Reflections

He Rarangi Korero / Gospel Reflection

Sunday, 1 November 2015 Hoani 11:32-44 / John 11:32-44

Ma te whakapono, ka ara - ka puta, ka ora!

Reflections _20_septKia whai kororia te Atua i runga rawa, he maungarongo ki runga ki te mata o te whenua, he whakaaro pai ki nga tangata katoa. Koia te tuku atu i te reo whakanui ki a ia, ka tau iho ana manaakitanga, ana aratakina, tona rangimarie me tona aroha noa ki tena, ki tena o tatou puta noa Te Mihana. Ko tatou te hunga whakapono katoa, e meatia atu nei; ‘I roto i a te Karaiti, ka tohungia te rawakore, ka hunaia te pono i te hunga kawe mōhio, ka whakaaturia ki te hunga ngākau pāpaku.’ Kei a Meri raua ko Mata te tangi nui mo to raua tungane mo Raharuhi kua riro, kua poto ki te po. Na to raua aroha ki te tungane ka pouri o raua ngakau me o raua wairua mo Raharuhi kua ngaro nei i te tirohanga kanohi. Ahatia to raua whakapono, kihai raua i pai ki a Ihu i tana ngaronga atu i a raua, a i te korenga ona ki te taha o Raharuhi i mate nei. Ko ta Ihu nei tu, ka pouri noki ia, ka ngunguru tona wairua i te kitenga ake i nga tuahine me nga Hurai e tangi kau ana. Ka huri a Ihu ki a ratou ka ki ake: “I whakatakotoria ia e koutou ki hea? Ka mea ratou ki a ia, E te Ariki, haere mai kia kite.” (11.34). Na ka taria a Ihu e ana tangata ki te ana e takoto iho nei a Raharuhi. No to ratou taenga atu ki te ana, ka kitea e ratou, he kohatu e tu ana i te tomokanga. Ka penei a Ihu: “Tangohia atu e koutou te kohatu. Ka mea a Mata te tuahine o te tupapaku, E te Ariki, kua piro noa ake ia: ko tona po wha hoki tenei.” (11.39). Ka titiro te Karaiti ki te minenga, ka meatia atu ia ki a Mata: “Kihai koia ahau i mea ki a koe, ki te whakapono koe, e kite koe i te kororia o te Atua?” (11.40). Na tenei merekara ana, na tenei whakaora ake i a Raharuhi i te mate, ka nui ake te whakapono o te tangata, ka rite ki tana i mea ai ki tona Matua: “Kia whakapono ai ratou, nau ahau i tono mai.” (11.42b).

Lazarus was dead and buried by the time Jesus arrived at the scene. His two sisters, Mary and Martha had cried enough. They had poured out all the tears that they were able to shed. They publically expressed all the agony and grief they could dare to muster up. However, on this one occasion they were able to plead with Jesus to give them some of his precious time. Mary was bold to name it as she saw it, putting her case at Jesus’ feet. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (11.32b). With all the weeping that was going on, and the suggestion that Jesus could have been their brother’s saviour, the two sisters succeeded in gaining more than the right attention. In fact Jesus shared their frustration and sadness to the extent that, “He was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved.”(11.33b). Fortunately for Lazarus and many others like him, Jesus was the right man, in the right place at the right time. It seems he had seen and heard enough. The Jews queried Jesus’ ability to act and wondered about his potential to prevent Lazarus’ untimely death. They were aware that Bartimaeus had regained his sight as a result of Jesus’ intervention and act of love and kindness. In their mind he could easily have performed another miracle in their midst: ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’(11.37). On arriving at the tomb, Jesus instructed those present to remove the stone at the entrance. Martha quite naturally questioned what Jesus was about to do. She was concerned that her brother was ‘too far gone’ and therefore beyond a ‘physical or bodily’ resurrection in as much as she could comprehend it. Jesus’ response was that through belief and faith one would see the glory of God. Jesus prayed to God first; then commands Lazarus to come out of the tomb. He looks heavenward saying: “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.” (11.41-44). The people including Mary and Martha were waiting for a miracle to happen. They prayed for a miracle to transpire in their day. They hoped to see a miracle with their own eyes. What stood between them and the miracle was more than the element of doubt or lack of faith. What stopped them from believing in miracles was more than their knowledge of death and dying. What prevented their full understanding of a miracle occurring was more than seeing the stone obstructing the tomb’s entrance. The stone symbolically stood between death and life. In the same way it stood between doubt and faith. Figuratively speaking it stood between despair and hope. In calling Lazarus out of the tomb, Jesus rejects the power of death and commands life into being. He eliminates the reality of death and restores life. He removes all traces of doubt and establishes faith. He abolishes unwanted despair and creates hope. Death, doubt and despair have no power when miracles happen in the lives of all believers. When miracles do occur among the faithful; life, faith and hope always come to the fore and is the difference between being dead in the world and being alive in Christ.

‘Kia tau ki a koutou te aroha noa o to tatou Ariki, o Ihu Karaiti. Amine.’ (1 Teharonika 5.28)

‘The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:28)

Pihopa Te Kitohi Pikaahu/Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu

 

He Rarangi Korero / Gospel Reflection

Sunday, 11 October 2015 Māka 10:17-31 / Mark 10:17-31

Ko o mua ki muri – Ko o muri ki mua!

