19th Sunday of Ordinary Time — Vigil Mass
Saturday, 9 August 2014 — Year A
First Reading: 1 Kg 19:9, 11-13 Second Reading: Rom 9:1-5 Gospel: Mt 14:22-23
May God Bless each and every one of you.
Careful What You Reach For
About ten years ago I met a homeless cocaine addict. His addiction developed when he was a young bloke where he used cocaine to ease the pain and fear from his abusive home. But the cocaine brought him even worse suffering.
Be careful what you reach for when you are hurting or fearful.
That's an important message from this week's Gospel. Peter finds himself sinking in a storm. He reaches out to Jesus who brings him to safety. We have no control over what storms burst in our lives but we do have control over who or what we reach for when the storms come. Like Peter, we'll find ourselves sinking if we take our focus off Jesus during those tough times. And like the homeless addict I met, we might make mistakes that hurt us for years to come. Young people are vulnerable to a lot of storms – pain and hurt they just can't avoid or control. Many live in abusive homes or with alcoholic parents. Many suffer in poverty. Many hurt from friends who betray them. Many feel unyielding pressure from parents, teachers, or sports coaches to excel.
If any of that is true for you, reach out to Jesus for help. Turn away from some things others might choose, like isolation, cutting, drugs, sex, or violence. Strengthen your prayer life. Don't miss Mass. Talk to someone who can be a guide. Open up at a youth group or with friends you can confide in. Like Peter, you'll find Jesus offering you strength, peace and a way of safety.
What do you reach for when you face the storms in your life? Does it help you meet your troubles or just ignore them?
Kind regards and God bless
Fr Richard Laurenson
For priestly vocations go to: thepriesthood.org.nz
St Peter Chanel Prayer
Heavenly Father, from the First Companions of the Society of Mary, you sent St Peter Chanel to bring the light of faith to the people of our islands.
In hardship and afflictions he gave understanding testimony to Christ by his words, his life and the shedding of his blood.
May our celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection make us also faithful witnesses to the new life he offers us.
Honoured in New Zealand
In New Zealand there are six parishes, four primary schools, one college, a National Shrine and a Diocesan centre dedicated in honour of St Peter Chanel, the Bi-Centenary of whose birth was on 12th July 2003. How is it that a saint of French origin is so honoured in this land?
Father Peter Chanel was one of the early group of Catholic missionaries to the South West Pacific which set out from France in December 1836. The group was destined to found the Catholic Church in Western Oceania and New Zealand. Father Chanel and a Marist catechist Brother Marie-Nizier were placed on the island of Futuna, north of the Fijian Islands, in November 1837 and laboured there for three and a bit years. It was a difficult mission: learning the language, coping with isolation, different foods and customs, eventually beginning to bear some fruit.
On 28th April 1841 Peter Chanel was killed by a group of warriors incited by the leading chief of Futuna, in hatred of the Faith which threatened his control over the people.
Eventually the earthly remains of Peter Chanel were brought to New Zealand and remained at Russell for eight years before being sent to France. Peter Chanel was acknowledged as a martyr and declared Blessed in 1889.
He was canonized in the Marian Year 1954 by Pope Pius XII. St Peter Chanel is recognized as the first martyr of Oceania and the Patron Saint of this region. As a foundation member of the Society of Mary he is acknowledged by the wider Marist family - Marist Brothers of the Schools, Marist Sisters (Peter Chanel had a sister in this congregation), Marist Missionary sisters - all of these religious groups contributing to the development of the Catholic Church in New Zealand.
As a Marist, a missionary, a martyr and a Saint, Peter Chanel is of significance to New Zealand. We celebrate the anniversary of his death as a Church Feast day and the Bi-Centenary of his birth will give further opportunity for Russell, Manukau, Te Rapa, Whakatane, Hamilton Diocese, Hastings, Masterton, Otaki, Motueka, and Green Island (and indeed - all parishes and schools) to celebrate, remember and gain strength by Peter Chanel's intercession as the lives of Peter's spiritual descendants continue.