Tag Archives: Fr Ron Bennett

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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The Cathedral Connection 23 June 2019

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First Communion Day

I am sure we all remember our First Communion Day. I remember it in a way different to most. I woke up, rushed into mum and dad’s bedroom, only to find dad alone in the bed. ‘Where’s mum?’ I asked. Unknown to me, it had been a busy night in the Bennett household. My mother had gone to the hospital during the night and, wow, I had a baby sister, Kathryn, born just a few hours earlier! My father, not a Catholic at that stage, took over the mothership, got me dressed in new clothes, and took my brother and myself to Mass, and my First Communion.

The rest is a bit of a blur. But I do remember receiving the host on my tongue at the altar rail. Of course, I did not realize the full significance of that central moment, around which all else was periphery.

There was another memory of that day. During the Communion breakfast, an auntie bent over me and encouraged me to eat up. Many years later, I found out that she was a rather poor person, and used to have fish and chips for lunch, and save some for her evening meal. Yet here she was encouraging me to ‘eat up!’

Memories, memories. Our faith is full of memories. Today we celebrate many of our younger parishioners making their First Communion. Like me, they will not completely understand this moment. But we do hope they remember it. We pray that they will come to understand it more and more.  That the Eucharist will always be ‘food for the journey’ and
a meal that they cannot stay away from.

Fr Ron
Moderator, Cathedral Parish.

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The Cathedral Connection 19 May 2019

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Leaving a Legacy

 I have just been reading a book, “With the End in Mind,”  by Kathryn Mannix. It’s about the hospice movement and is subtitled ‘Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial.’  Only when I finished it did I realize that yesterday was the Mary Potter Street Day Appeal. How appropriate.

It’s a powerful book on many levels.  We know of course that death is never an end, but is an important stage on the journey of life.  The book (and the hospice movement), shows us how to approach death, not with trepidation but with opening, clarity and understanding.

One of the themes of the book was about leaving a legacy.  What would I like to be remembered by? If I had the opportunity, what would my final words of advice be to those I leave behind?  What gift could I leave that others would appreciate?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus, in his darkest hour, talks of legacy, gift, what he is leaving for others to have.  It is like his last will and testament. His final, parting words. Do this and you will live!

I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

We are called to be great lovers. But we cannot do this unless we are touched by God’s love. We can only radiate what we have received.

The journey of life is really about becoming the person God wants us to be. We can become more and more selfish or more and more selfless. Each moment, each day we make decisions that move us in one direction or the other.

Fr Ron

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