Tuesday, 30 October 2018 13:39



31 hearts on fire

31st Sunday of the Year 2012

November 4, 2018

Suggested formula for recognition of indigenous people and their land.

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land where we are now gathered,

(the ……)  and recognise that it continues to be sacred to them.

We hail them: as guardians of the earth and of all things that grow and breed in the soil; as trustees of the waters – [the seas, the streams and rivers, the ponds and the lakes] - and the rich variety of life in those waters.

We thank them for passing this heritage to every people since the Dreamtime.

We acknowledge the wrongs done to them by newcomers to this land and we seek to be partners with them in righting these wrongs and in living together in peace and harmony.

As we do this, we must also acknowledge the loss of their hunting grounds,

the destruction of their ceremonial places and sacred sites, 

and the great loss of life from all kinds of violence and disease,

and that the land was never given away.



The beauty that will save the world is the love that shares the pain.

Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini former Archbishop of Milan, recently deceased.


The only thing worth globalising is dissent.

Arundhati Roy


Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero,

and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.

Kahlil Gibran, from The Garden of the Prophet

     31 neighbour


First Reading Deuteronomy 6:2-6

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51

Second Reading Hebrews 7:23-28

Gospel Mark 12:28-34


Opening Prayer

God of loving kindness,

you have committed yourself to us

in a covenant of lasting love

in the person of Jesus.

May we respond to you

with the whole of our being

and to live your commandments

as opportunities to love you in our sisters and brothers.




Opening Prayer [alternative]

God of loving kindness,

direct our steps

in our everyday efforts

to be your presence in our world.

May the changing moods

of the human heart

and the limits which

our failings impose on hope

never blind us to your presence

in our sisters and brothers.


General Intercessions

Introduction: We pray to the God of love and kindness who draws near to all people as neighbours.  We pray in response: Make us instruments of your peace and love.

  • We remember our neighbours in West Papua, Afghanistan, the Philippines and other places of conflict: may we seek to respect and help one another and build peace and progress on the basis of justice and equitable sharing, let us pray: Make us instruments of your peace and love.
  • We remember our neighbours in West Papua: that we listen to and recognise the desire of the Papuan people to establish a ‘land of peace’ and that we not be silenced by those who turn a blind eye to the ongoing violence in the region, let us pray: Make us instruments of your peace and love.
  • We remember our neighbours who are vilified and attacked because of their faith and ethnic backgrounds: that the Rohingya people find dignity and status from their brothers and sisters in Myanmar and the Jewish people targeted in the recent massacre in the USA synagogue find healing in their pain and loss, let us pray: Make us instruments of your peace and love.
  • We remember our neighbours in places affected by the climate change - the Pacific Island States and Indian Ocean Island States, the people in the USA and Vietnam currently suffering from hurricanes: may all these people receive the support, encouragement and assistance they require as we also strive to act mindfully to respect and thus protect our environment, let us pray: Make us instruments of your peace and love.


  • We remember our neighbour in the young: that we together as a nation seek to make specific and concrete commitments to the young and vulnerable ones where they feel included in society and communities and find respect by those in authority, let us pray: Make us instruments of your peace and love.


  • We remember our neighbours around the globe who suffer illness, illiteracy and other forms of poverty: may we continue to demand from our leaders a human response to the needs of others and speak out to defend the rights of the poor and the needy, let us pray: Make us instruments of your peace and love.


  • We remember our neighbours who are sick, especially those living with terminal illness: that we are mindful of the psychological and sometimes physical isolation they feel and seek to be a loving and compassionate presence to them, let us pray: Make us instruments of your peace and love.


  • We remember our neighbours who at great risk have the courage to speak truth to power: may those in the media, medical profession, arts world and ordinary citizens find consolation in the realisation that their humanity is bound up with people whose rights are being ignored and violated, let us pray: Make us instruments of your peace and love.


Concluding Prayer: God of love and kindness, listen our prayers and help us through your loving Spirit give to your love a human shape by our engagement with one another. 


Prayer over the Gifts

God of loving kindness,

in these offerings of bread and wine

we join Jesus,  your Son

in his self-offering of love for the world.

May we respond to you love

and seek to bring life to our brothers and sisters.

Prayer after Communion

God of loving kindness,

in our sharing in the mystery of the breaking of the bread

and the blood of Jesus,

may we be joined more closely to his heart

and be in the world

people that reflect his heart and love for all people.


