Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword - Winners
Introduction: "Winners are grinners" we are told, and daily we are given images and accounts of our champions training, pounding the pavement, pressing iron, undergoing training camps with the army etc., and all of this with a mind to "winning". As the comic strip character Charlie Brown commented, "Winning isn't everything; but losing isn't anything"!

There is one area of contest where this is particularly true - the arena of life where constantly we are called upon to match our strength and skills with the forces of sin, evil and, finally, death. St. Paul frequently drew this parallel between the physical and spiritual contest in life, and pointed out that the same, if not greater, degree of preparation is required if we are to achieve the prize. "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us" (1 Cor. 9.24), Our calling as followers of Christ definitely involves us in this spiritual contest, and the season of Lent is a reminder of the areas of training that constantly need our attention

The name "Lent" derives from an old English word meaning springtime. It has its origins in the early 4th century and has been observed since then to mark the forty days fast Christ spent in the desert preparing for his public minsitry. In recent years, the Church has laid less emphasis on definite fasting laws to give greater emphasis to the urgent summons that goes out to all Christians at this time to turn back, to repent It is a time of sober realism, of reflection and of recollection - "Remember man that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return". It is, above all, a time in which we seek to deepen our sense of God's presence in our lives.

There are three focal points to Lent - Prayer, Almsgiving and Fasting - each designed to make us more aware of the divine presence in us. When we pray, let it be more from the heart than from routine; more a time of worship, praise and thanksgiving. Almsgiving is also important because it counteracts the ever present tendency to selfishness. Project Compassion offers a practical channel through which we satisfy this Lenten purpose. It reminds us of a broader world and life, and lifts us from the narrow compass of our own problems by making us aware of the greater needs of those around us. Finally, fasting! Enabling us to exercise control over our natural appetites so as to be able to control our spiritual selves. Universally, religious tradition in both and East and West have considered fasting vital for spiritual progress.

In conclusion, may we enter this season of Lent in the hope that we may learn a little more about ourselves, a little more about others, and a great deal more about the Divine Presence in each of us. That way we can be sure of sharing the victory gained by Christ over sin, evil and death.

Scriptural reference: "for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith." 1 John 5:4

Vision Statement

We are:

* a welcoming community which reaches out to all
* celebrating Christ's presence
* joyfully living out our Christian calling across distance and diversity

This vision states that as a Diocese, we aim to be a welcoming, missionary, centred on Christ, and each striving to live one's particular vocation. It is in living out our calling that we praise God, follow Christ, influence society and achieve the goal of eternal life won for us by Christ. In the parishes we have encouraged people to measure whatever they do against this Diocesan vision.

Catholic Diocese

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Cathedral Parish Ph: +61 8 9964 1608 (diverts a/hrs)