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Friday, 23 September 2022 19:43

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C - 2022

Luke 16: 19-31. The Rich Man and Poor Lazarus 

Abraham said: “Listen to the witness of Moses and the Prophets.”


Bill Burt 150I joined the Catholic Church when I was 15 years old. As a baby, I had been baptised in the Anglican Church, and my mother was a very devout Anglican all her life, as had been her parents. When I finished primary school in Sydney, my parents wanted me to go to a have a good secondary education , and I applied to go to  many different schools. Surprisingly, I was accepted at St Ignatius College, Riverview, on Sydney’s Lower North Shore.

In preparation for going to a Catholic school, my parents bought me a “Green Catechism” which I learnt off-by-heart before my first year at St Ignatius began. Over the next 2 years I became “acclimatised” in the Catholic culture. However, what attracted me to the Catholic Church was not its beliefs, teachings or rituals, but rather a person.

Fr Bill Burt with Fr Ferrucio SJThat person, a Jesuit priest, was my rowing coach. I was so impressed by him, by the way he witnessed to his belief in Jesus by just being who he was, that increasingly I said to myself, “I want to be like him!” So then, at the end of my 3rd year in high school, I was received into the Catholic Church.

That priest is Ferruccio Romanin. Now 93 years old, he is living at Nazareth House Nursing Home in Camberwell, Melbourne. When I visited him there a short while ago, as we chatted and shared reminisces, I looked at him, and once again I said to myself, “I want to be like him!”

Jesus once told a parable about witnessing. In the story there’s a super-rich, self-centred nameless man who has gone to hell. He asks Abraham in heaven to send a poor man, Lazarus, to go to his brothers, who are still alive, to warn them about what is awaiting them if they don’t repent of their self-centred lifestyles. But Abraham says simply that they should “listen to Moses and the Prophets” who are witnesses of God in the world

Through this parable, Jesus invites us to listen to His witnesses who are in our world, at all times. There are the public heroes of our religious tradition, such as Moses and those people such as the great saints that everyone recognises. There are also the ordinary people who touch our lives, by the way they live-out their faith. What they say might not be important, but how they live speaks profoundly.

With eyes of faith we are called to see God in people around us, and to hear God’s message,  especially in the persons  who come into our lives at those times when we face great need. And of course, we are called to be such witnesses for those around us as well.

PHOTO: Fr Bill Burt SVD (left) with Fr Ferruccio Romanin SJ.

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In the spirit of reconciliation, the Society of the Divine Word, Australia Province, acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea, sky, and community.

We acknowledge their skin-groups, story-lines, traditions, religiosity and living cultures.

We pay respect to their elders, past, present, and emerging, and extend that respect to all indigenous peoples of New Zealand, Thailand, and Myanmar.

We are committed to building with them, a brighter future together.