Homily – April – 2023

2 APRIL 2023

Readings  Is 50:4-7  Phil 2:6-11  Gospel Matthew 26:16-27

 Dear friends in Christ,

It is best to see Palm Sunday as the beginning of the whole liturgical week. This means that from today, we see the liturgy as one big liturgy until next Sunday, Easter Sunday.

At this particular moment, therefore, when we begin Holy Week let us focus on the attitude which we bring to this most Holy of weeks in the Church’s liturgical calendar.

Let us imitate Jesus and His attitude as he entered into the first Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday 2,000 years ago. He chose to ride on a donkey and not on a horse. A donkey is a symbol of peace and humility. It is in contrast to a horse which is a biblical symbol of war and victory.

So let us enter into this week with great humility imitating the Saviour.

When we recall Holy Thursday, the Lord again uses simple things to bring our deep reality. He uses bread and wine as the food material for the Eucharist. Bread and wine are so simple and yet this is what Jesus chooses. He then washes the Disciple’s feet in an act of great servanthood and asks them to imitate Him.

Then on Good Friday on the Cross, we have the great act of Jesus’ surrender to the Father of all love.

In the Second Reading today, from St Paul’s letter to the Philippians, one of the most ancient Christian texts, St Peter writes of Jesus’ “self-emptying” in the great act of surrender to the Father.

Let us do the same.

Let us keep these three words in mind over the next week – Humility, Service and Surrender.

May I leave you with the final line of the very popular Christian hymn which we will sing at the end of Mass today – “Hail Redeemer, King Divine.”

The final line of this popular hymn is, “King of Love on Calvary.”

Let us repeat this expression many times that Jesus will always, especially this week, be our King of Love on Calvary.

5.00pm 3 APRIL 2023

 Readings  Isaiah 61:1-3, 6. 8-9  Apocalypse 1:5-8  Gospel Luke 4:16-21

We could say, from tonight’s Gospel, that “The spirit of the Lord has been given to us; He has sent us to bring the Good News to the poor…to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.”

In our Year of WALKING TOGETHER as an Archdiocese, there are many fresh examples of us walking together in a synodal fashion to “proclaim the Lord’s year of favour”. Following the Plenary Council of Australia and now preparing for the two International Synods on Synodality, these examples should not be underestimated. They are showcased in the very recently published edition of Catholic Voice.

We see it in the parish of Young’s Palm Cross ministry, Pambula’s Walking Together Coastal initiative, Campbell’s St Thomas More’s school fabulous NAPLAN results, Grenfell’s community efforts, Braidwood’s recent school enrolments increase and Gundagai’s non-English speaking students being embraced by the community.

A month ago, I was present in Rome when Pope Francis gave an inspirational talk on the way of Synodality regarding the whole Universal Church (18th February 2023).

Two important points that caught my eye were as follows.

Quoting from Pope Francis directly, “The path that God is indicating to the Church is precisely that of a more intense and concrete experience of communion and journeying together.” He asks the Church to leave behind ways of acting separately, on parallel tracks that never meet. “Clergy separated from Laity, Consecrated persons from Clergy and the Faithful; The intellectual faith of certain elites separated from the faith of ordinary people; The Roman Curia from particular Churches, Bishops from Priests; Young people from the elderly, spouses and families disengaged from the life of the communities.”

The Pope suggests that we need to recover an “Integral Ecclesiology.” He says, “It means leaving behind a sociological vision that distinguishes classes and social rank and is ultimately based on power assigned to each category.”

A second observation that the Pope made that caught my eye was regarding Synodaltiy in the way we express ourselves as Church in the Modern World on Mission. He refers us to the Nascent Christian community in the Acts of the Apostles.

