homily

A sign pointing toward happily ever after - photo from Unsplash
Some years ago, I knew a young woman, a teacher, whose dearest wish in life was to be married and to have a large family. However, her first problem was that she couldn’t find a “good man”. Apparently there is a widespread shortage of “good” men. There are lots of men around, but apparently not many “good” men. But, eventually, when she was 32, she found a possible candidate. After only two years of courtship, agonised decision–making and huge telephone bills, they were married and settled down...
Fr David Stewart SJ
Pope Francis said, in a powerful and outspoken intervention reported on Friday, that "The presence of God today is also called 'Rohingya'." This of course was the word that he had carefully avoided using while he was in Myanmar. This came in Bangladesh, to where he had next travelled. The report had it that he next said: "Maybe we can't do much for you, but your tragedy has a place in our hearts. For those who have hurt you, and above all the indifference of the world, I ask your forgiveness."...
Hands holding coins and a sapling.
I have a friend who is a professional fundraiser. Like professional politicians and professional journalists, professional fundraisers are commonly regarded by a cynical public as professional liars whose only contribution to society is to part the gullible from their money – a kind of Darwinian economic determinism. That is, of course, when they are not morally blackmailing overly generous little old ladies to the point of suicide. (Sadly, there are real such examples.)But my friend assures me...
A hospital room
A long time ago in a land far, far away, I once worked in a very bad hospital. It had a very bad reputation and patients didn’t want to go there. The staff were always bickering, angry, rude to the patients. Many people came to work late; some came drunk; some didn’t come at all. As a result, the patients just did not get a good service. Equipment never worked. When you tried to call somebody to repair it, they weren’t there; or they couldn’t come; or they just wouldn’t do the work. The...
Lifted hands in praise
For the next twenty Sundays, we hear the voice of Matthew in our Sunday gospels. From the earliest days of Christianity, this gospel has been the one most quoted by the Fathers of the church and most used in her liturgy. One reason for this is the abundance of the teaching of Jesus that it includes: Matthew is surely a scribe “trained for the kingdom of heaven who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old” (Matthew 13:51). He is the evangelist who offers us the most elevated...
Image by Peter Oswald used from unsplash.com
I remember very clearly the day when I realised that I was just not cut out to be the medical director of a Christian hospital. It was the entire day that I spent trying to allocate fairly four prime car-parking spaces between six senior doctors. It was a huge issue involving wounded pride, insulted egos and bitter recriminations that never – even after the expenditure of vastly disproportionate time and all the charm I was capable of - reached any satisfactory conclusion. And the one thing in...
JPII Statue in Mexico by Jorge Zapata on unsplash.com
Some people will have just one vivid memory of the 2nd April, 2005. It was the day Pope John Paul the Second died – the greatest and best shepherd of our lifetime. That is the only thing that most people remember about that day.But the other thing that I remember from that day is that it was also the day I heard of the death of Dennis, the greatest church leader I have ever met personally. (Admittedly, I never met the Pope.) Not one, but two very great shepherds died that day.Our Holy Father’s...
Bread and Flowers from Unsplash
“I am the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” [John 11.25-26]Most Jesuits, in fact I think most people who have done the Spiritual Exercises, will tell you that the most difficult time is the three days which Ignatius asks us to spend in company with the Lord in the Tomb – the distance from Good Friday to Easter Sunday.It is a cold, hard, lonely silent place, sitting in...
A hand holding two small flowers, one yellow one lilac
Peace – like love - is not an event, but an action. It is not something that is dropped on us from above, but something that we do, something that we choose.The Gospel teaches us that we are called, each one, to proclaim in word and deed that God’s Kingdom is about being centred in God, caring and compassionate toward others, living the Beatitudes. Then, as Arundhati Roy said: “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing....
Older woman holds her head in her hands - by Christian Newman on unsplash
This Sunday is Christmas day, a day when, by long tradition, all over the world, Christians wake up happy – thankful for all of the good things they have been given in life. Not just the good things they have been given this morning, but all of the good things they have received from God’s hand throughout their lives. And thankful most especially for the people they have been given to love and people who have been given to love them. This is a day for rejoicing in all that God has...

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