Tuesday, 29 October 2013


[The homily that I gave at the 11:30am on Sunday last was delivered 'viva voce' without notes.  Here is a rough written summary of what I said]

Its funny how having prepared a homily for Mass things that happen to us before preaching it change what we had planned to say.  One such case is today.

Having come back from celebrating the 9:15am Mass at St Joseph's I had a quick look at my Facebook page and saw this from one of my friends.

Having read the status update from Philip I began to think.  What would I have done in that situation? Would I have helped Philip or would I have remained silent with the other passengers?  What would have done?  Would you have turned a blind eye, got off at the next stop even if you didn't intend to?  It is not an easy question to answer.
It is very easy for us to be ''Good Catholics'' in church.  We are all gathered here for the same purpose.  No one is really going to challenge our views.  No one is going to make us feel uncomfortable to the point where we have to make a choice.  No.  Its easy to be a Christian in church. 
We can, like the Pharisee in today's Gospel pride ourselves on being virtuous.  We can think that we are the good ones because we have come to Mass.  We are ''good Catholics'' because we contribute to the collection, we help out at the piety stall, we help with cleaning the church, we do the flowers, we are willing to help Father should he call upon us etc etc.  Yes aren't we good?  Let's give ourselves a pat on the back.  With the Pharisee of today's Gospel let us be thankful that we are not like the rest of society. 
The danger is that we can pride ourselves on being virtuous on a Sunday, but if what we do here at Mass does not have a bearing on the way we act the rest of the week then we are missing the point.  Ad you have heard me say before:
Mr Murphy went to Mass
He went there every Sunday
But Mr Murphy went to hell
For what he did on Monday.
It is not inside the walls church where we are called to live out our faith.  It is outside the four walls of this church.  It is in the school playground, it is listening to a boring university lecture, it is in the council chambers, in the supermarket, our places of work and our places of recreation.  This is where we are called to bear witness to the things that we do here in church.  As St Augustine said we are called to 'become what we receive.'  We are to take the gospel onto the streets.
But taking the gospel onto the streets is a risky business. People will disagree with us.  People will laugh at us and think we are weirdo's for having the values that we do.  But none the less it is what we are called to do.
My friend Philip is the National President of the YCW - the Young Christian Workers.  A group of young people who are not afraid to stand up for there beliefs, who are not afraid to take their faith onto the streets - and as we see from Philip's Facebook status will encounter opposition and even violence because of it. 
Our faith and our beliefs are too precious to be kept locked up inside the walls of this or any other church.  We need to be out there and witnessing to our faith.
Pray for Philip.  Pray for all our young people and members of the YCW that they will continue to courageously witness to their faith.  Let us also pray for ourselves that we too will have the courage to follow their good example.

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