• Homilies,  Sunday,  Year B

    2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021

    Not so long ago, I chanced to see a rather striking sign outside a church.  The text of the sign was simply, “Can you hear the voice of God in the silences of the day?”  Can you hear the voice of God in the silences of the day? I was particularly struck by it because often enough we expect to hear God in another way. We think God speaks to us in an exceptional way, or that he only speaks to exceptional people, and, sadly, we don’t include ourselves amongst them.  So often we will hear people say, “God never speaks to me,” or the question behind this conclusion which is “Why does…

  • Homilies,  Sunday,  Year B

    Feast of the Baptism of the Lord 2021

    As the months roll on all of us are desperately waiting for the pandemic to be over. We wonder how long it will take for the situation to change, for restrictions to be lifted, for our lives to return to some of the normalcy we had before. We had hoped that our waiting might be over just before Christmas; however, as this new year has started we have realized that our waiting is not over, and that perhaps we will be waiting for the better part of this year. We spend a great deal of our life waiting – perhaps more than, at first, we care to realise.  There are those…

  • Homilies,  Sanctoral

    Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, 1 January 2021

    One of the most significant lessons that I have learnt in life is about the necessity and power of paradox in our lives. Spiritual experience attends to sets of opposites; it does not seek to resolve them. In the paradoxes and the intersections of our life we are, as one writer puts it, we are “stretched out amid the opposites in [our] life, between hanging on and letting go, between involvement and surrender, between deep engagement and gentle detachment.  This is [our] crucifixion and [our] joy. It is [our] crucible in all its insecurity and beauty, fragility and possibility.”[1]   Our Christian spiritual framework lives and breathes irreducible sets of tensions – humanity…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    Feast of the Holy Family 2020

    At his installation in 2013, Pope Francis reflected on the role of St. Joseph as protector. As the Pope recounted, the one who acts as the father to Jesus, is the one that: “From the time of his betrothal to Mary until the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, . . . is there at every moment with loving care. As the spouse of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; amid the drama of the flight into Egypt and during the frantic…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    Christmas 2020

    In German, one word is often used to bring into summary an entire concept.  This is often achieved by the way in which German strings words together to what looks an impossibly long word to the English eye.  However, there is a relatively simple German word that describes one whole concept, and that is Zeitgeist.  It is the German for the idea of “the spirit of the times.”  The internet search engine Google has picked up on this and has commandeered the term for its own analysis of the top trending searches over the net. So, the Google Zeitgeist measures the terms that have seen the largest increase over the last year as well…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    Fourth Sunday of Advent – 2020

    When I once visited Nazareth, it was quite a delight to discover the Church of Mary’s Well. It is an Eastern Orthodox Church and is some distance, on the other side of the town, from the more familiar Basilica of the Annunciation. The reason why this Church of Mary’s Well was of such interest was because of the legend with which it is associated.  According to an ancient legend it was at the well, over which the church is built, that Mary first encountered the angel which had come to bear her the news of her pregnancy.  However, Mary had taken fright at this initial encounter and ran back to her home, where…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    Third Sunday of Advent – 2020

    Most of us are looking forward to New Year’s Eve when we can finally say goodbye to 2020 and all its challenges. In a period of history such as the one in which we have discovered ourselves this last year with the pandemic we glimpse the enormity of the movements in which we are enswirled, our fragility and insignificance before them, whilst at the same time we wonder about new beginnings, about something new emerging.  We have the sense that something is passing, we are leaving behind something.  We sense that we are crossing over into something unknown and new.  We feel both vulnerable and excited at the same time.  Fear and hope co-mingle…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    Second Sunday of Advent – 2020

    Frog was in his garden.  Toad came walking by, “What a fine garden you have, Frog,” he said.  “Yes,” said Frog.  “it is very nice, but it was hard work.”  “I wish I had a garden,” said Toad.  “Here are some flower seeds. Plant them in the ground,” said Frog, “and soon you will have a garden.” “How soon?” asked Toad, “Quite soon,” said Frog. Toad ran home.  He planted the flower seeds.  “Now seeds,” said Toad, “start growing.” Toad walked up and down a few times. The seeds did not start to grow. Toad put his head close to the ground and said loudly, “Now seeds, start growing!”  Toad looked at the ground again. The seeds did…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    First Sunday of Advent – 2020

    The Russian journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, who was murdered in Moscow some 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 does not want to know too much.  It is a 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 we simply overlay complex situations with our own prejudices and biases. The problems that swirl around us – especially in respect to all the ramifications of…

  • Homilies,  Sunday,  Year A

    28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

    We might be inclined to consider the key to the Gospel we have heard lies with the radical inclusivity demonstrated by the king.  Not put off by the disinterest of some, – a disinterest which could have easily resulted in a reclusive despondency – he opens wide the doors of the palace, with even more enthusiastic invitation and hospitality.  And certainly, the parable speaks of a wonderful largesse to demonstrate the hospitality of God which welcomes all.  However, I want to suggest that the real key to the parable lies in the very simple phrase hidden in the midst of the story:  “When the king came in to look at the guests”  Given…

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