These days the mobile phone can cause distraction and be a source of addiction. It is also a wonderful tool for memories to be captured and stories to be shared. Who would have thought 10, 20 years ago that one day the majority people in the world would own a 5 x 10 piece of technology that not only contained vital information of the owner but acts as a source of communication between individuals, groups, and society at large?
I, like so many other people, do not own a camera anymore. Why would we when our phone takes just a good photo as a SLR and high-quality video too? I am thankful for its voice navigating features as I cannot imagine using the white pages to get from point A to B anymore.
During the past week I made some time to scroll (a word which is not a pastry or an object that contains writings, but now considered an action) through my photos from the last year.
In reflecting not only on my photos but in conversations that I have had with others, it is hard to fathom how much we can fit into a year. It is especially notable now that we have emerged out of covid so to speak or should I say lockdown restrictions. This time last year many of us where in 14-day isolation due to being a close contact, how things have changed.
That is partly the beauty of this world, things do not stay the same, we need to read the signs of the time and adapt when and if necessary. We need to continuously try to reimagine what things might look like in the future, especially if they are no longer working. Everyone has memories of the good old days, but the good old days are only as old as you are.
Reflecting on the work of the Formation and Education office, there have been many opportunities to connect people with faith over the year. One of these opportunities was offering a day of formation on Matthew’s Gospel by Sr Michele Connelly rsj.
Michele insists that we need to look with fresh eyes when we consider scripture and many of the points made on this day connected my synapses and have left a lasting impression. Michele describes the understanding of scripture as a boat that we have been sailing for the last 2000 years and it has collected some barnacles, which need to be cleared off. Our Church, too, needs to start to look to the future with fresh eyes.
Michele presented the question which related to sacrifices in Old Testament scripture, ‘How do you feed a lamb chop to a God that has no teeth?’ Well, you burn it to a crisp, so it becomes nothing but smoke or spirit. Enter Jesus and he insists that we forget the BBQ and replace it with mercy. Expensive meat sacrifice to God is not necessary but rather demonstrating dignity and respect to all regardless of social or economic status is what is needed to be offered by the God. We should be taking up St Paul’s approach to RCIA, meet people where they are at, instead of making seekers come to the Tuesday night lesson of what it means to be Catholic. Being meek as mentioned in the Beatitudes is not about being lily livered door mats, but rather a war horse working with the yoke of life. It is the yoke that we wear with Christ, he will take the weight with us and get us through to complete the task of life.
Hearing Michele made me reflect that we should no longer be thinking or doing what we have always done, there is a vital need to reimagine and look with a fresh approach.
As we enter this week leading up to Christmas it is timely to reflect on this season and consider its origins, what it looks like presently and what it might look like in the future.
The Roman empire struggled with the concept of the Sabbath and in many ways Jesus did too. Our growing consumeristic western culture threw this day of rest away about 35 years ago with the opening of shops on Sunday. Despite this, it is good to see that the majority of people and business owners in Australia keep Christmas Day as a day of rest, a day of celebration to be in communion with family and friends.
As we witness an unwrapping of gifts this coming Sunday remember not to lose sight of the significance of this special occasion. While many may not have reflected on the scripture throughout Advent many would have lived out the church’s mission of providing hope, peace, love and joy to the world. Perhaps we need to look with fresh eyes to discern what Church might look like in the future and not wrap it up in only one box.
Image: Unsplash by Sigmund
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