The Spirit of Jesus

It is easy to recall the James Bond movies where at the beginning, 007 flicks his hat across the office to see it delicately lob on the empty spike at the top of the hat stand, as he walks past the smiling Miss Moneypenny and enters M’s office.

After being given his task to save the world from some imminent danger, M accompanies 007 to the basement where the Secret Service have developed a collection of devices James will require to help him fulfill his mission to save mankind.

Years earlier Jesus arrived at the River Jordan where John was baptising and sought also to be baptised by him. John was reticent at first, saying it was he who should be the one being baptised by Jesus. But, at Jesus’ insistence he relented so he could be seen by the onlookers as doing ‘all that righteousness demands.’ (Matt. 3:15).

“As soon as Jesus was Baptised, he came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended like a dove and came down on him. And a voice spoke from heaven, ‘This is my Son, the beloved; my favour rests on him’”. (Matt 3:16-17).

The comparison between the two above events is similar. Jesus had come to live among us to save mankind from itself. His Baptism was the beginning of his public mission. But before he was to commence his work, The Father gave him the means to assist him with the fulfillment of his role. God’s gift was not a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power (2 Timothy 1:7). It is easy to recognise the gifts of the Spirit Jesus possesses and uses as he fulfills his public ministry. These gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8 are prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, and mercy.

James Bond always seems to be able to escape as the baddy’s world domination empire explodes on the screen. 007 lives to fight another day. Jesus on the other hand accepted the pain, suffering and death metered out to Him in order that we might have eternal life.

The Father’s gift of the Spirit to the disciples at Pentecost was evidenced, not only by what appeared to be tongues of fire resting on their heads, but by the affect it had on their behaviour (Acts 2:3).  Because of our Baptism, the Spirit has an intimate internal contact with our lives, for it is the Spirit that helps us in our weakness and assists us when we pray (Romans 8:26).

There is no doubt in my mind it was the Spirit assisting Jesus in the garden as he desperately prayed to the Father. Some Bible translations refer to the Spirit as “interceding for us with groans too deep for words.”

Jesus on the cross, aware that his life was about to come to an end, was determined his final words would be heard by all those in the vicinity as he summoned all his strength to call out in a loud voice. We read in Luke 23:46 that Jesus’ final words were those from the Psalm of David (31:5), “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”  Matthew 27:50 refers to Jesus as “Yielding up his spirit.”

While most scholars say this was Jesus surrendering his human life (His spirit), It is my understanding that it was Jesus offering the Spirit back to The Father who had gifted it to him at Baptism, for His mission was now complete.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s how I feel.

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Why are we here?

I recall as a youngster at the local Catholic school being introduced to the Catholic Catechism. According to my teachers, this was a book that had the answers to all of life’s questions. (If only).

To ensure we were well grounded in what this book had to say we had to learn the contents by heart. After 80 years I still remember some of these answers today.

One of the questions that has always intrigued me was, “Why did God make me?”  and the answer was, “God created me to know, love and serve Him here on earth and to be happy with Him forever in heaven.”

In thinking about that answer, I often ask myself, if that was why we were created by God. then what is God doing about bringing this plan to fruition? Does that mean we can just float through life enjoying ourselves and know that we will all end up in heaven anyway? I don’t think so!

Maybe there just happens to be a few stipulations to which we need to follow in order to prove our worthiness, before being allowed through the heavenly gates. Jesus spent the last 3 years of His life giving us the ‘Good News’ and showing us ‘the way to the Father’. Prior to His arrival the prophets of old had also been given insights into how we needed to live our life in the way God intended. The Ten Commandments put it in writing, but still Jesus had to come to explain what was required in clear terms that could be understood down through the ages.

So, if we have been given the gift of Ffaith and we believe in Jesus, we at least know what is required of us as a Christian. My concern is for all those who don’t believe in God and treat life as a personal journey that ends at our death.

While Jesus told us we had to take His message to all nations, there are many who don’t want to hear it or accept it. So, what is God doing about getting them ‘to be happy with Him in heaven?’

There are many non-believers who lead good and loving lives and must surely be recompensed for their efforts when they meet their maker. Sadly, there are also many who have the gift of faith and misuse their lives to seek personal greed, power and fulfillment.

I don’t believe we are just created, placed on this earth through the miracle of our birth and then left to our own devices to live out our life in whatever way we want. This goes against my understanding of the basic reason for our creation.

How then, one might ask, will so many of God’s creation get to be with God as intended after they die? It is my belief our God uses others of His creation to support and help those whose lives are leading them away from Him.

As part of the New Covenant Jesus instituted at the Last Supper, He said He would be with us for all eternity.  This means that if we believe in Jesus, we believe His Spirit dwells with us. For those who don’t believe, surely, they will not be abandoned, but how will they get the chance to recognise that God exists and loves them despite their non-belief?

