Tag Archives: JamesLyons

TO SHARE IS TO LIVE

HOMILY – 13TH SUNDAY [B] 2018                    Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24

The current euthanasia debate turns on the premise that no one really wants to die but, if death is inevitable, individuals should have the right to decide their own time of dying.  There might be some sense in this if we were just individuals, autonomous, disconnected from any other part of life.  But we are not.  As St Paul reminds us in one of his Letters, The life and death of each of us has its influence on others.  If we need any other reminder of our connectedness, we have only to reflect on the spontaneous reaction of horror and sympathy following the tragic head-on smash in Taranaki this week that claimed seven lives.

Our first reading today takes the approach that death does not come from God.  Death is not one of the gifts that radiate from God’s love – God takes no pleasure in the extinction of the living. [Wisdom 1:13] – so, where is the responsibility for death?  There are, in fact, two kinds of death: one is simply the natural process by which the cycle of life is maintained – leaves falling from the trees to become the nutrient for the continuing life of the forest; each season dying into the next; and our own human life span drawing us to an ending which, the gift of faith assures us, is only the beginning of greater life.

The other kind of death is the one we inflict on each other: brutal killings, irresponsible behaviour, warfare, greed for power and wealth that destroys the natural order.  We champion death when we disregard or abuse the dignity of others or their right to life; when we deny the care that will protect and enhance our environment or one another.

Jesus was laughed at when he said that a child everyone was convinced was dead, was only asleep.  He took her by the hand and told her to get up, and she did – and all were overcome with astonishment. [John 5:21-43]  Beyond that caring, respectful action of Jesus, is his message that life, like love, never comes to an end.  His whole mission was emphasising what we heard in the first reading that God did make (us) imperishable, he made (us) in the image of his own nature…  And that nature is Trinitarian, a giving, sharing, relating nature.

Jesus’ words to the community as he returned the girl to them: Give her something to eat, puts the responsibility for nourishment and for life on to others.  We are alive because of one another.  We only really die when we refuse to share.

The Cathedral Connection 1 July 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

CELEBRATING LIFE

When parents seek to enrol their child in a Catholic School, they must provide evidence of baptism. An unbaptised child can be accepted if another family member has been baptised and if enrolment at the school may encourage the other towards baptism. Eight children from our parish school have been working towards this goal and will be baptised and confirmed at our 5.30pm Vigil Mass this weekend. A parent of one of the children will also receive the Sacraments of Initiation.

We should all rejoice at this outcome and be eager to befriend and support the families involved. Faith is a fragile gift and must be tended with great love and care. If our community is to grow and flourish, none of us can be excused from welcoming and nurturing these new ones, born into the family of God. Help them proudly celebrate their new life.

Accompanying this time of “Welcome” is a moment of “Farewell” as I step down from the role of Parish Priest after nearly 11 years among you. On Monday, I have surgery to replace the artificial hip that has served me for the past 16 years and, after recovery, will take up the new role of Priest in Sacramental Ministry. That means I will assist with the celebration of the sacraments, with our Pastoral Leader, Debbie Matheson, overseeing parish life. Fr Ron Bennett of Otari Parish will support Debbie, being present at some of our Sunday Masses. I will formally retire from active, assigned ministry, at the end of this year.

I am extremely grateful for the privilege of leading our parish, and very confident that Debbie’s pastoral sensitivity will continue to mould and build our community through to the appointment of the next Parish Priest.

Fr James

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

WHAT WILL THIS CHILD TURN OUT TO BE?

HOMILY – NATIVITY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST – 24 JUNE 2018

Babies and young children have been in the news this week – from the death of an infant in Upper Hutt sparking a homicide enquiry, to the forcible removal of children from their parents in a political stand on migration, to the happier news of the birth of the Prime Minister’s first child.  The horror and sadness of child abuse; the delight and joy of new birth.  And, our Mass today coincides with the theme, as we honour another birth, John the Baptist – admittedly one of the great figures in the Christian faith – but still a child being born, weak, vulnerable, totally dependent on parental support.

For parents who love and care for their children, neglect and cruelty of little ones are hard to imagine or understand; when we see the little ones here at Mass or hear their laughter in the playground, we can’t believe they could be harmed in any way.

Also today, we welcome members of the Order of Malta which has St John the Baptist as its patron.  The Order is not well known here but its 900-year history is rich with service to the weak and vulnerable, the sick and disabled.  John the Baptist is the ideal patron for this service.  He stands at the crossroads between the faith of people awaiting a promised Messiah who would bring healing and strength – open the eyes of the blind and set the downtrodden free – and the fulfilment of that promise in Jesus, who gave himself to children and to the poor, to the sick and to sinners.

The adult John would baptise Jesus and John’s martyrdom would launch Jesus into his mission to reveal the presence of God in the ordinariness of human life, and especially where there is hurt or sorrow, weakness or injustice.  The Order of Malta continues this mission, with both international and local projects, like our own group’s initiative in providing winter coats and shelter for Wellington’s homeless.

“What will this child turn out to be?” the neighbours wondered, as the parents chose the name ‘John’ for their son – a name foreign to the family tradition… And we all wonder what children will become as we gaze on their uniqueness, and marvel at their potential.

I’m greatly disturbed that so many little ones know fear before they know joy, are victimised and blamed for behaviour not their own.  In the spirit of the Order of Malta, you and I can identify with the vulnerable, holding them in prayer, becoming active in their defence, contributing to their welfare, supporting social service efforts to help dysfunctional families.  Supporting the DCM book fair is a simple but practical way of helping.

Our Eucharistic Prayer today asks God to “open our eyes to the needs of our sisters and brothers”.  What do your eyes see?

What will our children, the children of our nation, or any nation, turn out to be?  I remember, years ago, a 12-year old answering the question, What do you want to be when you grow up?  He said, Alive!  I thought the answer strange, at the time.

The Cathedral Connection 24 June 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

YOUR PARISH AT WORK

Our parish is one of several inner-city parishes that support the work of Downtown Community Ministry Wellington.

DCM works with homeless people to help them get into houses. Once a person is reduced to living on the street a significant process is required for them to be able to get back into a house, beginning with addressing the reasons they first became homeless. Over the past decade DCM have supported hundreds of people to successfully escape homelessness and enter sustainable housing. DCM provides a range of associated services, such as support in dealing with Work and Income, supportive mental health and addiction services, money management services, medical and dental services, a foodbank, and preparation for work. Overall DCM offer holistic support for people who are disenfranchised in our city.

Our support for DCM is one important way in which we as a parish are able to help those on the peripheries, one of the goals of our recent Archdiocesan Synod. In our urban setting those without a home to live in are one group of the poor to whom Jesus calls us to be responsive to. To paraphrase Jesus “I was homeless and you gave me shelter”. One way to be responsive to those who are homeless today is in supporting the organised groups that provide effective processes and respectful support to address the homelessness of individuals.  In Wellington DCM is the leading group.

DCM Wellington is holding its annual bookfair on Saturday August 4. This is their major fundraiser for the year. On the next two Sundays you are invited to bring any spare books, CDs or DVDs you no longer need that you can donate to the bookfair (see notices inside). Of course, you can also support DCM by going to the bookfair at Shed 6 on Queen’s wharf where there will be thousands of books of every type at very modest prices.

Nick Polaschek

The full newsletter can be viewed here.