Homily – August 2021

1 AUGUST 2021

 Readings  Ex 16: 2-4. 12-15  Eph 4: 17, 20-24  Gospel John 6: 24-35

 I suppose we have all been in situations where we felt, in a robust conversation with another, that we are not connecting in our dialogue.

It is amazing how we can look at the same reality from two different points of view.

It reminds me an expression of an American motivator of past years, Dale Carnegie, who said of the following two men in a prison cell as they both looked out the barbed window, “Two men looked out from prison bars, one saw mud, the other saw stars.”

We can look at the same situation from a broad panorama or from a very narrow one. We can also look at a situation very pessimistically or very optimistically.

This experience seems to be in the Gospel today.

There is discussion in John chapter 6 about the great miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fish. This famous and well known miracle of Jesus was in last Sundays Gospel. Jesus and a group who are described simply in the Gospel as “the people,” tried to make sense of this situation. The people, almost entirely Jews, would have thought of what happened in Exodus when they looked at 12 baskets of food left over from only 5 loaves and 2 Fish. This is in the First Reading today.

The people of God, having been liberated from the slavery of Egypt, are now facing starvation and destruction in the desert. In today’s First Reading they complain to Moses that they are starving to death, and it would have been better for them to stay in slavery than to die in the desert of hunger.

When they awoke the next morning, they looked out and they saw “a thing delicate, powdery, as fine as hoarfrost on the ground.” They then said to one another, “What is that?” Then Moses said to them “it is the bread the Lord gives you to eat.”

In the Hebrew language when they looked out and saw this they would have said “Manna?” Manna means, “What is this? What is that? What do we have here?” So, from a narrow perspective, they thought Jesus was echoing what happened in Exodus.

As they looked at the 12 baskets full of scraps, perhaps they too said in their Hebrew language “Manna? – What is this?” They were amazed. Perhaps they were asking themselves, “Could Jesus be the New Moses. Would He give us even more food to dispel our hunger? Will He also be the New Moses to liberate us, not from slavery in Egypt but the slavery of Roman occupation?”

When Jesus then attempts to answer the question “What is this? (Manna).” His response is far more panoramic.

He chides them by saying, “it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven, it is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven.”

He then continues and articulates one of the most remarkable self-descriptions of Jesus in the whole of the Scriptures. He says, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst.”

So, Jesus is not simply looking at a narrow view from Exodus to a New Exodus, but He is looking from the far broader panoramic of Eden to a New Eden. The food eaten in Eden was forbidden when Adam and Eve became disobedient. Now the New Eden, the New Genesis is a complete liberation and redemption, a fresh start. That which was lost in Adam is now given in Jesus. It is the beginning of hope! It is stars not mud that is the perspective!

Today, when we look at the Covid-19 world, we too have been asking the question “What is this?”

What is this type of “Manna” that has caused so much death and sickness? There is still so much in the way of denials, and vigorous and robust discussion about the origins of this terrible pandemic: People’s employment and workplaces are under threat. People seem paralysed in their decision making and find that they are exhausted. They can’t plan ahead; they are not sure what tomorrow will bring. It all seems to be so much “mud!”

Maybe we should try our best and see, with a broader panoramic of hope, what this new world could bring us.

Surely we have 12 baskets full of opportunities to be close to each other and be tender to those who are frightened and paralysed. We are to be givers of hope because Jesus the bread of life is with us. There is also 12 baskets full of opportunities for us to go deeper with Jesus, as so many people are doing. People are thinking, in their quiet times in lockdown, about God and about prayer and about making a fresh start in hope. We should do all that we can practically to be of service to them.

This reminds me of a lovely story told by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, or as she is now described, St Teresa of Calcutta.

She and her sisters visited a poor Hindu family in Calcutta. They were starving. The sisters brought with them a big bag of rice.

The Hindu mother was very grateful but almost immediately began dividing the bag into two equal portions. She then visited briefly her Muslim neighbour. She gave half the portion to this family. When she returned she said, “My family can manage with half the rice in this bag. My neighbour’s family has several children and they are also starving.”

Clearly this Hindu woman saw the stars and not the mud of her perilous situation. Mother Teresa says that we can learn far more on how to be generous from those who experience hunger and struggle than from the rich. Let’s keep this in mind.