Ko ta tatou e korerotia nei i te ra nei, e whakanui ana i te Atua te Kaihanga o te rangi me te whenua, ara o te ao katoa, ka peneitia; ‘No runga nga homaitanga papai katoa, tukua mai - kia aio nga rangi i runga. Kia tuku te puehu o Papa-Tuanuku e takoto nei. Kia whakapapa pounamu te moana. Kia hora te marino ki Aotearoa-whanui.’ He tangata whai rawa tera, he nui no tana nei whakaaro, kia tika ai tona noho ki tenei ao. I puta tana tu whai korero, tana patai hoki ki a Ihu, “me pehea ahau ka whiwhi ai ahau i te oranga tonutanga?” (10.17). He pohehe nona, no tana matau ki nga Ture Tekau i whakarerea iho e te Atua, i waihotia iho e Mohi, ka ea pea tana take ki te ao. Kahore pea ona raruraru, hei ko tana, ki te Atua, ki te tangata hoki. Koia i mea ai, horekau he raruraru ki a ia, te whiwhi i a ia i te ora tonu. I oho ake ai ia i te whakahoki a Ihu ki ana uiui. Na kona, a Ihu, ka mea atu ki a ia, ‘ae, he mohio nou ki nga ture me nga tikanga o tena ture o tena ture.’ ‘Na ka whakahoki tera, ka mea ki a ia, E te Kaiwhakaako, kua rite katoa enei mea i ahau no toku tamarikitanga ake.’ (10.20). I aroha nui ake a Ihu ki te tangata na, ka penei: ‘Na ka titiro a Ihu ki a ia, ka aroha ki a ia, ka mea ki a ia, Kotahi te mea kahore nei i a koe: haere, hokona au mea, ka hoatu ki nga rawakore, a e whai taonga koe ki te rangi: katahi ka haere mai, ka aru i ahau.Otira ka tuku tona mata i taua kupu, a haere pouri atu ana: he maha hoki ona taonga.’ (10.21-22).

How hard really is it for any man who has kept the commandments, albeit some of them, to inherit eternal life? How difficult is it for a man with everything anyone would ever need or want, to give up his treasures on earth. How tough is it for a Christian to love their neighbour more than they love their riches? This man who approached Jesus on his own never thought to think that eternal life was beyond his grasp. Why? Because he felt he had inherited the right to receive eternal life. He believed he was entitled to all the privileges that this life, and in particular, the life to come, had to give. All those blessings, rightly or wrongly, he thought, belonged to him. It is easy to agree with him at first glance. In his own defence, he argued the case that he had kept all the commandments since his youth. In other words, he had lived a righteous and just life according to the scriptures in as far as he understood them. This really meant that he considered himself to have been utterly accountable to God, and therefore deserved all the promises of heaven. Since he had done so all of his life, in as much as he could be made accountable for his own actions, there should not have been any reason to withhold the right to eternal life. By all accounts he had maintained the minimum standards. He was essentially a good man. He thought it was all ‘sweet as’ and there was nothing for him to worry about in terms of his present status and future. Jesus affirms him at first saying: “You know the commandments: You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honour your father and mother.” (10.19). This man must have been feeling affirmed. He replied to Jesus with confidence, saying: ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ (10.20). This confidence was somewhat short-lived when heard the response: “Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money* to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.” (10.21-22). The difficulty in all these challenges is that despite our faithfulness to the commandments; it is present faithfulness to God and our duty to our neighbour that Jesus demands from us. His challenge to sell everything; to give away all our proceeds, and to follow him, is all that really matters in the end. That is why Jesus looked at him again, more carefully this time. He felt pity. He showed him extreme love because he knew the man could not deliver on this instruction. He knew the man could only dream, and pray, for the hope of the kingdom. However, he could not attain eternal life because it was more than just keeping the law. It was more than abiding to what the law said. It included the love of God and of neighbour. It insisted on maintaining our duty, our care and our love for the poor and the needy. Jesus never rebuked the man. He felt sorry for him. He knew that this was something he just could not do. He knew that he pushed him too far. He understood his limitation. He accepted his vulnerability. He affirmed his humanity. It is one thing to say what we have done in the past. It is a completely different matter to do is what Jesus demands of us today. It is difficult for any of us to enter the kingdom of God with unnecessary things like large bank accounts, flash cars, beautiful clothes, big toys, lavish homes and jet planes. These things can and do get in the way. They can blur our vision. They can prevent us showing compassion to others. They can restrict our capacity to love God and neighbour before ourselves. They insist on the temptation of putting ourselves first all the time. The man left Jesus knowing what he had to do; but not today. For the time being it was within his understanding but beyond his ability. For man it is impossible. For God it is not only a possibility, it is always highly probable. Kia tau te aroha noa ki te hunga katoa e aroha ana, he aroha parakore, ki to tatou Ariki, ki a Ihu Karaiti. Amine. (Epeha 6.24)

Pihopa Te Kitohi Pikaahu / Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu

  

He Rarangi Korero / Gospel Reflection

Sunday, 25 October 2015 Māka 10:46-52 / Mark 10:46-52

Ma te whakapono, ka kite - ka puta, ka ora!

