THE PARISH OF BAULKHAM HILLS

Click here to go to St Michael's church site.

Email St Michael's at admin@parishofbaulkhamhills.org.au

Phone: +61 2 9639 0598

 

Click here to go to Our Lady Of Lourdes church site.

Email Our Lady of Lourdes at olol@parishofbaulkhamhills.org.au

                                 Phone: +61 2 9639 8385

 

 

       

 

 

PARISH UPDATE – FRIDAY JULY 1

A COVID SAFE PARISH

 

Dear Parishioners,

 

SECOND ASSEMBLY OF THE FIFTH PLENARY COUNCIL

The Second assembly of the Fifth Plenary Council starts this Sunday, 3 July with Mass at St Mary MacKillop Chapel, North Sydney, where up to 300 delegates will pray for the Holy Spirit to guide them as they discuss and vote on around 30 motions which have been proposed.

 

The Plenary Council concludes with Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday 9th July at 10.30am to which all are invited.

 

Delegates from Parramatta Diocese are Bishop Vincent, Frs Peter Williams, Chris De Souza, Fernando Montano, Paul Marshall and myself, and Wendy Goonan and Carol Teodori-Blahut.

 

This is a live-in Gathering so I will be away for the week – from Sunday afternoon to Saturday afternoon. Please pray for us.

 

FROM DIOCESE of PARRAMATTA - Involvement and Arrangements for the Assembly

Opportunities for parishioner involvement

 

·        Prayer: Parish communities are encouraged to pray the Plenary Council prayer for the Diocese of Parramatta which was developed by the Members of the Plenary Council. You can find it here.

·        Follow the livestreams: A livestream will take place each day from the Plenary Council from 8.30am 4 to 8 July, and 9am on 8 July. The daily Masses will also be livestreamed. You can find the schedule of livestreams here.

·        Direct messages to the members: The Plenary Council will feature a message board at the assembly venue where Members can read the prayers, hope and messages of support from parishioners around Australia. The link for messages can be found here.

·        Attend the closing Mass: The Catholic community is invited to attend the closing Mass of the Second Assembly on Saturday 9 July at 10.30am at St Mary’s Cathedral. You can find details here.

 

Diocesan resources

To help you follow the events of the Second Assembly, the Diocese of Parramatta will feature useful links on the website page parracatholic.org/plenary. Catholic Outlook will also feature the daily updates, articles and videos from the Plenary Council, and we will be sharing highlights on our social media channels. We encourage you to share these on your own channels.

 

We have interviewed members of the Plenary Council from the Diocese of Parramatta, and we will be releasing videos of these interviews in the lead up to, and during the Second Assembly.

 

More details and links can be found at  https://plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au

 

VINNIES WINTER APPEAL

Thank you to those who supported the Vinnies Winter appeal over these last few weeks – your donations have been gratefully received, and will be used for Vinnies work in the Hills area.

 

SHALOM WORLD

SHALOM WORLD is a Catholic, commercial-free, 24/7, HD family entertainment channel, reaching out to the world with the Truth and Peace that can only be found in Jesus Christ! Amidst the sea of secular media offering lies and sins disguised as freedom and rights, we know that you are searching for something more for yourself and your loved ones. Let SHALOM WORLD be your source of informative, inspirational and vibrant entertainment, reaching out to everyone everywhere. Website: https://www.shalomworld.org

 

WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES

The World Meeting of Families concluded last Sunday, 26th June in Rome. In his Mass, Pope Francis said

“Above all, I thank the married couples and families who will bear witness to family love as a vocation and path to holiness. Have a good meeting!”

 

The full text of the Pope’s homily can be found below following his teaching on old age.

 

MASS LINK

The Mass link for this Saturday for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Sat 6pm) and available on YOUTUBE after that is https://youtu.be/UHQDW5Dx1Zk. Please copy the link into browser if it does not immediately work.

 

Mass is live streamed on Saturday evening at 6pm from Our Lady of Lourdes, and available for viewing afterwards via the link. We are also using FACEBOOK links via the Parish of Baulkham Hills FACEBOOK page. Thank you to Jim and Brian for your help with this every week.

