Year A

Behold the Lamb of God

20 January 2014

Bible, Discipleship, Season of Growth, Teaching, Year A

When John the Baptist, sees his cousin Jesus coming towards him, it seems a little odd to declare “Look, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Presuming that John has not simply forgotten the name of his cousin, there must be something much deeper going on. As we have often seen…

You did it to me

20 November 2011

Season of Growth, Solemnity, Year A

The feast of Christ the King provides us with Christ the prophet presenting this ominous and dark scene of the judgement – not only of the people of Israel or the New Covenant – but of all the nations gathered before the Lord, being separated according to the way that we have recognised the presence…

Jacaranda trees and exams

13 November 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

One of the lovely things about living in the Sydney area is the veritable plethora of jacaranda trees that are in full blossom at this time of the year. When I see one of these trees, I am often reminded of the beautiful tree in one corner of the main quadrangle at Sydney University, and…

The hope of the Lord’s coming

6 November 2011

New Creation, Season of Growth, Teaching, Year A

During the month of November, there is a tradition of remembering the dead and praying for them – particularly during the Eucharist. Our liturgy this Sunday provides an opportunity to reflect upon this practice in the light of the Lord’s coming and the judgement. When Paul writes his earliest letter, to the Thessalonians, he still…

Don’t call me father

30 October 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

One of the things that you really have to admire about Catholics, is that we have taken the warning that Jesus offers us in today’s Gospel (Matthew 23:1-12) so seriously, that there is almost no risk in finding room in the seats of honour at the front of the church – with people crowding around…

Learning to love

22 October 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

There is nothing unusual in the question that Jesus is asked in our Gospel today (Matthew 22:34-40) – students would regularly ask visiting Rabbis this question – which is the greatest commandment. When there are 613 mitzva (commandments) to choose from in the books of Moses (the Torah or Pentateuch) it is no wonder that…

Images and coin inscriptions

17 October 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

The heat continues to rise between Jesus and his persecutors. Now the Herodians, who normally would not associate with the Pharisees, join forces to ask an impossible ‘yes or no’ question of Jesus – either answer would get him into trouble with his supporters or even arrested and killed by the Romans. The answer that…

Come to the wedding

8 October 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

In this final parable in the trilogy of parables that Jesus addresses to the scribes and elders of the people after his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Jesus draws on the image of the wedding banquet that Isaiah uses as a reminder that God has been inviting his people to share in the fullness of life…

The fruit of creation

2 October 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

The parable in today’s Gospel from Matthew 21 continues directly from the parable last week (and leads naturally into the final parable of judgement in this trilogy, which we will have next Sunday) and again is addressed to the chief priests and elders gathered in the temple forecourt, while the crowd looks on, on the…

The empty God

24 September 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

To make sense of the gospel today, you need to see what has been happening earlier in chapter 25 of Matthew’s gospel. At the beginning of the chapter Jesus and his disciples have made their triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the day that we now call Palm Sunday. He then proceeded to cleanse the temple,…

First and last

17 September 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

The parable that Jesus tells today, from the beginning of Matthew 20, about a landowner hiring workers for his vineyard throughout the day – some who begin work at 6am and work for 12 hours for the agreed standard wage, and then various other groups who are employed at 9am, 12pm, 3pm and 5pm -…

Breathing and forgiveness

10 September 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

On this tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, it is providential that the Church offers the profound reflection that Jesus offers to Peter in response to his question ‘how often must I forgive?’ The answer that Jesus gives to Peter’s already generous question – as many as seven times, when the…

The way of forgiveness

3 September 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

Sometimes we might imagine that scripture is full of good advice and nice parables that are of quaint historical interest to those kind of people, but it is of little practical use to the rest of us living somewhere in the early twenty-first century. Today’s passage from Matthew 18 should provide a necessary antedote to…

The power of kindness

3 September 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

I just had the most extraordinary conversation with a random man who turned up at the front door of the presbytery here at St John Vianney. He was quite distressed and wanted to share his story. About 30 years ago he had been mixing with the wrong kind of people, who taught him how to…

Waiting for God to answer

15 August 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

This homily was recorded in the conversion chapel of St Ignatius in Loiola in Spain, while on pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Madrid, which would begin the next day. The Gospel of the day was the story of Jesus and the Canannite woman in Matthew 15:21-28 – a very strange story indeed! The image…

What do we want from God?