E te whanau kotahi a te Atua, tena koutou, kia ora ano tatou katoa. Ka mihi atu ki a koutou i roto i ta tatou karakia i te ra nei. Kua puta mai tatou ki te karakia, ki te tuohu ki mua i te aroaro o te Atua te Tokotoru Tapu, ki te tuku atu i te reo whakamihi, te tuku ake i te kupu whakanui i te Atua Matua i roto i to tatou Ariki a Ihu Karaiti i runga hoki i te mana o te Wairua Tapu. Ko tatou tenei kua kotahi nei i te ra nei e whakaatu atu ana i te kaha, i te nui hoki o to tatou whakapono, ka meatia atu; ‘Ko te Karaiti te hepara pai, e mōhio ana, e atawhai ana i ngā hipi katoa o ia kāhui. I roto i a te Karaiti, kāhore he tangata whenua, kāhore he tauiwi, kāhore anō hoki he tau-ārai.’ E mahi tonu ana a Ihu i roto i ona hikoiranga i waenganui i te tangata. Ko te mahi nui e mahitia ana, ko te whakaora i te iwi e mate ana, te hunga ano e turi ana, te tangata e kapo ana hoki. Ahatia i riria te kapo nei e te tokomaha me ana akonga, ka huri te Karaiti ki a ia. I rongo a Ihu i te tangi o te kapo nei. I kitea te kapo nei e te Ariki, i a ia e piri ana i roto i tona kakahu. Ahakoa, pehea te nui o nga tawai a te iwi mona, nga taunu a nga akonga mona, ka anga atu te kanohi o kapo ki te Tama a Rawiri,  ka meatia atu ki a ia, me te ki ake: ‘E te Tama a Rawiri, kia aroha ki ahau.’ (10.47). Hoi nano te karanga o te kapo nei, kia arohaina ai ia e Ihu. Kotahi ano tana inoi ki te Ariki; kia pa te ringa whakaora o te Atua ki runga ki a ia. He aha ta Ihu whakahoki ki a ia? I tu hoki ko ia. Kihai a ia i pahure i te tangata nei. Kihai te kapo nei i whakarerea e Ihu. He rereke to te tokomaha nei titiro ki te kapo nei. Horekau to ratou pai ki a ia, na te korenga o to ratou aroha ki te tangata, ka penei: ‘A he tokomaha ki te riri i a ia kia noho puku, heoi tino rahi ake tana karanga, E te Tama a Rawiri, kia aroha ki ahau.’ (10.48). Ka kaha ake tana tangi, tana karanga ki a Ihu. Engari, ko taua ahua ano ona me tana korero, ‘kia aroha ki ahau.’ E toru ana inoi ki te Ariki, ka tau ko tenei: ‘Na ka oho a Ihu, ka mea ki a ia, He aha tau e hiahia na kia meatia e ahau mau? Ka ki te matapo ki a ia, E te Ariki, kia titiro ahau.’ (10.51). Mutu rawa ake, ka ea tana inoi, tana karanga me tana tangi. Ka whakawhiwhia tana i hiahia ai, ka tutuki ki tana i inoi ai. ‘Ka mea a Ihu ki a ia, Haere: na tou whakapono koe i ora ai. Na titiro tonu iho ia, aru ana i a Ihu i te ara.’ (10.52).

Bartimaeus is a man who knew what he wanted. He is a man who knew what he needed. He is also a man that knew that Jesus of Nazareth could do it for him. As a blind person, he naturally, but tragically, felt unworthy, useless and unwanted in his community. After all he was a beggar and had virtually nothing to his name. In the eyes of society, he was deemed to be worthless. His only shelter was his cloak. The cloak protected him from the cold and darkness at night, and the heat and light of day. The cloak hid his embarrassment and shame. His cloak covered him from the rain, from wild dogs and hostile crowds. This is the ultimate in desperation in any world. He only came out of the comfort and protection of his cloak to catch the crumbs from passers-by, or to receive a handout from a caring stranger or a neighbour on the run. As Jesus entered into his life, into his world, he found courage to speak out. His voice was heard calling, crying for help. Although he could not see a thing, he stripped off his cloak to be seen by Jesus. He shed his old helpless existence to get recognition. He stood up from the roadside to be heard. He reached out his hand to be touched. He was certainly noticed by the crowd and the disciples. They did not appreciate his protestations. Rather they were short with him. They yelled at him. They screamed at him. They scolded him. He couldn’t see them and, thankfully, it seems, he didn’t hear them choosing not to hear their words of condemnation. He called out even more! ‘When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ (10.47). He was asking for mercy from the only one who had the power to grant it. The crowds ordered him to be quiet, ‘but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ (10.48). Bartimaeus never gave up. He knew he was speaking to the one who was the Power of Love. He knew that Jesus possessed the power to love. He implored that power to show love. So Jesus in an act of mercy stopped in his tracks and said; “Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher,* let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.” (10.49-52). Bartimaeus began to hear a change in the attitude of the myriad of voices around him. The one voice that mattered most showed love. The other voices now began to speak love. It gave him strength. It gave him joy. It gave him faith. After he threw off his cloak he leapt to his feet to make his third and final request; the ability to see again. His prayer was to be able to see the world around him. He asked for sight which is what he wanted and needed. What he received in addition to having sight again, was to know for certain that he was worthy to be a faithful servant of Jesus. With his renewed sight, because of his incredible faith, he left his past behind him, and followed Jesus on the way. The very presence of Jesus the Son of David brought life, peace and hope into Bartimaeus’ world. He received forgiveness, healing and fullness of life in his brief encounter with Jesus. He approached Jesus in prayer. Through faith he was restored. Through hope he was renewed. Through love he was transformed.

‘Kia tau te aroha noa ki a koutou. Amine.’ (Korohe 4.18b)

‘May God’s grace be with you. Amen.’ (Colossians 4:18b)

Pihopa Te Kitohi Pikaahu / Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu

 

He Rarangi Korero / Gospel Reflection

Sunday, 18 October 2015 Ruka 10:1-9 / Luke 10:1-9

Kua tata te Rangatiratanga o te Atua ki a koe!

