Month: April 2021

Podcasts General Episodes

For over 70 years Majellan has provided advice, shared stories of family life and helped family members deal with the problems that arise.

We’ve helped thousands with their family issues.

Now, in these podcasts we’ll set about Figuring out Families.

We are to produce the rich fruit

Many of the Old Testament prophets compared God’s people to a vineyard that needed tending and protecting. Equally, they were not afraid to call the people to order when they strayed, reminding them the same vineyard was producing only sour grapes and was ready for destruction. We know that Jesus was familiar with these scriptures and often used their images to proclaim his message of salvation.

At the Last Supper he initiates the New Covenant in his blood by consecrating the wine at table, commanding us to do this in his memory. And in his conversation with the apostles he speaks of himself as “the true vine” and his “Father as the vinedresser”, but more than that he develops the image, reminding us that if we are to bear good fruit we have to be united with him. The alternative does not bear thinking about: we will be cut off from the source of life.

In Jesus’s day, probably most people would have known how to graft vine branches, but few of us work that closely to nature these days. Nevertheless, this is a useful image as we think of the mission of the Church, reaching out to others to be connected to the source of God’s life. We have a classic example of that in the conversion Saul of Tarsus, the man who was zealously persecuting the early Christian community and who was struck down on the road to Damascus.

His conversion was the talk of the early Church and is widely reported in the New Testament, both in the Acts of the Apostles and in his own letters. It seems that Paul, as he became known, was not someone to meddle with, whether he was for or against you. You have only to read his letters to realise that he does not mince his words and clearly, to begin with at least, he was regarded by the early Christian community with suspicion and even fear: just note how Luke describes the situation in today’s extract from the Acts.

Barnabas acts as a mediator but even as Paul becomes accepted, he manages to end up in such a heated argument that the Hellenists are out to kill him. Fascinatingly, it is only when the brothers get him out of the way, that we hear the churches throughout Judaea, Galilee and Samaria were able to live in peace.

If you read on in the Acts of the Apostles, you will find that Paul and Barnabas form a mission team. However, sadly, this partnership was to end in tears, when Paul would not hear of John Mark, Barnabas’s cousin, re-joining them after he had abandoned the work for a while. Maybe, we can take consolation from all this. The fact is that even after we have been grafted onto the vine, we remain the same people with our own complicated personalities and foibles, but the Lord can still use us to produce rich fruit.

Damian Coleridge
© Majellan Media 2021

Official prayer for 10th World Meeting of Families

Praying is a way to enter the heart of the Amoris Laetitia Year and the preparation for the World Meeting of Families in Rome in June, 2022. Many families and communities around the world will be eagerly awaiting this event, especially considering the tumultuous times we have experienced during the pandemic. Prayer will hopefully assist families as they prepare for this important gathering.

Laying down our lives for others

One of the most loved images of Jesus in the early Church was of him as the Good Shepherd who so loves his sheep that he lays down his life for them. In the Roman catacombs, the ancient cemeteries outside the city of Rome where the early Christian martyrs were buried, we find very early images of the Good Shepherd.

A young man, he is shown carrying a lamb on his shoulders. His sheep gaze trustingly at him and graze peacefully in his care. They know him, they recognise his voice, and they know that he will protect them from danger. He knows each of them by name and will never desert them.

The image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd must have been a great source of consolation for Christians especially in the face of persecution. A common prayer in the early Church for those who had died was that they should be taken to heaven “borne on the shoulders of the Good Shepherd”.

Two thousand years later, Christians continue to find the image of the Good Shepherd deeply consoling and comforting, especially in times of trouble and distress. Psalm 23 is one of the most loved of all the psalms, often used at funerals. It speaks to us so powerfully of the steadfast love with which God cares for us, individually and as a community.

Today’s reading from John’s gospel stresses three characteristics of the Good Shepherd: he knows his sheep and they know him; he does not desert his sheep when they are endangered; and, even more than this, he lays down his life for his sheep. This last characteristic is stated not just once but four times in today’s short gospel reading. Such is the Good Shepherd’s bountiful and unfailing love, care and commitment that he lays down his own life for his sheep.
There is surely no greater love than this.
It is particularly touching that this year, when in our Sunday reading focuses on Jesus’ teaching that he is the Good Shepherd, we in Australia and New Zealand mark Anzac Day. We remember, give thanks, and pay our heartfelt respects to those many men and women who have served in wars in our nation’s name, and especially those among them who, in service to our country, laid down and lost their lives. We are the beneficiaries of their great sacrifice. Let us never forget!
Notice too that Jesus, in today’s gospel, explains: “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd” (Jn 10:16). As we strive for unity, in whatever sphere of our lives, let us not confuse unity with uniformity. Let our aim be unity in diversity.
May the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd remind us to keep our eyes on him, to listen to him, and to place our trust in him.

Anne Hunt
© Majellan Media 2021

A spotlight on veteran mental health this Anzac Day

The Anzac Spirit has continued to develop since the images long past of young men scaling the steep cliffs of Gallipoli or trudging along the harsh Kokoda Track. Courage, mateship, endurance, and sacrifice were hallmark qualities that emerged from those desperate times. The Anzac spirit lives on in today’s service people, and so do the challenges. Veterans have a higher rate of suicide than the average Australian, and a royal commission has now been established to better understand how we can prevent further tragedy.

Walking With Families

Pope Francis says “the Christian proclamation of the Family is good news indeed.” Laity Family life has shared a list of twelve proposals and suggestions for a commitment to family pastoral care in the light of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation.

The list is an invitation for us to consider which measures could feasibly be developed or implemented in our own parishes or archdiocese.

A Guide to Living the Year of the Family

In March the Church celebrated the fifth anniversary of the publication of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia on the beauty and joy of love in the family.

This Amoris Laetitia family guide is a resource to help your family to realise the values and teachings of this papal exhortation in your daily family life.

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