• Homilies,  Sunday,  Year B

    29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2021

    One of the most memorable Masses I have attended was in a little parish church in the Chianti district of Tuscany. In many ways it was a rather ordinary liturgy but what made it extraordinary for me was the presence on the sanctuary throughout the Mass of a Downs Syndrome man and an intellectually disabled man.  They were there in the form of altar servers although most of the work was done by the intellectually disabled man.  Nonetheless the Downs Syndrome man was with the priest throughout the liturgy:  sitting beside him high on the presidential step and even standing beside him throughout the Eucharistic Prayer.  That was the amusing part because at this…

  • Homilies,  Sunday,  Year B

    28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2021

    In so many ways the Gospel reverses the ordinary way that we think about things.  It certainly reversed the ordinary expectations that first century Palestinians had about God and the signs of God’s favour.  In the society of the time wealth was a sign of God’s favour, a sign of God’s blessing.  The underlying logic ran that the wealthier you were the more God was smiling on you. Therefore, those who were poor were looked upon as those who had missed out on the blessing of God, and at worst, who were cursed. Jesus, however, confronts this logic.  And he confronts this logic by putting forward poverty as a virtue.  The first hearers of the…

  • Homilies,  Sunday,  Year B

    27th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2021

    In a beautiful comment on the gospel for this Sunday Pope Francis observed some year ago:   “God did not want to come into the world other than through a family. God did not want to draw near to humanity other than through a home. God did not want any other name for Himself than Emmanuel. He is ‘God with us’. . . He is the God who from the very beginning of creation said: ‘It is not good for man to be alone’. We can add: it is not good for woman to be alone, it is not good for children, the elderly or the young to be alone. It…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    26th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2021

    We have come to the football finals.   For the teams and the supporters they have one thing in mind, and everything else falls in accordingly.  Single mindedness is a quality we often associate with sport.  It’s the very attribute that brings excellence of performance and success. Some call sport the religion of Australians, but, of course, sport is a very different experience than faith.  In sport we get what we put into it.  Our skill grows in proportion to the amount of dedicated training we apply.  In sport we master a range of techniques and then through the continual exercise of those skills we perfect them and have them in our arsenal to apply at…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2021

    Politics is an important profession, and I would go so far to say that, especially when engaged with a strong sense of social service, it is a noble profession.  However, we also know that ego is in no short supply in the profession.  It always amuses me how, without fail, new leaders, upon victory, always state how humbled they are by their appointment. Yet, one could argue, quite well I think, it is not humility that has brought the new leader to the moment.   Against the background of political drama, the Gospel this Sunday highlights the questions about who is greatest and who has power. We are invited by the account to reflect…

  • Uncategorised

    24th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021

    In the film, “Emerald City” David Williamson has one of the characters declare, “No-one in Sydney ever wastes time debating the meaning of life – it’s getting yourself a water frontage. People devote a lifetime to the quest.”  This may be, in part, due to the origins of Sydney itself.  Outside the Sydney Hospital on the Macquarie Street footpath is a small plaque commemorating the site of the first hospital in Sydney, built by two businessmen in exchange for rum licenses.  Thus it began, and thus it continues.  Thomas Kenneally wrote in his early account of the city, The Commonwealth of Thieves: “Both our hedonism and our conservatism . . . derived from Georgian England rather…

  • Homilies,  Sunday,  Year B

    23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021

    A very happy Father’s Day to all our fathers, grandfathers, and mentors! We pray that this day be one of blessing for each of you, and that you grow in your amazement of your God-given vocation to truly encourage the life of another.  The populist American writer, Robert Fulgham once told of a story of Frank Marshall, an international chess player. During a competition many years ago, Fulgham relates the incident in which Marshall made what is often called the most beautiful move ever made on a chessboard. In a crucial game in which he was evenly matched with a Russian master player, Marshall found his queen under serious attack.  There…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021 – Social Justice Sunday

    We have all heard the expression, “Cleanliness is next to godliness” (to which some might add, “and if you can’t be godly, at least be clean.”)  We have also probably met some people at different times who are preoccupied with cleanliness to an extreme degree, so that it becomes an obsession.   Sometimes this kind of obsession can even be a sign of neurosis as in the case of people who feel the need to wash their hands continuously even though there is no apparent need to do so.  Compulsive hand-washing is a symbolic act:  it represents the person’s unconscious desire to be rid of some deep mental preoccupation.  The process of washing expresses the…

  • Homilies,  Sunday,  Year B

    21st Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021

    Often enough our literary artists, our writers, offer invaluable social observations.  They have the gift of intuiting the deeper currents and the mood in the nation long before many others.  The Australian novelist, Tim Winton is a fine example of this. Some time ago, Tim Winton observed that his great passion for the Australian landscape, which is shared by many of us, may have, however, an underlying anxiety attached to it. He remarks how the Australian landscape was such a shock to the first Europeans who arrived here: “How they loathed it for failing to be Europe.  How infuriated they were at its ‘perversity’, its odd weather and backward running rivers and kooky…

  • Homilies,  Sanctoral

    Sunday 15 August – Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary

    The greatest show on earth has just concluded in Tokyo even though it could not have the crowds we normally associate with the Olympics. Nonetheless, the Olympics came for us at an opportune time, and in this time of isolation they brought us together and they gave us some relief from the constrictions of the current lockdown. We watched many extraordinary stories of human achievement.  There were stories of amazing success and bitter failures – stories to inspire us as we marvel at what the human body can achieve.  The strength, flexibility and skill of the athletes left us in awe as will the stories of lifetimes of dedication, commitment and discipline…

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