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Week beginning: Sunday, 19th of May 2024

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Scripture Commentary

by Rev. Dr. Mark O'Brien

Deuteronomy 4:32-34; 39-40

Chapter 4 is the first sermon or homily in the book of Deuteronomy, the fifth and final book of the Pentateuch or Torah. Deuteronomy is widely regarded by modern commentators as an attempt to reverse the country’s decline in the late 7th century BCE; a kind of ‘return to the sources’ manifesto that was attributed to Israel’s great leader of hoary antiquity, Moses, to enhance its authority and appeal. Moses’ speeches are set on the edge of the land to evoke the sense of a new life about to begin once Israel enters and lives there according to the Torah (God’s teaching). Our reading is taken from the final part of the homily. In the preceding verses Moses commands the people to obey all the statutes and ordinances of the Torah or law proclaimed at Horeb (the deuteronomic name for what the book of Exodus calls Mt Sinai) and then reminds them of what took place there and its significance. God has chosen Israel to be his special possession and to live in the land in a way that will bear witness before all the nations to the true God and the right way to live. The worst thing that Israel can do is fall for the allure of the cults and gods of the surrounding nations. This is to repudiate or mock its status as the chosen people, and the reform-minded deuteronomic theologians must portray God as intolerant of this. Otherwise their call for exclusive loyalty to God becomes worthless. What is striking about this first homily is that even though God will intervene to put a stop to the worship of false gods, ‘the Lord your God is a merciful God, he will neither abandon or destroy you’. So we have the call to holiness, punishment for infidelity (so that Israel comes to know that it has sinned), forgivenesss (for repentance), and restoration. Mercy of itself would leave Israel passive whereas a right relationship with God means that it is restored, to again become a dynamic witness of God and God’s purpose.

Our reading seeks to secure Israel’s unswerving loyalty by asking a rhetorical question and then answering it. The Israel in the text and the reader/listener is invited to ask whether anything like what Israel has experienced has ever taken place beforehand. The expected answer is of course ‘no’; the same kind of answer that Christians would make about the figure of Jesus. But one also needs to remember that other religions of the ancient Near East would have made similar religious and national claims about their gods. One cannot prove that Deuteronomy is right. The authors of Deuteronomy were probably responding to the challenge of other religions, particularly of the superpowers Assyria and Babylon with their extravagant liturgies and grand temples. Their answer is supplied in the last part of our reading; all that has taken place reveals to the eye of faith that ‘The Lord is God indeed, in heaven above as on earth beneath, he and no other.’

Psalm 32:4-6, 9, 18-20, 22

The responsorial psalm follows rather appropriately after the reading because it ‘supplies’ the response that a reader or listener should make to the deuteronomic sermon. Thus the first stanza or paragraph effectively quotes a loyal Israelite who proclaims that God’s word and work are utterly reliable. In fact these ‘reveal’ that the Lord is a lover of justice and right and fills the earth with his love. It’s often hard to capture the meaning of terms in translation and a word on the three terms here may be helpful. The term translated as ‘justice’ or ‘righteousness’ refers to right relationships that God is committed to establishing. These are essential for right order on earth and of course the foundational relationship is with God. The term translated as ‘right’ refers to the particular judgments and actions that help establish right relationships and enable them to flourish. Finally, the term translated as ‘love’ refers to God’s unconditional commitment to bringing this all about. It is often rendered as ‘steadfast love’.

The second and third stanzas ‘illustrate’ the foundational claims of the first stanza. The second focuses on God’s just and right work in bringing about creation, with the emphasis on the creative word or command. According to the theology of this psalm, the right divine word or command by definition brings about the right reality and how could the good and righteous God not pronounce a righteous command? The third stanza focuses on God’s right relationship with humanity with particular attention here to those in need and who rely on God’s love – the same Hebrew word as in the first stanza. God’s steadfast love is utterly reliable and protects life in the face of death (this is a general faith claim that of course cannot be proved; to do so would require the monitoring of every instance). In the final stanza of the psalm selection, the speakers or singers of the psalm who have made what is a general confession about Israel’s God now step forward (note the change to the first person plural) and affirm that they make this faith their own. They also identify with all humanity that is in need of God’s steadfast love by making their own prayer, ‘May your steadfast love be upon us, O Lord.’