E mihi tonu ana ki a koutou katoa e te whanau o Te Mihana i roto i tenei ra. Ko tatou tenei e karangatia nei ko nga akonga tuturu a Ihu. He tauira hoki tatou katoa nana, na to tatou Ariki, na Te Karaiti. Ko tatou ano i iriiritia ki roto ki tona ingoa kororia, ki tona ingoa kaha, ki tona ingoa tapu hoki. Hei tenei ra ka meatia tatou katoa i roto i to tatou whakapono ki te Atua, ka mea; ‘Kia whakapaingia a te Karaiti, mō ngā tūpuna, mātua, mō te hunga tapu. Ngā tōtara Whakamarumaru, ngā Toka Tūmoana, Ngā Kākā Wahanui, ngā Puna Roimata. Kia tīaho te māramatanga ki a rātou, Kia au tā rātou moe. Korōria ki te Atua.’Kei te whitu tekau i tonoa atu e Ihu, takirua, takirua, te mahi nui. Kei a ratou te kaha e tutuki ai e ratou ta te Ariki i meatia atu ki a ratou, hei mahinga ma ratou. Ka huri tana titiro ki te iwi nui, a ki te mahi uaua, nga kupu korero, nga korero whakaora hei kawenga ma ratou ki te ao. Hei ta te Karaiti nei korero ki ana akonga, i a ratou e tonoa atu nei e ia: ‘He nui te kotinga, ko nga kaimahi ia he ruarua: na inoi atu ki te Ariki nana te kotinga, kia tonoa e ia he kaimahi ki tana kotinga. Haere: nana, ka tonoa nei koutou e ahau, ano he reme ki waenganui o nga wuruhi. Kaua e mauria he takotoranga moni, kaua he putea, kaua he hu: kaua ano e oha atu ki tetahi ai te huarahi.’ (10.2-4). Ma enei kupu tohutohu ana, ka whakarite ratou i a ratou ano te haere ki tena mea te tangata. Na, ka mea atu ki ana tangata, kia horo te haere, kei tu ki te huarahi. Kia haere wawe atu ratou, kei mataku te nuku atu ki te wahi hohonu. Hei tana ano ki a ratou; kia kaua ano ratou e puhoi te haere. Hei aha te ata whakaaroaro i te nui o te mahi. Kei kore ratou e haere, kei kore e hiahia te mahi i te mahi nei. Ka mahue to ratou kainga i a ratou, koia tenei ko ta ratou korero ka tae atu ki nga wahi e haere nei ratou, hei ta Ihu: ‘Ki te tomo koutou ki tetahi whare, matua mea atu, Kia tau te rangimarie ki tenei whare. A ki te mea kei reira te tama a te rangimarie, ka tau ta koutou rangimarie ki a ia: ki te kahore, e hoki ano ki a koutou.’ (10.5-6). Kahore kau atu he mahi nui atu i tenei, kia meatia atu ki tena whare, ki tena whare, ‘kia tau te rangimarie ki tenei whare.’ Ma te taunga o te rangimarie, ka pa te mana o te Ariki ki te tangata, ka timata kau te mahi whakaora o te Atua.

When Jesus chose the seventy workers to go ahead of him, he had one thing in mind. The seventy labourers were meant to go forth and to bring in the harvest. Jesus sent them equipped with all the information and the wherewithal that would fulfil the mission they were given, and empowered to fulfil. It did seem quite simple and fairly straightforward. Their mission was a possible one. After appointing them, he told them that they just had to go. The challenge was made easier, in that there was no requirement to go alone, but with one other person. He told them where they were to go. The towns and places were those he would eventually go himself. So they were aware that he would follow soon after which might have given them certain assurances. With that promise, he also gave them a strict warning. They were to prepare themselves to accept their vulnerability. They would be utterly defenceless. They would be going as lambs among wolves, as doves in eyesight and arms reach of vultures. This obviously meant that they had to depend on God alone for comfort and protection. In addition, Jesus stressed to them the urgency of the mission. There was little time available to reflect on anything. There was no point in wasting time to think first before acting, particularly given the nature of the task at hand. There was no time to consider money, belongings, footwear or making friends. The point here is that these considerations can delay getting to the starting blocks. Worse than that, it can become an excuse not to go at all. These material things can become a barrier to act quickly and courageously in matters of the kingdom. What follows next is their script. Jesus tells them what they must say and what they must do immediately upon entry to a house. The words, the actions and the intent is important at the outset. This is where the labourers will either succeed or fail. Their success will result in the success of the mission in as much as they are concerned. Their failure will mean the ‘wheels’ of the mission had fallen off and come to a complete stop. “Peace to this house!” And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” (10.5b-9). *The seventy labourers had their brief. They were to gather in the harvest and declare God’s peace everywhere. They were instructed to accept, receive and respect the hospitality extended to them from those who received and shared in God’s peace. They were commanded to cure the sick and to announce to them that the kingdom of God was near. In accepting their mission the seventy workers were to understand that the harvest was ready to be collected. They were to be obedient to the urgent call to mission, to fulfil God’s plan for the world and humanity. The seventy represent the whole people of God. As they were sent out, so too are we being called to go. As they emphatically accepted the call to mission, so must we. As they confidently proclaimed peace, so too should we. As they unquestionably announced the kingdom, so too must we. Like them we are to be gatherers of the harvest. Like them we are to be peacemakers of the kingdom.

Kia tau te aroha noa o to tatou Ariki, o Ihu Karaiti ki a koutou katoa. Amine. (Piripai 4.23)

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” Amen. (Philippians 4.23)

Pihopa Te Kitohi Pikaahu / Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu

 