As we now continue with the Mass in which Jesus, the Bread of Life continues to nourish us, let us have this little prayer in our mind and heart as the week unfolds.

“Jesus be my Bread of Life. Jesus be our Bread of Life. Jesus be the world’s Bread of Life.” Amen!


 Readings  1 Kings 17: 8-16  Collossians 3: 12-17  Gospel Matthew 6: 25-34

 We will suspend our normal routine of Gospels from St Mark and St John for today. It is the Solemnity of our own Australian Saint, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop (1842-1909). Normally this day falls on a week day but, today it falls on a Sunday and therefore takes precedence over the normal Sunday Readings.

You will be aware that the first, and at this stage the only, Australian Saint received the Gold medal of canonisation on the 17th of October 2010 by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI! It was not for sport but for holiness! I had the great honour of being in Rome at that time for the canonisation ceremony with so many of the Bishops of Australia. I remember it with great clarity as a wonderful day were the picture of the Ausie Saint, along with other Saints who were also canonised at the same time, was showcased to the entire Catholic world. Talk about Olympic pride!

I also recall the next day. The large Australian contingent in Rome, at the time, celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving at the Basilica called St Paul Outside the Walls. It was one of the most beautiful Masses I have ever had the honour of participating in. I particularly remember the wonderful coming together of so many Australians from different migrant backgrounds being led, in a wonderful way, by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia who participated prominently in this Mass.

Since her canonisation in 2010, still much has been published about the life of Mary MacKillop that we didn’t know before. This is mainly because Mary MacKillop, most fortunate for us, was a prolific letter writer. So many of her letters have now been catalogued and progressively are being published over these years.

The first impression from reading some of these letters is just what and extensive traveller Mary MacKillop was around Australian. Before planes and fast trains, Mary MacKillop travelled all around Australia mainly on horse and buggy, Cobb& Co coaches and regional trains wherever she could access them. When we read today from the First Reading from the book of Kings we hear Elijah being commanded by God to “Up and go.” We hear in today’s Reading the encounter Elijah had on his journeys with the faithful widow of Zarephath.

It is a beautiful story but the point I want to make is, like Mary MacKillop, both the prophet Elijah and the widow are noted for their immediate response when they knew that God was calling them to some mission. This is a real “Mary MacKillop” characteristic. Let’s hope it is also a characteristic of our lives too. Even though we are in Covid times, where everybody feels unable to move around, we still can hasten to our next door neighbours and our families either on foot or by phone ensuring that they are in a safe place and that they are not lonely or despairing. In other words, that they hear the closeness and tenderness of our voice and practical charity to them.

You will be interested to know that yesterday I travelled down to Eden in the Southern part of the Archdiocese. I will tell you why I went down there in just a moment. But can I say that travelling from Canberra down to Eden and back I travelled through or near many towns that Mary MacKillop herself travelled to and stayed in. Towns like Cooma, Bombala, Nimmitabel, Pambula, are all towns that Mary MacKillop travelled to at least once or more times over her apostolate of hastening to do God’s Holy will.

And why was I in Eden? Eden is a place extremely important in the life of Mary MacKillop. It is on the coast outside the township of Eden were Mary MacKillop’s mother, Flora (MacDonald) MacKillop (1016-1886) drowned.

Through the extensive cataloguing of Mary MacKillopp’s letters we now have a real insight into her relationship with her mother Flora.

In 2012 one of the Josephite sisters distinguished for her apostolate in this Archdiocese over many years, Sr Bernadette O’Sullivan, wrote a book about the life of Flora MacKillop. When I read it I thought that it might not only be Mary MacKillop who was the Saint but also her mother.

May I read to you just a few lines from this book about the life of Flora MacKillop.

“Flora (MacDonald) MacKillop (1816-1886) arrived in Melbourne from   Scotland in 1840 and in July of that year she married Alexander MacKillop. St Mary of the Cross was the eldest of their eight children. From promising beginnings family and fortunes declined demanding of Flora courage, patience and forbearance. Her deep faith and trust in God sustained her through the poverty, hardship and times of homelessness when she and her family depended on relatives for a home. While St Mary acknowledged her mother’s example and influence, Flora was able to call herself ‘a truly blessed mother’, as she said herself, she had ‘raised all her children for the glory of God’.”

