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“The Advocates” – Fr. Bob’s Homily for Sunday, May 14, 2023

This will be Fr. Bob’s last homily posted onto the website until August. Please keep Fr. Bob in your prayers.

I am an avid fan of any book or show that deals with the law. Perhaps because I studied Law at University way back when in England, but I am fascinated by stories about legal investigations and court cases. That is why my favorite gospel is that of St John, of which we have so many passages during the Easter season. John’s gospel reads like s court trial, but with a twist. To begin with, it appears as if Jesus is the one who is on trial. He is charged with claiming to be God, which amounts to blasphemy, if he is not God. We read in John chapter 5, verse 18 :” For this reason , the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he was calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God.” It is up to Jesus to prove that he is “equal to God “, that he is in fact divine. So the first few chapters of John’s gospel have Jesus providing such evidence, or “signs” as they are called in the gospel, because they “point to “ the truth that Jesus is God. There are seven such “signs” or proofs in John’s gospel , including healing people on the point  of death (chapter 2) or from chronic sickness (chapter 5) , healing a blind man, (chapter 9) walking on water (chapter 6), feeding a multitude of 5000 people with just a few loaves and fishes (chapter 6) and finally raising a man, Lazarus, to life, after he had been dead four days (chapter 11). And, of course, his own resurrection from the dead (chapter 20).

 Along the way, Jesus also provides character witnesses to the fact that he is telling the truth, including God himself, the great patriarchs of the Jewish faith, Abraham and Moses, the Jewish Scriptures, the great revered prophet, John the Baptist.… Read more...

“Chosen” – Fr. Bob’s Homily for Sunday, May 7, 2023

The opening verses of our gospel today are a favourite for funerals. You can see why. There is great comfort to think about Jesus coming personally to take the hand of a loved one who has died and lead them into a mansion or dwelling place in heaven created by Jesus himself for them. And we can take additional comfort for ourselves in knowing that when our time comes to depart this earth, we can look forward to Jesus doing the same for us.

Sort of a heavenly B&B perhaps?

Actually, there is an interesting image being used by Jesus here, drawn from the Jewish culture, to do with marriage. What would happen in such a case is that the bride and groom would  cometogether in the  synagogue to exchange vows, after which they would be considered to be officially married. But before going off to live together, the bride would return to her parents and wait for her husband, who would have to go back to his father’s house and build an extension there for them both to live in. Only when the groom’s father was satisfied that the new building was satisfactory, would he give permission to his son to go back and collect his bride, celebrate the wedding feast and then go back to his father’s house to consummate their marriage and begin their new life together. You can see why condemnation would fall on Mary, when she fell pregnant during this period when her new husband, Joseph, was away building the extension on his father’s house. 

When Jesus talks in the gospel about his going back to his Father’s house and preparing a place for us, then coming to take us back with him, he is clearly talking about what happens when we die, but he is using the wedding imagery to describe it. … Read more...

“Open the Eyes of My Heart” – Fr. Bob’s Homily for Sunday, April 30, 2023

Reading through our first reading, I stopped at the words that said the people listening to Peter’s Pentecost sermon were “cut to the heart”. Because this coming Wednesday, that will happen to me as well. I will be literally, physically, “cut to the heart”. The sternum bone in my chest will be cut open and my whole heart muscle will be exposed to view so that the surgeon can carry out the necessary repairs to my aorta and aortic valve, as well as fix a hole in my heart. 

It is so often the case that what God does in the supernatural, he first does in the natural. Which is why we are told by Jesus in the gospels to pay attention to the “signs of the times” in nature, which give a clue to what God is wanting to do in us supernaturally. The Book of Hebrews, chapter 4:12 -13 vividly describes the process of God “cutting us to the heart” spiritually. It tells us that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account”.

Just as my heart surgeon will be able to lay bare my heart physically to his examination, to see where there has been damage and deterioration, and go to work to fix all that, so God, our spiritual heart surgeon, is able to do the same. God tells the prophet Samuel in 1 Kings 16; 7 that “Human beings look on the outward appearance of someone, but God looks on the heart”.… Read more...

Mass Times at St. Philip Parish:

Weekday Mass: Monday at 7pm

Weekend Saturday Mass: 4:30pm live-streamed!

Weekend Sunday Mass: 10:30am

Mass Times at St. Clare Mission:

Weekday Mass: Tuesday at 7pm

Weekend Sunday Mass: 9am

Please check the latest parish bulletin for any changes to the above schedule!