© Mark O'Brien

Rev Dr Mark O’Brien is a member of the Department of Biblical Studies at the Catholic Theological College, Melbourne, and lectures in Old Testament studies. He is also a visiting lecturer at the Yarra Theological Union (Box Hill), and the United Faculty of Theology (Parkville). He is a priest of the Order of Preachers (known as the Dominicans).

Social Justice Liturgy

Would you like to join a small planning group to help with the liturgies when there are special Social Justice occasions?

There would be only 3 a year:

  • Social Justice Sunday
  • NATSICC Sunday
  • Refugee Sunday

Please call Amanda on 0412-733-009 if you are interested.

Serra International

Serra International - Prayer for Vocations

"Heavenly Father, help us respond to and live out our mission in the Church. Help all your people to know their vocation in life, and assist them to prepare for it.

For your greater glory, and for the service of your people, call many to be Priests and Religious. Give those whom you call the grace to respond generously and to persevere faithfully. We ask this through Christ Our Lord.

For information about Serra or Vocations:

View / Download Prayer Card (296kB)

Altar Servers
Presently the parish has few altar servers.

Their service and prayerful presence enhances the liturgical celebration.

Fr. Joseph is calling for more children to take up this ministry.

What It Means To Be An Altar Server (Video)

Need For Volunteers
We are in urgent need of volunteers to:
  1. visit and bring Holy Communion to the sick and elderly in the nursing homes.
  2. clean the Parish Centre on a fortnightly basis.
  3. set up the Altar and arrange flowers.

Please see father or let the parish office know if you are able to help.

Thank you.

Happy Families Pray Together

"The family that recites the Rosary together reproduces something of the atmosphere of the household of Nazareth: its members place Jesus at the centre, they share his joys and sorrows, they place their needs and their plans in his hands, they draw from him the hope and the strength to go on."

- John Paul II, Apostolic Letter on the Rosary of the Virgin Mary

View Rosary Prayer Card
Individual Confession vs. "General Absolution"
The Church hasn't banned the Third Rite which, by the way, consists in the general absolution of a large number of people at once without individual confession.

The rite was first introduced during World War I to allow priests to absolve a large number of soldiers before they went into battle when it would have been impossible to hear all the confessions individually. At the time of the World War II the conditions were extended to other circumstances of imminent danger of death, and finally in 1972 they came to include situations such as those in mission territories where, if the priest did not absolve a large number of people at once, they would have to go for a long time without the grace of the sacraments through no fault of their own.

The norms on what has come to be called "general absolution" were incorporated into the 1983 Code of Canon Law in Canons 961-963 and into the Catechism of the Catholic Church in paragraphs 1483-1484 (cf. J. Flader, Question Time 1, Connor Court 2012, q. 80).

Up until some 15 years ago the Third Rite was used in many parishes in Australia. Significant numbers of people took advantage of it, partly because they were helped by the readings from Scripture, prayers and often a homily, and because many others were attending as well, emphasising the communal, ecclesial aspect of the sacrament. And since there was no need to confess their sins individually to the priest, they found it much easier than going to individual confession.

Why did it suddenly stop? Perhaps the more apposite question would be why it began in the first place. It is clear that the conditions required for its use simply do not exist in Australia, particularly the condition that if the priest did not absolve a large number of penitents collectively they would have to go for a long period of time without the grace of the sacraments through no fault of their own. While the number of priests has diminished somewhat, we are still well served with priests and parishes so that the sacrament of Reconciliation is readily available all over this country.

By the late 1990s the use of general absolution was fairly widespread, especially in some dioceses. During their five-yearly ad limina visit to Rome in 1998, the Australian bishops discussed this matter, along with others, with Pope [St.] John Paul and Vatican officials. At the end of their visit a long Statement of Conclusions was signed by representatives of the Australian bishops and of the Roman Curia. Among other matters, it encouraged the use of individual confession and, with respect to general absolution, said: "Unfortunately, communal celeb­rations have not infrequently occasioned an illegitimate use of general absolution. This illegitimate use, like other abuses in the administration of the sacrament of Penance, is to be eliminated. The bishops will exercise renewed vigilance on these matters for the future, aware that departures from the authentic tradition do great wrong to the Church and to individual Catholics" (n. 45).

