Tag Archives: Fr Ron Bennett

The Cathedral Connection – Christmas Newsletter 2019

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Christmas Newsletter 2019

Christmas is truly a feast of the heart. It reveals to us what the heart of God is like. He so loved humanity that He sent His only Son to redeem and save us.

It also reveals what the human heart is capable of. The nativity of Christ causes us to open our hearts and journey back to Bethlehem each year to rediscover our own roots in the gift of Jesus.

In Pope Francis Christmas message of 2018, ‘This truth is the basis of the Christian vision of humanity. Without the fraternity that Jesus Christ has bestowed on us, our efforts for a more just world fall short, and even our best plans and projects risk being soulless and empty.

For this reason, my wish for a happy Christmas is a wish for fraternity. Fraternity among individuals of every nation and culture.’ What makes us human is not so much our ability to think as our ability to love.

To the extent to which we open our hearts to God and to each other, we will experience something of the great joy the angels announced to the shepherds over two thousand years ago.

May great joy be yours this coming Christmas and always.

For what has been thanks for what is to come. Yes.

With every blessing, Fr Ron, Fr Doug, Debbie, Michael & Frank.

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The Cathedral Connection 22 December 2019

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ST MATTHEW’S GOSPEL

In Matthew’s infancy narrative, unlike Luke’s, it is Joseph who is the key character, and Matthew’s gospel surrounds the story with a great many allusions and quotations from the Old Testament.

For the people of Israel, Joseph was a significant figure – and Matthew draws out aspects that would be important for his Jewish Christian readers. Joseph is a beloved son who is rejected by his brothers and sold for silver and yet who turns out to be the saviour of his people.

These echoes of Jesus’ own mission help set the scene – as does the fact that Joseph is called the man of dreams and Joseph the husband of Mary has several dreams in which God communicates his plan to him. Joseph is regularly referred to as ‘Son of David’, a term that is applied to Jesus above all in Matthew’s Gospel.

These constant allusions remind us that we are in the place where God is at work and God’s work of salvation can be recognised by these common patterns. If we look to the writings of Paul or of the Evangelist John, there are often very striking theological statements that articulate the faith.

Matthew does something more subtle that his readers would recognise – by constantly touching on the familiar language and concepts of the Jewish faith he reveals the working of the God who has always been there for God’s people, and who is still working in similar ways.

Fr Ron.

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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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