• Homilies,  Year B

    2nd Sunday of Easter 2021

    Having not been married very long, some young friends of mine Karl and Cindy had been trying to have a family but without success.  After extensive testing, they discovered that they had issues with fertility, and that it was unlikely that they were going to be able to have children.  Naturally, they were bitterly disappointed.  The future for which they had longed suddenly seemed changed forever, and the future presented as an enormous unresolved question. Questions about themselves as individuals, questions about their relationship, questions about the meaning of their life together inevitably swamped them, and it has been a very difficult period for them both personally and in their partnership. However, the…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    Easter 2021

    As the ancient philosophers understood, there is an innate restlessness in the human spirit, an essential nomadic quality, that sets us on a journey into an infinite horizon. We are those who reach out beyond ourselves to something other, to something more. We search for love; we search for identity; we search for wholeness. Indeed, the very first question that Jesus puts to his disciples when they encounter him is, “What are you looking for?” (John 1:35).  However, just as the Gospel begins with a question, so, too, does the Gospel end with a question.  It is the question that is at the heart of the account of the Resurrection of…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    Good Friday 2021

    Even though the DVD industry now is a very large one, it is curious that it has never made the cinema redundant.  Cinemas are as popular as ever. Rather than stay at home and watch a film, there is still something that entices us to go out and see it in a cinema.  Perhaps it is because the visual and sound effect on the big screen makes for a different experience than our home theatre. However, the director, George Miller, explains that one of the reasons why cinemas are frequented is because we have forgotten the need of people to gather and listen to a story.  Cinemas, he says, are the covert cathedrals…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    Holy Thursday 2021

    Sometimes a throw away line strikes us to the core of our hearts, and we remember it for the rest of our life.  Such was my own experience when I once heard an old shearer from outback Queensland remark in an interview with Caroline Jones, “Nothing perfect is every beautiful.” It was a remarkable statement which in its very simplicity spoke of an unmistakable wisdom and humanity.  A statement of remarkable acceptance, it undid a certain instinct in me that at the time demanded perfection in both myself and others.  A few words changed what I thought about beauty and what I thought about perfection.  I have not thought about either beauty or perfection…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    Palm Sunday 2021

    Today throughout the world marches for peace are held.  Palm Sunday has become a day on which rallies for peace are staged in many of the cities of the world.  It leads us to ask what is it about this day that speaks of peace, of the hope for peace?  Though many who march for peace may not be Christian, and even though a number of people take part in the walks for a mixture of political motivation, nonetheless it would seem that the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem has something in it that speaks of the possibility of peace.  How is this so? Perhaps we see the answer in the stress in…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    5th Sunday in Lent 2021

    The American actor Alan Alda wrote a wonderful biography, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I’ve Learned. The title of the book is taken from an incident in Alda’s youth, when he lost his pet dog, Rhapsody, to some leftover Chinese food that his family had brought home one night. So inconsolable was the young Alan that, at the burial of the dog, his father suggested they have the dog stuffed so that he might always be a part of Alan’s life. They took the dog off to a taxidermist to achieve this end. Some weeks later, when the task had been achieved, they went to collect the stuffed dog…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    4th Sunday of Lent 2021

    I recall a colleague of mine dying of cancer.  I remember the day when the prognosis came through:  the cancer had already spread to his liver and to his lymph nodes.  He was given about 6 months to live.  It was devastating news for us all. Well, Tom didn’t have six months.  In the end, he only had four.  But it was four months that Tom lived.  He struggled with his fears about pain.  He dealt with his grief for what he was losing. He had always been a very independent person but now he was learning to allow others to be there for him, but he found the process of accepting his powerlessness the most difficult.  And most…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    3rd Sunday of Lent 2021

    There is a story about an American philosopher who went to Japan for a conference on religion.  He overheard another American delegate speaking to a Shinto priest.  “We’ve now been to a good many of your ceremonies,” said the delegate, ‘and have seen quite a few of your shrines.  But I don’t get your ideology; I don’t get your theology.”  The Japanese paused as though in deep thought and then slowly shook his head.  “We don’t have an ideology”, he said.  ‘We don’t have a theology.  We dance!” Perhaps we have forgotten that Christianity, itself, began as a dance.  There was no ideology, no comprehensive philosophy.  Rather there was a series of extraordinary gestures in the life of Jesus…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    2nd Sunday of Lent 2021

    Throughout our human story mountains have been places where people have often chosen to go, or felt attracted to go, to wrestle with the deep questions of their existence.  What is it about mountains that does this? Perhaps, it is their “closeness” to the sky? Perhaps, the thinness of the air makes for clearer thinking? Or maybe their height enables a sense of perspective?   Whatever the reason, mountains are very important places in Scripture.  They are the places where people seem to encounter God.  They are places where covenants between heaven and earth are forged.  The encounter which people have with God on the mountain top, however, also occurs alongside the encounter with their…

  • Homilies,  Year B

    1st Sunday of Lent 2021

    From time to time I am interviewed about my journey, my faith, and my vocation. I recall a question in such interview very clearly. The question was: “Have you always been an observant Christian? Was there a critical moment in your life – an ‘aha!’ moment – when you saw the power and beauty of your religion with particular clarity, and chose to embrace it? Tell us something about what you saw, who influenced you, and how that moment impacted upon your life/lifestyle.” For me the question can easily be answered almost to the day and the time. One of the most significant experiences in my own spiritual life was…

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