Angels get many mentions in Scripture as being spiritual entities created to adore and worship their creator. While there doesn’t seem to be any proof that we each have a guardian angel, many believe in the theory that God has given each of us an angel to protect and guide us.

So often many have said they sense the presence of past family members in their lives when they perform specific actions. I don’t believe these sensory feelings should be discounted. I have a suspicion that friends and family members who have cared for us during their lives here on earth are called by God to assist in the saving of souls before the return of Jesus Christ at the end of our world as we know it.

I base my theory on a recent experience where my constant prayer and fasting over a period of over 18 months for my sick friend seemed to be of no avail as his condition gradually worsened.  Recently he was called from this earth by the God to whom I had been earnestly seeking my friend’s healing daily over this lengthy period.

To be honest, I was devastated, for I have read the scripture verses about praying with faith for the sick and they will be healed. In my frustration, I turned to a friend who is a hospital Chaplin. Her immediate reaction was to chastise me. “Who are you” she said, “to be telling God to obey your wishes.”

This set me thinking how my prayer was very specific indeed. While I should have realised God would be well aware of my wishes, I needed to be prepared to understand that God has the final say and determines how best my prayer will be used. According to James 5:15, healing can mean more than physical healing, it can be pardoning grace which heals the soul.

In being upset and frustrated, I was only thinking of myself and the fact that my own wishes weren’t met. This lesson I will carry into my future prayers for friends and family. With all my prayers for the healing of my friend seemingly not having the effect I sought, I wondered how God had used these prayers and for what purpose He had called my friend from this life.

I wondered if maybe there was someone alive in this world whose life experiences might be similar to those of my friend and who needed help from someone who understands them to survive. If the soul of my friend had passed into the spirit world, he may have been given the task of helping this person find God. My friend would have Guardian Angel status.

I know this might be a wild theory to some, but I like to think that in the intervening period between when we die and when Jesus comes again, we might still provide some useful purpose in helping others fulfill the Catechism response concerning why we are here.

To support my theory, I would like to recommend that each household have an Honour Board on the wall. The type of Honour Board you see in some towns and in cemeteries containing lists of soldiers from that area who gave their lives during the wars and confrontations in the past. Its purpose is to remind those still living to maintain the memory of those who have died.  

My Honour Board would contain the names of close family members and friends who have died and who, during their lives, influenced our family members in some positive way. It would be a way of not forgetting those who we choose to list on the Board, and through story-telling, would assist us in ensuring the younger family members maintain an understanding of the rich heritage that has fashioned their individual families down through the years.

In remembering those on our Honour Boards we could also consider the possibility that they each may well have been given a heavenly task of supporting others. Their role might well be strengthened by prayer support from those loved ones they left behind.

Of course, if my theory is just a fantasy, any prayer we offer up will not go unanswered and will be used in whatever way our God best determines.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s how I feel.

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The Trinity Love Company

It is rumoured that Saint Augustine, when asked to define the Holy Trinity, used an example of a small child attempting to transfer the whole ocean to a small bucket with a spoon. Such was the enormity of attempting to understand the Trinity.

Yet a simple organisation chart based on modern management techniques might well make this ‘mystery’ a little easier to understand.

But first, there are a few basic areas that need defining and a few generally accepted theories that need explanation. GOD – The Source of all Goodness – Always was – Is – Always will be. To emphasise this point, on the chart GOD is surrounded by a ring which has no defined beginning and no end.

If we look at Genesis 1:26 where God was in the process of making the world then it is interesting to note “God said, ‘Let US make man in OUR own image, in the likeness of OURSELVES’”.

It is my belief God was speaking as part of the Trinity which accounts for the plural use of ‘us’ and ‘ourselves’. Thus, the Trinity existed before ever this world existed. There is no reference to how, or if, the Trinity actually had a beginning. Hence, my understanding is that God ‘always was’.

So, let’s refer to GOD – The Source of all Goodness, overall, as a ‘Love Company’, for want of a better title. And that organisation has three equal managerial components who together form the nucleus of the Trinity Love Company.

There is the Manager (Engineering and Science) responsible for creation and the dispersing of love and forgiveness, referred to as ‘The Father’

There is the Manager (Human Resources) responsible for training, redemption and trust, referred to as ‘The Word’ or by His human name of ‘Jesus’.

There is the Manager (Operations) responsible for ongoing maintenance and support referred to as ‘The Holy Spirit.

The combination of the three managers work directly through you and me and support us in possessing Faith and Grace, Belief and Hope. For our part we are required to contribute Love and Caring, Good Works and Prayer.

