Tag Archives: Holy Week

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 18 April 2019

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Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,

The liturgies of this Holy Week invite us to engage with the words, actions and experiences that were part of Jesus’s journey to live the life his Father called him to live. As we live Holy Week, hopefully we can see how each step and feeling that Jesus experienced applies to our lives as well. His reality reflects our reality. That is the mystery and truth of the incarnation and Holy Week. In a strange way this Jesus week is a metaphor for our own lives.

Palm Sunday saw Jesus welcomed as a King with shouts of confidence and acclamation. Most of us know what it is to be celebrated and affirmed by others, to have others put their faith in us and to be recognised as someone special. We also know how quickly that can change. Realisation dawns that they didn’t really understand – that the rela-tionship wasn’t mutual or life giving.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mirror the ordinary times of our lives. We journey along enjoying, and maybe enduring, the ordinary and the mundane wondering what we are here for and experiencing a restlessness about life and our future. Maybe we like Jesus start to look around us wondering if our friends are committed to the same values and dreams.

Holy Thursday is our big wake up call. Jesus shows us how he wants each of us to be. He shows us what service and sacrifice is all about. He gives us a mandate to love and to serve and to give ourselves without counting the cost. Yet even the one closest to him don’t get it. Peter is confused and protests. Jesus looks at each of us and says that is how I want you to live YOUR life. Do as I do. Let your life mirror my life.

Then the horror of Good Friday. He is judged and con-demned because he is a good man. Feelings of chaos, des-pair, betrayal, fear, anxiety, well up in Jesus and us. Is the pain, challenge and change too much? Will we face it and live through it? Or run away and ignore the one we | followed. So, what do we do? The Challenge of Good Friday is to kiss and embrace our cross. And like him in our pain and suffering reach out in love, forgiveness and compassion. In total trust we throw ourselves willingly and fearfully into the hands our God.
Saturday is the time of emptiness and aloneness- when we are faced with nothingness. The end of a relationship, a betrayal, a hopeless situation, despair and darkness, and what seems like nothing. The day when we witness the death of our dream and fall into our personal deepest fear and dark tomb. A sad and scary nothingness. Sit there and life will teach us.
Then the fire of hope is lit in the church and in ourselves. We renew our Baptismal vows as adults – recommit to that which was done for us as children. We say we will live like Jesus did, walk his way, speak his truth. Make Jesus the meaning of our lives. Make him the reason for all the seasons and weeks in our lives.

We are now an Easter people of hope who are confident and graced to shine the light of the Real and Risen Christ in our inner and outer worlds.

Happy Easter, peace be with you

Naku noa.
Na + Hoane

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The Cathedral Connection 14 April 2019

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IN MEMORY OF ME

On Sunday we will recall the joyous entry of Jesus into Jerusalem with shouts of ‘Hosanna.’ Some of those who were there at his entry would later be shouting out ‘Crucify him’ in the courtyard of Pontius Pilate.

We will again hear the passion of Christ and the terrible suffering Jesus had to endure.

As Christians we are a committed to be a people that remembers the passion of Jesus: Whenever you do this, do this in memory of me.

We remember the victory of love over the powers of hatred and destruction. The triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and of life over death.

His terrible suffering that saved the world, yet it wasn’t his suffering that redeemed us, it was his love.

Surely suffering is something you and I would give almost anything to avoid. Yet we would gladly suffer for someone whom we love.

As Christians we must not only accept suffering but make it holy. Love makes it holy.  And keeping the memory of Christ’s passion makes us sensitive and attentive to the suffering of others.

The cross demands our attention as we recall the suffering of Jesus and the suffering of all who are victims of hate and violence.

With every blessing

Fr Doug

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The Cathedral Connection 31 March 2019

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The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness

 The parable of the Prodigal Son is probably the best known and best loved of all of Jesus’ stories. The younger son discovers that, in spite of his sins he is deeply loved and forgiven by his father. Gandhi experienced this when he was fifteen. He stole something from his brother. However, he felt so bad about it that he made up his mind to confess it to his father. He wrote out his sin on a piece of paper, asking for forgiveness and punishment, while promising to never steal again.

At the time his father was very sick and in bed. Gandhi handed him the note and sat by his father’s bedside waiting for judgment and punishment. His father sat up in bed and began to read the note. As he read it, tears came into his eyes. Gandhi himself began to cry. Instead of getting angry and punishing him, the father hugged the repentant son, and that was the end of the matter.

The experience of being loved while he was in sin had a profound effect on Gandhi. He said years later, ‘Only the person who has experienced this kind of love can know what it is.’

Those who experience this kind of love, know something about the heart of God and in the power of repentance and forgiveness. God never closes his heart to any of his children. No matter what they do, if they return to Him, the one thing they can be sure of is an unconditional and generous welcome.

With every blessing

Fr Doug

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Chrism Mass 2018 – Homily by Cardinal John Dew

CHRISM MASS 2018.

Go, you are sent.” We heard those words many times last year in relation to our Synod. It is easy to connect the Synod theme to tonight’s Gospel:

“The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me,

for he has anointed me.

He has sent me to bring good news to the poor,

to proclaim liberty to captives

and to the blind new sight,

to set the downtrodden free,

to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.”

Jesus knew he was sent to the poor, the captives, the blind, the downtrodden……..we are too. Our task is to work how, who, and where they are today and bring them Good News. We are all sent to continue the mission Jesus was anointed for, the mission we are all anointed for in Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders.