 

POPE FRANCIS AND CATECHESIS ON OLD AGE

Pope Francis continued his reflection on old age, and that reflection follows these notices.  This week he reflects the theme: “Peter and John

 

FOR THE DECEASED

 

Please remember those for whom prayers have been requested, especially for:

 

Recently deceased: 

Fr Kevin O’Grady, Bob Daley, David Gallahar, Terry Coy, Richard Joseph, Stephanie Shield, Andrelina Cayanan

 

Anniversary:

Josephine Day, Kay James (Kocsis), Karen Ritky, Roberto Capitulo

 

SUPPORT DONATIONS

WE really appreciate your continued support.  To assist with the proper recording for the second collection, please include your envelope number if you have one.

 

For EFT to the First Collection - supporting the priests

               BSB                                  067 950

               Account No                    000004265

               Account Name              Diocesan Clergy

               Reference                       6001 your name

 

For EFT to the second (envelope and loose) Collection – for support of the Parish,

               BSB                                  067 950

               Account No                    000000214

               Account Name              St Michael’s Baulkham Hills

               Reference                       Envelope Number or Your Name

 

If you wish to pay by credit card, please use this link https://www.bpoint.com.au/pay/stmichaelsparishbaulkhamhills

 

 

 

POPE FRANCIS ON OLD AGE

In his address in Italian, the Pope continued his cycle of catechesis on old age, focusing on the theme: “Peter and John”.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lamb. A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep. He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. … After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” So the rumour spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” (Bible reading: John 21.15-23).

 

Dear brothers and sisters, welcome and good morning!

In our catechetical journey on old age, today we meditate on the dialogue between the risen Jesus and Peter at the end of John’s Gospel (21:15-23). It is a moving dialogue, from which shines all the love of Jesus for his disciples, and also the sublime humanity of his relationship with them, in particular with Peter: a tender relationship, but not melancholic; direct, strong, free, and open. A relationship between men and in truth. Thus, John’s Gospel, so spiritual, so lofty, closes with a poignant request and offer of love between Jesus and Peter, which is intertwined, quite naturally, with a discussion between them. The Evangelist alerts us: he is bearing witness to the truth of the facts (cf. Jn 21:24). And it is in the facts that the truth is to be sought.

We can ask ourselves: are we capable of preserving the tenor of this relationship of Jesus with the disciples, according to his style that is so open, so frank, so direct, so humanly real? How is our relationship with Jesus? Is it like this, like that of the Apostles with Him? Are we not, instead, very often tempted to enclose the testimony of the Gospel in the cocoon of a ‘sugar-coated’ revelation, to which is added our own circumstantial veneration? This attitude, which seems respectful, actually distances us from the real Jesus, and even becomes the occasion for a very abstract, very self-referential, very worldly journey of faith, which is not the path of Jesus. Jesus is the Word of God made man, and He comports Himself as man, He speaks to us as man, God-man. With this tenderness, with this friendship, with this closeness. Jesus is not like the sugar-sweet image of the picture cards, no: Jesus is close to hand, he is near us.

In the course of Jesus’ discussion with Peter, we find two passages that deal precisely with old age and the passage of time: the time of testimony, the time of life. The first passage is Jesus’ warning to Peter: when you were young you were self-sufficient, when you are old you will no longer be so much the master of yourself and your life. Tell me I have to go in a wheelchair, eh? But that’s how it is, that’s life. With old age you get all these illnesses and we have to accept them as they come, don’t we. We don’t have the strength of youth! And your witness will also be accompanied by this weakness. You have to be a witness to Jesus even in weakness, illness and death. There is a beautiful passage from St Ignatius of Loyola that says: “Just as in life, so also in death we must bear witness as disciples of Jesus.” The end of life must be an end of life of disciples: of disciples of Jesus, whom the Lord always speaks to us according to our age. The Evangelist adds his commentary, explaining that Jesus was alluding to the extreme witness, that of martyrdom and death.

But we can understand more generally the meaning of this admonition: your sequela [following in my footsteps] will have to learn to allow itself to be instructed and moulded by your frailty, your helplessness, your dependence on others, even in getting dressed, in walking. But you: “Follow me” (v. 19). The following of Jesus is always going forward, in good health, in not so good health; self-sufficient, without physical self-sufficiency. But the following of Jesus is important: to follow Jesus always, on your feet, running, going slowly, in a wheelchair… but always following Him. The wisdom of the following [of Jesus]must find the way to abide in its profession of faith – thus Peter responds: “Lord, you know that I love you” (vv. 15.16.17) – even in the limited conditions of weakness and old age. I like talking to the elderly, looking into their eyes: they have those bright eyes, those eyes that speak to you more than words, the witness of a life. And this is beautiful, we must preserve it until the end. Thus to follow Jesus: full of life.