The Trinity Love Company’s general office work is conducted by Guardian Angels who, by virtue of their name, also have the security role. Individual appointees were selected for each one of us at our birth

Guardian Angels are also responsible for securing the connection with other Saints with whom we wish to relate at a specific time or for a specific purpose. There are direct lines to Mary and others we might require on a regular basis, such as St Anthony, when we lose things, St Joseph when we need assistance with our work and other family member Saints who are well versed in our specific needs.

One of the major hurdles the Company constantly must face in its day-to-day operations is that each of us has been given a free will to make our own decisions that affect ourselves and our lives. But we also have been given a ‘conscience’ so we each can determine the difference between good and evil.

Sadly, some of us don’t always give the Trinity Love Company the recognition it deserves. Some prefer to operate their own salvation show, but quite often reach out to the Company when their own connections abandon them.

It certainly is a busy Love Company and amazingly all aspects of the operation are available to each one of us at any time of the day or night. The Managers and staff are always willing to assist us upon request.

So, let’s ensure we constantly keep the Company’s presence foremost in our mind and let’s not forget to always thank them for their work on our behalf.

I’m Peter mack and that’s how I feel.

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The soul of the matter

A man once asked Jesus what he had to do to inherit eternal life. The reply was really just an expansion of the First Commandment. “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.”

While my heart is a muscle that pumps blood around my body, I am also aware that we generally attribute our emotions and feelings as ‘coming from the heart.’ Emotionally and with deep feeling I believe I could love my God with all my heart.

Using my mind to consider all my God has done for me would certainly enable me to love my God with all my mind. The strength with which I have been gifted allows me the energy I need that would enable me to love my God with all my strength but how do I love with my soul?

While x ray machines and scans don’t seem to find any evidence of where my soul might be located so I have to accept that my soul is part of that which has been created as ME.  Maybe my soul is the very core of my existence and while not a physical entity, perhaps contains my personality. which is uniquely me.

A cricket ball is a hard solid ball consisting of a manufactured cork core, wound with string with a leather cover stitched tightly over the top.

Reminds me a bit like each one of us. Our leather coating is our skin which surrounds our body that has our soul as its core. Cricket balls come in a number of different colours designed for different game formats. Just like us really.

Life for a cricket ball is difficult and while it starts its life shiny and new, it is smashed and hit constantly by cricketers wielding timber bats. Cricket balls also have to contend with constantly being wiped clean of dirt and moisture and polished to assist the users whose aim is to get past the timber wielding batsman, only to smash into the wickets being defended.

Our lives seem to follow a similar pattern as we withstand the pain and frustration of living. There are some people who cause us pain and others who are there to help us wipe away the tears and the hurts. But regardless of the knocks and beltings we receive on the exterior, we find our core, our soul, can be bruised as well.  Just like the cricket ball we can find we reach a point when the permanent damage is such, we feel we are no longer useful in the game.

Perhaps we think to ourselves that our soul is beyond repair and we must question how we could possibly love our God with a damaged soul. It is at this point our God tells us not to be afraid and to ‘come as you are.’

After Jesus was battered and bruised, he gave up His spirit. So too we can love our God by giving him our soul that has been through the rigors of life, yet whatever remains and whatever state it might be in, we need to be prepared to give it back to our creator with love. If He is happy to accept us as we are then we need to give Him the best we have.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s how I feel.

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The Last Supper, the ‘things’

At the Last Supper, Jesus said when we do these ‘things’ we should commemorate Him.

There were a number of ‘things’ that happened, but the two that stand out for me were, one; Jesus giving His body to the disciples and, two; His cementing or sealing of the new Covenant with His blood.

Jesus had done everything He could to prepare the disciples for their future role. The last supper was His final night with them before suffering, dying and returning to The Father. He had even told them they would be helped to deliver His message. What more could he give them to complete His ‘training package’? He gave them Himself to devour His every word and action. “This is my body.” This was a present tense action ‘thing.’

After supper He took the cup of wine and gave this to them to drink. He told them it contained His blood that “will be shed for you and for many.” He told them it was the blood of the “new and everlasting Covenant, the mystery of faith.” This ‘thing’ was to happen in the future.

So, in commemorating these ‘things’ it is important we recognise the ‘mystery of faith’ that they represent. There is no doubt when we receive the Eucharistic bread, we are receiving the body of Jesus. Even a number of scientific tests on sacred hosts have proven a human presence. We say ‘amen’ as our recognition of this fact.

However, when we say ‘amen’ as we drink the precious blood are we fully aware of what this ‘amen’ really means? Do we believe that Jesus the Christ as a resurrected Divine Spirit is fulfilling His promise to be with us forever as part of the ‘everlasting Covenant.’ Do we really appreciate that the repetitious prayer of Jesus we read in John’s Gospel that wants us to be one with Him and The Father is a reality?