Naturally, while general absolution is not to be used in this country, it still remains an option in countries where the conditions for its use exist.

Those who do take regular advantage of individual confession know how much good it does them. Apart from receiving forgiveness of their sins, they have an opportunity to do a thorough examination of conscience, to tell their sins personally to God through the priest and to receive helpful spiritual direction and encouragement. With the abundant grace the sacrament gives them, they begin their spiritual struggle anew each time, with their soul free from sin and filled with hope.

Pope [St.] John Paul II, in an address to priests at the beginning of Lent in 1981, said that "confession periodically renewed, the so-called confession 'of devotion', has always accompanied the ascent to holiness in the Church." And on 13 March, 1999, he told priests hearing confessions in the patriarchal basilicas of Rome: "It should not be forgotten that the so-called confession of devotion was the school which formed the great saints."

Would that more people made frequent use of this sacrament. Their growth in holiness through it would be a great blessing for themselves, for their families, for the Church and for the whole of society.

Fr John Flader
The Catholic Weekly,
12 May, 2013
Consecration of The House To The Sacred Heart of Jesus
Please speak to Fr. Joseph or the parish office to organize day and time.

Fr Joseph would like to congratulate everyone who had their house consecrated recently.

Consecration Of The Family

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Daily Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary

Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary,

I consecrate my entire self to the Most Holy Love of Your Two Hearts. I wish to make reparation for all the sins of the world, including my own. I offer these things for the love of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

I will keep my mind on beauty and turn my thoughts from evil things. I will hold my temper and bear the mistakes of others with love and a forgiving heart. I will admit when I am wrong and ask others to forgive me. I will not show off, but remain humble. I will offer up all my sufferings, sicknesses and hurts and seek God’s Will, not my own. I will show appreciation for the kindness and blessings that I receive, and thank God for all things. I will do everything in my life for love of God and I will love others as God has loved me.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the intercession of the Im-maculate Heart of Mary, receive the offering and consecration I now make of myself to You. Keep me faithful until death and bring me one day to the happy home in heaven. I desire to live forever with God the Father and the Most Holy Spirit and You my Lord Jesus, together with Your Most Immaculate Mother.


Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary,
please protect us.

Call of Guadalupe (COG)

Call of Guadalupe (COG) is a Christian-based, not-for-profit community theatre based in Melbourne, Australia.

Singers and Actors or backstage helpers wanted to join a choir for a concert or perform as a soloist on October 27 in Dandenong.

If you would like to be part of a choir or would like to audition to do a solo at the concert, please attend an information meeting on June 1st, at St Roch's church hall at 3pm

or contact:
Mob: 0413-398-528

Concert is being staged by Cog theatre group and partner schools and parishes.

Take Mary Home

We are excited to announce that our devotion to our blessed Virgin Mary 'Take Mary home' will be resuming after a long break on the 8th of September the nativity feast of our blessed virgin.

Our blessed mother is eagerly awaiting to visit each of our family in our community to pray with us and bless us like how she visited her cousin Elizabeth and blessed her with the infilling of the Holy Spirit, Luke 1: 42 - 45. We can be assured that when we ask our Lord Jesus Christ through the intercession of our blessed Mother Mary we can be guaranteed that our Lord will not deny to his Mother. Therefore, let’s prepare our hearts and home to invite our blessed virgin Mary and pray with her with one heart to our Triune God.

For further details please contact Rosy Paul

St. Luke's Circle Group

 All ages welcome!!

Do you know any good jokes? Can you do any acrobatics, perhaps a magic trick or can you play a musical instrument? Join an exciting and new group that meets every 1st Wednesday of the month.

Doors open at 10:00am in the Parish Centre. During school holiday time bring along your children and grandchildren to join in the fun.

We kindly ask for a gold coin donation as you participate in some ‘Gentle Exercises’, ‘Get To Know You’ games and cognitive activities. Please bring a cut lunch and discover the various gifts and talents that God has given us to share. All money raised will be spent on the group's needs.

Giuliana Baptist 0402-655-187

Mothers Who Pray for Their Children

Come Mothers to Pray for our Children and for the Children of the whole world!

We will be at St. Luke's church, in the Chapel, every Thursday at 9:00am.

