Wilderness

Return to the Path

21 January 2024

Year B

Finding My Way Back: A Journey of Repentance and Restoration Lost in the Wilderness It was a day like any other when I decided to explore a national park, seeking solace in a less crowded area. Little did I know, this adventure would turn into a lesson about life’s path and the concept of repentance….

Temptation Training

26 February 2023

Lent, Seasons

Lent Sunday 1, Year A Remember the last big meal. How did you feel after? Food coma. Not clear thinking. Sleepy. Suggestible. Jesus goes into the wilderness. 40 days and nights. He fasts, so he’s not in a food coma. Open to God. 40 – highly symbolic. Israel in the wilderness 3 testings – very…

Advent Call

4 December 2022

Advent, Seasons

Second Sunday in Advent, Year A First Reading ‡ Isaiah 11:1-10He judges the poor with justice. Responsorial ‡ Psalm 71:1-2.7-8.12-13.17Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever. Second Reading ‡ Romans 15:4-9Christ, the hope of all people. Gospel ‡ Matthew 3:1-12Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Play…

Holy Ground

20 March 2022

Lent, Season of Growth, Seasons, Year C

Third Sunday in Lent, C. First Reading ‡ Exodus 3:1-8.13-15 This is what you must say to the children of Israel: I Am has sent me to youResponsorial ‡ Psalm 102:1-4.6-8.11 The Lord is kind and merciful.Second Reading ‡ 1 Corinthians 10:1-6.10-12 All this that happened to the people of Moses in the desert was written for our…

The rubbish of the older brother

15 September 2019

Season of Growth, Year C

When I was in USA a few months ago, I visited the Great Smoky Mountains national park in Eastern Tennessee. It is a beautiful place, and the most visited of the national parks in America, attracting millions of visitors each year. And most of those visitors first go to the main entrance and visitors station…

Awakening to the rhythm of life

9 August 2015

Season of Growth, Year B

The prophet Elijah should have been at the very peak of his game. He marched dramatically onto the pages of history at the beginning of I Kings 17 with a whole series of mighty deeds that he performs that already sets him apart from the ordinary run-of-the-mill followers of God. These deeds reach their crescendo…

God is always enough

2 August 2015

Season of Growth, Year B

18B – Bread of life (John 6:24-35; Exodus 16: 2-4, 12-15) When you read the Gospel of John, you must always be aware of the broad canvas upon which John writes his Gospel. He is always mindful and aware of all that has gone on before in the past – the history of the people…

Apostles breaking down barriers

19 July 2015

Season of Growth, Year B

We meet the disciples of Jesus today as they return from their missionary journeys where they went out in pairs to not only proclaim the message of salvation but they were also tasked to heal the sick and bring release to those bound with evil spirits. They return no longer as disciples – but they…

God proposes a new covenant

22 March 2015

Lent, Seasons

“Then, I will be your God. You will be my people.” This line from the declaration in Jeremiah today is so easily passed over – and yet this covenant declaration lies at the heart of the Hebrew scriptures. Our Lenten journey has been examining the idea of covenant – its achievements and its failures -…

A covenant people at Sinai

8 March 2015

Lent, Seasons

One of the great problems with a passage like the Ten Commandments is that we tend to read them with little sense of the context or the who or where of what is happening. Until we do this work, then these commandments, like the rest of the 613 mitzvot (plural of mitzvah) that you find…

Abraham and the bound sacrifice of Isaac

1 March 2015

Lent, Seasons

Our first reading from Genesis 22 is often regarded as one of the finest examples of a short story in all or Western literature. In 19 short verses, the reader is taken on a terrible and shocking journey along with Abraham and Isaac – your only son, the son that you love – for three…

Wilderness now redeemed

22 February 2015

Lent, Seasons

As we move into the new season of Lent accompanied by the Gospel of Mark, the starkness of the presentation of the testing in the wilderness in Mark becomes quickly apparent. Whereas the other synoptic Gospels offer us more detailed descriptions including the fasting, the nature of the testing and the dialogue that occurs between…