He says, “In this one people of God that is the Church, the fundamental element is our belonging to Christ.” In the moving accounts of the Acts of the Apostles and the early Martyrs, we often find a simple profession of faith: “I am Christian, thus I cannot sacrifice to Idols.” These were the words, for example, spoken by Polycarp the bishop of Smyrna, and by Justin and his companions, Lay persons. These Martyrs did not say: “I am a Bishop” or “I am a Lay person…” No, they said simply: “I am a Christian”…We are baptised: We are Christian: We are Disciples of Jesus. Everything else is secondary.”

Such important Papal insights need to be reflected upon by all of us as we take the long view of Synodality in the decades ahead as a new way of expressing our fellowship in Christ.

I would like to share briefly a recent personal example here in the Archdiocese of trying to do this in a way that truly connects.

I am referring to the up and coming amalgamation of Marymead and CatholicCare. They will not be walking in parallel lines in the future. They will be working together without sacrificing their particular charisms on the local level.

A personal example is that a lovely marketing person who wanted to assist in the promotional strategies of bringing these two important agencies of the Archdiocese together visited me recently.

It sounds easier said than done!

As we began talking, I felt that here is the corporate world meeting the theological world. How can we connect for the greater glory of God?

It is almost as if it is the world of the Logos meeting the world of Ethos.

The world of the Logos is our Christian charism. It is our Johannine proclamation as an Easter People that, “The Word has become Flesh and dwells amongst us” in Jesus Christ’s Death and Resurrection. This is not something just for the end of time. It is something also for the present time. All of us as the Church and as the Logos Easter people are hungry for Missionary Evangelisation and allowing the fragrance of Christ to enter into the world of Ethos.

The world of Ethos is focused on purpose and goals. They use the term KPI – Key Performance Indicators. How do our two worlds meet and not work in parallel lines?

Let us always recall that the Catholic Church is a “both/and” community. It is never an “either/or” community.

To have Ethos without Logos will present human endeavours devoid of any transcendence that penetrates the human soul. It would produce a confused array of elite ideologies containing partial truths.

On the other hand, however, Logos without Ethos produces parallel lines that never meet with the joys and sufferings of humanity. Ultimately, it will be dismissed as irrelevant. This is because it fails to propose two ways that are full of beauty, truth, and goodness for the dignity of the human person.

So Logos must always be in a deep listening dialogue with Ethos.

This is the challenge of being Missionary disciples of the Resurrection. I want you to know that our encounter together went well. There was determination from both of us to listen carefully and define the common ground. We both ended agreeing that the sentiment and virtue of hope is the bridge that we must further explore to move us forward in a way that changes hearts and structures.

So, here we are at our Chrism Mass. We have gathered with so many of our Priests, Deacons and Seminarians and the Church is generously filled with many wonderful lay faithful from throughout the Archdiocese.

Here the challenge is before us: That the lungs of the Church, both Institution and Charism, must breathe together.

Pope Francis always begins such discussions by relying on the Vatican II documents and our shared Baptism. We walk together in this foundation. At the Easter Vigils in our parishes throughout the world, the commitments to living out our Baptismal mission are renewed.

It will mean that we proclaim Jesus as the great High Priest and Victim, especially in the Eucharist. It will mean that we recognise the priesthood of all the people of God in Baptism. It will also mean that we recognise the importance of the Ministerial Priesthood.

On this latter point, again relying on the Vatican II documents, we must repeat, and may it always be heard clearly, that the Ministerial Priesthood exists to serve the common priesthood of all. The Ministerial Priest is here to assist all the Baptised to live out their Baptism, and assist all in locating and discerning charisms that enliven the community of the Holy Spirit, the Body of Christ, the Church.

Please let us ponder on this: The priest is to serve but never dominate the faithful. He expresses his ministry in the presbyterate with the Bishop in obedience and respect. He is never a loner.

The approach that Priests delegate the Laity to service must be overcome. By Baptism, we all become co-responsible for the Church and its mission as we walk together in a manner that proclaims Christ. A special challenge today is to involve all the Laity, especially women, into the full life of the Baptised.

