• Year A

    15th Sunday of Ordinary Time

    The Australian social researcher, Hugh Mackay once gave a reflection on how difficult it is to get other people to hear what we are trying to say.[1]  As he observed, how many times have we said in frustration, “If I’ve told them once, I’ve told them a hundred times.  It just seems to go in one ear and out the other!”  As Mackay says, what we may be really saying, of course, is, “Guess what, I know a message that never works.  It doesn’t seem to matter how often I say it; it never has any effect on the people I’m talking to.  But I don’t give up easily.  It’s such a good message that I’m…

  • Year A

    14th Sunday of Ordinary Time

    On this first week in July the Church in Australia celebrates National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday. This annual celebration is an opportunity to acknowledge the contribution that Indigenous Australians make to our experience of the Transcendent and to faith in this ancient land. As Deacon Boniface Perdjert from Wadeye, in the Northern Territory, and who passed away last year, commented once “Deep down, we Aborigines are religious people. We did not have many material goods, but we are rich with spiritual goods. It is this strong religious side that made us.  It gave us our identity, our dignity, our self-assurance.  My People existed here in Australia thousands of years before Abraham.  In all…

  • Year A

    13th Sunday of Ordinary Time

    Even the COVID19 pandemic does not seem to have eased negative publicity about the Church. It was curious to see articles recently in the media questioning the Church’s engagement of the Government’s JobKeeper scheme. As a religious practitioner, I am eligible for the Jobkeeper payment. I have also chosen to donate this to our First Collection to supplement the loss of income by the parish suffered because of the pandemic. Though this is entirely legal, ethical and transparent, the media’s attempt to make it into something otherwise shows how the Church struggles both to retain and to promote its credibility in society.  In the face of such negative social scrutiny,…

  • Uncategorised,  Year A

    12th Sunday of Ordinary Time

    Some years ago, I had a friend working as a legal assistant in the refugee camps that sprang up in Hong Kong in the 1980s and 1990s. Every morning he travelled over by ferry to the islands on which the camps were situated to spend the day explaining international law to the refugees and trying to work out how their story might relate to their cause. Along the way, he wrote to me this moving story: “At Chim A Wan detention centre, Pham van Ai and I interviewed a woman who had been forced into prostitution in Vietnam. In fact, she did this in order to repay a loan she…

  • Year A

    Corpus Christi 2020

    The Irish used to have a saying, “It is the Mass that matters.”  For them, recovering particularly from the Great Potato Famine in the 19th century, the Eucharist was the great source of identity in an environment that was incredibly oppressive. The celebration of the Mass was the rock of their existence in a sea of social hostility which threatened to engulf them.  We recall even the famous Mass rocks ‑ those rocks on which Masses were celebrated set out in the countryside away from the detection of the English invaders. The saying, “It is the Mass that matters” followed the Irish Diaspora to our own shores where the Eucharist has continued to…

  • Year A

    Trinity Sunday 2020

    The architect of the Parliament building in Canberra, Romaldo Giurgola was, apparently, fond of saying “great buildings begin with great ideas.”  In other words, if you can’t imagine the possibilities first, the end result will not be all that significant.  “Great buildings begin with great ideas.”  It’s an observation that underscores the power and the importance of the imagination in our life. “You must give birth to your images,” wrote Rilke. “They are the future waiting to be born.  Fear not the strangeness you feel.  The future must enter into you long before it happens.”[1]  The future begins in our imagination, in the images that we carry deep within us.   We are often used to downplaying our imagination.…

  • Year A

    Pentecost Sunday 2020

    There is a perspective in theology that regards the event of Pentecost as the birth of the Church.  On this day, the Spirit is poured out on the disciples.  They are released from their disillusionments and their fears; they are enSpirited and emboldened to go out and to preach the good news that the life of Christ is more powerful than death, that the self-sacrifice of his love has overpowered the forces of selfishness and suspicion, that the future stretches out beyond us as a constant invitation full of possibility.  Our dead ends have become new beginnings; our sunsets have been changed into dawns. Yes, on this day the Spirit overwhelms our timidity,…

  • Year A

    Ascension Sunday 2020

    I chanced to read recently that there is nothing more intimate nor more remote as the face of a lover.  It brought to mind the observation of the French writer, Jean Mambrino in which he prays, “You wanted me to tell you once more about the interval that brings us together. I need that interval to be, to become. It is the interval which frees you. It arouses your desire, opens your countenance.”[1]  Mambrino was speaking of a core tension in our life, the tension between absence and presence.  We need both in order to understand ourselves and one another.  Yes, in the bonds that join us to each other absence can become a way of…

  • Year A

    Sixth Sunday of Easter 2020

    All around us now here in Wahroonga the leaves have changed colour and are beginning to drop to the ground. As the writer Joyce Rupp observes, “some people tell me that they don’t like autumn because it reminds them too much of the inevitability of death. The leaves falling from the trees onto the barren, brown earth makes them feel sad and lonely. The leaves are subtle reminders that we are asked to let go of many things throughout our life.  Every time we surrender something, we connect with our death, with the ultimate moment of letting go.”[1] Indeed, as this same writer recognizes, “Seeing death in any form – autumn leaves…

  • Year A

    Third Sunday of Easter Homily 2020

    Though we live our life on them today – and especially now during this time of pandemic during which we are almost completely reliant on them and cannot imagine how we would operate without them – I will never forget the first time I accessed a computer and went online – which, amazingly, was only some thirty years ago. I remember the sense of awe as my laptop hooked into the computers of institutions around the world for the first time.  Suddenly, I was part of the communication revolution and with it the information revolution.  Whatever of our ambivalence about this revolution in the past, through this current period of social…

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