If we believe in the New Covenant, then we believe that the Divine Presence of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is with us at all times. It engulfs us. It is not only part of our lives, it is our life itself. If we really believe this, can we live our lives accordingly?

As we commemorate the ‘things’ that happened at the last Supper, then the ‘mystery of faith’ can be mystery no more.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s how feel.

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The Last Supper, the main event

I think if you asked most Christians what the most significant event was that occurred at Jesus Christ’s Last Supper, the answer you would get would be, The Institution of the Eucharist.

I wonder whether maybe we are missing the point here or whether this is the answer we have been taught to give by those who would benefit most from this response? Let us look a little at what transpired on this special evening.

Firstly, Jesus wanted to eat the Passover meal with those who were closest to Him. They already had been told his time with them was nearing an end, “My little children, I will not be with you much longer – Now I am going to the one who sent me – In a short time you will no longer see me, then in a short time you will see me again.” The disciples were confused, yet he was still with them and still giving them instruction as he washed their feet.

While they were eating, Jesus was aware this would be the last meal he would share with his friends. He had taught them and shown them by his actions what he needed them to know. Jesus took some bread and when he had said the blessing, he broke it and gave it to his disciples. ‘Take and eat,’ he said, ‘this is my body.’ He gave them himself. He had nothing else to give them before he left them but his human self. (Greater love hath no man……) Here was the greatest act of love that he could give them. Referred to by some as the Celebration of the Eucharist.  But we don’t celebrate death we commemorate it. We celebrate life.

It wasn’t until after the supper that the true significance of what was about to happen should have dawned on the disciples. For Jesus gave them the cup of wine telling them that ‘this is my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant, the mystery of faith that will be shed for you and for many.’ He told them ‘He would not leave them orphaned.’ The new and everlasting covenant meant he would be with them forever.

God had given His people covenants over the ages which generally were rules by which to live, for example, the Ten Commandments. However, this was a new and everlasting covenant to be sealed with His own blood as was the blood of the lamb on the Jewish door posts, the festival of which they were celebrating.

After the Resurrection, Jesus was a Divine Spirit. If he was to be with us forever then he would be with us in conjunction with The Father and the Holy Spirit. He would be with us as a Divine Presence. The mystery of faith was for us to believe in the New Covenant that allowed us to live our life within the Divine Presence. ‘Father, may they be one in us as you are in me and I am in you.’

While the disciples might have ‘recognised Him in the breaking of the bread’ after the Resurrection, the Body of the human Christ we receive as the Eucharist (from the Greek for ‘Thanksgiving’) is surely food for our journey but without the New Covenant and our life within the Divine Presence there would be no journey.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s how I feel

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The 3 hats

Just because we are told trying to understand God and the Trinity is all too hard and that we should just accept that it is a big mystery, is no reason why we shouldn’t give it a go.

The big problem seems to me that the churches talk about 3 persons in one God and that to me seems like the first big mistake.  Treating God, a Divine Spirit who always was and who will be for all eternity, as if we were dealing with a human being, is a contradiction in terms. For instance, how can the Holy Spirit be seen as a person. It wasn’t a person who broke through the locked doors where the disciples were on Pentecost Sunday and filled them with enthusiasm.

After Jesus died, it wasn’t a person who appeared and disappeared through walls and locked doors. Jesus the man had died but The Divine Christ still had work to do in preparing the disciples for the roles they had to take on board.

Jesus promised His Spirit would be with them and us for all time. He also said He and The Father Creator were one together and He wanted us to be one with them as well. So, it seems much easier to understand if we see our God as a Divine part of the spirit world.

I like to refer to the presence of our God in our lives as a Divine Presence. We don’t need to look too far to see the Divine Presence in nature and the world around us. In a nutshell, the Divine Presence is our life, constantly available to us all.

This might be a big preamble to this story, but I like to think there can be simple solutions to what some might see as difficult problems. Sometimes all it takes is a little faith and trust in the Divine Presence.



There was a lot of love in the family household that consisted of Mum, Dad and three school age children. Dad was a qualified mechanic and had started his own small business. Mum was helping-out with the family finances by working part time.

In their spare time, dad coached their sons under 12 football team and mum was the president of their daughter’s netball club. It could be said both mum and dad each wore 3 hats. A family hat, a work hat and a community support hat. Often, in juggling family, work and leisure priorities, it became necessary for mum and dad to find themselves wearing more than one hat at any one time.

Our God tends to be a bit like that family when we consider our relationship with the Divine Presence.

From what we read in the Good Book, our God also has 3 hats. That of creator, redeemer and life giver. We read how before us humans ever got to exist, the world and everything in it was created. Only then did God create the first man and it was God’s Spirit that breathed life into him.

