• Homilies,  Sunday,  Year B

    6th Sunday of Easter 2021

    In Jeanette Winterson’s remarkable little novel, The Passion, the main character, Henri, who had been personal chef to Bonaparte, sits alone after an array of adventures, reflecting on what it means to be truly free.  “Bonaparte,” he muses, “taught us that freedom lay in our fighting arm, but in the legends of the Holy Grail no one won it by force . . . I think now that being free is not being powerful or rich or well regarded without obligations but being able to love.  To love someone else enough to forget about yourself even for a moment is to be free.” To love someone else enough to forget about yourself…

  • Homilies,  Sunday,  Year B

    5th Sunday of Easter 2021

    On 16 March 1978, the Italian politician Aldo Moro was kidnapped by the Italian Red Brigade on his way to a session of the House of Representatives in Italy[1]  He was a close friend of Pope Paul VI.  Behind the scenes, the Pope was a main player seeking his release, even secretly offering a large ransom for his freedom.  In St. Peter’s Square, the pope voiced his anguish, “do not despair, we pray: Holy Virgin, Queen of the Heavens, Give strength to our intercession [and] to your prayers.”  But the reply was silence.  In May of that same year, Moro was killed. When he presided at his friend’s funeral Mass Paul VI’s anguish was so…

  • Homilies,  Sunday,  Year B

    4th Sunday of Easter – ANZAC 2021

    Throughout the Season of Easter, we reflect week by week on the ways in which the life of the Risen Christ is experienced by us. Over this last week in the liturgy the focus has been on the Eucharist as the means by which the life of the Risen Christ is given to us.  And on this the Fourth Sunday of Easter, we reflect on how the life of the Risen Christ comes to greet us through the quality of our shepherding of one another – i.e., the way we identify with one another, carry one another’s burdens, and gently lead one another along the path of our discipleship of Jesus.  …

  • Homilies,  Year B

    3rd Sunday of Easter 2021

    From time to time, we hear of the emergence of new cults.  Every new cult hinges on a promise – the promise of a better life, a new life.  As we know some cults can entertain some very bizarre notions.  I recall one in which all the members died, willingly, inspired by a retired music professor who promised his followers that they would rise to a higher level.  They died believing that somehow their deaths would connect them to a UFO which was travelling in a comet’s wake. It sounds tragically bizarre, and indeed it is.  But the story had a poignancy, breaking as it did on an Easter weekend.  These people had sacrificed their lives…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    2nd Sunday of Easter 2021

    Having not been married very long, some young friends of mine Karl and Cindy had been trying to have a family but without success.  After extensive testing, they discovered that they had issues with fertility, and that it was unlikely that they were going to be able to have children.  Naturally, they were bitterly disappointed.  The future for which they had longed suddenly seemed changed forever, and the future presented as an enormous unresolved question. Questions about themselves as individuals, questions about their relationship, questions about the meaning of their life together inevitably swamped them, and it has been a very difficult period for them both personally and in their partnership. However, the…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    Easter 2021

    As the ancient philosophers understood, there is an innate restlessness in the human spirit, an essential nomadic quality, that sets us on a journey into an infinite horizon. We are those who reach out beyond ourselves to something other, to something more. We search for love; we search for identity; we search for wholeness. Indeed, the very first question that Jesus puts to his disciples when they encounter him is, “What are you looking for?” (John 1:35).  However, just as the Gospel begins with a question, so, too, does the Gospel end with a question.  It is the question that is at the heart of the account of the Resurrection of…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    Good Friday 2021

    Even though the DVD industry now is a very large one, it is curious that it has never made the cinema redundant.  Cinemas are as popular as ever. Rather than stay at home and watch a film, there is still something that entices us to go out and see it in a cinema.  Perhaps it is because the visual and sound effect on the big screen makes for a different experience than our home theatre. However, the director, George Miller, explains that one of the reasons why cinemas are frequented is because we have forgotten the need of people to gather and listen to a story.  Cinemas, he says, are the covert cathedrals…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    Holy Thursday 2021

    Sometimes a throw away line strikes us to the core of our hearts, and we remember it for the rest of our life.  Such was my own experience when I once heard an old shearer from outback Queensland remark in an interview with Caroline Jones, “Nothing perfect is every beautiful.” It was a remarkable statement which in its very simplicity spoke of an unmistakable wisdom and humanity.  A statement of remarkable acceptance, it undid a certain instinct in me that at the time demanded perfection in both myself and others.  A few words changed what I thought about beauty and what I thought about perfection.  I have not thought about either beauty or perfection…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    Palm Sunday 2021

    Today throughout the world marches for peace are held.  Palm Sunday has become a day on which rallies for peace are staged in many of the cities of the world.  It leads us to ask what is it about this day that speaks of peace, of the hope for peace?  Though many who march for peace may not be Christian, and even though a number of people take part in the walks for a mixture of political motivation, nonetheless it would seem that the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem has something in it that speaks of the possibility of peace.  How is this so? Perhaps we see the answer in the stress in…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    5th Sunday in Lent 2021

    The American actor Alan Alda wrote a wonderful biography, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I’ve Learned. The title of the book is taken from an incident in Alda’s youth, when he lost his pet dog, Rhapsody, to some leftover Chinese food that his family had brought home one night. So inconsolable was the young Alan that, at the burial of the dog, his father suggested they have the dog stuffed so that he might always be a part of Alan’s life. They took the dog off to a taxidermist to achieve this end. Some weeks later, when the task had been achieved, they went to collect the stuffed dog…

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