Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Advent

many of the professions there are mentors, especially for beginners.  But you may have never suspected of Jesus having one.  John the Baptist was Jesus’ mentor.  Jesus received baptism from John.  From the Gospels we know that John was an important person both historically and religiously.  On these accounts John was also part of the story of Jesus. Today’s gospel reading from Luke is about the role of John in the mission of Jesus.

Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 1st Sunday of Advent

See the Signs of God Coming

Federal elections are due in a few months and the politicians are in campaign mode now. Their challenge is to show how they will brighten up the apparently bleak future. COVID restrictions caused a lot of anxiety in terms of economy, mental health, personal freedom, and wellbeing. Climate change and related issues are presenting a gloomy picture. Foreign relations and policies, especially with China, have been worrying many. In these gloomy scenario, the politicians are challenged to take cues from these matters and tell us how they see the future is promising. On the first Sunday of Advent, the Gospel is about recognising a promising future for Christians even in the midst of calamities.
The early Christian Community of Luke went through the horrors of persecution of the Christians by Nero and other rulers, a devastating war in which the city of Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed. In such a situation, what hope the Christians could have for the Kingdom of God? Answering this question, the Gospel uses various prophetic passages from the Old Testament, either explicitly or implicitly. The thread that binds the prophetic verses is their interpretation of the Babylonian assault on Israel and the deportation of the Jews seven centuries before Christ. The prophets showed God’s hand was at work even through the darkest days of the history of Israel. God re-established Israel and its temple. These verses are re-read in Luke to promise that the Kingdom of God will be established in the name of Jesus, in spite of the atrocities and disasters they experience. Thus the Gospel is helping Christians to interpret the world around them through the eyes of the Scripture. Christians are not to succumb to fear and uncertainty. Be alert to all that is happening around you. Find strength in your faith to see God’s Kingdom unfolding trough the events of your own life and around you. When you see the trees sprout leaves, you know that the cold and dark winter is over and a warm and sunny summer is approaching. Similarly, as a disciple of Christ you should be able to read the signs of God’s Kingdom emerging even in difficult times. As we start preparing to celebrate the birth of God into human history and story, see how God’s coming is continuing in varied ways in your life and in the world. We are in preparation, not just for the birth anniversary of Jesus, but the ongoing coming of God and his presence in our present time.

Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Once I received an email, asking for the parish account details.  Someone wanted to make a donation to the parish.  I obliged.  Sure enough I received a handsome amount of twenty-five thousand dollars.  It was given towards the much needed repair of the Church.  There was no appeal for money  made and the payment was totally the donor’s initiative.  Therefore, it was a surprise.  But there was more to the story.  The name on the email did not ring any bells.  Therefore, I wrote back asking for an introduction from the donor.

Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

To the question “How are you?”, you might answer “I am good”.  Is that the right response?  In my early years in Sydney, one of my parishioners, a retired teacher, used to correct me, saying that the answer to the question, “How are you?” is “I am well, not good”. What he did not realise is that the philosophy of life has changed and it is impacting the way we speak.  We don’t hear many saying  “I am well”anymore.  The standard answer “I am good” may be a small step, but not insignificant.  From it to “anything I do is good” is another step.  “Don’t tell me what I should do” is the principle on which some people operate.  Such an approach to life is considered praiseworthy in our time.

Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

As I was processing to the altar with six other deacons for my priestly ordination, the choir sang with all gusto, a song familiar to the aspirants of priesthood in Syro Malabar Church.  I remember how elated I was to hear them singing praises to the exalted position of priesthood.  I don’t deny that a tinge of that had motivated me to seek priesthood as my vocation in the first place, though there were plenty of reminders of sacrifices around me along the way.

Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I was new to Australia, just a couple of years in the country.  I was doing a wedding and the photographer took his job very seriously.  He started to direct the ceremony, so much so, to shoot a better photo, he told the couple to repeat the exchange of vows.  I had to tell him, “When I need an M.C.  I shall tell you.  Now you need to mind only photography”.  He was not much pleased and said, “They are paying me much more than you”.  For him money dictated everything else in life. 

Fr Thomas’ Homily for 1st Assembly of the 5th Plenary Council of Australia (27th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

The first assembly of the fifth Plenary Council of Australia is to commence on Sunday, 3 October. The first Plenary Council gathered in November 1885. The people of God makes up the Body of Christ called the Church. The Christian Community as the Body of Christ meditated on the mysteries of the Easter experience from the beginning. The New Testament is an account of the promptings of the Holy Spirit in the early Christian Communities and how the early Christians saw the world through the prism of Easter.

Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

he Taliban is notorious for cutting hands off as a form of punishment.  Cruel and repulsive as it is, similar expressions in the Bible will rightly be frowned upon.  Could Jesus have really said to cut off hands and feet, and to tear out eyes, as we read in Mark 9:42-48, to avoid sinning?

Fr Thomas’ Reflection for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Taliban denies two leaders are dead after going missing from public view” was the headline in New York Post, a few days ago, on 15 September.  It was all about the fight for superiority and leadership.  It is important to be strong and victorious to be accepted as leader. Nobody likes to be vulnerable.  In a world so crazy for power and prestige imagine someone asking you to go easy or be vulnerable.  Can you handle that?

Fr Thomas’ Reflection for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

illy said she is passionate about her Catholic faith.  I just wanted to quiz her and asked what Jesus said about following him.  She started to list love, justice fairness, kindness, and so on as identifying marks of discipleship to Jesus.  But there was still something missing which is fundamental to Christian discipleship.  Jesus said, “If anyone wants to become my follower, let him deny himself”.  To be a follower of Jesus requires sacrifices.