Therefore, we have much to pray for and rededicate ourselves to in this Chrism Mass. In a moment the priests will renew their priestly promises to serve all the Baptised, especially in administering the Sacraments and in the ministry of teaching and preaching. Hence, we bless the oils that are used throughout the year in our Archdiocese.

In addition, the priests will renew their vows of service to be faithful stewards of the Mysteries of God. This one phrase seems to summarise it all: to become more of what we are – “faithful stewards of the Mysteries of God.” For this, we pray. Amen!

7th April 2023

READINGS: ISAIAH 52/13-53:12; HEBREWS 4/14-16, 5/7-9; JOHN 18/1-19, 42

Many things can be said about this most significant day – The day when we remember the Passion of the Lord – but please allow me to offer three reflections.

The first reflection pertains to the death of Jesus as an historic fact.

We live in an age of “woke-ism.” People today seem to be quite happy to blot ouT very significant parts of history for their own ideological requirements.

Perhaps this type of wokeism is at the heart of the great detail we received about the death of Jesus. The writers of the Gospels are keen to give us many details of this most significant of days.

It is not only the Christian authors that describe the Lord’s death. Secular historians also mention this as well. There is the great Roman historian of antiquity, Suetonius, mentions directly the death of Jesus under the governorship of Pontius Pilate and that He was crucified. Also the Jewish historian of antiquity, Josephus, mentions the same thing.

It is quite clear from both Christian and secular sources that the death of Jesus was no fairy-tale or made up story. It actually happened. It is an historical fact.

All these sources indicate Jesus died by crucifixion. Of all the ways the Roman Empire could have dissuaded people from rebellious uprisings, it was the crucifixion which was determined to be the most degrading deterrent. It was slow and excruciatingly painful. Those hanging from the cross could be in a state of “almost death” for several days. It was quite clear that the Roman Empire wanted to make a public statement in doing this. They wanted to say that rebellion under and circumstance was simply not tolerated. Those that did move in that direction found crucifixion would be their fate.

Interestingly, Jesus was not a political enemy in a direct manner. We see this particularly in the discourse with Pontius Pilate. Even Pilate himself comes to the conclusion that Jesus was not a political agitator and that the Religious leaders should determine His fate. But, this was not to be the case for the reasons expressed in today’s Gospel from John.

Secondly, not only is the death of Jesus a historical fact, it is also a central Christian core belief. There is a theological basis to His death.

It is simply not satisfactory just to proclaim that Jesus was an historical character. Jesus was not some sort of Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela, we Christians believe that He was the Son of God.

The death of Jesus gives us the clear message that God is the God of Love. Love today can have all sorts of “plastic” definitions. The death of Jesus shows what type of love God offers us all. God gives us, in Jesus Christ, a crucified love.

Jesus knows our sufferings, He Himself was humiliated, stripped, tortured, despised, scorned, nailed, persecuted and betrayed.

It is always true to say that Jesus died because we were sinners. Yes, Jesus offered us the merciful face of God in all sin, including Original Sin. Yet that is not the full story. Some theologians even say that, even if we did not sin, God would send his Son into the world because God is a God of love. St Paul reflects on these Christian beliefs in Romans 5:8, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Not only this, but we Catholic Christians say that from a theological point of view, Jesus’ death is anchored in history but it also transcends history.

At every Mass we re-present (never represent) the Death and the Last Supper of Jesus. At every Mass Jesus is the High Priest and Victim. In this theological and Sacramental sense, the Bishop or the Priest is standing in for Jesus who is the Principal Celebrant at every Mass.

So, His death is not only historical, but it has also been re-presented at every Mass over the centuries. Jesus’ death is both past, present and future….until Jesus comes again on the final day of His second coming.

Thirdly and finally, the death of Jesus is for all people and for all time.

Again it is St Paul who says, “If we die with the Lord, we will rise with the Lord.”