23 July 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

Although we know many things about the life of King Solomon, we do not know how old he was when he came to the throne of Israel, to succeed his father David. Solomon is the tenth of David’s sons, and as I Kings opens, he is described as not yet being an adult. So it…

Wheat and weeds in the shining sun

17 July 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

How many times have we heard something described as an ‘act of God’ or a disaster of biblical proportions, and wondered in our hearts – if God is indeed all-loving and all-powerful – then where is he in these times? Why doesn’t he step in and prevent these disasters? Why do we see such powerful…

Creative word

9 July 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

The Word of God is so creative, powerful and fruitful, that sometimes we need to go to a high place to see the incredible vista that the Lord provides before us. This is the image that St Paul uses in Romans 8 when he lifts us with him to see the vision of all creation…

Resting in the Father

2 July 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

As we return to the ordinary season of the year, we are given a most magnificent Gospel to land on, in Matthew 11:25-30. This gospel passage is unusual in the first three Gospels that rarely take us into the inner life of Jesus in his prayer to the Father. Here we are plunged into this…

Liturgical Dance

26 June 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

Reality TV shows like MasterChef have reminded us of the art involved in preparing a meal – you need the right equipment, the right techniques and especially the right ingredients in the correct balance to prepare the culinary masterpiece. The feast of the Body and Blood of Christ provides an opportunity to reflect on the…

God is love

18 June 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

When you read through the scriptures, one thing that modern readers might expect are passages that point to proofs for the existence of God. And yet there is not a single place that we can turn to to find something even remotely close to a De Deo Uno (Concerning One God) treatise that you find…

Come Holy Spirit

11 June 2011

Easter, Season of Growth, Seasons, Year A

This feast is a demonstration of the unique Christian understanding of grace and salvation. Before this day, although the disciples knew of the reality of the resurrection of Jesus and the fulfillment of the many prophecies from the Hebrew Scriptures, they were still huddled together in fear – until the Spirit comes – then they…

Signs of the Spirit

28 May 2011

Easter, Season of Growth, Seasons, Year A

As we move through the Easter season, the liturgy today moves in its focus from looking back to the events of Easter, to looking forward in anticipation of the gift of the Holy Spirit poured out upon the Church at Pentecost. All the readings today provide insights and guidance concerning the life in the Spirit…

Chosen race and royal priesthood

22 May 2011

Easter, Season of Growth, Seasons, Year A

During Easter we have been reading from the first letter of St Peter, and we come today to what must be one of the most extraordinary declarations in scripture. Peter addresses a mixed community – young and old, men and women, gentiles and Jews, leaders and members – and to each person he reminds us…

Peace be with you

1 May 2011

Easter, New Creation, Season of Growth, Seasons, Teaching, Year A

‘Peace be with you’ – this is the greeting that Jesus proclaims to the disciples when he appears to them – even if they are locked behind closed doors for fear of the same fate falling on them as has just happened to Jesus. But the peace that Jesus promised, and the peace that he…

Thirst quenched by living water

26 March 2011

Lent, Season of Growth, Seasons, Year A

The story of the woman at the well presents many strange scenes in this most beautiful Gospel. John 4 begins by telling us that Jesus learnt that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was baptising and making more disciples than John the Baptist (although it wasn’t Jesus who was baptising, but his disciples – apparantly)…

Changed by cross and glory

19 March 2011

Lent, New Creation, Season of Growth, Seasons, Teaching, Year A

On the second Sunday in Lent each year we join Peter, James and John to witness that incredible moment when Jesus is changed (in the Greek, metamorphoo, which you can probably discern from the word is an aorist indicative passive third person singular verb, which is a form of ‘metamorphosis’ meaning ‘to remodel’ or ‘to…

Offer the left cheek

20 February 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

A story told by Eugene Peterson (the author of The Message Bible – a translation in very contemporary English) of the day when the tables were turned on Garrison Johns – the school yard bully who had beaten up on Eugene every day after school for seven months – highlights the way that we have…

But I say to you

12 February 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

Often we imagine – to tell you the truth – that the teaching of Jesus was much softer that the hard edges of the laws of Moses. Yet – to be honest with you – what we discover in today’s Gospel (Matthew 5:17-37) is the very opposite of this. In the face of an ages’…

Blessing of Mercy and Peace

30 January 2011

Season of Growth, Year A

We begin to sit at the feet of Jesus as he shares the sermon on the mountain with his disciples (including us) and begins by reminding us that at the heart of Christianity is the desire of God that we should know fullness of life (blessing) in him. When we examine the series of eight…

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