The Signs Of The Times

I would like to return to the subject of the Plenary Council 2020. The pivotal question being discussed at this time is What is God asking of us Australia right now? We are called to discern the signs of the times and where God might be present in all of this. It was good to have more than 30 parishioners present at our first session on Tuesday 30th October. Those attending broke up into groups and in the process a broad range of topics were covered; role of laity, role of women, church governance, call of the Church to be on Mission, parishes of welcome, faith education, role of catholic schools, how to reach out to those who have left the church, review of church doctrines, and inviting those persons/ groups in our society who are currently on the margins to become part of us were just some of the topics discussed.

In the Gospel Jesus speaks about the signs of the times. He places his words in the context of what was happening in his world at that time. He speaks about wars, earthquakes, famines. Mark wrote his Gospel at a time when Jerusalem was about to fall and the Temple was going to be destroyed.

We only need to look at the world around us and look at recent happenings; the recent incident that took place in Bourke Street, the cost of energy bills, immoral gains in business and economic systems that allow some to gain while others lose. These are just a few examples which rightly give us cause for concern. In the midst of all these things what is God asking of us in Australia right now?

In June and August of each year on the first and third Sundays of these months St Joseph’s Parish Malvern holds sessions called ‘hot button issues.’ Topics are chosen which are thought to be of most interest to parishioners. A guest speaker presents and this is accompanied by a process where participants are encouraged to speak either in small groups or in the larger group. At our meeting last Tuesday night The Parish Pastoral Council decided that the best way to decide topics for 2019 would be to consult the wider parish community. After all plenty of possible topics arose from the recent Plenary Council Parish Gathering all of which would be worthy of further reflection and discussion.

In the Gospel Jesus encourages his disciples to hold fast on to their faith. He presents to them the bigger picture of the world to come. Faith is looking at the signs of the times and looking at what we can do to respond in a positive way. Both the process of Plenary Council 2020 and the ‘Hot Button Issues’ to be held in the parish next year afford us the same opportunity.

Fr. Alan