Death is never the end of the story.

The God of love puts death to death. This involves all people who acknowledge Jesus as Lord.

Over the last couple of weeks of Lent we have seen how God’s salvation is open to everybody – the Samaritan woman at the well, the blind man who was restored to sight and faith, the raising of Lazarus and the faith response of Martha. Even in the Passion accounts, we hear of the good thief. In His last breath Jesus promises paradise to the good thief who asks Him, “remember me in your Kingdom.” There is even faith shown by the Centurion who organises the crucifixion of Jesus. As he watches Jesus die and the way the Lord calls God to forgive His enemies, the Centurion comments to himself, “This was a great and good man.” So Jesus has died for all people and calls them all to faith, to believe in Him as the Son of God.

It is not just for the past but also for the present and future.

On this particular day, let us think of our own ways when we have opted for darkness, despair and Judas betrayals. The death of Jesus re-presented today gives us a way out of Hell! Jesus’ redemption is given to everybody but especially those on the peripheries of life.

We think particularly today of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia. By all different measures, they are on the peripheries of life and we know that God’s favourites are those who struggle especially like our First Australians.

We also think today of another example, Homelessness here in this opulent and fair city of Canberra. My advisers inform me that over these days of Easter, at least 1,800 people in Canberra will be homeless each night. Here again is were Jesus’ redemption moves in their direction in loud and clear terms.

Now let us move towards the Adoration of the Cross and place our lives also on the Cross.

Following the Prayers of the Faithful and the annual collection for the Holy places, all of us will venerate the Cross of Jesus Christ. There will be an invitation for anyone who would like to come up and offer some reverence to the Cross. This will mean that we readily place our own mess onto the Cross and ask God’s redemption for all of us, including each one of us here today. This message is for all time when we ask God to raise us up in the Resurrection. As Jesus goes back to the Father in glory may He take us with Him, redeemed and forgiven in his merciful love. In this we place our hope and trust in the Lord and surrender our lives completely to Him as we wait for the fullness of his redemption at the end of time.

Let us all simply say, like Mary, “YES” to the invitation of Jesus to be with Him in Paradise.


READINGS: ACTS 10/34, 37-43. COL.3/1-4. JOHN 20/1-9

Today the Lord has truly risen! Hallelujah! The sacred text of Scripture today presents the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, three days following His death. In the Gospel today we hear of St Mary Magdalen, St Peter and St John who all go to the tomb at the same time. The tomb is empty. Unlike Lazarus, whose body was resuscitated, clearly Jesus has risen from the dead in a way that fills them with awe and wonder. It is St John who gives us the way forward. Here love meets love. The Gospel passage says, “He saw and he believed.”

We hear of St Peter’s fuller response in the First Reading today from the Acts of the Apostles when he addressed the household of Cornelius. St Peter’s summary on what happened on the first Easter morning is as follows, “The fact that they killed him by hanging him on a tree, yet three days afterwards God raised him to life and allowed him to be seen, not by the whole people but only by certain witnesses God had chosen beforehand. Now we are those witnesses…and he has ordered us to proclaim this to his people…that all who believe in Jesus will have their sins forgiven through his name.”

Here is the summary of the basic proclamation of Easter. It is called the Kerygma. It is almost as if Jesus the evangelist is saying…do you believe all this? We join the Saints in saying from our hearts, “Yes, we do believe” even if we say with St Thomas, “Lord help my unbelief.”

Another way of understanding Easter is not only through the Scriptures but also our Sacred Tradition, expressed particularly in the liturgy.

The Easter summary is expressed in the Mystery of Faith proclamation during the Eucharistic prayer of today. We will sing together, “We proclaim your death, O ’Lord, and profess your resurrection until you come in glory.”

Even in the sequence before the Gospel today, there is that beautiful expression going back to Christian antiquity when we pray, “Christ, my hope, has risen.”

