Fr Bob Writes – April 2, 2017

Our gospel story this weekend describes the miracle of Jesus raising his friend Lazarus from the dead.  When news of Lazarus’ illness reached Jesus, he and his disciples were a couple days’ journey away on the east side of the Jordan River, an area outside the jurisdiction of the Jewish authorities who were searching for a way to convict Jesus and have him put to death.  Should he go back into their territory?  Thomas expresses the danger of doing so when he suggests the apostles should go back with Jesus” to die with him.”

Jesus did return, but why did he wait?  Given the number of days necessary for the journey and the timing of Lazarus’ death, Jesus would not have gotten to Bethany before the death of Lazarus anyway.  Perhaps Jesus knew that the Pharisees, who were aware of his friendship with Lazarus, would be keeping an eye out for Jesus to return to Bethany, but would have ended their vigil when Lazarus died.  It could also be that Jesus was simply giving time for word of Lazarus’ death to spread, thus making more dramatic the news of his subsequently being raised from the dead by Jesus.

Lazarus became a celebrity in the weeks following his return to life   Hundreds of people went out from Jerusalem to see him and hear his testimony about Jesus. This leads to the supreme irony of the Jewish authorities scheming to put Lazarus to death as well, because of the impact of his testimony about what Jesus had done for him.  Can you imagine Lazaraus, who had already died once, being afraid of a death threat?  What a grace for us not to be afraid of death, to be so strong in faith that we even welcome challenges as opportunities to give testimony to what we believe.

Fr Michael Gillessie, beloved former pastor of St Philip’s and St Clare’s, talked of his coming death as a home-coming, and wanted his funeral, celebrated last Monday, to be a joyful occasion, which it certainly was.  Jesus speaks of Lazarus’ death as his simply “falling asleep.”  May we, too, have that same belief that death is not the end, but merely a “falling asleep” in this life and a waking into the arms of Jesus in the next.

St. Philip Temporal Affairs Council Issues its 2016 Year-End Report

The St. Philip Temporal Affairs Council has issued its latest report for the year ending December 31, 2016. A hard copy of the report was available in last weekend’s parish bulletin.

The 2016 Year-End Report can also be viewed here.

To view previous reports, please visit the St. Philip’s TAC page and look for it under the heading, “TAC Reports to Parishioners and Other Reports.” Parishioners will find links to past TAC reports starting with the quarter ending September 30, 2013.

Fr Bob Writes – March 26, 2017

Fr Bob writes : Fr Denny Dempsey has some interesting comments about our first reading this weekend, where the prophet Samuel is sent by God to anoint a king in place of Saul who disobeyed God.  Here is what he says:

“As the apostles would later think the blind man in our gospel this Sunday lacks God’s favour because of his malady, Samuel judges God’s favor based on physical appearance.

Young Samuel had been placed in the service of the Lord under the priest Eli at the sanctuary of the Lord in Shiloh. 1 Samuel 3 recounts how he learned to listen to the voice of God: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”   In today’s passage, as Samuel is to select the next king of Israel and Judah, he does what we often do … neglects to ask God’s guidance, trusting in his instincts to guide his decision-making process, thus judging “as man sees.”  Before Samuel acts, God quickly corrects him to see as God sees … looking not at the appearance but into the heart.

Samuel was operating under some stress at the time.  Saul, whom he had anointed, was still king. If news got out that Samuel was anointing a replacement without the king’s knowledge, the prophet’s life would be on the line.  We, too, make some of our worst decisions under stress, forgetting to consult God.  May God catch our attention as quickly as he did Samuel’s when, under whatever stresses that may affect us, we forget to consult God for the decisions we must make in life.”

Fr Bob Writes March 19, 2017

A Hymn to God the Father

…………………Ben Johnson

Hear me, O God!

…..A broken heart

…..Is my best part;

…..Use still thy rod

…..That I may prove

…..Therein, thy love


If thou hadst not

…..Been stern to me,

…..But left me free,

…..I had forgot

…..Myself and thee.


For sin’s so sweet,

…..As minds ill bent

…..Rarely repent,

…..Until they meet

…..Their punishment.


Who more can crave

…..Than thou hast done:

…..That gav’st a Son,

…..To free a slave?

…..First made of nought;

…..With all since bought.


Sin, Death, and Hell

…..His glorious Name

…..Quite overcame;

…..Yet I rebel,

…..And slight the same.


But I’ll come in,

…..Before my loss,

…..Me further toss,

…..As sure to sin

…..Under His Cross.