“I AM” not I was

Many people who received Christian baptism as children today have little contact with the worship and life of their faith community. Their absence is a great loss for the church. But the greater sadness is that many of these people think that they are also distant from God. This is not true. God is always […]

for fathers

I took this picture a few years ago at Los Angeles Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The carving is of St. Joseph with a young Jesus. It is a rare and powerful portrayal of a delightful moment in this father-son relationship. Today we celebrate the feast of St. Joseph, the father of Jesus. […]

the rich earth

Last night at the Vigil Mass the priest used the line: “no one gets out of life alive.” It is a sobering thought and a fact. It’s the kind of fearsome one-liner that fire and brimstone sermons once relished but thanks be to God last night the priest was much more gentle and effective. Next […]

passion & patrick

Most people who celebrate on St. Patrick’s day today think of wearing green and enjoying good Irish music, Guinness and dancing at an Irish pub. Others who appreciate Patrick as a saint might think only of the myth about him freeing Ireland from snakes. The green beer and Irish dancing celebrations are great fun. I enjoy the music and Guinness even […]


I heard a great little homily yesterday morning. I suspect the priest didn’t think he was being particularly inspiring, but I was encouraged and moved by his words. In less than two minutes he reminded us very powerfully that our faith is not a project or a programme. Our faith is about relationship. Christianity is […]

friendship in faith

A couple of times each year I take part in the dialogue of the Anglican Roman Catholic Commission of Aotearoa New Zealand (ARCCANZ). This dialogue is made up of half a dozen members of each church, appointed by the bishops, seeking to work on behalf of the Anglican and Catholic bishops of New Zealand towards […]

in great company

It was a delight to spend time last night with five of our six seminarians for the diocese of Christchurch at Holy Cross Seminary in Auckland, and later in the evening for a catch-up in a local bar. From left in the pic above beside me, Huong, Glen, Connor, Jose and Monty.  Tang is on […]

now & not yet

When we hear about the Kingdom of God most of us think of a future reality, the eternal life we are invited to share with God when our earthly life is complete. This life of the Kingdom of God is a central fact of our faith. The death that we experience at the end of […]

light & dark

I had today’s post pretty much prepared when I went to Mass last night and heard a priest give an inspiring little homily. When I thanked him for his words after Mass I added that I intended to steal his thought for my reflection today. He began with today’s psalm 137 recalling that this psalm inspired […]

God first

“Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. Gospel, 9 March 2018 Last Sunday was […]

God versus Satan

Every now and then I hear from older Catholics stories of their childhood experience of preaching, teaching and parish missions that were more motivated by fear than by love. If you want to get people to avoid certain actions and to embrace other behaviours, fear is a pretty effective technique. No wonder the army sergeant […]

desiring desire

The Our Father is the best known Christian prayer and is the prayer that all Christians can pray together. Contained in the prayer is the heart of today’s gospel: forgive us as we forgive others. “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, […]

hometown stories

Two thousand years ago Nazareth, the home-town of Jesus, was very small with a population of only about 400 people. This means that everyone would have known everyone else. Yesterday was my last Sunday in the Hurunui and the morning Mass at Amberley was my final Hurunui Sunday Mass. After six years at home among […]


We don’t often consider the psalm of each day’s Mass when reflecting on the scriptures of the liturgy, but the psalm can provides a helpful key to understanding the rest of the readings of the day. In the psalm response today we pray together from Psalm 18: “Lord you have the words of everlasting life.” […]

get up

Today’s gospel is one of Jesus’ best known parables. The account, usually named the Prodigal Son, is really about the loving father. That change of name is an important shift if we want to appreciate what Jesus is teaching us: it’s really about God, not about us. The problem with this parable being so well […]