But tragically this wonderful saintly mother of Mary MacKillop drowned in the sea not far from Eden on a terrible stormy night on the 30th of May 1886. She was on the steamer (ferry) Ly-ee-Moon. Seventy one people died tragically including Mary MacKillop’s mother. She was on the steamer travelling from Melbourne to Sydney to assist her daughter Mary at a bazaar.

We now have a letter from Mary MacKillop about this event. Mary MacKillop wrote the following about her mother. She said, “Mamma, was the only body found anywhere without being injured by either the rocks or sharks. The scapula she had so loved was on her neck. How it remained on seems miraculous and is, I believe.   John (John MacDonald her cousin) says she looked as if she were asleep….The preservation of the body with the scapular still intact was indeed miraculous when one views the wild and treacherous seas and rocks at Green Cape.”

At this time of the year over the past five years I have been travelling down to Eden to celebrate a Mass not only for Mary MacKillop but also for Flora MacKillop. Although it might be a long way off, I do believe there are solid grounds for an investigation into the possible canonisation of Mary MacKillop’s mother, Flora. When we now read so much remarkable material about her faith filled and courageous life.

Finally now, Mary MacKillop’s letters to her mother Flora give us a real insight into what really was important in the life of Mary MacKillop. If you were to write to your own mothers you would only say the important things and not the superficial.

Three things come to mind when I read these letters.

Firstly, Mary MacKillop totally relied on the providence of God. Today we might call it God’s Grace or blessings. She saw everything as a tremendous gift from God in her letters.

She really was a woman of today’s Gospel. In today’s Gospel from Matthew Jesus says “Do not worry…Your heavenly Father knows you need. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Mary MacKillop lived out these words in total trust of God and saw everything as total abundant providence from His grace.

Secondly, it is quite clear from her letters the joy that she experienced in doing the Holy will of God. Doing the will of God is not an expression we hear too much about in these days. Instead, perhaps we use the tem: “Discerning what the Holy Spirit is saying.” For Mary MacKillop and so many of the Saints in the Church’s history, responding totally and surrendering to the Holy will of God was the absolute essence of walking the life of faith.

Thirdly, in her letters I read so often of her recognition explicitly of the little kindnesses other people show to her. The letters, mainly coming from her trip to Europe and writing back to her mother, illustrated continually how people showed kindness to her in different ways. She did not take this for granted and was able to articulate to her mother precisely what kindness people gave her. She saw God’s will and providence in their kindnesses.

She herself of course was kind to others. More so than kindness she was also extraordinarily forgiving. When we know of her life and her excommunication ordeal, we understand what forgiveness means. She lived out the line from the Second Reading where St Paul tells the Colossians, “You are to be clothed in heartfelt compassion, in generosity and humility, gentleness ad patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other if one of you has a complaint against another.” Again Mary MacKillop’s lifestyle echoed these words fully.

I conclude with a little prayer that has often been prayed to Mary MacKillop over the years. It is where we place our own intentions to God through her loving intercession.

In part the prayer goes, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, “who in her living of the Gospel witnessed to the human dignity of each person. She faced life’s challenges with faith and courage. We pray through her intercession for our needs…”

We have an Australian friend and Saint in Heaven! Make sure we speak to her with our own needs on this her Feast Day.

Another expression from her that may be helpful is: “Lean more on God that yourselves.”

St Mary of the Cross MacKillop pray for us. St Joseph, to whom Mary MacKillop had such a deep devotion with all the Josephites, pray for us.

15 AUGUST 2021

Readings  Apocalypse 11: 19. 12: 1-6, 10  1 Corinthians 15: 20-26  Gospel Luke 1: 39-56

 One way of entering fully into our Catholic faith, as she prays in her liturgy, is by prayerfully considering the preface of the Mass. The preface is the long prayer at the beginning of the Eucharistic prayer just before the “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

Today is a good day to consider this because we are celebrating the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary body and soul into Heaven. What can this mean?

From a consideration of the theology behind the preface we come to understand what the Assumption means. From this understanding two important major titles of Mary emerge.

