• Year A

    Palm Sunday 2020

    In the mid 1990s, Arthur W. Frank published a landmark and fascinating study on people’s response to illness, entitled, The Wounded Storyteller. As a professor of sociology at the University of Calgary, Frank considered the various ways we respond to our illness, particularly the illnesses that are chronic in their character. He identified a number of responses that we make to our experience of such illness ranging from denial through to resignation – none of which were especially helpful in learning how to live in the fullest way in the face of our illness.  What he suggested as the most redemptive or transformative pathway was what he termed as being the wounded storyteller:…

  • Year A

    Fifth Sunday of Lent 2020

    Last Friday evening in Rome, Pope Francis presided over what was named, An Extraordinary Moment of Prayer in which he blessed the city and the world, a gesture ordinarily reserved for Easter Sunday and Christmas and the election of a new pope. In so doing, he reflected on the situation that has now gripped the world. “The storm [in which we find ourselves] exposes our vulnerability and uncovers those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities. It shows us how we have allowed to become dull and feeble the very things that nourish, sustain and strengthen our lives and…

  • Year A

    Fourth Sunday of Lent 2020

    There was an ancient tribe of people and the old leader of the tribe was dying. Summoning three of the younger members of the community, the leader spoke of the future. “When I die, one of you must succeed me as the leader of our people.  I want each of you to go out into the world and bring back something of beauty.  The one whose gift is most outstanding will succeed me.” The young people departed, walking through the city and countryside where their people lived and worked.  Some days later they returned from their travels.  The first brought a flower from the parklands, rare and beautiful and delicate with a preciousness that…

  • Year A

    Third Sunday of Lent 2020

    I shall always remember my visit once to a young 21 year old woman dying of AIDS.  Jeanine’s life had been a broken one of childhood abuse, drug use and prostitution. Yet, in the midst of all this she could say just before she died: “I sit here dreaming that I would like to work with other people who have AIDS who are not as well as I am, and write more poetry. I try and treat each day as a precious gift. I want to write about my life because it is a good story . . .  I also dream of my three beautiful nieces who I love more than…

  • Year A

    Second Sunday of Lent 2020

    The account of the Transfiguration is given us each year on this the 2nd Sunday of Lent. Each year we hear a different version of the account. This year the version is from the gospel of Matthew. Though there are differences between the three accounts from each of the gospels, there are clear similarities as well.  Jesus and his disciples are on a mountain.  There is the sense of being in solitude.  There is a cloud. The inner luminosity of Jesus becomes apparent.  The figures of Moses and Elijah are in the heart of the experience.  The essential filial identity of Jesus as Son of the Father is revealed.  The disciples are summoned to listen. And then,…

  • Year A

    First Sunday of Lent 2020

    A Professor walks into a classroom and he puts a large empty jar on the desk in front of the class. Then he fills the jar with golf balls and asks the class if the jar is full. To which they reply, yes. Then, however, he gets a container of small pebbles and pours them into the jar . . . naturally they fill the space around the golf balls. Again, he asks the class if the jar is full. To which they reply, yes. Then he brings forward a bucket of sand, and he pours sand into the jar and the jar has no difficulty in accepting this new…

  • Sanctoral

    Ash Wednesday 2020

    The Church has begun its annual season of Lent:  the time of preparation leading up to the festival of Easter the greatest of all Christian celebrations.  We can never separate this period upon which we are embarking today from the celebration of Easter, just as we can never separate Easter itself from the festival of Pentecost, the coming of the Spirit, which is celebrated seven weeks later.  We have begun the one journey, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Pentecost Sunday:  our annual celebration of what is most important in our Christian life:  the death and resurrection of Jesus.   As Christians we are particularly mindful that we are constantly on a journey ‘from’…

  • Year A

    7th Sunday of Year A

    One of the most curious aspects of the ministry of Jesus is both the place in which it begins and the message by which it begins.  It begins in Galilee, the territory of great oppression by the Romans.  As the writer, Miroslav Volf identifies, when Jesus begins his ministry, the Palestinian population “was suffering under the loss of national sovereignty to the Romans, as well as under a tense relationship between the Jewish aristocracy and the Herodian monarchy.  Economically, the majority were caught between the Roman and the domestic elites, both of which were competing with the other to expand their fortune, especially through taxation.  Dominated, taken advantage of, and threatened in their cultural…

  • Year A

    5th Sunday of Year A

    In the research today about leadership there is much discussion about whether leadership it something innate or something learnt – i.e. are we born with qualities of leadership or are these skills that we can develop as time goes on and as circumstances call forth. In many ways, it is a question of and/both rather than either/or. Yes, some personalities have a natural instinct for leadership but if this is not refined then it cannot become effective; others never feel comfortable with roles of leadership but with time and with coaching they can learn how to lead.  However, the single most significant factor in leadership is neither the natural ability nor…

  • Occasional

    Vigil for Fr Denis Callahan

    Our farewell of someone is always a celebration of memories. Even in the recounting of just a few of the facts of a person’s life and in the re-telling of some of the stories of their journey, we glimpse something of their mystery and of the relationships that made them such a particular presence in the world that, without exception, we realise is not the same as it was before the gift of the person’s life. For a few brief moments it is like being at the window of a person’s life. Yet we also realise that our own memories of the one whom we are farewelling cannot fully capture…

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