• 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…

  • 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…

  • Homilies,  Sanctoral

    Feastday of St Mary of the Cross Mackillop – 8 August 2021

    Soon after the final declaration of Mary’s sanctity was given in Rome, I read a poignant but rather challenging letter to the editor of The Sydney Morning Herald from a Vincent Matthews: “My wife is a saint. And I don’t need the Pope to confirm it.  For nearly 40 years she worked as a nurse in many parts of Australia easing the suffering of the sick and helping to cure many. She is idolised by her three children and is a special nana to two adoring little girls.  Aged 74, she works in a charity shop, gives part of her age pension to Medecins Sans Frontieres and to World Vision to help a child struggling to…

  • Homilies,  Sunday,  Year B

    18th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021

    During the week a friend told me that on average he receives on his mobile phone 120 twitter messages a day. Twitter, as we know, is just one of the many web-based means by which we can let any number of people know the latest news that is occurring in our life.  We enter a short message, like, “I am enjoying a walk in the park” and immediately all those on our contact list are made aware of this significance! As someone who struggles to keep on top of any number of daily emails, the thought of receiving over a hundred twitter messages astounds me.  However, we seem to live increasingly in…

  • 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…

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