Beginning of good news in the desert

7 December 2014

Advent, Seasons

As we enter the second Sunday in the season of Advent, we come to the beginning of the Gospel of Mark. The opening line of his Gospel is somewhat curious – it isn’t immediately obvious if it is meant to be a heading or simply the first line. It richly evokes a number of scripture…

Thirsting for relationship and meaning

23 March 2014

Lent, Seasons

Thirst is one of those basic human needs that is hard to ignore. When you have worked hard on a hot day, or you have returned from a vigorous run or work-out, or you simply out in the heat of the desert, the need to drink and quench your thirst is usually significant. So, even…

The Choice to Rejoice

15 December 2013

Advent, Seasons

Pillar of Fire by night, by James Murnane (which I purchased last week) If you took a poll among first century Jews about their expectations of what the Messiah would be like, and what he (a female Messiah would not feature) would do – there would be many and varied replies….

The rubbish of the older brother

15 September 2013

Season of Growth, Year C

When I was in USA a few months ago, I visited the Great Smoky Mountains national park in Eastern Tennessee. It is a beautiful place, and the most visited of the national parks in America, attracting millions of visitors each year. And most of those visitors first go to the main entrance and visitors station…

Naming God

5 March 2013

Bible, Lent, Seasons, Teaching

When we come across Moses wandering through the wilderness, caring for the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, we are not told how often he has come to this particular place. Although the text calls it the mountain of the Lord, it is clear that is anachronistic – it only becomes worthy of that designation as…

Coming to Mount Zion

7 February 2013

New Creation, Season of Growth, Teaching

In Hebrews 12 we arrive at what can be argued as the climax of the letter/document with a description of two mountains. The first, although unnamed, clearly refers to Mount Sinai and the place of the reception of the great covenant by Moses. The frightening scene is related powerfully – complete with a blazing fire,…

Elijah as model of the evangelising church

12 August 2012

Season of Growth, Year B

Today in I Kings 19, we meet a very different Prophet Elijah then perhaps we are more familiar with – especially from the dramatic story that unfolds in the previous chapter when he single handedly takes on the 450 prophets of the false Caananite god Baal and defeats them. This does not please Queen Jezebel…

What the Manna from heaven

5 August 2012

Bible, Season of Growth, Teaching, Year B

The church leads us out into the wilderness to be with the people of God – it seems many months or perhaps even years into their wilderness adventures – such is the bitterness and the discontent that they evoke with their complaints against the Lord. It is only when you realise that no, this all…

Blessed and broken the Lord feeds us

31 July 2012

Bible, Season of Growth, Teaching, Year B

Last week, when I celebrated Mass in the 803 year old private chapel of Lilienfelderhof at Pfaffstatten with the Galbraith family (as one does on holidays) we found ourselves in Mark’s gospel with the disciples needing time away from the hustle and rush of ministry, so they head across the lake to be by themselves…

Sacrifice, obedience and the lamb

3 March 2012

Lent, Season of Growth, Seasons, Year B

Our first reading from Genesis 22 contains what is often regarded as one of the finest examples of a short story in all or Western literature. In 19 short verses, the reader is taken on a terrible and shocking journey along with Abraham and Isaac – your only son, the son that you love -…

Wilderness and floods

26 February 2012

Lent, Seasons

As we journey through lent each year, the Church provides us with similar foundations. Each year, on the first Sunday in Lent, we journey with Jesus out into the wilderness as he is tempted; on the second Sunday, we travel with Peter, James and John up a high mountain where Jesus is transfigured. These two…

Washed in the desert

4 December 2010

Advent, Season of Growth, Seasons, Year A

As we continue our journey through this sacred season of Advent, we are again given the majestic vision of the glory of the Lord bringing peace and unity to all creation – all as the fruit of a small shoot that grows from the root of Jesse. As Christians, we profess that this shoot is…

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