The Catholic Parish
of Frenchs Forest
to Love and Serve
If you’re a visitor or new to our parish, we extend a very warm welcome to you.
If you have any questions, please chat with Fr Shiju, or myself, or browse our website.
We want you to feel at home with us. - Fr Satheesh
from Fr Satheesh
My Dear Parishioners,
I am sure all our school staff and families are enjoying a welcome school holiday break.
In the second reading this weekend Paul appeals to Timothy to be courageous in the face of hardship. While there is no question about the steadfastness of Timothy’s faith, he needs the power, the love and the self-discipline that will enable him to stand up courageously and witness to his faith. This reminds me of last weekend when our 120 children were Confirmed. The Bishop spoke to them about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and that the children need to “open” the Gifts that they receive and use these Gifts. Another image we can think of is a “flame”, If a small flame is alight inside a closed room, it will stay small – but if you open the door or window, then it will blaze up to life. This links to the Gospel where the apostles ask for an increase of faith and Jesus speaks about its nature. They are interested in quantity and he is concerned about quality. Jesus uses the image of the seed to illustrate how very little faith is needed to accomplish extraordinary feats. Let us all think about the flame of faith in our own lives and how we use this.
Regarding the Confirmation, I would like to sincerely thank Fran, our Sacramental coordinator, who played a big part in the preparation and facilitated the program with diligence and care. Thank you to Fr. Shiju, our acolytes, our principals, and teachers from our two School Communities, musicians, social committee members, and to all our volunteers who have supported the program throughout. Also, my deep appreciation and gratitude to Jessica Webb, our Parish Secretary for her enormous help and support. It was amazing to see how many people helped and I so appreciate all the hard work and dedication.
We begin the month of October this weekend, as you know this is the month of the Rosary. We are encouraging families to continue this devotion in private, however on 10th October to 19th October we will say the Rosary together in OLGC Church at 7pm for each night during this time.
Please look out for the information on the feast of St Martin’s, which we will celebrate on Saturday 29th October at 5.30pm Mass, followed by a Curry/international food night. Please do remember there will not be a vigil Mass on that day at OLGC and Terrey Hills.
We hope you enjoy the extra daylight hours as the clocks skip forward an hour this weekend.
God Bless you all,
Fr. Satheesh Antony OSH
Today's Gospel highlights what a different world Jesus and the earliest Christians lived in by comparison with us today. Jesus and Luke's community unquestionably believed in slavery. In all the Gospels Jesus regularly draws on the image of a slave to make points about duty, respect or responsibility. In other passages Jesus and St Paul advocate for the just treatment of slaves or servants, but it was an institution in their world that they never questioned. They never told the slaves to make a bid for freedom. They never told Christian slave owners to set their slaves free.
Like society generally, the Church, for most of its history, followed this line. Much to our shame, when the tide rightly turned against slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Church was, generally, very slow to be converted to the emancipation movement and take a stand against the colonialism and racism that slavery enshrined.
Our movement on the question of slavery is a wonderful study in the development of doctrine. Not all social realities that Jesus assumed in his day continue to be relevant to our world. It took Society 1800 years, and the Church a bit longer still, to see slavery for what it is – an assault on the children of God – both servant and master. It shows how we have to keep carefully discerning the movement of the Holy Spirit and God's guidance in the light of new thinking.
The image of the slave in today's Gospel is invoked to underline our response to God's goodness. Our work for God is seen to be totally disproportionate to the gifts we have been given. Holding, as we do, that life, creation, all talents, gifts, and, in our case, security and peace are fruits of God's love, Jesus is right to highlight which side of the ledger is more generous.
To serve God in the world, in response to his invitation, is a privilege. We share in his creativity, compassion, hospitality and care. And often, through us, others come to know God and judge if Christian faith is sincere. As respondents to many surveys tell us, they may like who Jesus is and his teaching in the Gospel, but the stumbling block for their joining us is the way they see that faith lived out in the Church.
Many of us, however, struggle on heroically to serve God as best we can. Our faith gives purpose and meaning to our work in the world. As difficult as it can be to love others and live peacefully, we know this is God's desire and intention for the world. Every act of kindness that we perform extends God's kingdom, nothing is too small, nothing is insignificant. If all of us lived out Christian teaching, the world would be transformed overnight. It is not that our virtues and values have been found wanting, it's more that they are not fully tried out.
May this Eucharist, then, give us a sense of the dignity we have by being called as servants or slaves, friends and family of Jesus Christ the Lord.