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Come and See

The Paulist Missionaries invite young men 18-36 years, to a Discernment Weekend to discover more about vocations discernment, religious life and the Paulist Charism.

The date to still be determined.

If you are interested please contact Fr Jude on 0431 984 689.

 

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Maria Scala has been part of our School and Parish Community for the past 16 years. During this time, Maria ministered as Deputy and Religious Education Leader and has contributed to the learning of many students over these years. I thank her for the support she offered me personally and to Principals and Staff over the years at St James. Maria has been instrumental in the development of our Sacramental Program and given herself tirelessly.

As a Parish we thank Maria and wish her happiness and success in her new role as Principal of St Francis Xavier Primary School, Corio.

 

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THE WORTHWHILENESS OF JESUS’ MESSAGE

Adopting the shorter form of today’s Gospel, let us concentrate on the riches contained in the parable of the Sower taken simply by itself.

Jesus probably told the parable to counter discouragement among his disciples stemming from the poor response his message was receiving from many quarters.

So, taking a familiar image from agricultural practice of his day, Jesus pointed to the very casual way in which those going out to sow a crop scattered the seed about. By no means all of it landed in good soil. Quite a bit could land in the three situations—on the path, on rocky ground, among thorns—resulting in the loss described.

Isn’t this all rather wasteful? Not at all! The sower knows that each seed that falls on good soil will bear a yield many times in excess of itself: a hundredfold, sixty or thirty. This abundance so vastly outweighs the losses that he can afford to be casual and wild.

Like the sower, Jesus scatters his message far and wide. In the case of many who hear him the word suffers the fate of the seed that is lost. But when it really strikes home and finds a welcome, the corresponding “yield”—hundredfold, sixty, thirty—more than compensates for all the loss.

In the face of opposition and indifference, Jesus does not lose confidence. When the word finds a generous response in the human heart, there is no limit to the riches of God’s love and grace that can be channeled through such persons into the world.

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We welcome Deacon Alex Zammit mssp who will be joining our Parish Community over the next two weeks before returning to the Philippines. He writes to us:

I am very grateful for the opportunity to spend some weeks within this parish community. As a newly ordained deacon since last May, I have been given the opportunity to have an experience of ministry here in Australia before I finish my studies for the missionary priesthood. I look forward to meet many of you who are part of the parish, as we share with each other the joy of our faith and fellowship.

Deacon Alex Zammit

 

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Exemple

THE WORTHWHILENESS OF JESUS’ MESSAGE

Adopting the shorter form of today’s Gospel, let us concentrate on the riches contained in the parable of the Sower taken simply by itself.

Jesus probably told the parable to counter discouragement among his disciples stemming from the poor response his message was receiving from many quarters.

So, taking a familiar image from agricultural practice of his day, Jesus pointed to the very casual way in which those going out to sow a crop scattered the seed about. By no means all of it landed in good soil. Quite a bit could land in the three situations—on the path, on rocky ground, among thorns—resulting in the loss described.

Isn’t this all rather wasteful? Not at all! The sower knows that each seed that falls on good soil will bear a yield many times in excess of itself: a hundredfold, sixty or thirty. This abundance so vastly outweighs the losses that he can afford to be casual and wild.

Like the sower, Jesus scatters his message far and wide. In the case of many who hear him the word suffers the fate of the seed that is lost. But when it really strikes home and finds a welcome, the corresponding “yield”—hundredfold, sixty, thirty—more than compensates for all the loss.

In the face of opposition and indifference, Jesus does not lose confidence. When the word finds a generous response in the human heart, there is no limit to the riches of God’s love and grace that can be channeled through such persons into the world.

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Farewell to Deacon Giovann mssp

This weekend marks the final weekend Deacon Giovann will be with us. He will now go to Sunshine North Parish before returning to the Philippines to finish his studies. Let us keep him in our prayers. Deacon Giovann writes to us:

I am more than grateful for this amazing experience of living here at St James the Apostle Parish! Even if my stay here was pretty short I did feel very much at home and welcomed to share my life with you. A word of special thanks goes to Fr Jude who with all involved here is doing something indeed special. Which I feel more than honoured to experience. While I continue my journey of life may I please ask you to keep me, and all of us Paulist Missionaries in your prayers. May we continue to strive to be beautiful people of God!

Giovann Tabone

 

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Welcoming Christ

The attractive themes of ‘welcome’ and ‘hospitality’ running through today’s readings sit a bit uncomfortably alongside the opening words of the Gospel, where Jesus starkly rules out ‘preferring’ family members to loyalty to himself.