Straight after school drop off, this is a great opportunity to reconnect with God and strengthen ourselves for daily battles we face.

"On my knees I beg you, let my children stand brave. God you sustain me and please increase my faith!"

Please contact Giovanna Perrone, 0424-945-130, for more information.

Extraordinary Ministers of Communion, Readers & Counters

Our parish would like to invite parishioners to become Readers and Extraordinary Ministers for our Masses.

These roles are a small but significant way to quietly participate in our parish community and your contribution would be greatly appreciated.

The current roster for Readers and Extraordinary Ministers at each of the Masses finishes at the end of March and we would really love to have more volunteers for both of these very important ministries. Our numbers are getting a bit low at some of the Masses and it would be great if we could add a few more names.

If you would like to offer your services but feel you’d need some form of training, please don’t hesitate to contact me and we will arrange to take you through the processes of either/both reading and commentating as well as being an extraordinary minister or the Eucharist.

It would be wonderful to have more people take part in either one of both of these ministries, so please contact me if you feel you’d like to participate.

Thank you to all who contribute their time and talent in this way.

Kaye Edgell

St. Vincent de Paul

Dear Parishioners,

Our St. Vincent de Paul team are asking for help with various items for our food store room, that people in our community so desperately need. Items may include: sandwich spreads (not peanut butter), breakfast cereals, snacks for kid’s school lunch boxes.

These can be placed in the Vinnies basket, located on the left hand side of the Piety Shop, or to the Parish Office.

Thank you.

Honor Tanner

Help for Marriages Under Stress

The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown may have caused stress to many marriages. Restore hope for your relationship’s future.


We Need Your Help
We would like to hear from tradies, handymen and technicians in our community who would like to be included in our directory.

We may have odd jobs around the Church and would very much appreciate your help.

Please contact the parish office or get in touch with Fr Joseph.

To Love To The End: Who will make your choices?
is a Melbourne Archdiocese initiative to focus on an area of bioethics where we can positively contribute to building up a civilization of life and love.

The theme, "To Love to the End", deals with issues about dying and caring for our loved ones, the meaning and purpose of suffering and our duty as Christians to show love to every human being to the end.

Please collect a copy of the informative brochure and prayer card on this theme from the tables at the church entrances or you can view/download the brochure and card below.

View Respect Life Prayer Card (359 kB)

Overcoming Despair With Hope
Through Respect Life Sunday the church aims to equip Catholics to better love those around us by providing vital information about the dangers of the new abortion drug, RU486.

Pope Francis provided a beautiful example of how we reach out to women facing an unplanned pregnancy recently, when he took the time to listen to a story of a 35 year old Roman woman, then telephoned her to offer a listening ear, hope, encouragement and practical support for when the baby was born.

Read more when you pick up your copy of the green Respect Life brochure in the foyer, or

Pope Tells Teens:
Happiness 'Is Not An App'
Happiness is not an app you can download on your mobile phone, Pope Francis told thousands of teenagers on Sunday at a mass to mark a weekend dedicated to youth.

"Freedom is not always about doing what you want. In fact it is the gift of being able to choose the right way," he said in a homily punctuated by regular bursts of applause from the crowd on a packed St Peter's Square.

"Your happiness has no price. It cannot be bought and sold: it is not an application you download on a mobile phone. Even the latest version cannot help you to grow and become free in love."

An estimated 70,000 teenagers were in Rome for a weekend of events to celebrate Francis's Jubilee year dedicated to the theme of mercy.

In a surprise move on Saturday, the 79-year-old pontiff heard confessions from 16 of them and a video message from him was broadcast at a rock and rap concert in the Stadio Olimpico.

One of the teenagers chosen to confess to the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics said she had been trembling as she approached the chair on which the pope was sitting in St Peter's Square.

"But as soon as I sat down I had the feeling of being next to a normal person rather than the pope. Francis is really one of us," Anna Taibi, 15, told La Repubblica newspaper.

The Sicilian teenager said she had been touched by Francis's tenderness as he listened to her confession.

"I expected him to give me a penance ... instead he absolved me and let me go."

The importance of mobile phones to contemporary teenagers was also reflected in Francis's message to the concert.

Clutching an iPhone, he told his audience that living without Jesus was like not having any signal. "Always be sure to go where there is a network: family, parish, school," he said.

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