Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time — Vigil Mass
Saturday, 15 November 2014 — Year A
First Reading: Prov 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31 Second Reading: 1 Thess 5:1-6 Gospel: Mt 25:14-30
May God Bless each and every one of you.
You Are Responsible
We talk a lot about freedom in our country but maybe not enough about responsibility. That's why Bianca, a former student of mine, made such an impression on me.
As a high school senior student, Bianca asked to help me with the Vinnies food van. She went a few times and saw the difference she made. Within a year she helped start a clothing ministry to homeless people. She kept helping with it after starting university. After uni she started working full time with homeless people. Now she also teaches others how to help people trapped in poverty. Little by little, as she grew, Bianca took on more responsibility. She realised that she could make a difference and that God expected her to do so.
In this week's Gospel, Jesus tells a parable about the landowner who leaves the workers in charge of the property. The landowner is grateful to the workers who use the landowners' money (talents) wisely. In many ways God has left us in charge of God's possessions - responsible for the world God created. God has also given us the talents and skills to do that wisely. Freedom is great, but with it comes responsibility to use our talents for the benefit of others.
Bianca is a good example. In high school she took just a little responsibility for changing the world by helping out with the Vinnies food van. As she grew she realised she could take on more responsibility. So she helped start a ministry. The more she learned about herself, the more she took responsibility for using her freedom to build God's Kingdom.
How do you use your freedom? Believe it or not, you are responsible for helping people who are hungry, lonely, put down or excluded. You are responsible for ending violence and vengeance. If you don't already - start learning how to exercise that responsibility by volunteering - maybe just a little bit at first. Over time you'll see clearly why God trusts you with such enormous responsibility and how much your talents are needed to take care of God's creation.
Who inspires you by the way they use their free time to help others?
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.