He Rarangi Korero / Gospel Reflection

Sunday, 4 October 2015 Māka 10:2-16 / Mark 10:2-16

Koia te tuku atu i te reo whakawhetai, te reo whakamoemiti ki te Atua i roto i te Tokotoru Tapu: te Atua Matua to tatou Kaihanga, ki tana Tama kotahi ki to tatou Kaiwhakaora ki a Ihu Karaiti, ki te Wairua Tapu hoki, to tatou Kaiwhakaatu. Ko tatou tenei ko te tangata e anga atu ana te titiro ki te Atua me ta tatou e kiia nei ki a ia; ‘No reira matou ka tapae ki a koe i a matou whakamoemiti. Mo Ranginui i runga nei, mo Papa-Tuanuku e takoto nei. Mo nga Maunga whakahii, mo nga Puke-korero, mo nga Tai-mihi-tangata, mo nga Moana e hora nei.’ Ko nga akonga ia te ata whakaaro i nga tohutohu a Ihu i korerotia e te Rongopai a Maka i roto i te ra nei. Ko te ahua pu o te rangatiratanga o te Atua te korero nui i tenei ra. Ko te patai a Ihu ki ana akonga e penei ana, ‘E matau ana koutou ki tenei mea te aroha me te manaakitanga?’ Ko wai ma nga tangata e arohatia ana, e manaakitia ana hoki e te Atua? Koia i penei ai nga uiui a nga Parihi ki a ia. Na kona i whakamatautau ia e ratou, ki te matatorutanga o te aroha o te Atua. He mea whakaako ratou e Ihu i tenei korero ana ki tena mea te tu o te tamariki ki ta te Atua nei titiro: ‘Na ka kawea mai ki a ia etahi tamariki nonohi, kia pa ai ia ki a ratou: otira ka riria e nga akonga te hunga nana i kawe mai.’ (10.13). Kihai nga akonga i matau i te hohonutanga o enei whakaaro, o enei korero a Ihu. Koia ratou e noho kuare nei, ka kore ano ratou e marama ki enei tu whai korero. Mutu rawa ake: No te kitenga ia o Ihu, ka riri, ka mea ki a ratou, Tukua nga tamariki nohohi kia haere mai ki ahau, kaua hoki ratou e araia atu: no nga penei hoki te rangatiratanga o te Atua.’ (10.14). Na kona, ka whakahokia a Ihu, ka meatia atu ia ki a ratou, ka ki ake; ‘He pono taku e mea nei ki a koutou, Ki te kahore e rite te tango a tetahi i te rangatiratanga o te Atua ki ta te tamaiti nohinohi, e kore ia e tomo ki roto.’ (10.15). Na okookona ana ratou e ia, whakapakia iho ona ringa ki a ratou, manaakitia ana ratou.’ (10.16). Koia tenei ko te otinga o te whakaaturanga o te ahua o te Kingitanga o te Rangi ki a tatou ki te tangata e manaakitia ana ratou e te Ariki a Ihu Karaiti.

It is seemingly obvious that the Pharisees have it in mind to question Jesus about his view on marriage. Not only marriage, but what happens when a marriage has come to an unexpected finale. It was an attempt to put a serious matter before Jesus to test him. To test his knowledge and understanding of the law especially what Moses commanded the people to do. What does the law state? What are the rules? Can righteous women and men continue to live separately but nonetheless, righteous lives? What happens when right relationships between them comes to an end? So Jesus takes a leap back to the beginning of time. He returns to the story of creation in the second Chapter of the Book of Genesis. Here we find the account from that single event, that moment in time when, “God made them male and female.” (10.6). We are to understand from this that God intended for male and female to find companionship with each other, the opposite of being isolated from the rest of the created order. Being human meant that we were to remain in union with God as was the case in the Garden of Eden. The lesson inherent here is the faithfulness of God to humanity. What does it mean to be created in God’s image? What must we do to honour the fact that humanity bears the image and likeness of God? Is it not true that we must therefore strive to live a life that reflects God’s image, however much we may have distorted that likeness? In the birth of Jesus, the word who became flesh, we gain a glimpse of God’s real purpose. Jesus, God’s one and only Son, seeks to restore creation anew. In that restoration of creation Jesus sets out to provide a remedy to stop the ‘hardening of our hearts.’ This is a lesson in Christian discipleship and faithfulness to God. Our approach to living a life in Christ, is to know that we are loved by God and to share this life in that true life-giving image. This love is unconditional. It is extraordinary love. It is extravagant love. ‘People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.’* (10.13-16). It is this notion of God’s love that helps us to understand what it means to live in the light of the kingdom of God. The disciples struggled with this concept. All they could think of was to chase these children away. They saw them as trouble and as a hindrance to Jesus’ teaching on marriage and divorce. Perhaps they welcomed this distraction as it appears they were just as confused as the children were. What we see is what the children did for Jesus. He welcomed them at first. He gave them his time. He valued their presence. He embraced their vulnerability. He gave them the right to be with him, and the right to be loved. He wanted to give them the power to live. He accepted them because they represented life. He received them as they were because they brought him peace. He validated them because they brought him joy. He wanted the children to know what it meant to live in the love of the kingdom. He blessed them with love because they were created in God’s image, and for whom the kingdom of God ultimately belonged.

Kia tau ki nga teina te rangimarie, te aroha, me te whakapono, he mea na te Atua Matua, na te Ariki hoki, na Ihu Karaiti. (Epeha 6.23)

Pihopa Te Kitohi Pikaahu / Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu

He Rarangi Korero / Gospel Reflection

Sunday, 27 September 2015 Māka 9:38-50 / Mark 9:38-50

Ko Te Kingitanga o Te Atua – Te Haere Mai Nei!

