Monday, February 14, 2011

Busy weekend and a homily

 It was quite a busy weekend.  The NSW Art Gallery on Friday afternoon followed by several hours wandering around Sydney.  On Saturday the Opera House.  Sunday was a bit unusual. Michael, who is fluent in Mandarin, was asked to preach at the Mass celebrating Lunar New Year at the Jesuit Parish in North Sydney.  He was a little less thrilled when asked to give it in English as well.  So, he asked if I would smooth out his rough translation and preach the English version of the homily.  Tag team preaching.  It went very well.  Afterwards the Chinese community hosted a reception.  Very good food.  We both had the opportunity to meet a number of interesting people.  Aussies are a friendly, sociable, and welcoming group of people.  It is easy to feel at home here.  The first few photos are the church decorated for the Lunar New Year Mass.  The homily is appended at the end of the photos.   

The photo below is the old courtyard at the Sydney Hospital.  This was Friday afternoon.
And why a rose?  Its Valentine's Day!

6th Monday of Ordinary Time
14 February 2011
Gn 1:4-15, 25
Ps  50
Mk 8:11-13

Since last Monday the readings have been taken from the first 11 of the 50 chapters of Genesis. They are rich readings. They are sobering readings. 
They are rich because they tell us of our very beginnings as a people.  They are sobering because they tell us about ourselves as sinners, as a species that is congenitally prone to wrong action. 

First we heard of the goodness of creation; how God brought the universe and all it contains into being out of nothing.  A repeated refrain was, “God saw how good it was.” 

But then we heard of how it began to unravel.  The expulsion from the Garden.  The first murder.  Yet to come is the great flood, and the story of the tower of Babel.   

Understanding beginnings was crucial to the people of the Ancient Near East because the beginnings of things were thought to disclose their character and purpose.  These were not always good beginnings. 

The stories we heard and will hear for the rest of this week describe one form or another of human corruption and arrogance.  Each shows humans as flawed, individually and corporately.  Each of these ancient stories depicts the rebellious nature of the human race.  We are reminded in stark terms of the primary reality of being human.  We are sinners.  We are sinners loved by God.  But, we are sinners nonetheless. 

Not much has changed over the millennia since Genesis was written.  The desire for power, the desire for that which belongs to another, the desire to be masters of the universe have not disappeared.  These desires have continued unchecked.  Indeed, one need only read the papers on any given day to be overwhelmed with tales of murder, corruption, and greed. 

We still don’t get it.
Will we ever get it?

1 comment:

  1. what is that on the altar frontal? Chinese putti? Asian interpretation of cherubim?

    and when can we get some pics of the cockatoos?