We now begin the 50 days before Pentecost to understand what this Mystery of Faith is all about.

It is not a mystery like a puzzle. It is a mystery that fills us with awe and wonder.

In the last 24 hours perhaps up to 18 people, in this parish alone have become Catholics, many of them adults.

Recently I spoke to one young adult a few days before his Baptism of last night. I asked him the media question and said, “How do you feel?” He said he was really looking forward to it, but wasn’t able to express satisfactorily the other feeling he had. After some attempts, I could see that he was trying to say that he was filled with awe and wonder. Something greater than him was taking place and he was more than happy to enter into it, although, knowing it was the love of God at Easter time, exactly what that meant and it’s depths were still unknown to him. This is what Christian Mystery really means.

In recent days I have read part of a Homily that a Papal preacher, Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, preached to Pope Francis and the Roman Curia in recent days.

In expressing this closeness, yet awe and wonder of God with us at Easter time, he mentioned this beautiful image. He said, “You cannot embrace the ocean but you can enter into it.”

How true this is.

I remember when I was at a conference in recent weeks with the Bishops of Oceania, many of us went swimming very early in the morning, at dawn. I remember one of those days the sea was absolutely calm. It was like a glass sheet. As I entered the water was warm and velvety. I was wondering why the other Bishops there were floating. I imitated them. I could see why they were doing this. Floating in the velvety warm water was quite a cathartic experience. It was almost like going back into the womb, but now in a completely different way.

Perhaps this is what living in Easter is, we live in the completely new dimension of life that the resurrected Jesus offers all of us who believe through our Baptismal commitments.

So let us now renew our Baptismal commitments, knowing that floating in the river of God’s love is not a bad way of expressing what is means to be, “People in love with the God of all love.”

Let us now renew our Baptismal promises with great sincerity and depth of devotion.

16TH APRIL 2023

 Readings Acts 2:42-47 1 Pt 1:3-9 Gospel John 20:19-31

 The Gospel today introduces us to the wonderful divine encounter of the Risen Lord Jesus with St Thomas.

We all can identify with St Thomas. Indeed there is a little bit of St Thomas in all of us. We all come to the Divine mercy of Jesus in our Easter encounter with all our doubts, our egos and, like St Thomas, demanding some sort of scientific proof that Jesus has risen from the dead. We are all in a process of conversion to Divine mercy.

We are given tremendous encouragement from the Readings today, which introduce us to so many words and phrases of the early Christian community as they embrace the first Easter.

Without commentary, I will now read out words or phrases that are in the Readings today which bring forth so many Easter experiences and expressions.

We find that the early Christian community “remained faithful…they sold their goods and possessions and shared out the proceeds…they made a deep impression on everyone…they shared their food gladly and generously…they praised God…God’s great mercy…gives us a new birth…a sure hope and promise…God’s power will guard you…a cause for great joy…you will have praise and glory and honour…you are already filled with a joy so glorious…the salvation of your souls…we are filled with joy…peace be with you…receive the Holy Spirit…he breathed on them…My Lord and my God…that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.”

So as you can see, these Easter words and phrases indicate what living out Easter on this Divine Mercy Sunday really means. Easter joy in the Scriptures is not only for a community 2,000 years ago. It is also for the continuing presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church today. There is present joy in Divine Mercy Easter Sunday.

For all of us, especially “Thomas’” in the congregation today, I will give you a little bit of proof about what I have just said.

During the week we got some feedback from one of the 18 adults that became Catholics last weekend on Easter Sunday.

This person, in the first days of being a Baptised Catholic, had this to say.

“Every day since Monday people have asked me, ‘Did you get lots of Easter eggs, chocolate, and so on.’ No, I tell them, but I joined the Catholic Church…What a blessing it is to be able to bring up Jesus as a normal part of everyday conversation. What was really funny was that the first conversation took place in a Gym and other people in the Gym joined in! What joy! Joy to be able to declare Jesus and the purpose of Easter and Jesus’ love and relevance of His Church for today. Anyway, just wanted to share – can’t stop smiling – Jesus Christ is risen and He loves me. Wow!”

