In the afterglow of last weekend’s wonderful celebrations of the Passionist Family Group Movement at Terrey Hills and Marrickville, I was drawn to reflect on the final two verses in today’s first reading selection from the Acts of the Apostles. Paul has a vision of someone from Macedonia appealing for help. So, what does Paul do? He gets himself off to Macedonia, convinced that God is calling him to bring the Good News there.
The stories shared last weekend included how the Terrey Hills mob responded to requests, firstly, from Castle Hill Parish, then St Clare Parish and, from there, across Australia, New Zealand, the US, Britain and Ireland, to share with them the Gospel, as it was being lived in communities, known as Family Groups.
One story I overheard in conversation was of a request from Father Peter McGrath to the Terrey Hills mob to help out a parish in a city hundreds of kilometres away, which was struggling to implement family groups. And what was the response? Forty people from Terrey Hills turned up there the following weekend!
The homilies at both Masses last weekend stressed how the Gospel is lived in the community and how many of today’s people have become isolated and disconnected from the community due to the structures and pressures of contemporary life.
It’s tempting, once we reach a certain age, to want to retire, to coast along, to rest on our metaphorical laurels and to leave the job of sharing the Good News to the younger ones. The trouble is, there aren’t enough younger ones yet engaged. The challenge, then, for the older ones is to realize that we haven’t yet finished the course (2 Timothy 4:7) and that we have more to do.
Brian Norman has been associated with the Passionists in various ways since he was three weeks old when he squared off with Fr Placid Millay CP over the baptismal font at St Brigid’s, Marrickville.