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Wednesday, 28 August 2013 10:00

Who or what am I an evangelist for?

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20130828 jesus-statue 150Have you ever asked yourself: “Who or what am I an evangelist for?” About 12 months ago I was put on a gluten free diet. Talk about a complete change of eating habits! A friend from our parish, whose wife is a celiac, recommended a certain bakery for gluten free break. I just said ‘yes, yes’ but did not follow through. He kept asking ‘have you been there yet? It is just the best gluten bread you’ve tasted’. Eventually I made the time to pay a visit. WOW! I was hooked. It really was the best bread.

20130821 john-of-the-crosscrucifixion 150I think we have all had periods in our life when things just seem all a little out of control. This week for me has been particularly hectic and the experience has prompted me to reflect on my experience to see if I can make some sense of it.

I admit it, at times (perhaps most of the time) I think in a manner that is consistent with the illusion that I am in control.

Tuesday, 06 August 2013 10:00

Jesus, Joni and the Big Yellow Taxi

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20130806 joni-mitchell-clouds-lyrics-1668 150Last Saturday while driving my son to the sports shoe store he riffled through my car CD collection and found Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell. You know the song about paving paradise and putting up a parking lot. Later at the shoe store as we worked our way through the huge range of sport shoe styles a radio station played Big Yellow Taxi over the store PA. My son, who as well as being a sportsman, is a musician, playfully acknowledged the coincidence.

20130723grace-cathedral 150As a family at the moment we are making remote plans for an overseas holiday. In between looking at travel brochures, surfing the net for the best deals and keeping a weather eye on the exchange rate of the Australian dollar the task of planning the trip has brought to mind images and memories from past family trips. For reasons that I am not totally conscious of, out of many possibilities two related scenes have come into my awareness. The first is the terrifically complicated maze at Puzzling World near Wanaka on the South Island of New Zealand. The second is the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013 10:00

Sharers in the Suffering of Christ

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20130723 lewis 150In the upper reaches of the Northern Hemisphere it is not uncommon in winter for people to develop some symptoms of what has become known as seasonal affective disorder, SAD for short. While SAD is less common in Australia because in winter we still experience periods of sunlight for many Australians the winter months serve as an invitation to take stock of life as we experience it.

20130627 chloe-asa-hugo-posters 150My wife loves going to the cinema. She even has one of those membership cards that allow her to see movies at discount prices. Me, I am not so keen, so I go to the cinema rarely. This means that I often view the popular films on DVD some time after they were a box office success. True to form I have only just caught up with the Martin Scorsese film Hugo, starring Ben Kingsley. Influenced by Fr Peter Malone msc, as a younger man I was very interested in film studies and the medium of film for story-telling. There was much talk of ‘Christ figures’ and the big biblical themes as re-presented through contemporary film. However, as it is now, when I hear the name Scorsese, I think of Taxi Driver (1975) with a young Jodi Foster and I still see Ben Kingsley as Gandhi in the 1982 movie of the same name, directed by Richard Attenborough.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013 10:00

Forgiveness: Between Life and Death

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20130611 you-dont-choose-your-family-quote 150At different stages in our life we attend different events. When we are young we go to birthday parties and at adult events we sit at the children’s table. As we mature the 18th and 21st Birthday parties serve as markers of passage even if they do not really work as rites of passage. Then there are the weddings and christenings that act as markers as young people take up the challenges of adulthood.

20130530 our-job-is-to-love-others 150If I was asked ‘what stood out for you at The Great Grace: Receiving Vatican II Today conference?’ I would have to say Archbishop Allen Vigneron’s keynote address The mission ad gentes and the evangelical imperative of the Council, in particular when he explained how amidst the rapid socio-cultural and political developments experienced in the 1960s, “…the Council made peace with the world.. [rather than] try to undo the world”. God reveals Himself in all ages; in the words of Pope Francis, “time is God’s messenger… ” (12th April).

Thursday, 16 May 2013 10:00

Pentecost: Seize the Holy Spirit!

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20130516 wellplayedholyspirit-wellplayed 150In the lead up to Pentecost Sunday, Pope Francis encourages us to focus upon the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Let’s quickly contemplate on the early Church’s initial encounter with the Holy Spirit. It gives witness to how the Spirit is here to love and transform each of us. With the Holy Spirit Peter turned from being a deserter, fearful of the local community, to being transformed into a courageous leader. We might be familiar with these scriptural accounts but our Pope confronts us with the question, how well do we really know the Holy Spirit?

The mandate to evangelise comes from Jesus himself, in the ‘Great Commission’ from Jesus to his disciples which might be familiar to you: “Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations.” (Mt 28: 19 and Mk 16:16).

What this means for the Church is set out in Evangelii Nuntiandi by Pope Paul VI following a meeting of the Synod of Bishops in 1974:
“Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ’s sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of His death and glorious resurrection” .

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