This conversation between Jesus and Peter contains a valuable teaching for all disciples, for all of us believers, and also for all the elderly. From our frailty we learn to express the consistency of our witness of life in the conditions of a life largely entrusted to others, largely dependent on the initiative of others. With sickness, with old age, dependence grows and we are no longer as self-dependent as before; this grows and there too faith matures, there too Jesus is with us, there too that richness of the faith well lived on the road of life springs forth.

But again we must ask ourselves: do we have a spirituality truly capable of interpreting the season – now long and widespread – of this time of our weakness entrusted to others, that is greater than to the power of our autonomy? How do we remain faithful to the lived act of following [Jesus], to the promised love, to the justice sought in the time of our capacity for initiative, in the time of the fragility, in the time of dependence, of farewell, in the time of moving away from being the protagonist of our lives? It’s not easy, is it? To move away from being the protagonist. It’s not easy.

This new time is also certainly a time of trial – beginning with the temptation – very human, undoubtedly, but also very insidious – to preserve our protagonism. And at times the protagonist has to diminish, has to lower himself, to accept that old age reduces you as protagonist. But you will have another way of expressing yourself, another way of participating in the family, in society, in the group of friends.

And it is curiosity that comes to Peter: “What about him?” says Peter, seeing the beloved disciple following them (cf. vv. 20-21). Sticking your nose in other people’s lives. But no: Jesus says: “Shut up!”. Does he have to part of “my” following [of Jesus]? Does he have to occupy “my” space? Will he be my successor? These are questions that do no good, that don’t help. Must he outlive me and take my place? Jesus’ answer is frank and even rude: “What does it matter to you? You worry about your own life, about your present situation, and don’t stick your nose into the lives of others. What does it matter to you? You follow me” (v. 22).

This is important: the following of Jesus, to follow Jesus in life and in death, in health and in sickness, in life when it is prosperous with many successes, and in life when it is difficult, in many bad moments of failing. And when we want to insert ourselves into other people’s lives, Jesus answers, “What does it matter to you? You follow me.” Beautiful.

We old people should not be envious of young people who take their path, who occupy our place, who outlive us. The honour of our faithfulness to sworn love, fidelity to the following of the faith we have believed, even in the conditions that bring them nearer to the end of their life, is our claim to admiration of the generations to come and of grateful recognition from the Lord. Learning to take leave: this is the wisdom of the elderly. But to say farewell well, carefully, with a smile, to take one’s leave in society, to take one’s leave with others. The life of the elderly is a farewell, slow, slow, but a joyful farewell: I have lived live, I have kept my faith. This is beautiful, when an elderly person can say, “I have lived life, this is my family; I have lived life, I was a sinner but I have also done good.” And this peace that comes, this is the farewell of the elder.

Even the forcibly inactive following [of Jesus], made up of enthusiastic contemplation and rapt listening to the word of the Lord – like that of Mary, the sister of Lazarus – will become the best part of their lives, of the lives of us elderly persons. May this part never be taken from us again, never (cf. Lk 10:42). Let us look to the elderly, let us look upon them, and let us help them so that they may live and express their wisdom of life, that they may give us what is beautiful and good in them. Let us look at them, let us listen to them. And we elders, let us look at the young, and always with a smile, at the young: they will follow the path, they will carry forward what we have sown, even what we have not sown because we have not had the courage or the opportunity: they will carry it forward. But always this relationship.

 

Message from Pope Francis to the Families of the World

In this Tenth World Meeting of Families, it is now the time for thanksgiving. Today we bring before God with gratitude – as if in a great offertory procession – all the fruits that the Holy Spirit has sown in you, dear families. Some of you have taken part in the moments of reflection and sharing here in the Vatican; others have led them and participated in them in the various dioceses, creating a kind of vast “constellation”. I think of the rich variety of experiences, plans and dreams, as well as concerns and uncertainties, which you have shared with one another. Let us now present all of these to the Lord and ask him to sustain you with his strength and love. You are fathers, mothers and children, grandparents, uncles and aunts. You are adults and children, young and old. Each of you brings a different experience of family, but all of you have one hope and prayer: that God will bless and keep your families and all the families of the world.

