Family Models

On the feast of the Holy Family, we are presented with various images and models of family. St Paul encourages us to be clothed in love as we allow the message of Christ to find a home within us. In the gospel, St Matthew in Herod and Joseph gives us two figures that provide powerful reflections on the place of family in society.

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Recorded at St Francis Xavier Cathedral, 10.30am (7’37”)

The word revealed in the sight of all the nations

We are reminded in the prologue to the Gospel of John of the incredible power of the word of God – a word that changed the course of human history in ways that we will never understand. Some of the most defining moments in human history have been shaped and defined by human words – speeches like that of Abraham Lincoln at the declaration of the Gettysburg Memorial during the American Civil War (19 Nov 1863); or the words of Pastor Martin King Jnr on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington almost a century later (28 August 1963); or the words declared by Pope John Paul in Victory Square in Warslaw soon after he was elected pope, on his first visit to his homeland in June 1979. Human words have such power. How much more the word of God?

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Christmas Day – Mass during the day.
St JohnVianney Church, 8.30am (10’54”)

Rethinking familiar stories

When we hear the Christmas story proclaimed in the Gospel of Luke, we are more than likely so very familiar with the basic story line, that we simply switch off, or switch into sentimental childhood memories replete with lots of non-biblical details. When we actually look closely at the story, perhaps what we see in some of the deeply biblical details will surprise us. For example, who is the first person who is mentioned in the story that was just read (Luke 2:1-14)? And how does that fit with standard story-telling in the first century middle-east?

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Recorded at Mater Dolorosa Church, Balgownie, 8pm Christmas Eve (9’43”) –
including part of Michael Card’s Overture to the Trilogy that I began Mass with.

Big dreams and promises

In our final Advent Sunday, the magnificent prophecies from the book of Isaiah turn with a very specific promise made to a very specific king – the young man Ahaz (only 20 in 735BCE) who finds himself hemmed in from every side by enemies. He doesn’t know where to turn and is most likely quite justified in his depression, when the Lord himself comes to him with a most extraordinary request – ask me for a sign. And no ordinary small one – as deep as Sheol or as high as the heavens. But Ahaz demonstrates a lack of imagination when he feigns humility and piety by saying it isn’t right to put the Lord to the test. A strange response when it is the Lord who made the request. Listen to hear the rest of the story and how it connects with the Gospel from Matthew.

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Advent 4A. Isaiah 7:10-14; Matthew 1:18-24
Recorded at SJV, 6pm and 8.30am (9’25”) with ‘Waiting for the Child’ by Michael Mangan.

Waiting and growing

As we celebrate Gaudete (Rejoice!) Sunday, we remain with the figure of St John the Catholic Baptist – but now, we are not at the very beginning of his prophetic ministry, but almost at the end. He is in prison because of his objections to the marriage of the claimed king of Israel, Herod (who used a reed swaying in the breeze as his emblem) and perhaps he is pondering why Jesus is not exactly like the one that he prophesied about (which we read in the Gospel last Sunday). Or perhaps he is simply pushing the boundaries of his disciple’s minds – wanting them to think more deeply and wait patiently for the answer to who Jesus truly is. Perhaps we are being called to do exactly the same?

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Advent 3A. Recorded at St Francis Xavier, 9am (9’06”)

Washed in the desert

As we continue our journey through this sacred season of Advent, we are again given the majestic vision of the glory of the Lord bringing peace and unity to all creation – all as the fruit of a small shoot that grows from the root of Jesse. As Christians, we profess that this shoot is the Messiah that we worship every time we gather for the Eucharist, our Lord Jesus. Before we can understand the place of the Messiah, first we need to reflect on the ministry of John, as he calls the people to join him out in the desert to confess our sins and be washed in the waters of the Jordan.

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Advent 2A. Recorded at SJV 6pm (8’50”)