29 July 2016

'Set your minds on things that are above.' Sunday Reflections, 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Fr Jacques Hamel
(3o November 1930 - 26 July 2016)

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory (Colossians 3: 2-4. Second Reading.)

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’  Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’  But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’  So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”

Some martyred priests of our time

Fr Jacques Hamel, Archdiocese of Rouen, France
30 November 1930 - 27 July 2016

Fr Ragheed Ganni 20 January 1972 - 3 June 2007 and Archbishop Mar Paulos Faraj Rahho 20 November 1942 - February or March 2008
Both of the Chaldean Catholic Archeparch of Mosul, Iraq

Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko, Archdiocese of Warsaw, Poland
14 September 1947 - 19 October 1984

15 August 1917 - 24 March 1980

Fr Vernon Francis Douglas, Columban, New Zealand / Philippines
22 May 1910 - 27 July 1943

13 January 1891 - 23 November 1927

This is what the priesthood is about
This is what the Mass is about
This is what the Catholic Church is about

Kyrie eleison
Christe eleison
Kyrie eleison

[Thanks to Fr Ray Blake of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton in England who posted the photo from Aleteia above with the caption beneath on his blog.]

Both Blessed Óscar Romero and Fr Jacques Hamel were murdered while celebrating Mass. Fr Ragheed Ganni was murdered just after celebrating Mass

Church of Saint-Étienne (St Stephen's) 

Father Jacques, born on the feast of St Andrew, Apostle and Martyr, was martyred in his parish church, named after St Stephen the First Christian Martyr, on the day after the feast of his patron St James, Apostle and Martyr. (Jacques is the French form of James).

The three readings today remind us of what is essential. 

Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! (First Reading).

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.(Second Reading).

But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’  So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” (Gospel).

This Mass was celebrated in St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, Australia, on Wednesday 27 July.

In his homily below Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP of Sydney refers to the many killings by terrorists in recent weeks in different parts of the world - and most victims were Muslims. He refers to Fr Jacques's friendship with Muslims. He also reminds us of the response of leaders of the Islamic faith in France to the killing of Fr Hamel.

‘A church is a place of peace and love, and when he is saying Mass the priest stands in the place of eternal Love, who is Jesus Christ Himself. So this attack is an attack on a particular priest, his congregation, his community, his country; but it also an attack on all priests, all congregations, all communities, all countries because its aim is to undermine people's sense of security everywhere, freedom of religion everywhere, and our love of peace.

We need to be always prepared for a sudden death, not matter in what way it may come. And we need to prepare for that by frequent confession, as Pope Francis has reminded us so many times, especially in this Jubilee Year of Mercy. It is believed that Fr Francis Douglas was scourged by Japanese soldiers while tied to one of the pillars in St James' church, Paete, Laguna, because he would not break the seal of confession.

Blessed Óscar Romero:

How easy it is to denounce structural injustice, institutionalized violence, social sin! And it is true, this sin is everywhere, but where are the roots of this social sin? In the heart of every human being. Present-day society is a sort of anonymous world in which no one is willing to admit guilt, and everyone is responsible. We are all sinners, and we have all contributed to this massive crime and violence in our country. Salvation begins with the human person, with human dignity, with saving every person from sin. 

Source: The Violence of Love

Without Sunday, without the Eucharist the Christians in Iraq cannot survive . . . Christ challenges evil with his infinite love, he keeps us united and through the Eucharist he gifts us life, which the terrorists are trying to take away. 

Fr Aidan Tory CP, an Irish Passionist now working in France, speaks from first-hand experience of violence while he served in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

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