The warning reflects the situation of the early church, where the experience, or at least the threat, of persecution was very real, and where some members of a family may have been Christian and some not.

In contemporary societies that are either majority Christian or tolerantly post-Christian, we may not face this challenge so sharply. If, however, we are comfortable in our world, largely sharing its values and aspirations, then some aspect of Christ’s message is not getting through to us.

At this point, the theme of ‘welcome’ in the second part of today’s Gospel comes into play. In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus is from the start ‘Emmanuel—God with us’ (1:23). This sense of divine presence stands behind the statement: ‘Anyone who welcomes you, welcomes me; and those who welcome me, welcome the One who sent me’.

The stranger, then, who stands before us comes as an emissary and representative of Christ and, further, of the Father, who sent Christ to be the divine presence in our world. In dealing with this person, we are in some sense dealing with our God.

As never before, save perhaps immediately after World War II, are so many people being displaced through war, tyranny or economic misery. In the light of this mass movement Christ’s words about discipleship and welcome hold fresh challenge.

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Upcoming Formation: Meditation in the Christian Tradition

“It is a fundamental task to teach people how to pray and how to learn to do so personally, better and better. Many seek meditation elsewhere because they think that they will not be able to find a spiritual dimension in Christianity. We must show them once again, not only that this spiritual dimension exists but that it is the source of all things …” Pope Benedict XVI

Fr Jude and the Parish Council are delighted to offer all parishioners another formation activity in the lead up to our Parish Feast Day celebrations. This year’s workshop will focus on the practice of Meditation in the Christian Tradition.  Learning the practice of Christian Meditation can renew and transform our spiritual lives and enhance our ability to simply ‘be’. In this workshop, Christopher Morris, lecturer at the Catholic Theological College, will help us to consider ways of developing a contemplative, prayerful practice in a world that can be frantically busy and chaotic. When we are able to ‘pray in our inner room’, we will discover that we will live more authentic and compassionate lives that are intimately linked to the workings of the Spirit. Date: Wednesday 19th July 7:30-9:30pm in the Church. RSVP:  Sun  16 July by contacting the Parish Office  0n 97486800 or email [email protected]

 

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Of Whom to be Afraid?

As a basic human emotion, fear can go two ways. It can be a safeguard and protection, or a force that cripples and disables. The key thing is to distinguish well-founded fear from that which is illusory or based on deception. A great part of spiritual direction consists in helping people to recognize falsely-based fear from that which is reality-based and therefore salutary.

Today’s Gospel addresses challenges believers face in living out and giving witness to their faith. Ringing through it is the refrain: ‘Do not fear’. Jesus acknowledges that there will be much that will dismay believers and make them afraid. He urges them to distinguish appropriate from inappropriate fear.

Disciples need not fear persecutors who can only kill the body. Our physical existence is held in God’s hands; we are precious in God’s sight— infinitely more so sparrows, none of whose falling to the ground escapes divine notice. In all threats, then, we can be confident that God will see them through to eternal life.

For disciples, the only truly valid fear is that of falling out of God’s favour. The warning, ‘Fear him, rather, who can destroy both body and soul in hell’, may refer, then, to those whose evil influence and deception could bring this about.

God’s only desire is to impart to us eternal life. But we can so alienate ourselves from the outreach of divine love as to face eternal loss. It is of such a consequence that people ought truly to be afraid.

Brendan Byrne, SJ

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The Gospel for today’s feast comes from Jesus’ long discourse on ‘the Bread of Life’ in the sixth chapter of St John. At this final stage of the discourse Jesus explicitly links the gift of the Eucharist with the manna (‘bread from heaven’) that sustained the Israelites during their time of wandering in the wilderness of Sinai.

For most of the discourse, however, Jesus has been speaking of himself as ‘the Bread of Life’ in a more general sense. The people want him to emulate Moses, who arranged for ‘bread from heaven’ (the manna) to be given to their ancestors. But Jesus refuses to be just another figure like Moses, turning on miracles for the people. He identifies himself, rather, with the manna itself. He is the ‘Bread’ that God has sent down from heaven.

While the original manna simply sustained the Israelites in their journey through the wilderness, the new ‘Bread from heaven’ sustains life in a far deeper sense. Jesus describes it as ‘my flesh for the life of the world’—an allusion to his death, in which he will lay down his earthly life that the world might share the eternal life of God.

In the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of the Lord are always the body ‘given up’ for us and the cup ‘poured out’ for us. In this sacramental mystery believers encounter a divine communication of sacrificial love and life foreshadowed by but far surpassing what the Israelites experienced at Sinai.

 

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