then prepares a meal. Mary sits at Jesus’s feet, listening. Lazarus is not mentioned, but could possibly be there, observing the situation. Jesus commends Mary’s contemplative nature and gently chides Martha on her ‘worrying about many things’.

In John 11, Martha and Mary send a message to Jesus that Lazarus is ill.  It is Martha only that goes to meet Jesus and gently suggests he could have prevented Lazarus’ death, but adds  ‘‘.. even now, whatever you ask of God he will grant you.’  What faith. They talk and Martha acknowledges Jesus as ‘the resurrection and the life.’ Even greater faith.  Mary, the contemplative, only comes later, when Jesus calls her.  Lazarus, being dead is not too involved until he is resurrected!

In John 12:1-11, there is a meal at the home of Simon the Leper.  It is said that Lazarus is there, and that Martha waited on Jesus.  Mary, the contemplative, pours costly ointment over Jesus’ feet. She senses Jesus’ approaching death and anoints his body in preparation.

All three are remarkable people, ‘in tune’ with Jesus and his message. They can be models for us, as we seek to do the same.

Fr Ron

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