The tension between the old order and the new has been the contention of Australia Day rhetoric for some years. All agree that it is time to redefine our national heritage and refine our vision for the future. Such a redefining was required when Jesus announced the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. The beatitudes in Matthew (5:1-12) teaches about the character and vision of the participants in the Kingdom. What Jesus taught here is as authoritative as that of Moses to the Jews. ‘Jesus going up the mountain, sitting down, and teaching,’ is Matthew’s way of painting Moses typology for Jesus.
Benedict XVI and George Pell, two eminent church men gone to God, were people with agenda. What it was, and how that was implemented is the active discussion in many circles. But one thing is clear, these Christian leaders modelled their agenda after that of Jesus. Matthew (4:12-23) exposes Jesus’ agenda and his organisation towards it.
he sudden death of George Cardinal Pell shocked everyone. To most of the media he, more than anything else, was a polarising person. He lived up to his motto, “Be not afraid”, and and that did not please many. But it does not diminish his great witness to faith and Christ. Afterall, Jesus himself, through his ministry, polarised the demography, especially between his followers and the Jewish leadership of the time. At the end, Jesus was treated like a criminal by the law enforcement agencies of his time – the Sanhedrin and the Roman Governor Pilate. As a disciple of Christ, Cardinal Pell took his wrongful imprisonment in the spirit of the Lord’s passion.
The Sydney Hobart Yacht race on Boxing Day is a tradition. It is a race of the sailing boats, notably not submarines. Anything out in the open and sailing together over water is more fit for a celebration than submerged water machines. And people flock at several vantage points between Circular Quay and North and South Heads to enjoy the spectacle than to speculate any activities deep under.
Christmas gifts are wrapped to make it a surprise to the children. Not knowing what is in it, the mystery, until it is unwrapped adds to the joy of receiving a gift. There is a man in the Bible who received a great wonderful gift from God but shrouded in mystery. Matthew’s Gospel tells us how a great mystery gift was unwrapped before Joseph
It is only a fortnight to Christmas, and it is a crazy time of gift buying frenzy. Many are happy that it is going to boost the economy. Is that the best news of the time? Behind each gift, there is a giver. The worth and joy of the gift depends on the giver and the relationship between the giver and the recipient. The purchased gift may be an electronic toy or some costly and sweet chocolate.
When I told the nine recipients of the Pope Francis Award, from SPC School, that they were preaching the Word of God, they and their families might have been wondering ‘when did they preach?’. They were merely engaging in some service or another for the good of the community. Yet, in truth they are preachers of the Word of God, because, unlike other services, these students were doing it in the name of Jesus, and their service strengthened the Church, the Body of Christ. Their preaching was not so much with words, but action. Through their services, they were preparing the way for God to come into the lives of those who need it.
The thrill of watching a football match is the anxious wait to see who kicks goals. From the start of the game till the finish it is a waiting till there are winners and losers. Anyone who enjoys sports would admit that the time between the start of the game and the finish is the best part. Today, the Church invites you to buy a ticket to an “in-between-time”.
For us it is the Solemnity of Christ the King, but for the sporting world the World Cup championship competition is commencing in Qatar. With this event, Qatar, a kingdom about the size of the greater Sydney is attracting the attention of the world for more than one reason. In preparation for the World Cup, it has been transformed with a new metro, skyscrapers, highways, new Universities, museums and most of all seven new stadiums.
Imagine you trying to give courage and confidence to a small minority of persecuted Christians, such as the early Church. In those very hostile environments, the early Christians saw Jesus offering, ‘much needed’, wise and insightful advice on how to cope with difficult times. “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but end will not follow immediately.” (Lk21:9)