• Year C

    Solemnity of Christ the King

    In these weeks the country has been on heightened alert for bushfire. We have known just how destructive the fires have been on the north coast and in Queensland; it has been difficult for us to imagine the scale of bush destroyed and we have felt the despair of the people who have lost their homes and property, especially those who have lost loved ones. Here in Sydney we have recognized the situation by the pall of smoke covering the city now for some days. All of us feel a sense of trepidation about the forthcoming summer. As we see the pictures of devastation and view the smoke that engulfs…

  • Year C

    32nd Sunday of Year C

    In many ways I am coming more and more to the conclusion that we live in an age of isolation, especially in our modern Western and brilliantly technological societies. There is a great paradox in this since with the communication revolution that is also a characteristic of our time never before have we been so connected to one another.  If we are as connected to one another as never before how can we be suffering from such isolation? This, indeed, is a critical question. Yet, the symptoms of isolation which mark our current social experience are all around us.  Tanveer Ahmed wrote some time ago: “Modern technology is vastly increasing our connectivity,…

  • Year C

    31st Sunday of Year C

    One of the people that stand out in my memory when I was engaged in the ministry of spiritual direction was a young man, James (not his real name).  When I first met James he had completed a degree in film and was involved in film-making, and was becoming quite successful in his endeavour.  But James was also struggling.  He was depressed and the depression was becoming more significant. I met with James regularly over perhaps a twelve-month period, seeking to listen to him and understand something of his life’s journey. Through our conversations it became apparent that though he was becoming quite successful as a film-maker he actually didn’t like what he…

  • Year C

    30th Sunday of Year C

    Sebastian Moore, the English Benedictine writer, once wrote that we need conversion not so much from sin, as from innocence.[1] It was a curious declaration: we need conversion not so much from sin, as from innocence. What may he have meant by this enigmatic pronouncement? Perhaps, he was alluding to the aspect of us that wants to have everything and everyone perfect, the part of us that expects everything about us and around us to be ideal, and the need to let this go. How easily we demand that our relationships, our marriages and our families be ideal even as we struggle in the recognition that they are far from so.…

  • Year C

    29th Sunday of Year C

    The Admission to the Ministry of Acolyte of Hien Vu and Martino Hoang The Admission to the Ministry of Lector of Shane Hyland Luke 8: 1-18 There can be many times in our lives when we know the temptation to lose heart. Sometimes life’s events simply take away our strength to keep hoping.  And we incline to despair. Yet this Sunday we are told a story by Jesus about never losing heart. It seems that we are to be like the importune woman, while God is presented like the judge who eventually gives in to our persistence.   Yet, perhaps there is another way of looking at the story Jesus tells us.  …

  • Year C

    28th Sunday of Year C

    In his book, “Beyond Belief,” Hugh Mackay, the Australian social researcher outlines the deep vein of ambivalence about religion that runs through Australian society: on the one hand many Australians do not actively worship, yet they still like to see local churches operating, and we still turn to churches to baptise our children and to educate them.[1]  Around two thirds of Australians say we believe in God or some ‘higher power’, but fewer than one in ten of us attend church weekly.  So those of us gathered here for Mass are an extraordinary minority no matter how mainstream we might consider ourselves to be.  And all of his means 90% of the population…

  • Year C

    27th Sunday of Year C

    Jesus was a great story-teller, and as a story-teller of his time in 1st centrury Palestine he knew the means that a story-teller used to convey the meaning of what he wished ot share.  One of those techniques is hyperbole: something is overstated in order to make a point. It was an excellent technique in an oral culture, used to the art of storytelling. The hyperbole, itself, is not to be taken literally. People would go away and remember the over-statement and in time understand what was being said underneath. The use of juxtaposition is another technique: two statements are put aside each other, one informing and opening up the meaning of…

  • Year C

    26th Sunday of Year C – Social Justice Sunday

    This Sunday, the last in September, is annually commemorated as Social Justice Sunday in the Church in Australia. We focus this year on Communications with the publication of Making it Real: Genuine Human Encounter in our Digital World. It raises the question of how we genuinely connect with one another. As Bishop Brady highlights in the Foreword to the Statement, “People of all generations hunger for friendship and genuine human encounter because we are made for community. Our digital world enables us to be more connected than ever before, but sadly it can also be a place of manipulation, exploitation and violence.” This indeed is one of the great paradoxes…

  • Year C

    25th Sunday of Year C

    For a long time, it has been the social rule in Australia that the topics of religion and politics are not to be raised in polite conversation.  For a great deal of our history we have also had the adage that politics and religion don’t mix, and that they, therefore, should be kept quite separate.  In Australia, particularly, when religious leaders start talking about political or economic matters many of us start feeling uneasy, if not even embarrassed. We entertain concerns about naivety, or anxieties about appeals drawn from a sectarian past, or fears about ecclesiastical interference in affairs that are rightly independent of the structure of the Church.  Even if the religious voice…

  • Year C

    24th Sunday of Year C

    One of the most important things we can learn about the gospels is the nature of the language that the writers use.  It is the language of parables – a language, it seems, favoured by Jesus himself. Jesus was a great teacher, as we know. He was a great storyteller and he constantly uses stories to communicate his message.  But the parables are not simply stories.  A parable is very particular kind of story:  it is a story that is designed to confuse us, to unsettle us, even in some cases, to shock us. We have grown used to them.  They are not unfamiliar. But yet, there is something in each of them that doesn’t make sense.…

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