Scripture also tells us that at this time, The Christ, referred to as ‘The Word’ also was in existence. “And The Word was with God, and The Word was God.” So, here we see how one spiritual God can have three major functions. That of Creator, Redeemer and Life Giver

When The Word became flesh, the Divine Christ became human and was given the name Jesus. He taught us about the Creator whom he called His Father in heaven and he also explained the role of the Holy Spirit, the paraclete, the comforter, our life support.

Hence, it would seem, our God also has three different hats and in handling our individual needs, is required to wear more than one hat at a time.

Perhaps a simple understanding the Trinity is not such a difficult task after all.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s how I feel.

(See THE TRINITY LOVE COMPANY – Organisation Chart)

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Our amazing God

The Bible’s Old Testament is full of stories that lead up to the coming of Jesus. There are many references to ‘the coming of the Messiah’. However, the long-persecuted Jews could only see the ‘Messiah’ as a mighty king who would free them from the persecution they had suffered down through the ages.

What the Jews didn’t realise was that their ‘mighty king’ would be a male infant who was the ‘Word made flesh’ who came to dwell among them. Hence Jesus was difficult for them to accept because he didn’t fit their expectations.

The New Testament gives us the words Jesus left for us so we might come to love and understand the God of our creation. It also gives us the letters his followers wrote based on their experiences and understanding of Jesus’ words.

So, who was this ‘Word made flesh’ before taking on a human form? We can find the answer at the very beginning of John’s Gospel. “The Word was with God and the Word was God”.

Whatever we see as the beginning of our world as we know it. Albeit, a big bang or a series of creation activities, our God already existed. It certainly is easier for us humans to recognise specifics that have a beginning and an end, but it is not so easy to understand something that has been in existence forever and will never have an end. Such is our ‘Amazing God’.

Ah, but wait! There are other amazing things about our God.

I know it is hard to come to grips with, but we need to realise that our God is available to all of us 24/7. Here am I, just a speck of dust in God’s universe, yet I am treated like royalty. Jesus said he ‘would not leave us orphans’, he would send us his Spirit to be with us for as long as we live. So, what does this mean?

There are not many sceptics around who do not believe in the ‘spirit world’ in some form or another. Christians who follow the New Testament must believe in the spirit world.

So, it is through the ‘Spirit of Jesus’ that we have a constant companion in our hearts. It seems so much easier to relate to the humanity of Jesus than to Jesus the Christ as God. For it is in the human form that we can envisage the man. Hence, our Amazing God gives us this wonderful avenue of communication.

It would be easy to think that God has so much to do that a plaintive cry from little ol’ me wouldn’t see the light of day.  As for requesting a personal chat! Would this be too much to ask, considering what must be our God’s busy heavenly schedule?

Now this is the ‘amazing’ part of our God…… Constant availability.

When things in our life go wrong, we can get anxious, we can worry, we can lose our temper, punch holes in walls and even cry. However, none of these actions will fix the problem.

Talking through our concerns with a friend can often help us understand the problem better. That friend can be the human kind or the spiritual kind. Our Amazing God so wants to be that spiritual friend.

With faith comes trust and so the handing over of our problems to what appears to be an empty seat beside us requires us to believe in the words of Jesus in the New Testament. Firstly, we must believe and secondly, we must trust that our Amazing God will take our concern on board and help resolve the problem in the best possible way. Not necessarily the way we feel it should be solved.

Sometimes, we already have, what we consider is the answer to our problem and wonder why this course of action was not that taken when the situation is resolved. This is often the reason why we question whether this ‘so-called Amazing God’ even exists. Our busy little human brain cannot always see the broader picture that God sees, so we must trust that whatever action we might (or might not) be led to take will be the right one.

It would certainly help us if we could find the time for a little one-on-one chat with the bloke who has already suffered and died for us and who will come back again in glory at some time in the future.

Our God is waiting and longs for us to say, “g’day, Lord, we need to talk.”

I’m Peter Mack and that’s how I feel.

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Enlivening by empowering

I believe we need to question why the Church is in the position it is at present with many parishioners choosing not to attend the Sacraments. Maybe we need to re-examine and redefine what we believe Jesus wants of us as Church.

The title of this paper refers to our Church becoming enlivened by the empowerment of the people. It is my belief, for this to occur, there needs to be a major change in our attitude as people of the Church. In addition, the Church hierarchy could examine the current relationship it has with us, as ordinary Church members, and consider what changes might need to be made in order to align itself more closely with the people it serves.

The Role of our Priests

As I see it, when we come together to celebrate The Eucharist, (or attend Mass as some would still call it), the Priest does all the officiating. Sure, we get to take up the collection and the Offertory gifts and we even get to read Scripture but only Priests can read the Gospel. We can help distribute the Eucharist but this, I feel, is more to get the communicants through and back to their seats so Mass doesn’t extend beyond 1 hour, or some parishioners might start to complain.