So, everybody, this is not from 2,000 years ago and the Acts of the Apostles. This is from one of the newly baptised a few days ago here in this Cathedral parish. Our expression in listening to that is to re-echo her final expression and to say, “Wow!”

Isn’t it wonderful how the Holy Spirit shares with us the love of God the Father and Jesus so beautifully. Let today’s Easter Divine Mercy Sunday flood into our hearts also, as we gather as a Multicultural community.

So as we gather in this Mass with all the multicultural aspects of our Archdiocese representing Australia, we thank the Lord for the continuing contribution of our Multicultural community here in this Nation.

Of the many gifts that new migrant communities offer Australia, some come to mind immediately. I know migrant groups still struggle with this, however, they give great leadership particularly with their belief in Married life, Family life, how they persevere in suffering, and what great joy and laughter they offer us all.

So to all the Migrants and Refugees represented here in the Cathedral today, please teach us more about community life. In Australia, one of the great and wonderful countries of the world, we are still very individualistic. It is still very much about “Me Myself and I!” For us to truly walk together in what Pope Francis calls, “The Synodal walk”, is a huge challenge for us.

Not only do all the Migrants and Refugees give us great examples here, but they are also giving us some of their children for life as Priests, Deacons, Religious and the vast majority are giving us wonderful Lay Faithful filled with the Holy Spirit.

A particular example of this today is that the Vietnamese community of this Archdiocese are offering us one of their sons, Mark Ha, as a possible Deacon and Priest of this Archdiocese.

In a moment we will have a Liturgical ceremony which is called the Rite of Candidacy for Holy Orders. In this ceremony Mark Ha will put up his hand and say, “I am ready if you want me to be a Deacon.” With the Rector of the Seminary, Fr Michael de Stoop present, along with the Spiritual Director, Fr John Armstrong and the First Year Formatter, Fr Dominic Nguyen, we hear that, indeed, Mark is ready willing and able to move towards his ordination to the Diaconate later this year (5pm, Friday, 3rd November 2023) here in the Cathedral.

For our little phrase to memorise for the week ahead, let us choose the refrain from the Responsorial Psalm, “His love is everlasting.” Let’s add onto that a little given the joy that is so present in the Divine Mercy Easter Readings of today. We could say, “His love and joy are everlasting.”

23RD APRIL 2023

 Readings  Acts 2:14, 22-33  1 Pt 1:17-21  Gospel Luke 24:13-35

In the year he became Pope, Pope John XXIII, who later became St John XXIII, continued writing regularly in his personal journal.

In 1958 year he wrote the following about the Church.  “We are not on earth to guard a Museum but to cultivate a flowering garden of life and prepare a glorious future.”

In the years before the Vatican II Council, which ended 60 years ago, St John XXIII reminded us that members of the Church should see themselves as gardeners not custodians of some Ecclesiastical Museum.  Using a more contemporary theological language, “We are fishers of people not boundary umpires in some Church game.” As the Lord’s gardeners, in this Easter Season, many beautiful flowers are born.  We see them in the Scriptures especially today.  These are perennial flowers of faith and grace.  They begin to show us the fundamental profile of who we are as Christians in the Lord’s Church.

May I suggest five of these Easter flowers from the Readings today.

The first flower is in today’s First Reading.  It is sometimes regarded as the first Christian Homily after the Death and Resurrection of Jesus.  Here we find St Peter standing up at the day of Pentecost with the Eleven and addressing the crowd in a loud voice and proclaiming…”You killed him, but God raised him to life…God raised this man Jesus to life.”  Here we find the basic Christian Kerygma. The Kerygma is the fundamental Good News of Salvation.  It is exactly what St Peter says: “Christ has died, Christ has risen” and we also believe that “Christ will come again.”   This is our basic belief.