November 4 Day of Prayer for Anglican-Roman Catholic Reconciliation

November 5 World Tsunami Awareness Day

November 6 International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed


November 9 Opening of the Berlin Wall in 1989


Further Resources

‘Jesus summarised all the teachings as 'Love God and love your neighbor.' Our neighbour, we know, isn't just found in our family, workplace, or apartment. It's the kid flashing gang signs, the smelly homeless man who lives in the park, the transgender prostitute who works the downtown corner, the crazy old woman who lives alone outside of town, and the immigrant family that doesn't speak English. Jesus gives us the strength of God's love so that we can learn to be allies with those whom society has pushed to the margins.’

Rose Marie Berger, excerpt from The Revolution: A Field Manual for Changing Your World

The most shocking fact about war is that its victims and its instruments are individual human beings, and that these individual beings are condemned by the monstrous conventions of politics to murder or be murdered in quarrels not their own.

Aldous Huxley, English novelist and critic, 1894-1963

The natural state of man(sic) is not war, as Dick Cheney thinks ~ the natural state of (man) is social cooperation and altruism but only if we make a stand for those values of the soul.

Allen L Roland


"Don't turn your face away.

Once you've seen, you can no longer act like you don't know.

Open your eyes to the truth. It's all around you.

Don't deny what the eyes to your soul have revealed to you.


Now that you know, you cannot feign ignorance.

Now that you're aware of the problem, you cannot pretend you don't care.

To be concerned is to be human.

To act is to care."

Vashti Quiroz-Vega


The first time it was reported that our friends were being butchered there was a cry of horror. Then a hundred were butchered. But when a thousand were butchered and there was no end to the butchery, a blanket of silence spread. When evil doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out 'stop!' When crimes begin to pile up they become invisible. When sufferings become unendurable, the cries are no longer heard. The cries, too, fall like rain in summer.

Bertolt Brecht

Where is the justice of political power if it executes the murderer and jails the plunderer, and then itself marches upon neighbouring lands, killing thousands and pillaging the very hills?

Kahlil Gibran

An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.

Mohandas Gandhi

In the democracy of the dead all [people]at last are equal. There is neither rank nor station nor prerogative in the republic of the grave.

John James Inga

How many does it take to transmute wickedness into righteousness? One man must not kill. If he does, it is murder.... But a state or nation may kill as many as they please, and it is not murder. It is just, necessary, commendable, and right. Only get enough people to agree to it, and the butchery of myriads of human beings is perfectly innocent. But how many does it take?

Adin Ballou, The Non-Resistant, February 5, 1845

The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity

André Gide

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.

Frederick Douglass

To bereave a man of life, or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole nation; but confinement of the person, by secretly hurrying him to jail, where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten, is a less public, a less striking, and therefore a more dangerous engine of arbitrary government.

Alexander Hamilton

The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that's the essence of inhumanity.

George Bernard Shaw

There is an evil which most of condone (support) and are even guilty of: indifference to evil. We remain neutral (impartial), and not easily moved by the wrongs done to other people

Abraham Joshua Heschel

The question about Auschwitz (the Holocaust) to be asked I not, ‘Where was god?’ But rather, ‘Where was man?’

Abraham Joshua Heschel


St. John Chrysostom on the Poor from St John Chrysostom’s meditations on the Gospel of Matthew

Would you honour the body of Christ? Do not despise his nakedness; do not honour him here in church clothed in silk vestments and then pass him by unclothed and frozen outside. Remember that he who said, ‘This is my Body’, and made good his words, also said, ‘You saw me hungry and gave me no food’, and, ‘in so far as you did it not to one of these, you did it not to me’. In the first sense the body of Christ does not need clothing but worship from a pure heart. In the second sense it does need clothing and all the care we can give it.

We must learn to be discerning Christians and to honor Christ in the way in which he wants to be honored. It is only right that honor given to anyone should take the form most acceptable to the recipient not to the giver. Peter thought he was honoring the Lord when he tried to stop him washing his feet, but this was far from being genuine homage. So give God the honor he asks for, that is give your money generously to the poor. God has no need of golden vessels but of golden hearts.

I am not saying you should not give golden altar vessels and so on, but I am insisting that nothing can take the place of almsgiving. The Lord will not refuse to accept the first kind of gift but he prefers the second, and quite naturally, because in the first case only the donor benefits, in the second case the poor gets the benefit. The gift of a chalice may be ostentatious; almsgiving is pure benevolence.

What is the use of loading Christ’s table with gold cups while he himself is starving? Feed the hungry and then if you have any money left over, spend it on the altar table. Will you make a cup of gold and without a cup of water? What use is it to adorn the altar with cloth of gold hangings and deny Christ a coat for his back! What would that profit you? Tell me: if you saw someone starving and refused to give him any food but instead spent your money on adorning the altar with gold, would he thank you? Would he not rather be outraged? Or if you saw someone in rags and stiff with cold and then did not give him clothing but set up golden columns in his honour, would he not say that he was being made a fool of and insulted?

