2015 Easter Message - Keeping our gaze fixed on Jesus

Early in Lent every year, in fact on the Second Sunday, we always have one of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ Transfiguration.

This was the time that Jesus took Peter, James and John up the mountain and gave them a glimpse of his divinity - his glory as the Son of God. For these three, and everyone in fact, only the ‘man-side’ of Jesus was visible. For a brief intense few moments these Apostles had an experience of the ‘God-side’ of Jesus.

Mark tells us in his Gospel that it was these same three - Peter, James and John that Jesus took with him right in to the garden of Gethsemane. It seems they were able to witness him in his terrible agony. Jesus wanted to let them know, that even in the pain and human suffering of his agony, there was more to him. He was also the Son of God among us. Even if they forgot this at the time, they would eventually remember the experience of Jesus’ Transfiguration and share it with us.

2014 Christmas Message - The Joy of Christmas
The Gospel is the Good News of Jesus Christ. In fact I have heard it put more beautifully and powerfully as the Good News which is Jesus Christ.

Now Pope Francis has highlighted through his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (and even more by his life) that there is Joy in the Gospel - and that the Gospel brings joy.
This joy began with Christmas. It was there right at the beginning of the Incarnation of the Son of God as Jesus Christ.

Bishop's Heart and Mind - The Joy of the Gospel
In recent weeks I have been on my Visitation and Confirmation Round of the Pilbara, and on my return I moved straight into our Diocesan Evangelisation Conference that is being reported on in this issue.

It is amazing how when things like this Conference are on your mind and in your prayer, you notice the good things that are happening around the Diocese in regard to sharing the ‘joy’ of the Gospel.

One such example is of a woman and her lively children - a 3yr old girl and a 2yr old boy.

Bishop's Heart and Mind - Golden Jubilee Reflection
As I approached and celebrated my Golden Jubilee of Priesthood on the 29th of June, so many thoughts filled my mind and various feelings rose in my heart.

The uppermost feeling is one of joyful gratitude to God and so many people through whom he has worked over the course of 50 years and more.

For a long time now I have appreciated that a Priest does not just appear from nowhere. To be a good Priest requires that one must be a good human being first. Then one must be a good Christian - someone who appreciates and lives one’s Baptism. On these two very important foundations is then laid the Call to be a Priest.

Firstly then I give thanks to God, especially for my parents and family, who not only gave me the precious gift of life, but also the vital gift of love together with a strong Faith in God. This Faith was centred in Jesus and inserted me firmly into the Church in my early years in New Norcia.

2014 Easter Message - Conquering Sin and Evil?

Evil has always been a problem - and caused problems down through the course of history.

At times we can give reasons for it. Someone sent me a cartoon recently. It was of a young man sitting with Jesus on a park bench. The young man said “So why do you allow things like famine, war, suffering, disease, crime, homelessness, despair etc. to exist in our world?” Jesus answered, “Interesting that you should bring that up as I was about to ask you the exact same question?”

Other times we certainly cannot give reasons for it. At such times the problem of evil becomes a mystery for us.

Our Faith can be shaken too. It comes down to the fundamental problem that God does not live up to ‘my’ expectations. The true God should: prevent natural disasters (e.g. cyclones, earthquakes), quickly straighten out injustices, eliminate sickness and suffering and finally protect everyone from accidents, especially children. If God is all-powerful, and God is good, then evil should not be. But evil does exist - everywhere.

2013 Christmas Message - God is Love Reaching Out
So often good people like yourselves think about how they are to love God and others and translate that into action. This is important and central in our Faith and Christian Life.

Christmas though is first and foremost about God loving us - God reaching out to us in the best way ever. The next step is ours, to be in awe and wonder at this mystery. Then our response to love God and others in practical ways, will certainly follow.

God didn€™t need us to be happy. God is perfectly happy. However he wanted to share his happiness and his many gifts, so he created us, the world and the universe. God reached out to us as it were.

God has never stopped reaching out to us. The author of Hebrews states €œAt many moments in the past and by many means, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our time, the final days, he has spoken to us in the person of his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things and through whom he made the ages€.  (1:1-4) God intervened in the world in so many ways in the Old Testament. He intervened fully in human history by sending his only Son.

The Incarnation is a great mystery. We cannot plumb the depths of it. We can only stand there in awe. That our infinite God even bothers - fancy that! At this time, and for the days following, let€™s reflect quietly on this great truth and mystery.

2013 Easter Message - Easter and the Cycle of Human Life

The normal cycle of human life from womb to tomb includes birth, growth and development, aging and death.

Real growth is a rich and varied time with joys and sorrows, hopes and disappointments, successes and failures.  Then for many there is the aging process and for all, at whatever age, death.

Despite the difficulties (and for some there is much difficulty) when rightly viewed we know life is truly a precious gift and the life cycle truly amazing. It was uplifting to read recently of Pope Benedict XVI€™s visit to a home for the elderly run by the Sant €™ Edgio Community in Rome.

Age is just one stage of the cycle of life. It can be seen by many as negative, a poor time and even a useless stage.

Pope Benedict had some very special words to say to these people. They were more than words because they obviously came from his personal reflections on his own aging.

He said €œ€¦.I am well acquainted with the difficulties, problems and limitations of this age€¦€  €œAt times, we may look back nostalgically at our youth when we were fresh and planning for the future. €œ  €œ€¦although I am aware of the difficulties our age entails I would like to tell you with deep conviction; it is beautiful to be old! At every phase of life it is necessary to be able to discover the presence and blessing of the Lord and the riches they bring€. €œIn our faces may there always be the joy of feeling loved by God and not sadness€.

One of the questions that has been suggested for us to ask in this Year of Grace is €œWhere is Jesus?€ in various situations and people.

Years ago a gifted Perth priest by the name of Fr Jim O€™Brien remarked in his latter life, €œWhen I go to visit people now, I go not so much to bring Jesus to them, as to see where Jesus is at work already there in them.€

At this time I am on my seven week Visitation / Confirmation Round of the Pilbara and Carnarvon Parishes. I must say I am thinking more like this myself.

In this time of Visitation I have much work to do, with items to check as well as making myself available for appointments / various events. More importantly though, I am enjoying seeing Christ at work in the priests, people and various situations.

What do I see so far? I offer a few examples.

In Karratha people keep joining our Church. A group of six people came into the Church at Easter, and recently I Confirmed another convert €“ a young teacher in our St Paul€™s School. I have already heard that a group of about a dozen In Port Hedland are undergoing the R.C.I.A.  People feel at home and welcome in our Church. It can only be the Grace of Jesus drawing them in various ways.