Living word

23 January 2022

Bible, Season of Growth, Teaching, Year C

Sunday of the Word of GodThird Sunday in the Year, C. First Reading ‡ Nehemiah 8:2-6.8-10 – They read from the book of Law and they understood what was read. Responsorial ‡ Psalm 18:8-10.15 – Your words, Lord, are spirit and life. Second Reading ‡ 1 Corinthians 12:12-30 – Together you are Christ’s body; but each…

Law and worship

7 March 2021

Bible, Lent, Season of Growth, Seasons, Teaching, Year B

When you were a kid, who had a swear jar? Maybe I was not the only one to have my mouth washed out with soap and water – in Kindy! I guess it worked – at least I never had to go through all of that again. No, I can’t remember what I allegedly said….

Proclaim life

7 February 2021

Bible, Season of Growth, Teaching, Year B

This Sunday is Sunday of the Word of God (celebrated in Australia on the first Sunday in February), where Pope Francis invites the whole Church to encounter God and get to know Jesus through reading the Word. The Bible is not an easy read. It contains many different styles, including narrative/story, poetry and discourse. It…

A tale of two mountains

28 August 2016

Bible, Season of Growth, Teaching, Year C

The wonderful reading from Hebrews 12 today (second reading) may pass us by, because it presumes that we have a good understanding of the rest of the book, as well as Jewish history, geography, scripture and the Jerusalem temple. It probably doesn’t help that the name of the first mountain is not even given in…

Understanding Loneliness

29 March 2014

Bible, Discipleship, Teaching, Technology

A biblical and anthropological look at loneliness This talk was given to a group of young adults in Wollongong, in response to a request to look at why in an age of widespread online social networks, so many young people still experience profound loneliness. The talk first looks at the biblical background to the concept…

The law completed

16 February 2014

Bible, Season of Growth, Teaching, Year A

The Jewish law, especially the 613 mitzvah or commandments found in the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures / Old Testament) – with 365 prohibitions (You shall not…) and 248 prescriptions (Honour your father and mother; Keep holy the Sabbath day…), was a colossal achievement. The whole of the Jewish nation -…

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…

Christ the King on a Cross

23 November 2013

Bible, Season of Growth, Solemnity, Teaching, Year C

Today we come to the end of the year – the final day in what is called the liturgical year – as we celebrate the great feast of Christ the King. But the Gospel today helps us to keep our eyes focused very sharply on what Jesus as King is really going to mean and…

Resurrected temple

11 November 2013

Bible, New Creation, Radio Program, Season of Growth, Teaching, Year C

The long journey that we have been on with Jesus which began in chapter 9 of the Gospel of Luke – the journey from Galilee in the north down to Jerusalem has finished and Jesus has made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem – which the church celebrates each year on Palm Sunday. So all the…

The Acts 7 Church

1 July 2013

Bible, Teaching

The speech that St Stephen gives in Acts 7 is the longest speech that St Luke records in the whole of the book – so clearly it is very significant for us. It reaches a climax shortly before the members of the Sanhedrin are so incensed by what Stephen says that they begin to pick…

New exodus worship

6 May 2013

Bible, Teaching

One of the challenges of anyone attempting to read through the Bible are the encounters with the chapters that contain bizarre laws or content that seems to offer no significant spiritual content. For example, if you start with the book of Genesis, the pace and scope of the narrative will carry you through the book…

Church rescued

21 April 2013

Bible, Easter, Seasons, Teaching

After these things I looked, and behold, a great crowd that no one was able to number, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes and with palm branches in their hands. Rev 7:9 [LEB] Two weeks ago I mentioned that our…

Revealing mercy

8 April 2013

Bible, Easter, Seasons, Teaching

I love going to the movies. There is something great about being in a dark theatre, waiting for the curtain to open and the movie to ‘roll’ so that you can be transported into another world. One of the most memorable experiences of this is almost twenty years ago, during my first trip overseas. It…

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…

Changed by black fire

27 January 2013

Bible, Season of Growth, Teaching, Year C

The scene that is described in the first reading, from Nehemiah 8 is certainly most extraordinary. Hearing that after almost a century since King Cyrus had allowed the people of God to return from Exile to the promised land, Ezra the priest and Nehemiah the civic official in the Persian court organise to return with…

Belief in ‘god’

25 December 2012

Bible, Christmas, Seasons, Teaching

We are told by surveys and the media that more and more Australians no longer believe in ‘god’. Yet, if you asked them what the ‘god’ that they don’t believe in is like, I would have to say that I don’t believe in that ‘god’ either. For most people, god is a being who is…

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…

The true shepherd

22 July 2012

Bible, Season of Growth, Teaching, Year B

From the archives… I am away on holidays, visiting friends in Europe. So this is a homily from the archives. In order to understand our first reading from the prophet Jeremiah today, we need to understand what has been happening in the history and practice of Israel. We need to go back a few hundred…

View from on high

15 July 2012

Bible, Teaching

From the archives… I am away on holidays, visiting friends in Europe. So this homily description is from 2009. The linked audio (below) is from 2012. Sunday 15B – The view from on high (Ephesians 1:3-14) Everywhere you go, whenever you find an accessible high place, our ancestors have so often built a lookout there…

Levitical cleaning

12 February 2012

Bible, Season of Growth, Teaching, Year B

Reading the bible is a wonderful gift. But for many people, who with great zeal and commitment begin to read the bible in the book of Genesis, everything goes well for a while. The book of Genesis is interesting, and it is full of familiar stories beginning with creation and then the ‘myths’ of pre-history,…

Leviticus and Jubilee

30 July 2011

Bible, Teaching

The book of Leviticus doesn’t get much of a run within the lectionary readings – just two weekday readings and a single reading during the Sunday cycle in Year A and Year B. Since there were none during the leactionary readings before the Second Vatican Council, this is a vast improvement. Nevertheless, Leviticus still has…

The road from Emmaus

7 May 2011

Bible, Easter, Seasons, Teaching

This powerful resurrection story is well known and often repeated. It shows the creative power of Luke’s narrative and has intrigued saints and scholars over the centuries. One saint who has a wonderful commentary on the story is St Bede the Venerable, the famous 8th century English historian and doctor of the Church. He brings…

Conversion of St Paul

24 January 2009

Bible, Teaching

During the year of St Paul, we celebrate today the great feast of the conversion of Saul, scrupulous Pharisee, student of the synagogue of Tarsus in Cilicia and of Rabbi Gamaliel in Jerusalem. All that he knew, all that he had studied with such great fervour had only served to convince him that Jesus was…

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