Consider that Christ is that tramp who comes in need of a night’s lodging. You turn him away and then start laying rugs on the floor, draping the walls, hanging lamps on silver chains on the columns. Meanwhile the tramp is locked up in prison and you never give him a glance. Well again I am not condemning munificence in these matters. Make your house beautiful by all means but also look after the poor, or rather look after the poor first. No one was ever condemned for not adorning his house, but those who neglect the poor were threatened with hellfire for all eternity and a life of torment with devils. Adorn your house if you will, but do not forget your brother in distress. He is a temple of infinitely greater value.


I sought God and God I did not see.

I sought my soul but it eluded me.

I sought my neighbour and found all three.I

Old Adage [altered for gender sensitivity]

One of the nicest things that can happen to a person is to do good by stealth and be found out by accident.Mark Twain 

The trouble is that when American dollars earn only six percent over here, they get restless and go overseas to get 100 percent. The flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to defend some lousy investment of the bankers. We should fight only for the defense of our home and the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It had its 'finger men' to point out enemies, its 'muscle men' to destroy enemies, its 'brain men' to plan war preparations and a 'Big Boss' - supernationalistic capitalism.

I spent 33 years in the Marines. Most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.

I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central

American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.

War is a racket.

General Smedley D. Butler


Always question your fear, Anh. there's almost never a good reason to be scared.

Anh Do The Happiest Refugee: A Memoir

And don't kid yourself; when you don't decide, that's a decision.

Anh Do The Happiest Refugee: A Memoir

There's only two times in life, there's now and there's too late

Anh Do

Give it a crack and see what happens. And if you fail... celebrate, because at least you know you're sailing near the edge of your capacity! ‘

Anh Do

And we were saved on the fifth day by a big German merchant ship which took us to a refugee camp in Malaysia, and we were there for around three months before Australia says - come to Australia. And we're very glad that happened. So often, we heard Mum and Dad say - what a great country. How good is this place? And the other thing - kids, as you grow up, do as much as you can to give back to this great country and to give back to others less fortunate. And so, that's how Mum and Dad taught us to fit in.

Anh Do, The Happiest Refugee


Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.

G.W.F. Hegel, Philosophy of History

…whoever closes his eyes to the past becomes blind to the present. Whoever does not wish to remember inhumanity becomes susceptible to the dangers of new infection.’ Richard Von Weizaecher, former President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Speech 5/8/85

Reflections on the readings

Today’s readings are all about love for God and neighbour. We can explore by way of Jesus’ conversation with the lawyer as well as the other readings.

The two themes that come together in this week’s readings are the Great Commandment to love God and neighbour. In the non-Catholic readings we see how Ruth’s love for Naomi expressed in her commitment which cemented their relationship and ensures that both are protected as they continue their journey to Naomi’s home. In Deuteronomy, Moses instructs the people to wholeheartedly love God. The consequences of this love is not a “reward for good behaviour” but points us to a life that is for all. If we seek life, we must go by way of love expressed in our lives. It must include see the other person as a human, like oneself.

We know the pain of inadequate love in people’s lives and communities. We see that when the rich ignore the poor who live beside them. Marriages and relationship fall apart through carelessness and neglect. People are marginalised because party political agendas are more important than Jesus’ call to love. Many of us can be so busy trying to have our needs gratified prior to meeting the needs of others. The readings today are suggesting the paradox that when are truly generous and put the needs of others before our own leads to an abundant life. On a more global level we economic crises result from greed and stinginess. War and conflict result from hatred and put the groups agenda ahead of the common good. Climate change comes from a a failure to respect, love, appreciate what had has made. Love and compassion are not soft and idealistic but Christ-like love is practical, sacrificial, and very powerful. It has little to do with legalistic observance of exclusionary laws.

The double-edged gospel commandment today demands a face, race, gender, age. It demands the acknowledgment of the other as a neighbour, a sister or brother. The question God asked of Cain in the Book of Genesis is implicit in each passage of scripture: ‘where is you brother (sister)’. It was missing in the March 1968 massacre of innocent civilians in a small settlement called My Lai in Vietnam when Lt William Calley was court-martialled for leading this so-called My Lai massacre:

‘An enemy I could not see. I could not feel and I could not touch: nobody in the military system ever described the enemy as anything but communism.  They did not give it a race, the did not give it a sex, they did not give it an age.’

