Nov 10, 2011

the garden

One of life’s little satisfactions is to spend time in the garden. Yes, sitting under a tree with a book is pleasurable. But just as satisfying is being down on hands and knees with a fork and shears, weeding and pruning, planting and watering.

The presbytery garden is flourishing this week. Irises and Peonies are blooming outside my window. The roses will join the display in a couple of weeks.

Last week I planted a couple of tomato seedlings.  I’m a bit late with those, so (as usual) they will be ready for harvest when the supermarket is selling a dozen tomatoes for three cents.

You have probably heard the story of the proud gardener who was showing off her beds (of flowers) to the fervent Christian. “Isn’t it great what God has done here” the Christian mused.  “What God has done?” the gardener retorted; “you should have seen the mess God had it in before I took over!”

As I look around the garden I see that even after my work, I can do nothing to make the bulbs bloom and the seedlings mature to produce fruit and flowers. Gardeners have to be patient. Yes, we water and weed and fertilise, but the harvest is God’s work.


The gardening image has always been a powerful picture of the heart of hope for me.  Hope is the healthiest human state. We can never be fully satisfied by any possession, project, career or relationship. God has planted in the human heart a quiverring restlessness. Awareness of this inner longing is not a sign of a human flaw.  Instead this is a gift which perpetually propels me into the future, the future that is the eternal fulness of all we can ever hope for.

Looking forward to the new prayers of the Mass

There are many things I hope for. In recent weeks I have been looking forward to the introduction of the complete Roman Missal on the First Sunday of Advent later this month.

Today we heard that the when the printing was completed and the Altar Missal’s delivered, they were discovered to be not up to the appropriate standard.  This means that it will be a few more weeks that we have to wait (as the Missals are reprinted) before we hear the beauty of these revised prayers. 

This little disappointment reminds us that even when projects that are meticulously well planned and executed, they can disappoint us at the last minute. At least with the Missal, we know that the revised texts we have seen online, will be worth waiting for.

First Communion and Baptisms

The celebration of a sacrament is always an experience of hope, as God tangibly, audibly and visibly enters our human lives. Next Sunday at the 10am Mass we celebrate the First Communion and Baptism of a number of parish children.  We pray for them as they experience God with them in these two great sacraments of initiation.

And then we hope as many parishioners as able will join us for refreshments after the Mass.  I hope the weather is fine so that we can do as we have done in recent years and picnic in the presbytery garden.  I might even mow the lawns.


Sunday Readings 13 November 2011

Commentary on the readings for Sunday 13 November

Preparation for Receiving the Third Edition of the Roman Missal

Note: If you are reading this on the Christchurch Diocese website, you can receive these (and other) updates and reflections directly from one of the links below:


Link to this week’s parishes’ newsletter 

(Our Lady of Victories Sockburn, St. Joseph’s Darfield, St Therese of Lisieux Chatham Islands):      



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