UPDATED: COVID-19 guidance for parishes – Following the return to Stage 3 lockdown restrictions for the next six weeks, an updated set of guidelines has been prepared to assist Clergy and Faithful with questions pertaining to specific areas of liturgy and ministry in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
Today is the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time and the day that the Australian Bishops and our National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council have invited us to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday. Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics number over 130,000 and are growing strongly.
Dear Parishioners of Our Lady of the Assumption, Please God we’re all okay, living with these re-imposed restrictions, in addition to the many safety measures in place, designed to see us through these extraordinary days, …or should I say, months!
Focus on the Readings… The people of Matthew’s community were being persecuted for their faith. They were mostly Jews who had come to accept Jesus as the awaited Messiah.
Focus on the Readings… This passage comes after Jesus has fed the multitudes with five barley loaves and two fish, but in his explanation of this sign, Jesus refers to himself as ‘living bread’, ‘bread from heaven’ that gives eternal life. The ancestors who followed Moses out of Egypt had been sent manna from heaven to nourish them in the desert, but they had still died.
Focus on the readings: Nicodemus, a member of the ruling elite of the Jewish people, wants to believe in Jesus but is afraid to do so publicly, so he comes to Jesus at night (John 3:2). Darkness and night are often used in John as symbols of an inability to accept the truth of who Jesus is, but still Nicodemus is drawn. He is open to the truth but fears the consequences.
Despite the promise of Jesus that He would not leave His disciples ‘orphaned’ (see Sixth Sunday of Easter), they huddle in fear in the upper room after his death. He comes among them, not offering recriminations at their lack of faith, but offering peace — a peace won through the cross and resurrection.
The feast of the Ascension celebrates the physical separation of Jesus from the human story, but this text promises his continual presence ‘to the end of time’. After three years of living, working and praying with the disciples, Jesus commissions them to continue his work in the world.
Focus on the Readings… Today’s Gospel alerts the disciples to that time when Jesus will no longer be with them. His departure will be a severe challenge to their faith, and Jesus gives voice to the challenge: ‘If you love me you will keep my commandments.’
Focus on the readings… Today’s gospel draws our attention to the time when Jesus will depart from the disciples (the Ascension is two weeks away). When Jesus is gone, the disciples must continue the task that he has begun.