Historically, it has just become acceptable that a Priest will handle all spiritual expectations and all we need do is keep God’s 10 Commandments and attend the Eucharist each Sunday. Our Priest will be available whenever we need him, day or night. Apart from preparing and delivering an appropriate homily on Sundays, we accept that the Priest is aware of the activities of different groups and societies operating in the parish and is also knowledgeable about events happening in our world and area that affect our communities. He is expected to officiate at baptisms, weddings and funerals, provide absolution for our sins and be there for us when we are sick or as we near the end of our lives.

Our Priest is expected to instantly provide a blessing for everything from rosary beads to new cars and must always be on time for Mass. Is it any wonder vocations are on the decline?

We expect so much from our Priests and when we attend our Eucharist, other than providing the minor assistance mentioned above, we greet each other, follow the overhead liturgy wording, listen attentatively to the Scripture and the homily, pray, receive the Eucharist, contribute to the two collections and go home. Sadly, some of those who come to our Eucharist are just ‘attendees’. Coming together to celebrate the Eucharist should be more about continually growing our relationship with Jesus and with each other.

By virtue of their studies and professional qualifications, our Priests are our spiritual leaders and advisers. They are human like us, as Jesus was. Jesus led the disciples, He showed them the way to the Father by telling them stories with which they could easily relate.

Our Role as Church

As members of the Catholic Church, we need to be more aware and thankful we have been given the gift of Faith and that we use the Church and the Sacramental life to maintain and constantly grow that gift. I believe this gift is very much like the love we give each other when we receive the Sacrament of Matrimony. I feel Faith, like Marriage, is an ongoing commitment that needs to be constantly worked on and developed so it becomes richer, stronger and deeper. Like love, our faith is not just a feeling or emotion, it is a decision of the heart.

While our Priests deserve to be treated with respect, we need to be more aware of the selfless service with which they provide us. We, in turn, need to not only be prepared, but be willing, to make ourselves available to help them, and members of our Church community, in whatever way we can that will support and maintain each other on our journey. We should no longer see our Priests as the Reverend Father up on a pedestal, but our earthly spiritual leader and our friend working with us and among us, towards our salvation.

The Empowerment of our Parishioners

I don’t believe we can empower parishioners without loosening some the existing man-made rules, regulations and control that is maintained by the Church hierarchy. I believe the congregation at our Eucharistic Celebrations has to individually feel they are a worthy, vital part of the celebration that assists our spiritual growth. We have to see ourselves as today’s apostles and need to have the same desire to follow in the footsteps of Jesus as those in the early Church.  We have to be more than just attendees; we have to eagerly look forward to our attendance so we might experience Jesus afresh and commit more deeply in our personal relationship with our God. We need to be able and willing to live by example the Good News of the Gospel.

So, how can this enthusiasm be injected into our people in our present situation? Many of us, although aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit within us, are not fully aware of the power that presence can generate, particularly when we come together to celebrate the Eucharist.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 3:16 states, “In the abundance of his glory may he, through his Spirit, enable you to grow firm in power with regard to your inner self”.

To help us become more aware of how the power of the Spirit within us can be used effectively, I would like to offer the following suggestions, purely as a means of initiating discussion that hopefully will lead to more enthusiastic church attendances.

Our church environment

At the Last Supper Jesus shared the meal at a table around which all the apostles sat. In those churches where the altar is positioned where the people sit around it, then, this form of authenticity might allow us to feel we are attending an invitation to a meal with Jesus.

I can’t imagine Jesus wore clothes any different from his friends. If our Priests were to wear a simple stole to signify their leadership role, I believe that would be sufficient to align them more with the congregation.

The Liturgy

We come together to celebrate the Eucharist, ‘the summit and source’ of our existence. The Last Supper was Jesus’ farewell meal with his friends. He not only instituted the New Covenant where He promised to always be with us, but gave his apostles the means of remembering him forever. ‘As often as you do these things you do them in memory of me’.

The Eucharistic Prayers, which only the Priest recites, obviously are designed to cover the aspects of the Last Supper that lead us to the Consecration and the distribution of the Eucharist. We, the congregation, do get to say ‘Amen’ during these prayers, indicating that we agree with all that has been said.

I feel if our celebrant was to use the current Eucharistic Prayers to involve us, in the way Jesus would if he were present, then the laity would feel more aligned with the events of the Last Supper. It would allow our Priests to re-tell these events as story, for, in reality, the Bible is basically a proclaimed and spoken word, a book of stories. Our Priest would hold our attention, be in direct eye contact with us and enable different parts of the Eucharistic Prayers to be more fully explained for our better understanding.