We can often fail to give the faces we meet with a name, a story, a history whether it is the Big Issue seller on the street or the person begging for change on the street. I know that the times I have stopped I have found out that the woman had been a ‘victim’ or living with cancer or kicked out of the family; or the young man kicked out of home for being gay, or a man whose marriage has broken up and living with depression. Faces. Names. Stories. Histories. The lawyer in the gospel wanted to reduce all 613 tenets of the law into one little summary statement. Jesus tells him and he got the message. It is a teaching that needs to be enshrined and made flesh in our lives. It needs to have the flesh and blood of everydayness to get into our hearts, into our behaviour. Every week in this country 100’s of 1000’s of people from all faiths spend an hour or so to worship. Around the world, it is millions – all aiming to make the world a better place. I can imagine what might happen if they also, or alternatively, spent 10-15 minutes making phone calls to their local political member and those in the opposition to affirm the good they have done but also, and very importantly, to challenge them when they forget the poor, neglect the stranger, support war…. all commandments against love. We can be confident, if we reflect on today’s psalm which tells us not to put our trust in princes, those at the top are not really in charge.

Last week we saw how the blind beggar at the side of the road would not remain silent when told to be quiet and remain invisible. Jesus response to him enabled him to find within himself his dignity and his voice. The crowd did what we often do. Render such people invisible or silence them. Those who had benefitted from Jesus’ presence and teaching remained blind to what he was on about: instead of the assisting hungry people, they wanted to send them home; instead of letting little children who had no standing in society to come Jesus, told the parents to keep them away; instead of seeing that Jesus came to serve and not be served, they asked a question that no true disciple would ask, ‘can we have a place in glory seats in your reign’. The American poet and critic, Wendell Berry said, ‘The certified Christians seems just as likely as anyone else to join the military-industrial conspiracy to murder Creation’. We are called to love all creation, yet so often we need to ask what is the church doing to save a perishing planet, instead of just our ‘imperishable’ souls. This God of Jesus is the God who does not collaborate with the military coup leader, the banker or financiers who enriches himself as the price of ordinary people. The God of Jesus is with those who are on the underbelly of society – those traditionally referred to as the weak, widowed and orphaned. Only this God liberates the poor and needy. And love of God is achieved only through love of neighbour.  It's not loving God and loving neighbour. It is loving GOD who is NEIGHBOUR. It is one action. God is only loved in our neighbour…. the ‘one to whom we draw near’. That is what neighbour means.  God is a neighbour God…. One who draws near to us.

Jesus’ reply would not impress some fundamentalists because he balanced vertical religion with the horizontal where love of neighbour is right up there with the love of God. I strongly believe that Pope Francis is not impressing many in power because he is reminding them, and us, of our sisters and brothers who have face, stories, histories – which require love and support. Unfortunately, many people we are rendered passive by fear, blindness, prejudices or passivity – and sometime bloody-minded. We must not leave our brains at the church door where social structures need to be critiqued and ways of being together formed.

Abundant life, our liberation and salvation, depend more on our relationships than on religious rites: ‘I was hungry and they fed me………’ We can rationalise these passages to suit ourselves as much as we like, but we cannot get away from the pull they have on us as human being and as followers of Jesus. God’s reign is expressed in the practise of love concretely expressed among people today. When Jesus tells the scribe that he is not far from the reign of God, he implies that knowing the commandments is not enough. We must live them each day. Speaking to people who might find comfort in their love of God, the gospels clearly indicate that we cannot love God without our neighbour. It is not just a matter of being nice people. It is about seeing our lives as bound up with the other and that God is there at the heart. The neighbour is not just the one who has the same values that we hold, or speaks the same language as us, who dresses as we do. Our neighbors are also those whom we may never meet: the trafficked person, the asylum seeker on Manus Island or Nauru or any other camp around the world or the people of the Pacific Island nations threatened by climate change as well as the first peoples of this land. Which is the greatest commandment of the law? What's the big credo in our public life today? More and more we hear about national security and border security; the so-called ‘war on terror’; the ‘flag’ and a false ‘patriotism’ enlisted when people genuinely criticise the harm one’s country does; ‘values’ that have little bearing in our lives except to serve those in privileged positions of power.

The government can play the media like a piano to promote its agenda and is often the Churches are silent. Those in politics, the media and the church want ordinary people to leave their brains at home. Jesus is implicitly telling us today: ‘Don't park your brains at home or the church do and walk away.’ The political system, corporations and some parts of the church want to determine what we think. No discussion! No listening! No understanding! They dangerously claim to know the mind of God and there is no higher form of oppression that doing something in the name of God.

We find that as we and others grow more sensitive and attentive to the other, we discover our connectedness and our shared humanity. We become more mindful of the consequences of our choices and actions. We are motivated to live justly and work for justice for the sake of all. It is common sense that when we become more concerned for one another and more aware of, and sensitive to, one another’s needs, the world becomes safer, more peaceful, more just and more prosperous for all.

 Love versus Scripture. David Hayward The Naked Pastor October 25, 2018

31 heart