• Homilies,  Sunday,  Year B

    17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 25 July 2021 – First World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly

    I’m sure all of us have at some time enjoyed the English television comedy, “The Vicar of Dibley.”  You will recall at the end of each episode, the vicar tells Alice, the church warden, a joke.  The joke is often quite funny but Alice never quite gets it.  She applies a literal logic to the joke, and she tries to reason the joke out, all of course to the frustration of the vicar.  I often think that before many of the stories of the gospel and before the parables of Jesus we are a bit like Alice in the “Vicar of Dibley.”  We apply to what we have heard a logic that is quite foreign…

  • Homilies,  Sunday,  Year B

    16th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021

    The predominant experience for us currently is one of separation. Because of the COVID restrictions, we can’t be with one another as we would like. We need to stay home to prevent the transmission of the virus. We cannot mix with our friends and our colleagues as we wish. A solitude has enveloped us. We are forced by circumstances to take things more quietly. Many of struggle with this: it’s very hard to stay within a very small circle. And yet this time of separation is also perhaps an opportunity for us to consider in a deeper way the importance and opportunity of silence and solitude in our life. I…

  • Homilies,  Sunday,  Year B

    15th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021

    It is often lamented today that the rites of initiation into adulthood have been lost. We no longer have those rituals which mark the passage from childhood or adolescence into maturity. Until recently, one of the principal rites of passage for young people today may have been overseas travel. With few resources they headed off to distant places where for six months, twelve months or more, they move from country to country, culture to culture, working and touring. Often enough they return home then with a new sense of identity and ready for a commitment to work, or study, or relationship that they could not muster beforehand. It has become…

  • Homilies,  Sunday,  Year B

    14th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 4 July 2021 – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday.

    How often we can fail to recognise the presence of God in the ordinary things of life.  We want God to come in the grand scheme, in a form that takes away all our doubt and anxiety, in the miraculous gesture. This is at the base of the apocalyptic cults such as QAnon amongst others.  And in so doing, we miss the presence of God in the smile of a stranger, the challenging word of a friend, the simplicity of the scene outside our window. This is at the heart of the gospel this Sunday. Who could think that this peasant from Nazareth was the prophet long expected? The people in today’s gospel…

  • Homilies,  Sunday,  Year B

    13th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021

    The Russian journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, who was murdered in Moscow several years ago, wrote in her book Putin’s Russia, “There is a part of every society that wants nothing more than to be lulled into sleep.” [1]It was a striking statement about how there is a part of us which simply does not want to know too much.  It is sad but true observation that we cannot bear too much reality. We seek to shield ourselves from reality, not to take too close an interest in things, or simply overlay complex situations with our own prejudices and biases. The problems that swirl around us – from the threat of global economic instability,…

  • Homilies,  Sunday,  Year B

    12th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021

    Often with all the challenges we may be facing we might feel like getting into our own little boat and heading off into the middle of the lake where no one can disturb us. However, once we are out in the lake, we are not guaranteed serenity. I remember once picking up a small poster which read, “Dear God, help me; the sea is so wide, and my boat is so small.”  The size of the lake itself can be overwhelming, and then storms whip up so that the serenity for which we went in search is replaced by fear.   Nowhere, then, is entirely safe, and perhaps that is very much…

  • Homilies,  Sunday,  Year B

    11th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021

    One of the things that fascinate children in a particular way is planting something and watching it grow.  Do you recall how mesmerised you were when you first planted something and watched it begin to grow?  I recall doing it with sees of wheat in moist cotton wool. The advantage of this particular process was, of course, that one didn’t need to wait very long to see the result of one’s planting! Planting and harvesting for a child is perhaps as fascinating as it is because it mirrors children’s own reality, their own potential and promise. Maybe this is why the child within us likes to plant a tree to mark the…

  • Homilies,  Sunday

    Corpus Christi Sunday 2021

     We know today that very few people still derive their information from the traditional newspaper. There are not a few young people who have never read a newspaper. Their news come entirely from social media. If people do venture away from social media and look for news through an online platform then they are confronted with sites that offer literally a smorgasbord of news with very little commentary or analysis. I find these pages fascinating, and rather disturbing, I find them fascinating for several reasons: firstly, for the sheer volume of stories that are posted there; secondly for the extraordinary banality of most of them; and thirdly for the way…

  • Homilies,  Sunday,  Year B

    Trinity Sunday 2021

    Weddings are always something special in our life. I am not simply thinking of our own wedding, but our attendance at other weddings. Such occasions bring before us something for which we all long: the simplicity of falling in love, the promise of exchanging a commitment to each other, the hope of beginning a life together.  A wedding mirrors something fundamentally human to us.  We feel right in the world. In the midst of all the other troubles and uncertainties we experience something with all the promise of being good, true and beautiful. And the occasion fascinates us. Somehow it brings us home to ourselves. For some, their wedding is not the…

  • Homilies,  Occasional,  Uncategorised

    Mass for the Celebration of 200 Years of Catholic Education – 24 May 2021

    In Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings, one of the main character’s Sam says at one stage, “We shouldn’t be here at all, if we’d known more about it before we started. But I suppose it’s often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones…

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