The Consecration

Since the Council of Trent, the church rules and regulations only allow ordained priests to perform this rite. Perhaps if we re-examine what Jesus wants of us, we might relook at His words, “As often as you do these things, you do them in memory of me.” Jesus made no mention of only ordained Catholic Priests being able to ‘do these things’. Are we not all apostles responsible for taking the ‘Good News’ to the world?

Fortunately, Priests and most Catholics believe that it is the Holy Spirit on which we rely for transubstantiation to occur. (some Catholics might believe it is the Priest who performs the miracle on the alter).

The Consecration prayers during our Mass are always performed with much reverence by our Priests and the same reverence is given to this sacred part of our Eucharist by those attending. If this exclusive rite were extended to include all those present at the Eucharistic Celebration, the congregation would feel so much more an integral part of the re-enactment of the Last Supper.

I believe it would more align the congregation with their Priest as pastor and leader and take those present to a deeper relationship with their God.

Transubstantiation or Transfiguration

In our current Eucharistic prayers, we ask the Father’s blessing on our offerings as Jesus did at the Last Supper and our Celebrant asks the Holy Spirit to come down on our offerings of bread and wine and change them into the body and blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

I have always wondered why our Priest needs to ask the Holy Spirit to come DOWN when the Spirit is already down and present within each one of us as baptised Christians.

If the Church were to accept this situation, then, instead of the Consecration part of our existing Eucharistic Celebration, the important role of our Priests would be to share the wonder of the Eucharist by assisting us prepare for the coming of Jesus into our individual heart and soul.

As John the Baptist prepared the people for the coming of Jesus, so too our Priests would prepare us. It would be a time during our Mass when, with the help of our Priest, we could individually and reverently prepare for the miracle that would occur within each of us as the blessed food from our offerings melds with the Holy Spirit within us and our heavenly Father says quietly to us, “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased”.

This ‘transfiguration’ is one where we can honestly and humbly say, ‘I thank you Jesus for although I am unworthy, you have still come to me and allowed me to become one with you and the Father and the Holy Spirit’. 

Just as we believe and trust in the Spirit changing the bread and wine by the Priest on our behalf, so too must we trust that the same Spirit within each of us would make the same change.

It is my belief that the ramifications of this reaction would also engender a greater understanding of the power of the Holy Spirit within us and have us wanting to be a part of our Church Eucharistic Celebrations. The excitement, hopefully, would soon spread to lapsed Catholics who would recognise that the Holy Spirit has come alive and is blowing as a gentle breeze through the Church. I am sure many would recall the words of the Hosea song, ‘Come back to me with all your heart. Don’t let fear keep us apart’.

Go in peace, the Mass is ended

After our Communion, our Priest can remind us we have received food for our journey and it is our responsibility as Baptised Christians to take the Good News of the Gospel out to others. I feel we would be enthusiastically leaving the church building as the apostles left their room on that first Pentecost – excited.

Perhaps a more appropriate ending to our Eucharistic Celebration might be, “My brothers and sisters we have received the Eucharist as food for our journey. Let us go into our communities and love one another as Jesus directed us to do. Love is a universal language and recognised by all. They will know we are Christians by our love”.


This submission puts forward for consideration the following suggestions:

  • Parishioners need to be more than just ‘attendees’ as we celebrate the Eucharist together, we need to build up and enhance our Gift of Faith.
  • More emphasis to be placed by our spiritual leaders on the role of the Holy Spirit within each of us.
  • It would be more realistic if the church environment were to be more aligned to the Last Supper setting.
  • The Eucharistic prayers to be told as story rather than recited from a book.
  • The Consecration part of our Eucharistic Celebration to become a blessed preparation for the receipt of the blessed symbols of bread and wine by communicants, so they will be fully aware of the role of the Holy Spirit within each of us to convert these symbols to the holiness of the Eucharist.
  • Following our Eucharistic Celebration, it would seem more appropriate to have an enthusiastic farewell and a reminder of our responsibility as committed Christians.


It is my wish that this Plenary Council will result in a greater interest and involvement by baptised Catholics in practicing their faith and in the development of deeper personal relationships with God.

I believe the hierarchy within our Church needs to pivot from its current mode of operation to one which will enliven and empower the people.

It will be essential that any changes agreed upon are enthusiastically driven by our hierarchy from the top down. I feel the biggest challenge will be to communicate to all of us the Church’s acceptance of the changes and to ensure we fully understand how they will strengthen our faith and our individual relationship with Jesus.

Peter Mack

December 2020

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Apathetic us

How wonderful!  We have a Pope who tells us that we need to become more like Jesus.

Such a simple statement. Why then should there be any Catholic opposing it?

Does such a statement conflict with Catholic teaching and tradition? It must be or there wouldn’t be Cardinals seeking to remove the Pope from office and church hierarchy worried about how change might affect the catholic congregations throughout the world.