The second wonderful flower is a definition of what a Christian is.  Again this is in the First Reading.  St Peter says, “We are witnesses to that.”  This Kerygmatic proclamation is not something that is just a flat doctrine but it is lived by witnesses of the Lord’s Death and Resurrection.  This is the fundamental definition of what a Christian is.  We are witnesses to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  We not only talk about this but we also live it out in our lives.

A third Easter flower from today’s Reading is a preliminary definition of who we are as Church.  St Peter proclaims, “Jesus has received from the Father the Holy Spirit, who was promised, and what you see and hear is the outpouring of that Spirit.”  This outpouring of the Holy Spirit is lived most fully in the Church.  We proclaim ourselves as the “Community (Temple) of the Holy Spirit.”  That is who we are.  We exist, as mentioned in the Second Reading today…”so that you would have faith and hope in God.”

The fourth Easter flower is seen in the very early Church in the beginnings of the Eucharist.

In the Emmaus scene from today’s Gospel, St Luke states that when Jesus was at the table with the two Disciples “He took the bread and said the blessing, then he broke it and handed it to them.”  This action in the meal of taking, blessing and handing on is the essence of what the Eucharistic action is.  We see this now in Emmaus, we saw it in The Last Supper, we see it in Good Friday and we see this pattern in every Mass ever since.  The Eucharist is where we meet Jesus most fully in His Body and Blood.

The fifth and final Easter flower is a recounting of early Evangelisation in the Christian Church.  Once the two Emmaus disciples realised that it is Jesus the text then says, “They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem…then they told their story.”  This energy of returning to where they were running from to affirm the Resurrection of Jesus to the Disciples is the essence of what Evangelisation is.

A recent example of some of these wonderful flowers came to my attention during the week.

It wasn’t the finding of a lost coin or a lost sheep or a lost son but the finding of a lost mobile phone!

In recent days I was visiting our Retired Priest’s home for Easter.  As I gathered with the priests one of them immediately indicated to me his frustration in losing his mobile phone a few days previous.  He had said all the prayers to St Anthony and the other prayers from our Devotional Catholic life which are prayed when trying to find something lost.  But to no avail.

With us was the wonderful Clergy Nurse who keeps a watchful eye on the health of our retired priests.  I could see that she was concerned to try and help but all possibilities of finding it seemed to have been exhausted.  She needed to leave but incredibly she returned back within 10 minutes.  She said that she was in the car at a Stop sign and it dawned on her that perhaps the priest in question had not checked his car carefully enough.  The priest said that he had checked the car a number of times but found nothing.  Nonetheless, because of her persistence, he gave his keys and she went to inspect the car more thoroughly.  Within five minutes she returned with the mobile phone!  The phone had a black cover and was resting on the black carpet of the car.  Perhaps that made it more difficult to locate.  The atmosphere in our tea room changed immediately.  There was great joy and happiness.

All this occurred because this women was full of the charisms of the Holy Spirit.  A charism is a gift from God.  It is like an Easter flower blooming not only in the community but in individuals.  She felt a real compulsion to turn around and go back and search the car.  Although somewhat surprised, I reinforced to her that this was not any accident.  It was the Holy Spirit working in her.  Indeed it was the answer of the prayers to St Anthony and others that had been prayed over the days.

In the light of all these Easter flowers may I ask all of you…what is your particular charism?  What is the particular gift that the Holy Spirit gives you?  What are you really good at?  What do people say they admire you for?  It is not just something you have done, although that is very important.  It is something also that the Lord is using in you for His greater glory.

In the days ahead let us think about this more fully.  God is using the gifts He has given us for His greater glory and for the service of the Church and those particularly in hardship.

Let us remember the lovely little expression of today’s Gospel, “They told their story.”  Let us remember this and be ready to tell our story of witnessing to the Resurrection in the days ahead.