Sunday, July 29, 2012

Unsung Hero

I went to Nipa today, to Saint Fidelis Parish to celebrate Sunday Mass.  Father Marek Kondrat is the parish priest.  The weather was cold and drizzly, but the welcome was warm and gracious.  Below is an excerpt (and translation) of the homily that I shared on this happy occasion:

In the Gospel for today (Jn 6: 1-15), faced with the challenge of feeding 5,000 people Andrew steps forward and says:  "There's a boy here who has 5 barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?"  What was the lad doing with the loaves and fishes?  Was he coming back from the store with supper for the family?  Did he see the crowd and think that he could make some money selling his wares to the highest bidder?  We will never know on this side of eternity.  However there is something we do know.  He put his five loaves and two fish into the hands of Jesus... and a miracle happened.  Jesus took a little and He did a lot!  In fact, He did more than a lot!  There were twelve baskets of left-overs!

In the Gospel today, Jesus shows us something of the Kingdom of God - there will be enough to go around and then some!  He also shows us something about his power, his love and his compassion for people in their human needs.  He did not just love peoples' souls...  He loved people - and was concerned about their needs, whether they be physical, emotional or spiritual.

But let's also give a cheer for the unsung hero of today's Gospel - the young lad who had a heart that was not afraid to share.  He put five loaves and two fish in Jesus' hands and helped Jesus to feed 5,000 people.

Sometimes we think that there is not much that we can do.  We feel that we don't have much to offer.  (Or maybe, we are afraid to give what we have.) At times like these, we have to think of this young man - and not just think about him, but follow his generous example.  If we place what we have in the hands of Jesus, miracles will follow and we will be a part of them.

One last thought.  The Gospel tells us that Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish, gave thanks to God and then gave it to the people.  That means that the boy gave it all to Jesus.  He didn't keep a fish sandwich for himself - to make sure that he had himself covered in case something went wrong with Jesus' plan.  Are we prepared to put all that we have and all that we are into the hands of the Lord?  We do just that when we take time every day to pray; or when we strive to do the right thing, when the wrong thing looks more attractive; or when we think of our wife or husband or neighbor or friend before we think of ourselves; or when we are generous with our time, talents and treasure with our church family or others in need.

And let's not forget the miracle that happens at every Mass.  We bring ourselves to the Lord together with the simple gifts of bread and wine - and He in turn gives us Himself as the Bread of Life!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Yupela i ken malolo liklik."

Long Gutnius (Mak i raitim, 6: 30-34) yumi harim sampela gutpela edvais Jisas i laik givim long yumi.  Na tu, Jisas i skulim yumi long pasin blong em taim yumi gat nid long en.

Yumi harim oslem ol aposel i kam bek long bikpela wokabaut blong ol – we Jisas i ben salim ol i go blong autim Gutnius.  Ol i stori long ol wok ol i bin mekim na long olgeta tok i bin givim long ol manmeri.  Bihain dispela bikpela misin ol aposel i tait pinis na ol i laik malolo – tasol planti manmeri i wok long i go i kam.  Na Jisas wantaim ol aposel i no gat taim blong kaikai!  Jisas i save ol aposel i nidim sampela taim blong malolo na em i marimari long ol aposel blong em.  Em e tok olsem:  “Yumi tasol i go long wanpela  hap i no gat man, na bai yupela i ken malolo liklik”.  Na ol i amamas na ol i kisim bot i go long wanpela hap i no gat man.

Ol bratasusa, planti taim yumi save bisi long planti samting: long wok gaden, long wok opis, long wok, skul, long wok family – long kainkain wok yumi save mekim.  Tasol, Jisas i laik marimari long yumi tu – olsem em i bin mekim wantaim ol aposel blong em.  Na em i singautim yumi bai yumi go wantaim em bilong malolo.  Taim yumi save lotu o pre o ritim Buk Baibel, yumi bihainim dispela tok bilong Jisas.  Yumi malolo wantaim Jisas.  Sapos yumi mekim olsem, orait yumi bai bel isi long laip na sindaun blong yumi.

Jisas i laik bai ol pren bilong em i malolo ol wan wan taim... tasol em yet i no save malolo, nogat.  Long dispela hap Gutnius (Mak i raitim) yumi harim olsem ol manmeri blong olgeta taun i ran i go long dispela hap ol lain bilong Jisas i laik i go long en, na ol i kamap paslain long Jisas.  Tasol Jisas i no rausim ol na tokim ol i mas i kam bek tumora, nogat.  Jisas i sori tru long ol bikos ol i olsem sipsip i not gat wasman.  Na em i stat long givim planti tok long ol.

Jisas i save yumi mas malolo ol wan wan taim – tasol Jisas, nogat.  Em i stap redi oltaim blong harim pre bilong yumi.  Yumi no ken wari – Jisa i stap oltaim redi long helpim yumi taim yumi gat nid long em.

Jisas, em i gutpela wasman blong yumi ol sipsip blong banis blong em.

(Dispela em i skul mi bin givim long ol bilipmanmeri blong Ekari, Upper Mendi, 22 July 2012.)

The Church - Universal and Local

(This is my first post.  I wrote it when I was in Rome with the Bishops of PNG/SI for our Ad Limina visit in June 2012.)

I write these words from Rome where the bishops of PNG/SI have begun our 'Ad Limina' visit.  The full name of the visit is "Ad Limina Apostolorum" which means "to the threshold of the apostles" - especially referring to the holy apostles Peter and Paul who, according to tradition, were martyred here in Rome and buried here.

On the first day of our visit we went to the Basilica of Saint Paul - where Saint Paul is buried.  Archbishop Steve was the main celebrant at the mass there.  Toward the end of our visit, we will go to Saint Peter's Basilica and Archbishop John Ribat will be the main celebrant at the tomb of Saint Peter.

Each day we go to visit Vatican offices that serve the Church in many ways: health care, laity and youth, justice and peace, communication, family life, etc.  We have been received very well.  I am happy to see that the church officials in Rome are very interested in the church in Papua New Guinea.

As we move around to our various meetings and as we visit the magnificent churches and holy places, I am reminded of the beauty of our Catholic Church which is both local and universal.  In the Diocese of Mendi, we are the local church.  It is at this local level that we strive to live the Gospel in our daily lives by following the teachings and example of Jesus.  We do this in our families, in our small communities and in our parishes. 
But we are not alone, we are part of a much greater family that reaches back to Jesus and the Apostles and that stretches to all continents of our world who share the same faith that we profess in PNG.  We are the church, both local and universal.

I want you to know that I carry you in my heart to all of the holy places that we visit.  I remember you and I pray for you and your intentions.  At the end of our visit, we may have the opportunity to visit His Holiness, Pope Benedict.  If we do, I will be happy to tell him that all the people that make up the local church in the Diocese of Mendi love him and thank him and pray for him in his ministry of shepherd of the church extended throughout the world.

Let us always strive to be of one heart and one mind with the Church – universal and local.  Stap wanbel wantaim sios.