He honore, he kororia, he hareruia ki te Atua, te Atua kotahi, te Atua tapu, te Atua ora! He manaaki, he aroha, he maungarongo ki runga ki te mata o te whenua. He tumanako, he atawhai, he whakaaro pai ki a tatou ki te tangata. No reira, tena koutou katoa i tenei Ratapu puta noa te Mihana Maori o Tamaki Makaurau. Ko ta tatou e kiia ake i te ra nei mo te ahua pu o Ihu, e penei ana; ‘Ko te Karaiti te Waiora, e horoi nei, e whakahou nei i ngā mea katoa. Ko Ia te Taro-o-te-Ora, hei Kai mā te hunga Matekai, hei Kaha mō te Manene, mō ngā Kai-mahi.’ E hanga ruarua te whakaaro o nga akonga hei ta te Rongopai a Maka i korerotia ai i te ra nei. Ko ta ratou e awangawanga nei, hei ta ratou ki a Ihu: ko wai ma nga tangata pono, te hunga tika ki te pei rewera, ki te whakahaere karakia, ki te mahi i ana mahi merekara. He aha nga tohu tika hei kitenga ake ma te iwi kia matau ratou, he pono te mahi a tena, a tena? Koia ratou e manukanuka ana, kei pohehe te hunga nei, he tangata tua atu i a ratou, e karangatia ana, he pononga tuturu, he akonga pono katoa ratou nana. Koia ka puta te korero a tetahi o ratou i to ratou tu: ‘Na ka mea a Hoani ki a ia, e te Kaiwhakaako, i kite matou i tetahi e pei rewera ana i runga i tou ingoa: na riria iho e matou, kahore hoki ia e haere tahi me tatou;’ (9.38). Te hanga nei he kuare pea no ratou ki te take o te rongopai: ‘Na ka mea a Ihu, Kaua ia e riria: ki te mea hoki noku te ingoa e mahi merekara ai tetahi, e kore e hohoro tana korero kino moku.’ (9.39). Hei ta Ihu ki ana akonga, kia mau ratou ki tenei korero pono ana hei tauranga korero ma ratou: ‘Ko ia hoki ehara i te hoariri ki a tatou, no tatou ia.’ (9.40).

The question for the disciples to wrestle with in today’s Gospel relates to their understanding of what it meant to be a disciple of Christ. Discipleship, they find out very quickly, requires nothing less than total commitment. It goes further by demanding absolute loyalty to Jesus by those who choose to subscribe to his way of life, his teaching and instructions. In addition, it inevitably expects high levels of sacrifice, to the point of extreme sacrifice. What are we prepared to give up or let go in order to be a faithful disciple? God blesses us, and relies on us. We have our own hands, feet and eyes to be his body in the world. Our self-importance and self-centredness is a distraction away from Christ. It is pure vanity and foreign to the gospel. It will always get in the way of living gospel lives. When that happens we have to make a choice. As the Gospel indicates today. ‘If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell,* to the unquenchable fire.* And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell.*,* And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell.’* (9.43-47). It is no wonder the disciples tried to look for the easy way, a smooth, painless route toward the kingdom. It is no surprise that they would have opted for any potential short-cuts that would enable them to get there sooner. It may have been the reason why they attempted to shut others out. Theirs, quite mistakenly, was an exclusive attachment to Jesus’ mission. How could anyone claim to be acting in Jesus’ name and not be one of their number, from among the ‘chosen?’ How was it possible or acceptable for a complete ‘outsider’ to be acting with Jesus’ authority, while belonging to someone else? It was this blindness to the truth of Jesus’ message that kept the disciples from understanding fully the reality of the kingdom of God. This is why Jesus directs our thoughts to the things of the world that prevent this revealing of the truth from occurring in our lives. Those things are simply hopeless and no good to us. Those parts of us, like our hands, our feet, our eyes, our very lives are needed to help bring forth the kingdom that is here now and yet to come. When they become like stumbling blocks to us, how we live our lives; it can cause blindness, deafness, helplessness and paralysis. If this should happen to us, we are better off without them, or more to the point, the kingdom of God is better off without us. We cannot shirk our responsibilities as Christians in proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. The reality is that there is a struggle that confronts us daily. It is a battle between what the world sees as truth, and God’s own truth. If we perceive the kingdom as having to conform to the world, we deceive ourselves and are guilty of corrupting God’s truth. If we are indifferent, blind or deaf to the truth of the Gospel, we find ourselves aliens to the values of the kingdom. If we are not able to experience God’s embrace, the love and peace of the kingdom, it is nothing more than sheer hell. And perhaps we are better off not to go there!

 E oku teina, kia tau te aroha noa o to tatou Ariki, o Ihu Karaiti, ki o koutou wairua. Amine.

(Karatia 6.18)
Pihopa Te Kitohi Pikaahu / Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu

 

 

He Rarangi Korero / Gospel Reflection Sunday, September 20, 2015

Mark 9:30-37 Who is the Greatest? Ko Ihu Karaiti ia – Te Mea Nui Rawa!

E mihi ana ki a koutou e nga matua, koutou katoa e te hoa ma. Ko tatou katoa tenei e te whanau kotahi a te Atua i roto i to tatou Ariki a Ihu Karaiti. Ko koutou ena e noho mai na ki tena kainga, ki tena kainga puta noa Te Mihana Maori o Tamaki Makaurau. Hei tenei ra ka kotahi ai tatou i roto i tenei karakia whakawhetai, whakamoemiti hoki. Koia tatou ka meatia atu i mua ano ki tona aroaro; ‘Korōria ki a koe, e te Karaiti, whakatapua mai mātou.’ Kei te Rongopai a Maka te rarangi korero i tenei ra. Ko nga akonga ke te totohe nui ki a ratou ano i a ratou e haere atu ana ma te ara o Kariri. I rongo ratou ki a Ihu e whakaatu ana ki a ratou ko te aha te iwi nei ki a ia. Koia enei ana whakaakoranga ki ana akonga, hei whakaarotanga ma ratou, hei tirohanga ma te tangata, hei korerotanga ma te iwi, hei wananga ma te katoa. Ahatia pehea te nui o tana whakamarama ki a ratou, kihai ratou i kiki. Na to ratou mataku ki te pono o ana korero: ‘Ka tukua te Tama a te tangata ki nga ringa o nga tangata, a ma ratou ia e whakamate;’ (9.31a). Na to ratou kuare ki te hohonutanga o ana whakaaturanga: ‘a ka oti ia te whakamate, ka ara ake i te toru o nga ra. (9.31b).

Mutu rawa ake, ka kore ano ratou e taea te matau ki te ahua pu o Ihu Karaiti te Ariki: ‘Na kihai ratou i matau ki taua kupu, ka mataku hoki ki te ui ki a ia.’ (9.32).

