Before we were let loose to have morning tea and chat about the information in the Keynote speech, a representative of Roland (one of the conference sponsors) spoke to us. http://www.rolandcorp.com.au/
They provided the sound, the livestreaming and sound equipment for those on stage.
He told us that these days via video you can share any event (weddings, funerals, conferences) with those not able to physically attend. The technology is simple, easy to use, and has now become affordable and within reach of most people. With this technology you can make Sunday Mass available as a livestream for the housebound in your parish.
(Ed. Having looked at the website, this kind of service must be something new they are moving into. So if you are interested in finding out more – head straight for their 'Contact Us' page.)
Down in the Civic Pavilion we were supposed to grab a coffee and something cake-like and find a small group of people to chat with about the following questions:
'What is the reality of my own parish?'
'How would I describe the parish community I would like to be a part of?'
However the queues for coffee looked unmanageable, and the conversation noise was a bit overwhelming, so since the timetable was running a bit late anyway, we cut our losses and headed for the quiet sanctuary of Our Lady of Dolours Church, Chatswood, to wait for Mass to begin.
Thursday Mass, Memorial of St Pius X
The principal celebrant for this Mass was Bishop Peter Comensoli, who is the acting administrator of the Sydney Archdiocese until a new archbishop of Sydney is appointed.
The readings were taken from Thursday Week 20 Ordinary Time Year II.
The first reading was from Ezekiel 36:23-28, a passage where God through Ezekiel complains about how His great Name has been profaned among the peoples by the very people He had chosen to display Its holiness. God then promises to cleanse His people of all defilement and give them a new heart and a new spirit, and to renew His covenant with them.
The responsorial psalm was part of Psalm 50(51) the great penitential psalm of King David 'A pure heart create for me, O God, put a steadfast spirit within me….'
The Gospel reading was from Matthew 22: 1-14 about the parable of the wedding feast for the king's son. Those initially invited make excuses, this angers the king and he destroys them. The king then says to his servants to go out to the crossroads of town and invite everyone you can find and get them to come. The place gets filled. But there is one bloke without a wedding garment and no excuse for why he hasn't got one, who gets thrown out of the wedding celebrations.
God's voice was definitely booming in these readings, and directed squarely at us, people and hierarchy of the church in Australasia. Before the homily even started we had the message that we should be cut to the heart and deeply ashamed of how we had been squandering our time and resources on so many useless things that didn't proclaim God's greatness and infinite love to the whole world. Then there was reassurance from Him that He wanted us to change in this direction and that He would put fresh vigour and energy in us to do so. Then if we still hadn't got it perfectly clear – go out, invite everybody, make disciples- do that, it's My priority and don't you forget it.
Bishop Comensoli: "Today we see God's great Name profaned especially in the atrocities and conflicts that are going on between believers in the one true God (Christians, Jews, Muslims) in parts of the middle East and Africa. God wants to make His Name great even among all of this conflict. So how do I, as a believer in the one true God, proclaim His great Name in the context of all these atrocities?
'Which you have profaned among them', this means that we, too, are contributors to the problem. We are all sinners – in smaller ways than those atrocities displayed in the newspapers. How can we make the glory of God's name known in our own circumstances? How will God do this? He will gather us together, and bring us home. Our parishes are a family, a home. Think first about how you are witnessing to God in the home, the domestic church. Start there, in your parish, with the person sleeping next to you, or near you, with whom you take your meals. It is our great privilege to proclaim the glory of God in our home and household, in our parish and in our community.
'I will give you a fresh heart, a heart of flesh, with a new spirit'. Even though we have failed, we are invited to come home, in order to be given a new heart. We will find God in our normal circumstances – not outside them – in the good and the bad, in the joys and the struggles of everyday life. God comes to home of our heart that we may have a new heart and a new spirit in Him."
The motto of St Pius X, 'To restore all things in Christ', was also exceedingly apt for us.
In the next blog-post will be about the workshop on Disability and Inclusion.
Some of the workshops have been made available as podcasts via www.xt3.com
To access them visit http://www.xt3.com/library/view.php?id=17454