• Occasional

    Opening Mass for Brigidine College and Commissioning of new Principal, Ms Laetitia Richmond

    One of the great insights of our Tradition is that God created humans because God loves a good story. And so it is that our Scriptures are filled with narrative rather than philosophical discourse. Why is this so? The writer Denis McBride relates a Jewish explanation of this: truth is like a naked obscene man in a village. It needs to be tamed by a beautiful woman dressed in fine clothes and much adornment and this woman’s name is Story. Our stories open the imagination and help us see new possibilities. They are the best means by which we come to the Truth of life.  For us, Scripture is a…

  • Sanctoral

    Australia Day 2020

    A little later in the year, towards the end of May, the 54th World Communications Day will be celebrated. However, just a few days ago on 24 January, the feastday of Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists, Pope Francis released his annual message on communications.[1] For us celebrating Australia Day this weekend, his emphasis this year on the importance and power of story might perhaps help us enter our national celebration. The Pope recounts our natural instinct for stories. “From childhood we hunger for stories just as we hunger for food. Stories influence our lives, whether in the form of fairy tales, novels, films, songs, news, even if we do not…

  • Year A

    2nd Sunday of Year

    In a challenging article this weekend, the Melbourne academic, John Carroll, suggests that the “new snobbery is not over bad taste, crude accents, cheap belongings and the wrong schools; it is over attitude.”[1] In a lengthy opinion piece, Carroll addresses the religion of our time: identity politics. In the past this was hardly a concern; most were busy with survival – “concern about identity was a leisure-time luxury [people] could ill afford.” Carroll proposes that the new basis of identity is “I emote, therefore I am.” In other words, what I feel is who I am. But because this is based on such a transitory dimension of who we are in…

  • Year A

    Baptism of the Lord

    At the beginning of each Mass of Christian Burial we turn our attention to the two great symbols of our spiritual life: fire and water. As we firstly turn our attention to the Fire of Easter, represented by the Paschal Candle, we say, “In baptism our friend was enlightened by Christ. May Christ, the eternal and unfading light now welcome them into the kingdom of light and peace.” And then we take water, the great sign of life, and as we bless the body with it, we say, “In the waters of baptism our friend died with Christ and rose with him in glory. May they now share eternal life with Him in glory.”…

  • Year A

    Epiphany

    We are but a few days into the new year, a new year which has started with the most extraordinary sense of our vulnerability – our vulnerability before the power of nature, our powerlessness before drought and fire, our thirst for rain. We have a profound concern about our climate which now presents as an unavoidable question.  This morning we gather conscious of those who have suffered as much over these days: those who have lost loved ones and property; those who have lived with such anxiety. We are mindful of the destruction of land and wildlife. A new year ordinarily starts with optimism and possibility. This year has started with…

  • Sanctoral

    1 January – Mary Mother of God

    Just before I left Melbourne twenty years ago, I enjoyed lunch with some friends including the Australian artist, Michael Leunig. We fell to talking about the culture of Sydney to which I was headed, and, given the time of the year, the conversation turned to Sydney’s forthcoming new year’s celebrations and the obsession that Sydney has for the “bigger and better” fireworks display every year. “What must Sydney be hiding from?” was the comment of Leunig’s that I recall so clearly. The memory of his observation haunted me last night as the insistence on the Harbour party triumphed whilst so many were suffering so close by. Personally, I could not…

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