At the first part of the preface we pray, “The Virgin Mary assumed into Heaven as the beginning and the image of your Church’s coming to perfection and a sure hope of comfort to your Pilgrim People.”

Carefully considering this, the Assumption says something about the Church. Where Mary has gone we hope to follow. This is the source of our hope and the comfort to us on our pilgrimage in life.

Clearly, the Church is Marian. We see hints of this in the mystical and poetic First Reading of today from the Apocalypse. It refers to “a woman, adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, and with the twelve stars on her head for a crown.” We can see this not only of Mary but of the Marian Church bringing forth the Easter Jesus in great difficulties but ultimately triumphant. At the end of this Reading we read, “Victory and power and empire for ever have been won by our God, and all authority for his Christ.”

From this understanding of the Marian Church we confidently pray, “Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.”

We now return to the second part of today’s preface on the Assumption. It reads, “You would not allow her to see the corruption of the tomb, since from her own body she marvellously brought forth your incarnate son, The Author of Life.”

Here, clearly, the Assumption also says something very much about Jesus.

Mary is full of grace. She is full of Jesus. She is the Mother of God. In Greek we say that she is, “Theotokos” which means “God Bearer.”

From the Second Reading we hear today that Jesus is “the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep.” Clearly Mary, full of Jesus, is first amongst the faithful.

Mary simply wants to magnify the Lord. In today’s Gospel, the Visitation, when she meets Elizabeth she takes up the fragments of the Old Testament and applies them to her situation where she says, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exults in God my saviour.” Mary always makes larger the presence of Christ and the greatness of the Lord.

We can see the image from the First Reading of her standing on the moon. This is how Mary magnifies Jesus. The moon does not give off light, the moon reflects the light. At night we might see the full moon and think otherwise. The moon simply reflects the “sun-light.” Mary reflects the “Son-light.”

Therefore, we can pray profoundly another great Marian title when we say, “Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.”

It is important to see that these, somewhat lofty theological reflections, are at the very centre of our Marian devotion. First of all, Catholic belief comes from both the Scripture and Tradition. It is both the Word of God and the Words of God reflected over the last 2,000 years of Salvation history. Marian devotion has been progressively “unveiled” as we reflect on the Revelation of Christ amongst us in His Death and Resurrection.

It is also important for us to say that Catholics do not adore Mary. We only adore Jesus. However, we venerate, we have great devotion, to Mary and the Saints. Particularly to Mary who is the Saint of all Saints.

Lastly, there is a third and more recent rather popular Marian title that is becoming known throughout the world. It arises not from theological profundities but from popular devotion.

It comes from the southern part of Germany (Bavaria). When Pope Francis did some theological studies there he noticed this devotion. He visited a Church in Southern Germany and was presented with the title of, Mary the “Untier of knots.” There is a painting of Mary and on either side of her are Angels holding rope. Mary is holding the rope as if it is the rope of life and she is untying knots in the rope. May she untie knots in our lives! Hence the devotion to Our Lady the Untier of Knots.

You might want to think seriously about this in your own prayer life too.

There is what is called “The Knots Prayer.” The first part of it goes like this, “Dear God through Mary, please untie the knots in my mind, my heart, my life. Remove the have nots, the can nots and the do nots.”

That could be our “Gospill” for today!

Mary Mother of the Church, pray for us. Mary Mother of God, pray for us. Mary Untier of Knots, pray for us on this the Solemnity of the Assumption.

22 AUGUST 2021

 Readings  Joshua 24: 1-2, 15-18   Ephesians 5: 21-32  Gospel John 6: 60-69

 Over the last two Sundays we have been prayerfully considering two great Saints – The Australian Saint, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop and then last Sunday Our Lady of the Assumption, Untier of Knots. Next week we return to our systematic Readings from Mark in the year of St Mark.

Today, we return for the last time to a prayerful consideration in the Gospel of John 6. You will recall in John 6 that Jesus describes himself quite clearly as “The Bread of Life”, as the Living Bread come down from Heaven.

Such teachings seem to cause the parting of the ways for quite a few of His Disciples.

Some of them say, in regard to what Jesus has been preaching, “This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?” They are ready for defection. It appears that Jesus does not fit into their plans of what they think God is to do in their world.

This issue of making a decision for one’s faith is peppered throughout all the Scriptures.

