Thank you Father Youhanna

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we continue our journey through the Season of Pentecost in the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we arrive at a very important station in which the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is truly revealed as Jesus rejoices in the Spirit. This week, after the 72 disciples come back from their mission and tell Jesus about their experiences, Jesus is filled with joy as he listens to how the Holy Spirit has truly worked through them and their experiences. This joy allows Jesus to burst into a prayer of thanksgiving to his Father for revealing this great joy of the Kingdom to them. The Kingdom of God, that is the love of the Father, was revealed to them in the little things that they did to help the people that they visited.

As we live our lives today, often we try to find this great joy in major events, milestones or achievements that take place in our lives. We are always trying to find something that will have a big effect, a big bang if you like.  However, have you ever stopped to think that sometimes it is in the very small things that we do that this joy can be found. It could be in a smile or a simple “hello” or even an acknowledgement of something small that  someone has done. It could even be in our mannerisms or reactions, in the way that we welcome and greetpeople. Saint Mother Teresa says to us: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” The 72 disciples didn’t have anything other than their experience of love through Christ. Yet they could  experience this joy and effectively change the course of the world. Today, we have so much more than them, yet we are blinded by our greed for more. Let us start finding joy in the little things, because it is in them that the great love of God can truly be found.

On Wednesday and after two and a half years of service in this blessed parish, we said good-bye to Father Youhanna Khalife.  Father Youhanna was appointed by the Holy See last Thursday as the Director General of the Maronite Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is an important role which will see Father Director travelling back to Lebanon to assume his new appointment. We have been very privileged to work with Father Youhanna. His wise counsel, the monastic spirit which he brought with him and lived has had a very positive effect on us as priests and on the parish. Further, his ability make decisions with prudence and tact has been exemplary, the signs of a good leader.  

On behalf of all the clergy, staff, committees and parishioners, I take this opportunity to congratulate Father Youhanna on his new and very important appointment. I thank him for everything that he has achieved, especially for his work in Ryde which will be continuing and his work here in the parish with the Sodality and Fersen.  May the prayers of Blessed Virgin and Saint John Paul II be with him.

Fr Tony Sarkis

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