It will not be difficult to sympathise with the disciples’ failure to capture Jesus’ words of warning. In fact he was teaching them about how they should understand his presence in the world. He intended to pass on to them the secrets behind his true identity.

He essentially wanted his loyal followers, his closest friends, his learned disciples, to know fully and clearly, what his fate was to be. He never wanted to hide the truth from them. He never wished to protect them from knowing the harsh treatment and brutality he was to be subjected to. He never dreamed of keeping his disciples in the dark about his purpose and mission. Nevertheless, they did struggle with the deeper meaning of Jesus’ words. It was too much for them to risk everything they believed in, everything they hoped for, and everything they dreamed of. To be suddenly told that their master and teacher was to be betrayed and put to death, was too much to comprehend, to the point they could not speak about it.

Furthermore, they were unable to ask him anything else for fear of the truth and for lack of understanding. After all they were travelling with Jesus. They were in his company. They were heading in the same direction. Were they walking alongside him or were they ahead of him? Were they keeping up or well behind? It would appear they were a long way from his guidance. It seems they were way behind understanding his instructions. It is apparent they were some distance from his teaching. This is probably why they got caught up thinking about themselves and losing sight of Jesus. It became all about them.

The truth was too hard to accept and too much to contemplate. To turn away from the ‘other’ and look inward to ‘self’ was an easy distraction. They were trapped into thinking about what they could gain personally without counting the cost or the impact it would have on their neighbour. The effect of this self-importance was detrimental to their own integrity. What could they say? How could they defend their self-interest? But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’ (9.35, 36).

Jesus puts the concept of power and how to understand it in its proper place. If we want to understand greatness, we must first understand service. If we want to obtain greatness, we must first be able to serve. If we want to get ahead and be in the front, we must start at the back of the line. The gospel is certainly not about status. The gospel is definitely not about power.

The gospel is all about serving and service. It is all about empowering others. When we understand that, we have true power. When we can live to serve, we share real power. When our choice is to be last rather than first, we can speak power. Only when we decide to leave behind us the desire for the ‘love of power’ and choose the ‘power of love,’ can we ever be the gospel in the world.

Kia tau ki a koutou katoa te atawhai o te Ariki, o Ihu Karaiti, me te aroha o te Atua, me te whiwhinga tahitanga ki te Wairua Tapu. Amine. (2 Koriniti 13.14) - Pihopa Te Kitohi Pikaahu

 

He Rarangi Korero / Gospel Reflection Sunday 13 September 2015

Mark 8:27-38 Peter’s Declaration about Jesus

Ko Ihu Karaiti ia – Te Mihaia! He is Jesus Christ - The Messiah!

Ka hari atu ahau ki a koutou e te whanau o Te Mihana Maori puta noa o Tamaki Makaurau. Ko tatou tenei kua kotahi nei i roto i te ra nei i a tatou ka tuku atu i te reo whakawhetai, te reo whakamoemiti hoki ki te Matua kaha rawa, te Atua ora tonu i roto i tana Tama kotahi i a Karaiti Ihu, to tatou Ariki. Na kona e tatou ma e penei ke te korero; ‘Tāpaea atu ō tātou ngākau ki a te Karaiti, nāna nei i whakatinana te kupu hei toko i te ora.’ Koia ahau ka mihi whanui atu ki a koutou e rongo nei i te ra nei i te Rongopai ki te ritenga i a Maka. Ka puta te patai a Ihu ki ana akonga i a ratou e haere ana i te ara ki Hiharia Piripai; ’ka mea ki a ratou, ki ta nga tangata ki, ko wai ahau?’ (8.27). I ahua horo ta ratou korero tahi ki a Ihu i tana tu whai uiui, ka meatia atu ratou: ‘Ko Hoani Kaiiriiri: ki ta etahi, Ko Iraia; ki ta etahi, Ko tetahi o nga poropiti.’ (8:28). Na ka huri te korero ka mea ia ki a ratou pu ano; ‘Ki ta koutou na ki, ko wai ahau?’ (8:29). Ko Pita anake ano te mea maia o ratou.. He marama tana whakaaro me tana kupu korero ki a Ihu. Ka whakahokia a Pita, ka meatia atu ki a ia, ‘Ko te Karaiti koe.’ (8:29).

Jesus again encounters his disciples in a direct, personal, and much deeper way. This included the crowd that were following close behind as they travelled along.. Everyone it seems were seeking answers regarding the Messiah’s real purpose and true identity. It began with a question and ended with a declaration. His question proved to be fundamental to understanding Jesus’ mission and ministry. He asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ They responded honestly and frankly with; ‘John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ He asked them again; ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him correctly; ‘You are the Messiah.’* (27-29). His disciples got the first answer right, because that is precisely what people were saying. Their failure to answer the second question meant that they got that one completely wrong. Peter is the only one who got it absolutely right, because his answer is what he understood to be true and what he firmly believed. However, it was only the beginning. Again it was just the ‘starter question.’ They had to answer for themselves. No one could speak for them. Once you react appropriately, you then receive further advice. Once you respond accurately, you are then made aware of the challenges and risks. Once you reply correctly, you are then invited into a deeper relationship with Christ, albeit one filled with danger. The ultimate cost is your willingness to sacrifice your very own life: ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel,* will save it. (34-35). It wasn’t going to get any better for the disciples. They were mistaken if they thought there was an ‘easy ride’ ahead. They were correct if they accepted their fate as followers and true disciples. They were right if they were prepared to journey ahead with Jesus and keep their eyes firmly on the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

 

Hei a koutou katoa toku aroha i roto i a Karaiti Ihu. Amine / My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen (1 Koriniti 16.24 / 1 Coronthians 16:24)

Pihopa Te Kitohi Pikaahu / Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu

He Rarangi Korero / Gospel Reflection

Sunday, 18 October 2015 Ruka 10:1-9 / Luke 10:1-9

 

Kua tata te Rangatiratanga o te Atua ki a koe!

