Feast of St Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs
Waitangi Day (In New Zealand)
1 Kings 8: 22-23, 27-30
Mark 7: 1-13
St. Paul Miki, a Jesuit scholastic, died on February 5, 1597, crucified at Nagasaki with a group of twenty-six others. Most were Japanese, and most were laypeople, the first of many martyrs in a young church.
In New Zealand, Waitangi Day is a Day of Prayer, remembering the Maori people and many other peoples who found their home in New Zealand, praying that divisions be removed, that equity and justice be established, and that we may all become one in the bringing forth of the Kingdom of God here on earth.
In Mark today we are called to see the Law as serving God’s plan for all to receive love, compassion and healing, especially those suffering and oppressed. It was to these people that Jesus reached out. Jesus and his disciples mixed freely in their world, witnessing to pastoral valuing far beyond the confines of the letter of the Law.
Jesus came to fulfil the Law, and to challenge any law or interpretation of it that was used against people instead of showing love and compassion. Jesus understood the Law to be of service in helping people work out God’s will for their good as individuals and community. Jesus called out any behaviours or attitudes contrary to these ends as hypocritical, self-serving and lacking in sincerity.
It takes courage to hold on to such pastoral perspectives, great self-awareness and heartfelt sincerity, to hold such attitudes and to take personal steps in fulfilling God’s plan for all.
Our invitation is to open our eyes, ears and hearts to all the cries of our world and to let them find a place in our hearts. To do no harm to people or environment by our harsh words, or hard-hearted or critical judgments or actions … rather to listen, to nurture and to heal, from the depths of a truly passionate heart.
Pam Storey is a member of the Passionist Faith Community at Holy Cross, Templestowe, and one of the founding members of Passionist Companions. After a very active and varied family, church and working life, Pam is now focusing on developing a slow spirituality.