Newsletter – 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time 29 July 2018

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17th Sunday in Ordinary Time 290718

We are all in this together

Each weekend there are people sitting in the pews of St Joseph’s and St Benedict’s who did not know if they would get to Mass today because of the struggle of getting the rest of the family out of the door on time. Others sit anxiously concerned about the debt on their credit cards. Younger members of our Parish family ponder the choices they are making and whether all the sacrifices are worth it. There are some who don’t know if their relationships will last the day, let alone the week. Some will have questions of guilt, inadequacy and failure while others are dealing with illnesses that they don’t fully understand; fault, forgiveness and the feeling of being completely overwhelmed.

All of us have been in the position where we just can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. Somehow, we look back at what, at the time, seemed an insurmountable problem or situation, and we find we were able to do more than we ever expected we were capable of. Indeed, compared with some of the problems we face today, those problems of the past now seem so simple.

In this weekend’s first reading we hear how the prophet Elisha empowers his servant to feed the hundred people with just twenty barley loaves. In the Gospel today, Jesus empowers the disciples to feed thousands with even less. How does this happen?

This is the power of faith in God. Faith is the power to do more than we can ever do on our own. Faith is the ability to trust even when we have no immediate answer to our situation. Faith, in today’s Gospel, transforms the disciples from doubters into instruments of the Lord who could feed the crowds.

Every day God calls each one of us to reach out beyond our perceived human abilities.   In having the courage to confront our challenges and the unique situations we find ourselves in, we play our part in building up the Kingdom of God in our own little part of God’s good creation.

Naturally we don’t do this alone. In fact, as Catholics we find the strength to act and respond to our faith each time we celebrate the Eucharist. There, at Mass, we hear the Word of God and we let it transform and inspire us. Each week, we offer up our little lives, our hopes and fears, worries and joys and dreams. We do that in the form of the bread and wine, and that is all we have to do! In placing it on the altar we trust that the little we share will become the most we can have!

So, as you sit in the pew this weekend you will hear today in the second reading from Ephesians that we are all in this together; be you anxious or excited, fearful or hopeful. The strength we find in coming together faithfully to celebrate the Eucharist each week both fills us up with the confidence to confront and embrace the challenges and situations of our lives, while at the same time enabling us to go beyond ourselves – when we do that we have a chance to taste the Kingdom of God!

Wishing you every blessing for the week ahead.

Fr Peter Brannelly