Saint Paul, in today’s second reading, spoke to us about freedom. Freedom is one of the most cherished ideals and goals of the people of our time. Everyone wants to be free, free of conditioning and limitations, free of every kind of “prison”, cultural, social or economic. Yet, how many people lack the greatest freedom of all, which is interior freedom! The greatest freedom is interior freedom. The Apostle reminds us Christians that interior freedom is above all a gift, when he says: “For freedom Christ has set us free!” (Gal 5:1). Freedom is something we receive. All of us are born with many forms of interior and exterior conditioning, and especially with a tendency to selfishness, to making ourselves the centre of everything and being concerned only with our own interests. This is the slavery from which Christ has set us free. Lest there be any mistake, Saint Paul tells us that the freedom given to us by God is not the false and empty freedom of the world, which in reality is “an opportunity for self-indulgence” (Gal 5:13). No, the freedom that Christ gained at the price of his own blood is completely directed to love, so that – as the Apostle tells us again today – “through love you may become slaves of one another” (ibid.).

All of you married couples, in building your family, made, with the help of Christ’s grace, a courageous decision: not to use freedom for yourselves, but to love the persons that God has put at your side. Instead of living like little islands, you became “slaves of one another”. That is how freedom is exercised in the family. There are no “planets” or “satellites”, each travelling on its own orbit. The family is the place of encounter, of sharing, of going forth from ourselves in order to welcome others and stand beside them. The family is the first place where we learn to love. We must never forget that the family is the first place where we learn to love.

Brothers and sisters, even as we reaffirm this with profound conviction, we also know full well that it is not always the case, for any number of reasons and a variety of situations. And so, in praising the beauty of the family, we also feel compelled, today more than ever, to defend the family. Let us not allow the family to be poisoned by the toxins of selfishness, individualism, today’s culture of indifference and culture of waste, and as a result lose its very DNA, which is the spirit of acceptance and service. The mark of the family is acceptance and the spirit of service within the family.

The relationship between the prophets Elijah and Elisha, as presented in the first reading, reminds us of the relationship between generations, the “passing on of witness” from parents to children. In today’s world, that relationship is not an easy one, and frequently it is a cause for concern. Parents fear that children will not be able to find their way amid the complexity and confusion of our societies, where everything seems chaotic and precarious, and in the end lose their way. This fear makes some parents anxious and others overprotective. At times, it even ends up thwarting the desire to bring new lives into the world.

We do well to reflect on the relationship between Elijah and Elisha. Elijah, at a moment of crisis and fear for the future, receives from God the command to anoint Elisha as his successor. God makes Elijah realize that the world does not end with him, and commands him to pass on his mission to another. That is the meaning of the gesture described in the text: Elijah throws his mantle over the shoulders of Elisha, and from that moment the disciple takes the place of the master, in order to carry on his prophetic ministry in Israel. God thus shows that he has confidence in the young Elisha. The elderly Elijah passes the position, the prophetic vocation to Elisha. He trusts the young person, he trusts in the future. In this gesture, there is hope, and with hope, he passes the baton.

How important it is for parents to reflect on God’s way of acting! God loves young people, but that does not mean that he preserves them from all risk, from every challenge and from all suffering. God is not anxious and overprotective. Think about it: God is not anxious and overprotective; on the contrary, he trusts young people and he calls each of them to scale the heights of life and of mission. We think of the child Samuel, the adolescent David or the young Jeremiah; above all, we think of that young sixteen or seventeen year old girl who conceived Jesus, the Virgin Mary. He trusts a young girl. Dear parents, the word of God shows us the way: not to shield our children from the slightest hardship and suffering, but to try to communicate to them a passion for life, to arouse in them the desire to discover their vocation and embrace the great mission that God has in mind for them. It was precisely that discovery which made Elisha courageous and determined; it made him become an adult. The decision to leave his parents behind and to sacrifice the oxen is a sign that Elisha realized that it was now “up to him”, that it was time to accept God’s call and to carry on the work of his master. This he would do courageously until the very end of his life. Dear parents, if you help your children to discover and to accept their vocation, you will see that they too will be “gripped” by this mission; and they will find the strength they need to confront and overcome the difficulties of life.

