Reflections & Homilies

Reflections, sermons and homilies.


Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 10 November 2019

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

I am beginning to find it very difficult to look at the many images we see of people and animals maimed, tortured, killed by other humans, and of the earth despoiled by greed and war. But I make myself look, hard at it is, because I have to confront the reality of what exactly is going on-and I have to say it is distressing!

Sometimes i...

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Irish Chaplaincy Blog on Remembrance: 'You are the result of the love of thousands'

Feast of All the Saints of Ireland  with Bishop Paul McAleenan at Westminster Cathedral

I attended at the start of November two very different cathedral remembrance services, one by accident, the other planned.

The first was in Canterbury Cathedral, where I'd gone expecting the Saturday afternoon Evensong. Instead there was a 'Eucharist of the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed', with the girls' and men's choirs. I glanced down at the programme and was thrilled to see th...

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Pope Francis: Always build bridges

During his weekly General Audience with pilgrims in St Peter's Square, Pope Francis invited the faithful to ask the Holy Spirit, "for the capacity to gently inculturate the message of faith, placing a contemplative gaze on those who are ignorant of Christ." The Holy Father advised people to "always build bridges, always reach out" - to never be aggressive towards those who do not be...

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The Pope Video: November 2019 - Dialogue and reconciliation in the Middle East

In the Middle East, as in the entire world, people need to speak the language of reconciliation, forgiveness, and dialogue. Although sometimes it's not easy, it's very worthwhile. This is why Pope Francis encourages us all to become men and women of reconciliation. The Holy Father says in this video:

"In the Middle East, concord and dialogue among the three monotheistic religio...

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 3 November 2019

Thirty First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Some read Luke's story of Zacchaeus as one of conversion, much like other encounter stories where Jesus elicits faith from someone who discovers who he really is, and then turns from their old life, forgiven and redeemed, into new pathways. But I don't think I shall follow this road at all, there is something other in the Zacc...

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Pope Francis: Christian hope is like the air we breathe

Hope is like throwing an anchor to the other shore. Pope Francis uses this image at Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning, to urge people to live "in tension" towards an encounter with the Lord. Otherwise they will end up corrupted and Christian life will risk becoming a "philosophical doctrine".

His reflection begins with the First Reading of today's Liturgy, taken from St Paul's letter...

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Pope at Synod Closing Mass: Prayers of the poor reach the clouds

Offertory during Synod Closing Mass  image - Vatican Media

Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass in St Peter's Basilica for the closing of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region. In his homily, he presented three models of prayer. The Pope focused his reflections on three figures in the Sunday's readings: a Pharisee, a tax collector, and a poor person. Each of them tells us something about how to pray, and suggests the kind of prayer that is "pleas...

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - October 27th 2019

Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sometimes I wish that our readings had more context, take for instance the wonderful passage from Sirach today in which we find, perhaps to our consternation that true understanding of God means a bit of humility and less of a judgmental attitude towards others on our part, reminding ourselves (and believing) that God actually has no favourites but parado...

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Reflection: On dying in a container lorry

Perhaps the next time we get caught in traffic behind a container lorry we should each take the chance to ask ourselves: how desperate would I have to be to let myself be locked in such an airless, unlit, unheated metal box; incarcerated by criminals who care nothing for my welfare, then hoisted aboard a cargo-ship; losing the last shred of hard-fought-for liberty and control of my life and los...

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Pope Francis: Church's doors must always be open

During his catechesis at the General Audience with pilgrims in St Peter's Square today, Pope Francis reflected on how the first Christians resolved their differences at the Council of Jerusalem, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The Book of Acts, he said. recounts the long journey of the Word of God. This journey began after a strong persecution. During this persecution, Christians w...

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Pope Francis on World Mission Sunday

At 10 this morning, XXIX Sunday of Ordinary Time, in the Vatican Basilica, Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass for World Mission Sunday, as part of the Extraordinary Missionary Month. The full homily text follows:

From the readings I would like to pick up three words: a noun, a verb and an adjective. The noun is the mountain: Isaiah speaks of it, prophesying of a mountain of the L...

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Text: Fr Ignatius Harrison at Oratory Mass for St John Henry Newman

The Oratory sanctuary was decorated with same image displayed on St Peter's Square for the canonisation. Newman is flanked on the left by Bl Dominic Barberi, and on the right by St Philip Neri.

A Solemn Pontifical Mass in honour of St John Henry Newman was celebrated by Cardinal Cardinal Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, on Thursday, 17 October. Father Ignatius Harrison, Provost of the Birmingham Oratory delivered the following homily:

1. Divine providence helped John Henry Newman to follow Saint Philip's Neri's admonition to those who wished to become holy: be humbl...

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 20 October 2019

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" (Lk 18:7,8)

One of the hallmarks of an authentic Christian life is to try and act accor...

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Pope Francis: Hypocrisy kills

During his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday, Pope Francis said that Jesus does not tolerate hypocrisy. "We must be cured of hypocrisy," he said, "and the medicine is knowing how to point the finger at ourselves before God", since whoever is unable to do so is "not a good Christian".

In the Gospel reading, Jesus is invited to lunch by a Pharisee and is highly criticised by the...

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