In the middle of the 3rd century AD a pandemic of Smallpox or Ebola erupted in Ethiopia, spread quickly to Rome and Greece, and then swept through the whole Roman empire. Big concentrations of people in cities, excellent roads and great trade routes that were strengths of the Roman empire, proved to be fatal flaws in a time of plague.
HOMILIES AND STATEMENTS
Normally on Good Friday I’d be looking out at two thousand or so people packed into the pews of St Mary’s. But today I stand in an empty cathedral looking into a camera. Beyond the lens are thousands of you across the country, in a living cathedral made up of tv rooms and home offices
The recently restored paintings of the Stations of the Cross here at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney are massive French oils, each weighing 200kg, bought in 1885 by Cardinal Moran from the Chovet studio in Paris. In most, Jesus looks at us, to engage, scrutinise or console.
For some weeks now and perhaps many more to come, the COVID19 pandemic has meant no public Masses. Not gathering physically is hard for most people, since human beings are made for relationship, proximity, intimacy.
Dare we hope in a world that is suffering? It can seem impossible, even insensitive, to talk of hope when people are sick or dying, anxious or isolated, unemployed or otherwise burdened.
I welcome today’s exoneration of Cardinal George Pell in a unanimous decision of the High Court of Australia.The Cardinal has always maintained his innocence and today’s decision confirms his conviction was wrong.
Where do we fit into the story of Jesus’ last week and what might it say to us in the present pandemic? Well, let’s start with THE SICK, THE DYING and THE DEAD from this pandemic.
At a time when COVID19 has taken 50,000 lives – including 20 Australians – so far and isolated us in our homes like frightened apostles, we can be rather anxious, even morbid.
This is not the first time that the public celebration of Mass has been impossible in Australia. In fact it’s the fifth time. For the Aborigines of the East coast of Australia, ‘first contact’ with Christianity was the arrival of James Cook’s expedition exactly 250 years ago next month.
Dear brothers in ministry and brothers and sisters in Christ. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all in this time of pandemic.