I would like to add that, for educators, the best way to help others to follow their vocation is to embrace our own vocation with faithful love. That is what the disciples saw Jesus do. Today’s Gospel shows us an emblematic moment when Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Lk 9:51), knowing well that there he would be condemned and put to death. On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus met with rejection from the inhabitants of Samaria, which aroused the indignant reaction of James and John, but he accepted that rejection, because it was part of his vocation. He met rejection from the very start, first in Nazareth – here we think of that day in the synagogue of Nazareth (cf. Mt 13: 53-58) – now in Samaria, and he was about to be rejected in Jerusalem. Jesus accepted it all, for he came to take upon himself our sins. In a similar way, nothing can be more encouraging for children than to see their parents experiencing marriage and family life as a mission, demonstrating fidelity and patience despite difficulties, moments of sadness and times of trial. What Jesus encountered in Samaria takes place in every Christian vocation, including that of the family. We all know that there are moments when we have to take upon ourselves the resistance, opposition, rejection and misunderstanding born of human hearts and, with the grace of Christ, transform these into acceptance of others and gratuitous love.

Immediately after that episode, which in some way shows us Jesus’ own “vocation”, the Gospel presents three other callings on the way to Jerusalem, represented by three aspiring disciples of Jesus. The first is told not to seek a fixed home, a secure situation, in following Jesus, for the master “has nowhere to place his head” (Lk 9:58). To follow Jesus means to set out on a never-ending “trip” with him through the events of life. How true this is for you married couples! By accepting the call to marriage and family, you too have left the “nest” and set out on a trip, without knowing beforehand where exactly it would lead, and what new situations, unexpected events and surprises, some painful, would eventually lie in store for you. That is what it means to journey with the Lord. It is a lively, unpredictable and marvellous voyage of discovery. Let us remember that every disciple of Jesus finds his or her repose in doing God’s will each day, wherever it may lead.

A second disciple is told not to “go back to bury his dead” (vv. 59-60). This has nothing to do with disobeying the fourth commandment, which remains ever valid and is a commandment that makes us holy. Rather, it is a summons to obey, above all, the first commandment: to love God above all things. The same thing happens with the third disciple, who is called to follow Christ resolutely and with an undivided heart, without “looking back”, not even to say farewell to the members of his family (cf. vv. 61-62).

Dear families, you too have been asked not to have other priorities, not to “look back”, to miss your former life, your former freedom, with its deceptive illusions. Life becomes “fossilized” when it is not open to the newness of God's call and pines for the past. Missing the past and not being open to the newness that God sends always “fossilizes” us; it hardens us and does not make us more human. When Jesus calls, also in the case of marriage and family life, he asks us to keep looking ahead, and he always precedes us on the way. He always precedes us in love and service. And those who follow him will not be disappointed!

Dear brothers and sisters, providentially, the readings of today’s liturgy speak of vocation, which is the theme of this Tenth World Meeting of Families: “Family Love: a Vocation and a Path to Holiness”. Strengthened by those words of life, I encourage you to take up with renewed conviction the journey of family love, sharing with all the members of your families the joy of this calling. It is not an easy journey: there will be dark moments, moments of difficulty in which we will think that it is all over. May the love you share with one another be always open, directed outwards, capable of “touching” the weak and wounded, the frail in body and the frail in spirit, and all whom you meet along the way. For love, including family love, is purified and strengthened whenever it is shared with others.

Betting on family love is courageous: it takes courage to marry. We see many young people who do not have the courage to marry and many times mothers say to me: “Do something, speak to my son, he will not marry, he is thirty-seven years old!” – “But, madam, stop ironing his shirts, start to send him away little by little so that he will leave the nest”. Family love pushes the children to fly; it teaches them to fly and pushes them to do so. It is not possessive: it is always about freedom. In the moments of difficulty and crisis – every family has them – please do not take the easy way: “I am going home to mommy”. No, move forward with this courageous bet. There will be difficult moments, there will be tough moments, but always move forward. Your husband, your wife, has that spark of love that you felt in the beginning: release it from within and rediscover love. This will help in moments of crisis.

The Church is with you; indeed, the Church is in you! For the Church was born of a family, the Holy Family of Nazareth, and is made up mostly of families. May the Lord help you each day to persevere in unity, peace, joy, and in moments of difficulty, that faithful perseverance, which makes us live better and shows everyone that God is love and communion of life.