Children of the Shepherd God

I am sure that if many parishioners ever bother to listen to the first line of the second reading today, they either choose to ignore it or doubt that it can actually be true. It is a rather extraordinary claim: ‘think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called the children of God – for that is what we are.’ If we imagine the love that God gives to us, I suspect that for many people ‘lavished’ is not the first descriptive word that would be chosen; perhaps ‘grudgingly offered’ would be closer.  (more…)

Resurrected body


One of the lovely things about the Gospel today (Luke 24:35-48) is that it deals with the nature of the resurrected body of Jesus and demonstrates that the disciples did not share the same drug-induced hypnotic experience, or simply remember the warm and fuzzy experiences of Jesus invoked by a vision of his ghost, and then go onto bear witness to his resurrection and commission to be bearers of reconciliation and peace in the world. Jesus has already appeared to the women (Mary Magdalene, Johanna, Mary the mother of James, and the unnamed others), to Simon Peter as well as the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Cleopas and another); when the two return from their encounter when their “hearts burned within us” as Jesus shared the scriptures with them, and after they had recognised him in the breaking of the bread, they returned that night to be with the Apostles and other disciples. (more…)

A questioning journey from doubt to faith


Although in the debate on Monday night on the ABC1 TV program QandA between Richard Dawkins and Cardinal Pell, it seemed that doubt and questioning of faith was a very recent and modern phenomena, if you study the scriptures and Christian tradition carefully such doubts and questions are immediately apparent.
The passage from John’s Gospel that we have just read would originally have been the conclusion to the gospel; chapter 21 is an epilogue added probably by John himself sometime later. When we look at the gospel with the filter of doubt and faith, we see lots of the characters struggle to make sense of what John presents so clearly in the opening line: (more…)

Resurrection Sunday

Although we profess and declare that Jesus Christ is risen, and that through the resurrection, death has been defeated – sometimes it can feel like nothing much has in fact changed. Just this morning the news announced the discovery of a the dead bodies of around 100 young men killed in Syria – many showing signs of torture before being executed, and then some 125 soldiers killed in Pakistan when their army camp was overtaken by an avalanche. If death has been defeated – why is there still so much of the stuff around us. What does the resurrection mean and where can we receive something of the resurrection ourselves?

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Recorded at St Mary’s, Leppington, 8am
E1B; Easter Sunday morning

Stations of the Cross Reflection


A brief reflection offered at the end of the Stations of the Cross, celebrated at St Paul’s, Camden on Good Friday morning.

Length: 2’15”

A full recording of the service (slightly edited to reduce some of the silences and not including the final multimedia)

Play Full Service mp3

Length: 40’05”

Passover and redemption


Although John spends more time describing the events of the last supper – including the conversations across five chapters of his Gospel – he doesn’t give us the details of the institution of the eucharist. He does give us plenty of details around the event, including ensuring that we know that it all unfolded during the celebration of the Jewish Passover. Of all the gospel writers, John is the most thorough in giving us seasonal time stamps for the events that unfolded in the life and ministry of Jesus – providing us with the feasts that provided the backdrop for the events. (more…)

The Hunger Games and Sacrifice


Last weekend I joined the throngs – not in welcoming the Messiah to Jerusalem – but in watching the new hit movie, The Hunger Games – based on the first part of the popular trilogy written by Suzanne Collins. The action takes place in a future post-apocalyptic north America, where all that is left after the unnamed devastation are the capital (somewhere deep in the Rockies) and twelve districts. The heroes come from District 12, where the main industry is coal-mining. We discover that to ‘celebrate’ the quashing of the uprising that had happened 74 years earlier, when there was a 13th district that led the rebellion [apparently no longer in existence] a contest is held to choose two delegates from each of the districts – one boy and one girl aged between 12 and 18 to compete in the so-called Hunger Games. The object of the games is to fight to the death so that of the 24 competitors that enter the arena, only one is allowed to survive – and all of this is captured by hundreds of cameras and broadcast as compulsory viewing to the whole nation. Charming! (more…)