Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Sunday 23.3.08 Sermon

Easter Sunday 23.3.08 Can you believe it?

Imagine if you were alive at the time of the Crucifixion and you went into the garden where Our Lord was buried on the following Sunday morning. Do you think you would expect to find that He had risen from the dead?

We know the story and we have become used to the idea, but put yourself in the shoes of those who lived then and think what a shock it must have been. People just do not come back from the dead.

Even though Jesus had prophesied it of Himself; even though He had raised three other people in recent years, still His disciples did not expect Him to rise.

We might say how slow and dull they were, but we still doubt the Resurrection insofar as we still fear death, and still wonder if it is all true.

When we are dealing with Almighty God we have to be careful not to be too rigid in our definitions of possible and impossible. Nothing is impossible to God, as Gabriel said, and he was right.

We have our normal routines of understanding how things work, but God is not bound to those.
The sun rises in the east every morning and we do not think anything remarkable. If it rose in the west we would wonder what was happening. We should wonder every day that it rises at all. What we take for granted is miracle also, insofar as it happens only because God makes it happen.

We do not think anything is so remarkable about the birth of a baby because it happens all the time, but it is still a miracle that new life has come from nowhere.

So when a body rises from the grave, although it is not common, it is still just another one of those things God can do. It is as easy for Him to make an old body come back, as to make a new one begin.

So we have the Resurrection of Christ. Not so remarkable if we believe in a God who can do anything. It is no more than the fulfilment of one of His promises.

He said the Son of Man would be taken, scourged, crucified but on the third day He would rise again.

None of the disciples took any notice of the last part of the prophecy because they were so anxious about the first part. But there it was: He had said it, and now He had done it.

Still the Resurrection does surprise us and delight us. God knows that we are more likely to take notice of an unusual miracle than an everyday one, so He sends a few unsual ones along.

We wonder like children, and we declare there must be a God after all (even though we thought there was anyway), and our faith is strengthened.

Today is a day to renew our faith that God is everything we always said He was; that He does have complete power over life and death and can meet any need we present to Him.

We are like children going through a garden of delights and discovering ever new and wonderful things. Like a fairy story, except that this story is true.

Many reject the Resurrection precisely because it sounds too good to be true. Life just doesn’t get that good, people say. But it does. We are not used to it, because we are still immersed in sin and the sadness and oppression that come with it. But it need not be so, and will not always be so. There is a glorious tomorrow after the very long yesterday, and Easter Sunday, though not yet the complete victory for us is a timely reminder that such a day is coming, an eternal Sabbath where there is no more death, nor sadness, and every tear is wiped away.

He has risen. May He raise us with Him.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another Sunday Mass

From Sunday 6th April 2008 there will be a second Sunday Traditional Latin Mass at Holy Name Church. It will be at 5pm each Sunday. The first Mass will continue at 9.15am.
This way we hope more can attend each Sunday.

Holy Week times

Times for Holy Week 2008 in the Adelaide Latin Mass Community

Holy Thursday: 7pm Mass (with adoration to Midnight)

Good Friday: 11am Stations (followed by Confessions)
5pm Passion Liturgy

Holy Saturday: 10.30pm Easter Vigil

Easter Sunday: 9am Mass
Happy Easter to all!

Palm Sunday 16.3.08 Sermon

Palm Sunday 16.3.08 Conflicting emotions

When we come to Mass – any Mass – we are experiencing a double emotion.

Mass is sometimes called a celebration. We celebrate God’s love for us; we celebrate the Resurrection; or any other part of our faith; or the particular feast or occasion.

Then again, Mass is rightly considered a sacrifice. Each Mass is a renewal, a making present of the death of Christ on Calvary. We thought we were celebrating but now we are back to sober reality.

In fact both positions are true. We are doing both. We are celebrating the many good things that flow from our relationship with God. We are also mourning/atoning for the many bad things that led to the Crucifixion and its continual rejection.

No Sunday brings this tension out better than today – Palm Sunday.

We started with a joyful procession of acclamation. We relived the welcome Our Lord received when He entered Jerusalem. Our Hosannas were sincere.

Then we are abruptly brought face to face with the rejection He received. The Passion Gospel spells it out in great detail, and from there we move to the altar to re-enact His death through sacramental signs.

We are happy He loved us enough to die for us; we are happy He rose from the dead and offers us eternal life.

We are unhappy that it was necessary for Him to die, that is, that our sins had created this need.

We are unhappy that we have continued to sin against Him even when we have understood the role He has played.

The tension we feel cannot be resolved quickly, and it will remain while the world remains in a state of rebellion. If everyone converted overnight we could be really happy then, with no restraint. But in the meantime we must have a melancholy aspect to our celebrations.

Today, with the whole Church, we mourn for Him who has been pierced. We mourn for the rejection He has experienced then and since from the human race.

And we pray with all our hearts that things can be different, that He will be accepted by many, that there will be a widespread awakening to His reality and importance. That His welcome – so brief and so fickle the first time – will be enduring the next time.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Passion Sunday 9.3.08 Sermon

Passion Sunday 9.3.08 Sin binds and blinds.

Our Lord came to save the human race, but that proved to be no easy task.

The trouble with sin is it has two effects, both bad. One is to put the soul into darkness and alienation from God.
The other is to confuse the intellect so that the sinner does not necessarily see what is wrong with his sin, and does not necessarily want to be free of it.

The sinner needs saving, but he does not want to be saved. Imagine running a rescue service and picking up stranded people, only to have those people send you away, telling you they would rather be stranded. ‘I’m quite happy sitting on my roof with the flood waters lapping at my ankles, thank you. Go away!’ Not likely? Well, it happens every day in the spiritual world. People deep in sin tell Our Lord (and His Church) to go away. They are quite happy thank you, living in darkness and slavery.

So Our Lord Himself was met with resistance. He came with the offer of eternal life and was largely rejected by the population.

Sin blinds us. The pharisees were so jealous and angry and put out at Our Lord’s spiritual power that they reached a point of not caring whether He was the true Messiah or not. He had to go. They had to kill Him, ever the remedy used by bad men to remove the good.

Our Lord knew that His words and even His miracles would not be enough to convince those who preferred darkness to light. He would have to die to prove the extent of His love.

So He willingly submitted to death, something we focus on especially in these next two weeks.

By His death He would both become the Lamb of sacrifice that would atone for the sins of the whole world;
and He would be able to show a greater degree of love than He had shown previously. (Greater love has no man...)

Ironically, those who sought to remove Him only made it worse for themselves. They provided Him with the means to do exactly what He had come for – to forgive sins; to renew the human race.

People today still reject Jesus Christ. In fact they go out of their way to hate Him. (A sign of the demonic rage. The devil was outwitted at Calvary but continues to rage against any who would seek refuge in Christ.)

Just as much as ever sin is binding and blinding. Those who are in its grip will not break free easily, and part of the problem is that sin is a kind of addiction. One does not fully want to give it up.

So into the fray we go, we the Church, the ambassadors for Christ. We can say to the world: Behold, your God. Ecce homo.

You may not love Him but He loves you. You may reject Him, but the more you hate Him the more His love will be seen in offering you forgiveness.

He will not force your consent, but He will surround you with love and break down your resistance.

The poem ‘The Hound of Heaven’ brings out this relentless quality of Our Lord’s pursuit of each individual soul. He is the Shepherd, but also a Hound.

Careful how you hate Him! You might just release a response of love that you cannot resist.

Passion Sunday. Passion originally means Suffering. It also could have the current meaning of Strong love. It was love that motivated the suffering and the suffering releases a flow of love that is hard to resist.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.