to be holy…

I have been savouring the early paragraphs of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation “Rejoice and be Glad” which was published on Monday. I am encouraged and inspired by what I am reading and I think you will be too. Here’s a few paragraphs (14-18) in which the pope emphasises holiness as the ultimate state of human […]

rejoice & be glad

Late last night New Zealand time Pope Francis’ new Apostolic Exhortation “Rejoice and be Glad” (Gaudete et Exsultate) was published. Those who were looking for a dense document heavy with dogma and definitions will be disappointed. Instead the pope opens with this point clarifying that his work “is not meant to be a treatise on holiness, containing […]

mercy

In the Jubilee year 2000 Pope John Paul initiated this Second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday. In his homily on that day as he canonised a Polish nun Faustina Kowalska as a saint of the Church, he proclaimed: “It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from […]

faith

It is Holy Saturday today, and on this day the sacraments of the church are not celebrated until tonight when we celebrate the Easter Vigil, the ultimate liturgy of the Church year. Holy Saturday is a day of waiting. The memory of the suffering and death of Jesus commemorated yesterday is uppermost in our minds […]

what next ?

Yesterday we met Peter. Today we meet Judas. It may be that these two men were similar in many ways. Certainly they had both said yes to Christ and spent three years as his disciples leaving everything to follow him. They were both numbered among the closest friends of Jesus and were a part of […]

meet Peter

I have a deep affection for St. Peter. I think I understand him well and I have a strong sense that he gets me too. This is why as a teenager I chose Peter as my confirmation name. What do I mean by my affection for and understanding of Peter? Last year on a visit […]

Chrism Mass

This week In every diocese of the world bishops will call together the people and priests of the diocese to celebrate the Chrism Mass. Traditionally this Mass has been celebrated on the morning of Holy Thursday, but in recent decades to enable a greater number of people to take part the Chrism Mass is often […]

the crowd

At this weekend’s liturgy we spend more time than usual listening to the scriptures. There’s an extra gospel reading right at the beginning of Mass with the palm procession recalling Jesus triumphant entry to Jerusalem. The crowds were welcoming Jesus spreading a palm carpet before him and hailing him as a great king: “And those […]

relax

I wonder how you would define “blasphemy?” I had what I thought was a pretty good understanding, and then I read today’s gospel reading which gave me a much clearer definition. Most of us might define blasphemy as the taking of the Lord’s name in vain. We know that we must not do this, and […]

never 2 L8 4 God

Today’s first reading continues the Abraham story from verse 3 of Genesis chapter 17. It’s a shame that verse 1 has been omitted since it contains a significant detail: “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said…” The age detail is important because when someone is 99 years old they reasonably expect that […]

“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 […]

relationship

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 […]