Indeed, in the First Reading today Joshua calls his people together in the significant economic town of Shechem. He tells them to make their choice to either follow the God that has freed them from the slavery of Egypt or some other god. Then he says, “As for me and my House, we will serve the Lord.”

His people, challenged to make a choice, have no difficulty in saying that they too will follow the Lord.

This is the opposite of “defection.” It is “affection.” In the Gospel today, Jesus turns to His twelve Disciples and asks them for their decision of faith. In a line full of pathos he says, “What about you, do you want to go away too?”

It is Simon Peter, who comes forth with the statement of faith.

St Peter says, “Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe.” Basically he is saying they don’t truly understand what Jesus is suggesting in his teachings but they want to fit in with the plans of Jesus and the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God and not the other way around.

Let us consider now this “defection” or “affection” categorisation a little bit more deeply in our everyday life. I suppose all of us are on some sort of seesaw, there are elements of both in our lives.

Please allow me to offer two examples. The first example is brief. The second example a little longer.

The first example is in recent weeks. You recall that on a Tuesday night some weeks ago we had the Census. Prior to the Census there was a fair bit of publicity in the secular Newspapers. They were saying basically if you don’t go to Church regularly you should tick the “No Religion” box. In other words, you had defected from religion.

I was interviewed on the local radio about this matter. I could tell that the interviewer was a lapsed Catholic. Yet it was clear he had affection for religion.

I mentioned on his radio program that I always stand firm on the Old Catholic adage, “Once a Catholic always a Catholic.” Whereas, we would always love people to come regularly to Mass, for all sorts of good reasons, that is not possible. If a person is baptised in the Catholic Church, they are Catholic. I could tell that the interviewer was pleased with my answer. We need to be careful of the ideologues today that expect a “yes” or “no” answer to rather delicate issues. We are part of God’s family. We are not part of some sort of corporation.

The second example is in regard to the present day Covid-19 situation. I know you have had plenty of coverage on this topic and now you are going to hear about it from the Archbishop! Only briefly. Here again we often find that Covid disrupts people’s lives. There is a lot of fear and isolation. Sometimes people defect into a kind of hopelessness and weariness.

On the other hand we are encouraged to look at this great inconvenience in the world and great tragedy for so many people, in a more positive way. We could opt for either “Covid-gloom” or “Covid-closeness.” It could be a time of great encounter of love and hope, and a fresh start in our life with the Lord. It can be a time whereby our affection for God alive in His Church is enlivened. I have been hearing quite a few stories indicting that this is precisely the case amongst many people.

It reminds me of the Nascent Monastic movement of the 3rd and 4th centuries. In those days it wasn’t a demand to stay at home because of some pandemic. It was a demand for Christians to leave the big cities because there was wholesale persecution. There was a great exodus to the caves in Egypt and beyond, whereby people could grow in their affection for the Lord and defect from certain persecution. It is from this Nascent Monastic movement that the seeds of great encounter with the Lord grew. We see this in the 3rd and 4th century Saint, St Anthony of Egypt in Eastern Christianity and sometime later in the 6th century St Benedict in Western Monasticism.

There is a piece of advice that has come down over the centuries from a great spiritual leader who lived in the caves of Egypt. They call them “cells.” His name was Abbe Moses. His advice still rings true for today’s world in which we all find ourselves locked in at home in a quasi-Monastic style.

He said, “Go and sit in your cell and your cell will teach you everything.”

This could be our “Gos-pill” for today but we might make a little adjustment to this quote. We could say, and please memorise it and try to see its wisdom for our current situation, the following “Go and sit in your home and your home will teach you everything.”

St Mary of the Cross MacKillop pray for us. Our Lady of the Assumption and Untier of Knots pray for us. St Joseph, in this Year of St Joseph pray for us. Amen!

29 AUGUST 2021

Readings  Deuteronomy 4: 1-2, 6-8   James 1: 17-18, 21-22, 27  Gospel Mark 7: 1-8, 14-15, 21-23

 We return to St Mark’s Gospel today. For some weeks we have been meditating on John 6 which pertains to Jesus as “The Bread of Life” and the nourishment for our Christian journey. It has strong Eucharistic overtones. We still remain on themes pertaining to food. In this case, it is the laws, the customs and the rituals pertaining to food.