We are sent into and live in a messy world, and a messy Church. We live in messy families. Pope Francis wrote in his document on the Family “No family drops down from heaven perfectly formed; families need to constantly grow and mature in the ability to love.” A L 325   Those words seemed to give families permission to be themselves, knowing that they are not perfect and that is okay. It’s into that world, where all need to grow and mature in the ability to love, that we are all sent. We journey together, supporting and helping one another throughout life in all its ups and downs.

Almost 30 years ago, in July 1989 Cardinal Tom Williams wrote a Pastoral Letter to the diocese, it was about the 1988 Synod; He wrote – “The outcome will not be revolutionary. I have to be a realist like yourselves and accept that the most telling image of the Church is an untidy caravan struggling across the desert, not a regiment of infantry marching in perfect step across an immaculate parade ground. We are, after all, the People of God, and people are imperfect and contradictory. To know it we have only to look at ourselves.”

The world is not perfect, our Church is not perfect, families are not perfect. There are poor, captives, blind, downtrodden people everywhere, people who are struggling to live, people living without dignity and hope. ….we are anointed to take good news to them, and be good news for them.

In October 2016 there had been some devastating earthquakes in Central Italy, 159 people were killed in Amatrice. Pope Francis visited Amatrice, he visited a makeshift school, spoke with emergency and fire personnel. He wandered through parts of the city sitting with people, exchanging hugs and kisses, and just spent time with people who needed support. He said: “Since the beginning I felt that I had to come to you, simply to tell you that I am close to you, nothing else, and that I pray for you.”

He was just “being with” those people. It’s something he is good at, it’s something he wants us to do. It’s also often what Jesus did…. He was WITH people. Pope Francis has emphasized this to bishops and priests several times,  “We are promoters of the dialogue of encounter, dialogue is our method.”

Pope Francis tells us that our lives, especially as priests, is to be with people, walking with them, listening to them and accompanying them.  In Evangelii Gaudium (169) he wrote: ‘In our world, ordained ministers and other pastoral workers can make present the fragrance of Christ’s closeness and his personal gaze. The Church will have to initiate everyone – priests, religious and laity – into this “art of accompaniment”. The pace of this accompaniment must be steady and reassuring, reflecting our closeness and our compassionate gaze which also heals, liberates and encourages growth in the Christian life.”

He’s encouraging us to be close to and to accompany the poor, the captives, the blind and the downtrodden. Anyone in ministry today is sent as Jesus was sent …and what did he do, he walked with people, sat and listened. We are asked and are privileged to understand, forgive, accompany and integrate those with messed up and difficult lives into the life of the Church.

Pope Francis is a Jesuit. He would have known some of the things written and said by that great Jesuit Theologian, Karl Rahner. Rahner once asked the question “Why would a modern man want to become or remain a priest today?”  He then answered his own question with stunning simplicity.

He said that for him it is not the great works of the church in the service of justice and peace, the great universities and the great movements and programs. “Rather,” he said, “I still see around me living in many of my brother priests a readiness for unselfish service carried out quietly, a readiness for prayer, for abandonment to the incomprehensibility of God, for the total dedication to the following of Christ crucified.”

The Church of Wellington is blessed to have priests who continually show a readiness for  unselfish service carried out quietly, a readiness for prayer, abandonment to the incomprehensibility of God, for the total dedication to the following of Christ crucified.

As your priests renew their priestly promises this evening, pray for them, pray that they will be sent with renewed enthusiasm and know these words of Pope Francis:

What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes.”

What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes.”

 

 

 

 

Palm Sunday 2018 – Homily by Cardinal John Dew

Palm Sunday 2018

We are invited today to plunge whole-heartedly into the Gospel and imagine ourselves among the crowds that came to Jerusalem, as it says in John’s Gospel, “to learn that Jesus is coming.”

We are invited to imagine ourselves “the hordes of people who spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields.” We pray about that today and try to connect spiritually with this event as closely as possible.

Who is this Galilean arriving in the Holy City?

Would you be among those who strode ahead to meet him or those who followed?

Would your voice join those who sang out “Hosanna in the highest” or would you have been among the silent onlookers startled by the scenes of excitement when they saw this man coming into Jerusalem on a donkey?

Do you stand back in admiration of the strange new Messiah or are you influenced by those who were prejudiced against him?

Would you have been a pilgrim or a dawdler?

Have you ever thought on Palm Sunday which kind of behaviour you would have shown towards Jesus on this day?

It can be quite easy to think about the change of heart and behaviour in those who were present in that week…it is easy to think about THEM and not even think about the call to conversion – and a change of attitude and behaviour in ourselves – Holy Wek Invites us to think of where we are in all of this. In all humility we too know that our hands would have carried palms and shouted in welcome, AND THAT on Friday would shout out “Crucify him, crucify him!”

This week, we again have the chance to begin to allow Christ’s unconditional love to bloom in our hearts.

We cannot judge the crowds at Jerusalem as if the crowds in Jerusalem were never were never completely clear in the way they felt about Jesus of Nazareth, sometimes for him, sometimes against him. We too have doubts and lack faith at times. Our own belief and our prayers are occasionally weighed down by scepticism and fear.

We change, we are believing and yet unbelieving, we are enthusiastic and then tired and weary; we shut out in welcome and excitement, and then call ‘Crucify him.”  Whatever we are…. changing and fickle ……. HE is always the totally loving and compassionate shepherd, teacher and healer. The “Hosanna” is now ours.  Our hearts may vibrate today in fragile faith, but we pray that this week our fragile faith will still lead us to keep our gaze transfixed on Jesus.

Today and throughout this week we respond to the invitation of Jesus “Look at me,” we will look at him and we will hear him say “Do you see anything that is not Love?”