• Year C

    26th Sunday of Year C – Social Justice Sunday

    This Sunday, the last in September, is annually commemorated as Social Justice Sunday in the Church in Australia. We focus this year on Communications with the publication of Making it Real: Genuine Human Encounter in our Digital World. It raises the question of how we genuinely connect with one another. As Bishop Brady highlights in the Foreword to the Statement, “People of all generations hunger for friendship and genuine human encounter because we are made for community. Our digital world enables us to be more connected than ever before, but sadly it can also be a place of manipulation, exploitation and violence.” This indeed is one of the great paradoxes…

  • Occasional

    St Vincent de Paul Society Festival Mass – Diocese of Broken Bay

    “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matt 9: 35-38) If we were to go around and ask, “Who stands out for you with leadership?” the responses might be interesting. Perhaps we would think of a great political leader, a great social reformer, a sporting hero.  Jesus, himself,…

  • Occasional

    Silver Anniversary of Ordination of Fr Shaju John and Fr Joy Kunnassery – 25th Sunday of Year C – Asquith

    For a long time, it has been the social rule in Australia that the topics of religion and politics are not to be raised in polite conversation.  In Australia, particularly, when religious leaders start talking about political or economic matters many of us start feeling uneasy, if not even embarrassed. We have concerns about naivety, or anxieties about appeals drawn from a sectarian past, or fears about ecclesiastical interference in affairs that are rightly independent of the structure of the Church. Even if the voice is allowed, often enough the statements are relegated to be ‘motherhood’ and quaint, and really without a great deal of consequence. However, I think the Word…

  • Year C

    25th Sunday of Year C

    For a long time, it has been the social rule in Australia that the topics of religion and politics are not to be raised in polite conversation.  For a great deal of our history we have also had the adage that politics and religion don’t mix, and that they, therefore, should be kept quite separate.  In Australia, particularly, when religious leaders start talking about political or economic matters many of us start feeling uneasy, if not even embarrassed. We entertain concerns about naivety, or anxieties about appeals drawn from a sectarian past, or fears about ecclesiastical interference in affairs that are rightly independent of the structure of the Church.  Even if the religious voice…

  • Occasional

    Graduation Homily: Loreto Normanhurst (20 September), Brigidine St Ives (23 September), Mater Maria Warriewood (24 September)

    In a remarkable little novel called “The Passion” by the feminist writer, Jeanette Winterson the main character Henri declares, “To love someone else enough to forget about yourself, even for one moment, is to be free.”  There is a part of us that can consider involvement in the life of another as a loss of freedom. Commitment certainly brings a responsibility that means I can no longer live life only in reference to myself.  However, Henri is saying that real freedom comes when we lose our self in love for someone else.  In the novel he goes on to say that “some say love enslaves, and passion is a demon, and many have…

  • Occasional

    Singles for Christ Ministry – Regional Annual Conference – Manly

    Today’s short gospel (Luke 8:1-3) speaks not only of the presence of women in the life of Jesus, but perhaps even more significantly also of the simple, ordinary ways by which Jesus is nurtured and by which he is cared. If this be true, we, ourselves, care for the life of Jesus in the simple ordinary tasks of our day.  Doing the ordinary in an extraordinary way. It is a theme that is central to the perspective of Pope Francis.  In an interview not long after his election, he remarked “I see the sanctity of God’s people, this daily sanctity. I see the holiness in the patience of the people of God:…

  • Addresses

    Christ Lives! Christ Awakens! Christ Transforms! – Keynote presentation to the Clergy Conference of the Archdiocese of Melbourne – 17 September 2019

    I have been asked to provide a Christological foundation to a renewed sense of mission. This sounds rather daunting, but as I am not a systematic theologian rather a pastoral one, I have thought to do this in a relatively creative manner and to share with you the choice of three themes important in my own journey and reflection:  Christ Lives;  Christ Awakens;  Christ Transforms. Christ Lives In the light of current challenges before us, I wish to start with good news: Christ lives! “That life was made visible:  we saw it and we are giving our testimony, telling you of the eternal life which was the Father and has been…

  • Year C

    24th Sunday of Year C

    One of the most important things we can learn about the gospels is the nature of the language that the writers use.  It is the language of parables – a language, it seems, favoured by Jesus himself. Jesus was a great teacher, as we know. He was a great storyteller and he constantly uses stories to communicate his message.  But the parables are not simply stories.  A parable is very particular kind of story:  it is a story that is designed to confuse us, to unsettle us, even in some cases, to shock us. We have grown used to them.  They are not unfamiliar. But yet, there is something in each of them that doesn’t make sense.…

  • Year C

    23rd Sunday of Year C

    Over this last week, throughout Australia, National Child Protection Week has been commemorated.  On this Sunday, the Church in Australian celebrates Child Protection Sunday. These are important commemorations especially given our recent history. We know only too well that those who are vulnerable in our midst suffer most when there is a culture of silence and suppression both within families and communities. Closed families and closed institutions create situations of self-preservation which place them above a sense of genuine self-examination and, on occasions, even above community responsibilities.  It is precisely this inward absorption of both families and communities that Jesus himself confronts in the gospel we hear this weekend.   Jesus calls us…

  • Occasional

    Liturgy of Inclusion and Care for annual Diocesan Safeguarding Month

    Unmistakably, ‘liberation’ is a central impetus of the ministry of Jesus and of the Gospel. At the very outset of his ministry – almost as a charter – Jesus announces that he has come to set prisoners free, to raise the downtrodden, to proclaim liberty to captives.   Against his Palestinian social background, accustomed to the economic usefulness of prisoners and of the presence of the ‘great unwashed’, Jesus’ enigmatic declaration might be interpreted as simply a grand scheme of emancipation, a dangerous aspiration of anarchy and subversion. However, it does not seem that Jesus equates liberation with simple emancipation; nor did he reduce liberation to lazy principles of freedom. For Jesus, liberation…

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