• Homilies,  Sunday

    29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 22 October 2023

    It is the time of tax, one of the two certain things in our life.  It is also a period where politics and economics are at the centre of our conversation.  In the midst of the economic and political turmoil around us at the moment,  this word of the gospel comes to us:  a word about the interrelationship between the things of Caesar and the things of God, about the things of government and the things of religion.  How do they sit together?  These questions are certainly not new, but from time to time they arise with a greater sense of urgency.  Often our memory of when they have arisen in the past can help us…

  • Homilies,  Year A

    27th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 8 October 2023

    I am sure that some of us have heard of the clergyman who lived in a town that was hit by a major flood. The water was a foot deep in his living room.  Some parishioners in a boat rowed up to his door, asking them to join him.  “No, go ahead,” he said.  “I’ll be just fine.  God is taking care of me.”  So, they left. Then the water rose to the second floor.  Back came the anxious parishioners in the boat. And they asked him to join them.  Again, he refused.  By the time the boat came back once more, the house had been completely engulfed and the clergyman was standing on his chimney.  “Father,” his parishioners…

  • Homilies,  Year A

    26th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 1 October 2023

    On one of my very first visits to Sydney I was taken by a friend who works with homeless youth to some of the places in which such young people live and hang out.  I recall the time I was with them around a campfire near St. Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst.  They had got the campfire going from some curbside formwork and were preparing to shelter against a winter Sydney night.  Most of them were on drugs of some kind, many of them prostituting – all of them with background stories of enormous tragedy. And yet, as I left them that night I could not but be struck by the…

  • Homilies,  Sunday,  Year A

    25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 24 September 2023

    We often say religion and politics don’t mix. And it is true we must be careful to avoid the politicization of religious faith in such a way that religious faith becomes a vehicle to achieve political ends. However, at the same time, paradoxically we can never separate faith and politics as if we can behave one way in an internal world of spirituality and another way in the external world of civic affairs. Politics is about choices, and the choices we, ourselves, make cannot but be informed by our discipleship of the Lord.  This will be something very important to consider carefully as we approach the forthcoming Referendum on constitutional change.…

  • Homilies,  Sunday

    23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 10 September 2023

    Some of you would be aware that for many years of my life I lived as a Trappist monk.  Trappist life is a life lived in community, and most people would think of a monastery as a place of peace and tranquillity where Christian virtue was lived in its perfection.  However, of course, the reality is quite different.  A monastic community is really just like any other family:  ordinary people who struggle to make life together work with all the joys and pains we all know in regard to this. I recall the great response of one of the old Irish monks in the community, Br Gabriel, who used to reply to the question…

  • Homilies,  Year A

    19th Sunday in Year A – 13 August 2023

    Many years ago, in a little Californian fishing village, I picked up a small poster which reads, “Dear God, help me; the sea is so wide, and my boat is so small.”   None of us would doubt that life is sometimes turbulent and often chaotic.  In fact, the ocean is good metaphor for how we experience life.  At times, it seems calm and full of invitation; on other occasions, it is full of threat and a fearful place.  For the people of the Scriptures, particularly, the ocean was a symbol more of chaos than anything.  It was the place of darkness and uncertainty – the place of hidden monsters.  The…

  • Homilies,  Year A

    16th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 23 July 2023

    We don’t need to be following the news for very long without coming to the recognition that evil exists.  We think of the atrocities of war; of the moral dysfunctionality of our own society. However, of course, evil not only exists in the situations of notoriety that occur in the world.  We also know that evil exists in ourselves, even if in more subtle ways:  when we do not treat others as their dignity deserves; when we use others for our own purposes; when we forget the accountability that is placed on each of us to live with integrity and truthfulness.  Perhaps when we focus on our own failings, we can tend to underestimate…

  • Sunday,  Year A

    Trinity Sunday – 4 June 2023

    The Feast of the Trinity that we celebrate this Sunday brings us to the very question about the image of God that we have. As Christians, we imagine God as Trinity.  The Trinity is the central mystery of our Christian faith: the uniquely Christian understanding of God that we have.  No other symbol captures our Christian experience of God which is at one and the same time of wild urgency and delicate intimacy.  How else can this experience of God as wild urgency and delicate intimacy, this experience of God as so deeply and overwhelmingly relational, be expressed than through this image of a Tri-unity.  Through Jesus we have dared to imagine God as Trinity,…

  • Homilies,  Year A

    Ascension Sunday – 21 May 2023

    We are often used to saying, “distance makes the heart grow fonder.”  Sometimes, though, we are not so sure.  We know how long-distance friendships or relationships suffer for lack of contact, it seems that the saying is true only when actually come into contact with each other from time to time, or when we are constantly reminded of the one we love.  Then, the separation we experience with someone we love does act to deepen our love.  This is why the photos of those we love but who have died become so important to us.  Our constant reminder of them through these symbols means that our love does not extinguish but that, in fact, our…

  • Homilies,  Year A

    Sixth Sunday of Easter – 14 May 2023 (Mothers’ Day)

    On an extensive property midway between Condobolin and Lake Cargellico, some 800km west of Sydney, a Kenthurst man, Walter Brachmann, has built the most beautiful shrine dedicated to Christ the King.  It is an extraordinary enterprise:  out in the back of nowhere, on the edge of the immense Australian desert, stands this majestic little chapel.  I have come to know of it because a friend of mine, a Franciscan brother Dominic Levak has taken up residence there, living the life of a hermit.  Dominic spends the day in the saturation of the stillness and silence of the vast Australian outback, tending to simple chores, reaching out to a local aboriginal…

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