 

E mihi tonu ana ki a koutou katoa e te whanau o Te Mihana i roto i tenei ra. Ko tatou tenei e karangatia nei ko nga akonga tuturu a Ihu. He tauira hoki tatou katoa nana, na to tatou Ariki, na Te Karaiti. Ko tatou ano i iriiritia ki roto ki tona ingoa kororia, ki tona ingoa kaha, ki tona ingoa tapu hoki.Hei tenei ra ka meatia tatou katoa i roto i to tatou whakapono ki te Atua, ka mea;‘Kia whakapaingia a te Karaiti, mō ngā tūpuna, mātua, mō te hunga tapu. Ngā tōtara Whakamarumaru, ngā Toka Tūmoana, Ngā Kākā Wahanui, ngā Puna Roimata. Kia tīaho te māramatanga ki a rātou, Kia au tā rātou moe. Korōria ki te Atua.’Kei te whitu tekau i tonoa atu e Ihu, takirua, takirua, te mahi nui. Kei a ratou te kaha e tutuki ai e ratou ta te Ariki i meatia atu ki a ratou, hei mahinga ma ratou. Ka huri tana titiro ki te iwi nui, a ki te mahi uaua, nga kupu korero, nga korero whakaora hei kawenga ma ratou ki te ao. Hei ta te Karaiti nei korero ki ana akonga, i a ratou e tonoa atu nei e ia: ‘He nui te kotinga, ko nga kaimahi ia he ruarua: na inoi atu ki te Ariki nana te kotinga, kia tonoa e ia he kaimahi ki tana kotinga. Haere: nana, ka tonoa nei koutou e ahau, ano he reme ki waenganui o nga wuruhi. Kaua e mauria he takotoranga moni, kaua he putea, kaua he hu: kaua ano e oha atu ki tetahi ai te huarahi.’ (10.2-4). Ma enei kupu tohutohu ana, ka whakarite ratou i a ratou ano te haere ki tena mea te tangata. Na, ka mea atu ki ana tangata, kia horo te haere, kei tu ki te huarahi. Kia haere wawe atu ratou, kei mataku te nuku atu ki te wahi hohonu. Hei tana ano ki a ratou; kia kaua ano ratou e puhoi te haere. Hei aha te ata whakaaroaro i te nui o te mahi. Kei kore ratou e haere, kei kore e hiahia te mahi i te mahi nei.Ka mahue to ratou kainga i a ratou, koia tenei ko ta ratou korero ka tae atu ki nga wahi e haere nei ratou, hei ta Ihu:‘Ki te tomo koutou ki tetahi whare, matua mea atu, Kia tau te rangimarie ki tenei whare. A ki te mea kei reira te tama a te rangimarie, ka tau ta koutou rangimarie ki a ia: ki te kahore, e hoki ano ki a koutou.’ (10.5-6).Kahore kau atu he mahi nui atu i tenei, kia meatia atu ki tena whare, ki tena whare, ‘kia tau te rangimarie ki tenei whare.’ Ma te taunga o te rangimarie, ka pa te mana o te Ariki ki te tangata, ka timata kau te mahi whakaora o te Atua.

When Jesus chose the seventy workers to go ahead of him, he had one thing in mind. The seventy labourers were meant to go forth and to bring in the harvest. Jesus sent them equipped with all the information and the wherewithal that would fulfil the mission they were given, and empowered to fulfil. It did seem quite simple and fairly straightforward. Their mission was a possible one. After appointing them, he told them that they just had to go. The challenge was made easier, in that there was no requirement to go alone, but with one other person. He told them where they were to go. The towns and places were those he would eventually go himself. So they were aware that he would follow soon after which might have given them certain assurances. With that promise, he also gave them a strict warning. They were to prepare themselves to accept their vulnerability. They would be utterly defenceless. They would be going as lambs among wolves, as doves in eyesight and arms reach of vultures. This obviously meant that they had to depend on God alone for comfort and protection. In addition, Jesus stressed to them the urgency of the mission. There was little time available to reflect on anything. There was no point in wasting time to think first before acting, particularly given the nature of the task at hand. There was no time to consider money, belongings, footwear or making friends. The point here is that these considerations can delay getting to the starting blocks. Worse than that, it can become an excuse not to go at all. These material things can become a barrier to act quickly and courageously in matters of the kingdom. What follows next is their script. Jesus tells them what they must say and what they must do immediately upon entry to a house. The words, the actions and the intent is important at the outset. This is where the labourers will either succeed or fail. Their success will result in the success of the mission in as much as they are concerned. Their failure will mean the ‘wheels’ of the mission had fallen off and come to a complete stop. “Peace to this house!” And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” (10.5b-9). *The seventy labourers had their brief. They were to gather in the harvest and declare God’s peace everywhere. They were instructed to accept, receive and respect the hospitality extended to them from those who received and shared in God’s peace. They were commanded to cure the sick and to announce to them that the kingdom of God was near. In accepting their mission the seventy workers were to understand that the harvest was ready to be collected. They were to be obedient to the urgent call to mission, to fulfil God’s plan for the world and humanity. The seventy represent the whole people of God. As they were sent out, so too are we being called to go. As they emphatically accepted the call to mission, so must we. As they confidently proclaimed peace, so too should we. As they unquestionably announced the kingdom, so too must we. Like them we are to be gatherers of the harvest. Like them we are to be peacemakers of the kingdom.

 

Kia tau te aroha noa o to tatou Ariki, o Ihu Karaiti ki a koutou katoa. Amine. (Piripai 4.23)

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” Amen. (Philippians 4.23)

 

Pihopa Te Kitohi Pikaahu / Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu