Freedom and the iPhone 4

13th Sunday in the Season of the Year (C) – Setting our face toward the Lord.

In the first reading from I Kings, we meet Elijah at the end of his ministry, when his service begins to be more about Elijah than the Lord, so the Lord essentially tells him that his services are no longer required: go and anoint Elisha to succeed you as prophet. To his credit Elijah is faithful to the Lord, and finds Elisha ploughing Рnot by himself but behind 12 yoke of oxen (a sign of hid great wealth) and places his mantle over him. Immediately Elisha leaves behind the oxen and follows after Elijah Рrequesting only that he can kiss his parents goodbye. Although Elijah gives him leave to do so, it is not clear whether Elisha does Рbut what is clear is that he makes a decisive break with his current way of life when he kills the oxen and uses the yoke and the plough to prepare a meal for his men Рand then follows Elijah.

This becomes for us a sign and example of freedom – what it means to live in liberty. To have the freedom that St Paul speaks about in Galatians 5:1 doesn’t mean being hard pressed to make the right decision – it means being so focussed on what is true, good and beautiful that we know when and where to do the right thing. The Gospel provides a powerful example of this in the ministry of Jesus – when he ‘sets his face resolutely towards Jerusalem.’ (Luke 9:51) The remainder of Luke’s gospel will now be about this journey – and we are reminded of this decision and movement towards Jerusalem again in Luke 13, 17, 18 and 19 (when Jesus finally arrives in triumph in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday).

Play MP3

Recorded at Sacred Heart, Bomaderry, 9.30am (8’04”)

Jesus in 3D

Experiencing Jesus in 3D. Often we are content to stay with the images or ideas that we had about Jesus from our childhood. But there is so much more that we can experience about the historical and spiritual reality of Jesus of Nazareth, as he puts the same question to us that he put the disciples – ‘who do you say I am?’

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Recorded at St Michael’s, 9.30am (7’43”)

Hair and tears

11th Sunday in the Season of the Year.

Also Immaculate Heart of Mary (Diocesan Feast) and Mission Sunday Appeal.

Also the Sunday when my move to Fairy Meadow Parish was announced…

Like a great artistic masterpiece, Luke tells the story of the day that a Pharisee invited Jesus to a festive meal, and the party was crashed by a woman who only wanted to anoint Jesus in gratitude to the immense love that he had shown in the forgiveness that she received.

Play MP3

Recorded at Sacred Heart, 9.30am
(9’34” – The recording also includes the Gospel)

A priest of El Elyon

The first reading from Genesis presents the intriguing character of Melchizedek, king of Salem, and priest of El Elyon (God Most High) who offers Abram a sacrifice of bread and wine. Why is this significant for the celebration of this feast of the Eucharist?

There are two significant points of distinction about the passage from Genesis 14:18-20. The central character, Melchizedek, is only mentioned in this one brief passage, and then again in Psalm 110 (the Responsorial Psalm today) across the whole Old Testament Рand yet Melchizedek comes into the theology of the New Testament (through Hebrews 7) and the early Church as a symbol of the priesthood of Jesus and as a model for the ordained ministry.

The name Melchizedek comes from two Hebrew words – Melek meaning king, and sedeq meaning justice or righteousness. So already his name means the King of Righteousness (Heb 7:2). But additionally he is described as the King of Salem – a name that is connected both to the Hebrew word for peace (Shalom) and to the city of Yerushalem / Jerusalem. Genesis 14:17 says that this event takes place in the King’s Valley which leads up to the site where Jerusalem was established. Finally, this king of righteousness, and prince of peace is a priest of God Most High (El Elyon) brings a sacrifice (that is what ‘kohen’ / priests do) of bread and wine. So it is no wonder that the early Church sees in Melchizedek a figure of Christ.