Fr Bob Writes – May 21, 2017

In the gospel reading for this Sunday, Jesus promises to send his disciples “another Advocate” or “Paraclete,” identified as the Holy Spirit.  This Greek word “paraclete” literally means “one who calls out for another”, and could be translated as spokesman, mediator, intercessor, comforter, or a defence counsellor, or, as here, “advocate.”  For whom will the Holy Spirit be the advocate?  In 1 John 2:1, Jesus is called the Advocate before the Father for any person who sins.

The Holy Spirit is an Advocate in Jesus’ name for Christians, but before whom will the Holy Spirit defend us or present our case?  Since there is no division within the three Persons of God, the Holy Spirit does not defend us before the Father.  A little further on from our gospel passage today, we are told that the holy Spirit Advocate will teach and remind us of all that Jesus had done and spoken. Likewise in John 15:26, Jesus says the Advocate will testify to him.

The Holy Spirit then is an Advocate for Christians as they face the “court” of the world in which they live.  The Spirit provides support and defence against the challenges Christians will face as they live the faith.  Mark 13:11 (also Matthew 10:19-20 and Luke 12: 11-12) indicate that the Holy Spirit will speak for Christians and give them the words to say when they are brought before civil authorities for being followers of Christ.  The Holy Spirit will not come merely for a visit but will remain in us forever, continuing to speak the truth of Jesus to us and through us.  No moment could show so clearly the convergence of these two dynamics as the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost followed by their proclamation of Jesus to thousands of people in the streets of Jerusalem that same day.

Fr Bob Writes – May 14, 2017

The temple of Jerusalem was among the most impressive and beautiful buildings in the world of its day.  The reconstruction begun by King Herod the Great many years before the birth of Jesus was still continuing during Jesus’ public ministry and would continue for many years after his death.

In our second reading this Sunday, Peter uses the image of temple construction to express the unity of Christians as a living temple built up for God’s glory.  Into this living temple, people may enter and experience the presence of God.  Paul uses this same image in Ephesians 2:19-22 and in 1 Corinthians 3:16.

The image of the stone rejected, used by Peter in our second reading, comes from Psalm 118:22 in which the stone rejected becomes the cornerstone.  The other stones in a building are to be aligned or oriented in relation to the cornerstone.  So it is in relationship to Jesus Christ.  There is an account of Michelangelo carving the famous sculpture of David from a rejected stone.  Due to numerous irregular veins that rendered it prone to fracture easily, the huge block of marble had previously been rejected by many more experienced sculptors.  Michaelangelo “saw” David in the stone and then “freed” him with his carving.  Many of Jesus’ contemporaries could not see God present in him, but those who received the gift of spiritual vision would be freed by him.

100th Anniversary of Fatima-Mass this Saturday, May 13th at 10am

Pope Francis has granted a plenary indulgence opportunity for the 100th anniversary of the Our Lady of Fatima apparitions throughout this centennial year.  Join us at St Philips Parish (127 Burke Street in Richmond) on the 13th of every month from May through October— A statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be solemnly exposed from 9am to 5pm for the faithful to venerate.  On Saturday, May 13th, we will also celebrate Mass at 10am.


Fr Bob Writes – May 7, 2017

This Sunday is “Good Shepherd” Sunday, also the Day of Prayer for Vocations. Below is the prayer we make for vocations during our Holy Hour on the first Friday of each month.  Perhaps you can pray this prayer as part of your daily prayer routine.


Lord Jesus Christ, Shepherd of souls, who called the apostles to be fishers of men, raise up new apostles in your holy Church.  Teach them that to serve you is to reign: to possess you is to possess all things.

Kindle in the hearts of our young people the fire of zeal for souls.  Make them eager to spread your Kingdom upon earth.  Grant them courage to follow you, who are the Way, the Truth, and the Life; who lives and reigns for ever and ever.  Amen.