Perhaps the simple approach to considering how the Church might progress forward is to examine everything we do and ask the question ’Is this the way Jesus would have done it.’

While this might be in keeping with the Pope’s simple request, it would certainly ring alarm bells in those who could see their control and position being diminished.

The Last Supper

After 3 years on the road, Jesus must have had a reasonable following of disciples, both men and women. So, one can imagine there was quite a crowd in the room that had been prepared for the Last Supper.

I think we need to remove from our minds the 15th Century Leonardo Da Vinci painting which seems to be the only impression we have been given of this final meal. How inaccurate can it be that Jesus and his 12 apostles have all been placed on one side of a long table just for the event like a posed photograph. 

Scripture tells a different story. In Matthews Gospel we read how Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his DISCIPLES, saying, “Take and eat, this is my body.”

It was the disciples who received His Body and Blood and it was to the Disciples Jesus said, “Whenever you do this, you do it in memory of me.”

While men may have received preferential treatment in those days, Jesus addressed his words to ‘the disciples’ which included women and men not considered a part of the top 12.

In considering the Popes statement that we should ‘become more like Jesus,’ we should relook at the role of women in our society which has changed since the days of Jesus and see how Jesus even included them in his directive to ‘do this in memory of me’. Why then should there not be women priests and leaders in our Church?

The Mass (Eucharistic Celebration)

We attend Mass and recite or listen to preprepared prayers and even follow the bouncing ball to say together other preprepared prayers. We listen as the Priest recites preprepared prayers and even bow our heads as he says to himself the prayers of the Consecration.

The question must arise, ‘what would Jesus do?’ It is interesting that the only prayer Jesus taught us was ‘the Our Father’ so I don’t think Jesus would be all that happy with preprepared material that was fed to us the people. Instead, Jesus spoke to his followers using stories. Stories that didn’t necessarily have a preprepared ending. Stories that gave his audience an opportunity to determine what the outcome might be and how that could be incorporated into their lives.

This style, used by Jesus, if used today, would allow our congregations to look more deeply into their own personal lives and develop a deeper understanding of what Jesus wants us to do in our lives. Rather than just listen to or trot out preprepared prayers.

By virtue of our Baptism, we are all called to be Disciples, so I believe if we are to become more like Jesus, we all should participate in the Consecration with the priest where we have the bread (wafer) distributed and then we recount the events of the Last Supper together. We are then ‘doing it in memory of Him.’ We feed ourselves the bread and the Spirit within us creates the miracle of changing the Bread (wafer) into the Body of Christ.

In like manner after ‘supper’ we follow a similar pattern with a drink we normally might have with our meal. (It doesn’t have to be wine).

We would then become participants in the Eucharistic Celebration just as the Disciples were participants at the Last Supper. This would enable us to become more like what Jesus sees in us, His Disciples.

Introduction of stories into our liturgy

 Here we can learn from our Aboriginal brothers and sisters. The tribes would gather and tell stories to ensure the history and spirit of the tribe was passed on through the generations. Can the Gospel be delivered using stories?

Our Priests spend 7 years preparing for their ministry. During this, they study and learn much about the background to scripture and how life and the law were in the time of Jesus. Information that could be given to us as part of the Scripture story to help us more fully understand the Gospels.

I am a story writer but my stories, although based on Scripture, are designed to help individuals develop and strengthen their relationship with God. They do not ‘toe the catholic line’ nor do they promote any religion, and therefore would never receive an Imprimatur from the Catholic Church. Because of this, I daresay they wouldn’t even be allowed to be used as part of our Eucharistic Celebration.

We are supposedly a missionary people

When we finally reach the gates of Heaven and God asks us, “What have you done for me” If our response is that we went to Mass every Sunday and ‘fulfilled our obligation.’ God could well reply, “That’s what you did for yourself not what you did for me.”

At the end of our ‘Celebration’ if the parting words from our priest were to confirm with us that we had received the Eucharist which is food for our journey. And that the Holy Spirit would rekindle in us the desire to go out into our community with the gifts we have been given and take the message of Jesus Christ to all we meet. The resultant enthusiastic “Amen” should lift the roof off the church.

Let us get rid of the cobwebs surrounding our apathy

After the Resurrection, the Disciples found it comfortable in their locked room hiding from the authorities. It was the Holy Spirit who fired them up. We can also feel comfortable together in our church but we need to realise we are a Missionary Church and ‘fulfilling our obligation’ is what happens after we leave the safety of our church and go about being missionaries within the Community in which we are located.

To appreciate our responsibilities to God and to our faith we must rid ourselves of the apathy that exists in our present Church environment and let the Holy Spirit carry us to fulfill our role within the community as Disciples.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s how I feel.

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