24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

12 September 2021

Readings for this Weekend:

First Reading: Isaiah 50:5-9

Second Reading: James 2:14-18

Gospel: Mark 8:27-35

Welcome to the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary & St Matthew


By telling us to “take up” our cross, Jesus isn’t saying that we have to meekly submit to unfair treatment and suffering or embrace a blind, “offer it up” sort of spirituality. And, while they may be opportunities for grace, illness, sad events or even disasters aren’t “the cross.”

Big picture

Sunday Reflection

We’ve all experienced it: life was wonderful and everything seemed to be going along smoothly. Your career and relationships were moving forward with no conflicts or stress. Your family members were healthy. You knew you were loved and you were surrounded by your loved ones.

And then, it happened. A phone call reporting an accident or death. Your child or parent has gotten sick. A job has been lost … Whatever it was, things changed for you and your family. There was no going back to before.

I imagine that Peter and the Apostles experienced that same sinking feeling when they heard Jesus say that he would have to suffer and die. After all, things had been going so well for Jesus and his friends as they travelled from town to town, teaching the crowds and healing the sick.

This Sunday’s gospel falls at the half-way point of Mark’s Gospel and signals a turning point as Jesus begins his journey to Jerusalem where he will eventually suffer betrayal, rejection, and torture, before dying on a cross.

Although we know that the story ends with the Easter morning Resurrection, in the passage we hear this Sunday, the Resurrection is a far-off event. Peter and the Apostles weren’t prepared to hear that something horrible was looming on the horizon.

When Jesus asks Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter’s reply is spot on: “You are the Christ.” This is a great statement of Peter’s faith, but it was also loaded with political and cultural implications. For Peter and many of Jesus’ other followers, the Christos — the Messiah or “anointed one” — would be the long-awaited king who would bring justice and prosperity to the oppressed People of Israel. But Jesus makes it clear that he is not that kind of messiah and his followers won’t enjoy royal privileges.

Jesus explains that, if those travelling with him are to be true disciples, they will have to imitate his example, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”

By telling us to “take up” our cross, Jesus isn’t saying that we have to meekly submit to unfair treatment and suffering or embrace a blind, “offer it up” sort of spirituality. And, while they may be opportunities for grace, illness, sad events or even disasters aren’t “the cross.” There is nothing particularly Christian about many of the challenges we face in daily life. Finally, we can never silently or blindly accept abuse or injustice as being the will of God. Jesus rejected these and so should we. Instead, “the cross” that we are to carry is the sacrifices, trials, and hardships that can be a consequence of placing our faith and hope in him and of living according to his teaching.

The consequences — or “cost” — of discipleship (to borrow the phrase from Dietrich Bonhoeffer) can take two forms. The first is that by saying “yes” to Jesus, we willingly set aside ways of thinking and acting that are at odds with the Christian life. Faithful discipleship demands that we sacrifice for the good of others, promote peace and justice, and seek God’s will in whatever comes our way. It means being a person of love and hope. The second consequence is much more dramatic and costly, physical suffering and even death for the sake of Jesus and the Gospel.

As we know, countless Christians around the world have suffered — and continue to suffer — simply because of their faith in Jesus. We can think of so many examples from the past months and years of Christians who have suffered exile, whose communities have been ravaged, and of those who have given their lives for their faith. Pope Francis reflected on this reality when he remarked, “May the Lord, today, make us feel within the body of the Church, the love for our martyrs and also our vocation to martyrdom. We do not know what will happen here: we do not know.”

As we embrace the cross and accept the consequences of following Jesus the Christ, we can find comfort and strength in the knowledge that the cross was not the end for Jesus and it is not the end of our story either. Jesus conquered death. The Resurrection transforms the cross — his and ours — into a sign of hope and life, “Whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.”

Bro. Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

Pope Francis' Monthly Intention

An Environmentally Sustainable Lifestyle

We pray that we all will make courageous choices for a simple and environmentally sustainable lifestyle, rejoicing in our young people who are resolutely committed to this.

An Act of Spiritual Communion

My Jesus,

I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.

I love You above all things,

and I desire to receive You into my soul.

Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,

come at least spiritually into my heart.

I embrace You as if You were already there

and unite myself wholly to You.

Never permit me to be separated from You.


Amen.

Our Prayerful Sympathy

We pray for a number of families within our parish who have lost loved ones recently; Marija Mercep, mother of Ana-Maria Richardson; Maria Bethell, Ted Marsh, Joyce Guthrie-New, and Margaret Mulcahy. Memorial Masses will be held once restrictions are lifted. May they all rest peacefully.

Parish-based Initiatives.

The time is now to begin formulating your Parish based initiative and apply to Common Good Foundation for funding. The response from the Caring Sunday Appeal has been awesome with donations continuing to be received from generous parishioners throughout the Diocese. These funds can now be distributed to projects or good works in your community. Information about the application process can be found at http://www.commongood.org.nz/support-others/grants Please note the funding round closes on 30th September 2021. Any queries, please email admin@commongood.org.nz

NZ Catholic Lockdown Issue

NZ Catholic has published a special online Lockdown Edition. The continuing Level 4 restrictions in Auckland mean the paper edition can't be printed at present, and the Level 3 everywhere south of Auckland means it can't be distributed through parishes. Click here to read a PDF copy: www.catholic.org.nz/assets/Uploads/NZ-Catholic-Special-Digital-Issue-Sept.1.pdf

Titipounamu Study & Joy online evening sessions

The Gospel of Luke – The Gospel of the New Church Year with Kieran Fenn fms.
Mondays, 13 September -11 October, 7pm-8.30pm. Free via ZOOM.
Series of 5 parts. All sessions are connected but also stand alone.
$25/session or $90/series of 5 sessions.
https://www.studyjoy.nz/events/the-gospel-of-luke-23/

For more information and registration: info@studyjoy.nz

FAMILY WEEKEND CHANGES

Due to the current situation we have reluctantly had to cancel this weekend. SAVE THE DATE, Saturday 6 November for the possibility of a family fun day, 10am-4pm.

Sacramental Programmes

RCIC - Please keep in your prayers the young people from the RCIC group. A group of 53 were to have been Baptised this weekend but they are patiently waiting until the restrictions allow this to happen. This also means a delay in them receiving the other Sacraments. The group have been meeting frequently over recent months and were also completing units of work over the lockdown time.


Confirmation and First Communion Programme: Our groups have not been able to meet face to face yet but the 60 children have been working on Cycle 1 and 2 over the lockdown period. Andrea will email out information about when we are able to resume meetings and also celebrate First Reconciliations. We ask that all parishioners keep these families in their prayers.

Baptisms

If you wish to book a Baptism please contact Andrea 856 6486 or email: andrea@cathedral.cdh.nz

Under the Level 2 restrictions we are not holding Baptism ceremonies but will take bookings for future Baptisms.

Support Life Sunday - 10 October 2021

Respect Life Sunday will be renamed Support Life Sunday from this year, to better reflect the active work Catholics must do to help people facing significant life decisions. Bishop Steve Lowe, Secretary of the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference, says the term “respect life” can seem passive. “Support Life reminds us that we are all called to both uphold the dignity of all life and be active in the practical work needed to support people facing significant life decisions.” Support Life Sunday is Sunday 10 October, with the theme "Honouring and Supporting Health Carers." Full details: https://www.catholic.org.nz/news/media-releases/respect-life-sunday-now-support-life-sunday/


Readings for next Weekend:

First Reading: Wisdom 2:12, 17-20

Second Reading: James 3:16-4:3

Gospel: Mark 9:30-37