Homilies: 3rd Sunday of Easter, Year C

My homily for the 3rd Sunday of Easter, Year C. This was preached during my sabbatical leave at a location outside my usual preaching locations. This particular occasion was a 5pm Saturday evening Mass.

The readings proclaimed were Acts 5:27-32, 40-41; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19. Today’s psalm is Psalm 29: “I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.”

“The disciples had returned to their previous lives; they had returned to what they had been about before encountering Jesus in the same place as today’s Gospel account. When Jesus appears to them, especially to Peter, the mantle of pastoral leadership of ‘The Good Shepherd’ is passed on to those who would now be responsible for continuing Jesus’ mission in the world. As that mantle passes from Jesus to Peter, the task of proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom becomes the responsibility of the disciples, and our responsibility in this time and this place.”

Review: Saints, Sacrilege and Sedition: Religion and Conflict in the Tudor Reformation

Saints, Sacrilege and Sedition: Religion and Conflict in the Tudor ReformationsSaints, Sacrilege and Sedition: Religion and Conflict in the Tudor Reformations by Eamon Duffy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this contribution from Eamon Duffy, well known for both his mastery of his topic and his clear and accessible writing style.

This book was originally recommended to me by my own late bishop, Bishop Bill Wright, in the context of one of many conversations about English Church history. My only regret is that I didn’t get around to reading it before his death, as the conversation that would have been had would have further brought the text to life.

Needless to say, the English Reformation is one of those periods of church history that have always appealed to me, and dipping my toes back into the torrent if themes and sub-themes was a distinctly pleasurable contribution to my sabbatical experience.

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Review: The Orthodox Way

The Orthodox WayThe Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been waiting to read this book for some time, largely because I wanted to explore the spiritual life of the Orthodox world. There is something distinctly compelling about the Eastern approach to the Christian life, and the Christian life is significantly expanded when it is possible to breathe with both lungs (as Popes have said many times since the Second Vatican Council).

The writer of this time is perfectly positioned to help draw the Western reader into an exploration of ‘the other side’s, being both Orthodox and English in addition to being both erudite and an excellent communicator. The bishop’s command of language and subject matter serves the reader well.

There is much to reflect upon in this volume, and I suspect that the contribution to my current sabbatical experience will unfold in God’s own time.

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Homilies: 2nd Sunday of Easter, Year C

My homily for the 2nd Sunday of Easter, Year C. This was preached during my sabbatical leave at a location outside my usual preaching locations. This particular occasion was a 10am Sunday morning Mass.

The readings proclaimed were Acts 5:12-16; Revelation 1:9-13, 17-19; John 20:19-31. Today’s psalm is Psalm 117: “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.”

“Contrary to what we might be told from time to time, doubt is not the enemy of faith. The true enemy of faith is apathy. Thomas was uncertain about believing the testimony of the other disciples, for any one of a number of true human reasons. And yet from that doubt, he was able to say “My Lord and my God!” when Jesus delivers a very personal experience to him, and to take the experience out into the world. It’s okay to doubt, because it permits us to make a distinctive choice for belief, and the embrace the mission that comes naturally from believing.”

The Power of the Incarnation

The Jesus Prayer is this an affirmation of faith in Jesus Christ as alike truly divine and fully human. He is the Theanthropos or “God-man”, who save us from our sins precisely because he is God and man at once. Man could not come to God, so God has come to man – by making himself human. In his outgoing or “ecstatic” love, God unites himself to his creation in the closest of all possible unions, by himself become that which he has created. God, as man, fulfills the mediatorial task which man rejected at the fall. Jesus our Saviour bridges the abyss between God and man because he is both at once. As we say in one of the Orthodox hymns for Christmas Eve, “Heaven and earth are united today, for Christ is born. Today has God come down to earth, and man gone up to heaven”.

Bishop Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way, new rev. ed. (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1995), 81.

Homilies: Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, Year C

My homily for Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, Year C, as preached during the live-streamed 9.30am Mass from Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton.

The readings proclaimed were Luke 19:28-40; Isaiah 50:4-7; Philippians 2:6-11; Luke 22:14 – 23:56. Today’s psalm is Psalm 21: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

“Luke goes to great lengths to focus not so much on the details of Christ’s Passion but on the fundamental injustice of Christ’s condemnation and death. The injustice flows from a misunderstanding – deliberate or otherwise – of what the Messiah was meant to be and a belief that Jesus did not fit the expectation of the religious authorities of the day. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to proclaim the Reign of God that Jesus inaugurated, not what we believe it should be.”