The Gospel is a little bit complicated. Perhaps one way of approaching it is to use the well-known expression, “You see from where you stand.” It is true to say that we look at life from where our feet are planted. That is, where our values and our priorities of life come from. It is from this platform we look at the issues that come forward to us on a day to day basis.

This is helpful in regard to laws and customs pertaining to food in the Gospel today.

We see that some of the leaders are criticising Jesus because of the behaviour of His Disciples in this area. They seem to be obsessing with the externalities of food procedures and cleanliness. Clearly, in these Covid times, we too are very conscious of cleanliness and handwashing. However, here is an absolute obsession here. The people say to Jesus, “Why do your disciples not respect the tradition of the elders but eat their food with unclean hands?” They remind Jesus the tradition of the elders who, “never eat without washing their arms as far as the elbow; and on returning from the market place they never eat without first sprinkling themselves.” There are many other observances in regard to “the washing of cups and pots and bronze dishes.”

So from this obsessing with externals the hope is that this will make the inner person clean in the sight of God.

They certainly see from where they stand.

Jesus however sees the situation completely differently. He responds to them bluntly and very strongly and calls them hypocrites. He quotes from the prophet Isaiah and says, “This people honours me only with lip-service, while their hearts are far from me.” Here Jesus sees from where He stands: from the inside of a person. He “stands” from a person’s heart, a person’s deepest self.  From here He then looks at the externals of life.

This is not something that is new to Jesus. Indeed He is only reclaiming the richness of the ancient Jewish law. Regrettably, this law has become trivialised and externalised by people now addressing Jesus.

We see, in the First Reading today, how the laws are not seen as we tend to see them today as restrictions or limitations on our freedom. In the Jewish sense of the law in its broadest panorama, laws are in a sense tickets to freedom. They are compass points on life’s journey. They give us direction and lead us to freedom. The First Reading quotes Moses when he says to his people: “Now, Israel, take notice of the laws and customs that I teach you today, and observe them, that you may have life.”

This life transforming gift of the law is recaptured by Jesus. Not only that, He actually takes it to a more panoramic foundation all together. Here the laws are to come under the Kingdom of God. Through the conversion of a repentant heart, the heart is transformed. To live life fully through justice and mercy is transformed when placed under the Pascal Mystery.

Clearly, what is happening here is a completely different way of looking at life. Under Jesus, we are an “inside/out” people in an “outside/in” World.

This inside world of life in Christ transforms and converts the primary relationships we share one with another. The three primary relationships of the human being are our relationship with God, with others, and with the world. These prime relationships are seen together and connected. Our ways of expressing these relationships come from a converted and transformed heart. Here is the “inside/out” movement.

Today we celebrate Social Justice Sunday. We can see how what has been said above is exemplified in our attitude to the important issues of care for the earth and care for the poor. “Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor”, is the theme of today’s Australian Bishops Social Justice Statement.

The important point to mention here is that our relationship to ecology and our care for the earth is never to be separated from our care for others, especially the poor. They are all interconnected and interdependent. This is one of the principal teachings from Laudato Si, the encyclical of Pope Francis on these matters. He uses the expression, “Integral ecology.”

It is simply not good enough to be obsessing with the externalities of Global change and the way we should practically respond in a Global world under great threat, and totally neglect the care for the people on the margins. This approach is obsessing with externals and it is an “outside/in” approach. The Catholic approach in Social Justice is “inside/out” where these areas are all seen together.

May I conclude by offering an image and a little expression that might help us in appropriating today’s wonderful Scripture message.

I draw your attention to the popular devotional symbol of the Sacred Heart. In many representations of the Sacred Heart we see Jesus with one hand holding His Heart and with the fingers of His other hand he is pointing to His Heart. Clearly, this is the importance of always beginning with our heart converted into the Sacred Heart of Jesus. From this, all action in justice and mercy derives. But it must start in the Sacred Heart.

Mind you, it is never to end here. If our response to God simply remains on the internal without any external expression, then we become pietistic. This is as offensive to God as being obsessed with the externals only. Therefore, with the Heart of Jesus on our mind we can then say that we are as the People of God are “inside/out” people in an “outside/in” world.