Christmas tells us we are valued, we are wanted, we are loved. Each one of us is precious, irreplaceable, made for greatness. It might sound overblown, even vain. But that’s what Christmas says. You matter so much, that God would become one of us – for your sake!
HOMILIES AND STATEMENTS
Why on earth is John the Baptist sending emissaries to inquire if Jesus is the Messiah (Mt 11:2-11)? After all, he has already identified Jesus as ‘the Christ’, ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world’, and ‘the Son of God’ (Mt 3:11-17; Lk 3:15-22; Jn 1:19-36).
How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.- Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, Act V, Scene I. So says Portia, the beautiful heiress of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. She speaks a great truth: good deeds – and the intentions and agents behind them – don’t just get done and then fade away.
Not a bad second best. Mattia Preti had studied the techniques of the Order of Malta’s most famous – or infamous – painter, Caravaggio, and made his own major contributions to the exuberant baroquing of Italy’s churches and civic buildings. But now he followed his Master into the Order, being admitted as a Knight of Grace, and was thereafter known as Il Cavalier Calabrese, the Calabrian Knight.
In the aftermath of the Second World War, hostility, not surprisingly, abounded. In an effort to rekindle old friendships and build new ones, French President Charles de Gaulle conceived of a series of televised games, originally played between French and German youths but quickly enlarged to twenty European nations over the following two decades.
The great Roman Stoic philosopher, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, once famously said that all time could be divided into three parts: ‘what was, what is, and what will be’.[i] The future, he pointed out, is uncertain. The present is fleeting.
Thank you all for taking part in the annual Walk With Christ procession, this year on the Solemnity of Christ the King. I acknowledge today the presence of the auxiliary bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful who helped organise or assisted in today’s procession.
During the Daesh (ISIS) reign of terror in the Middle East, the Arabic letter ‘N’ was painted on the homes of Christians. ‘N’ is short for Nazarene – a name often used for Jesus in the Gospels and for his disciples in the Acts of the Apostles.
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This past week a pall of smoke hung over our city, as the Sydney, Illawarra and Hunter regions were alerted that they were in “Catastrophic Fire Danger”.
A warm welcome once again to our forum for the student leaders in the systemic and congregational schools. I thank Mr Tony Farley, Mr Anthony Cleary, and other education leaders and staff for this initiative.