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Believing without seeing PDF Print E-mail

Doubting Thomas touches Jesus' wounded sideSunday 28 April 2019: Divine Mercy Sunday

After eight days Jesus came in and stood among them

Our Easter celebration has once again come and gone. Participation in the liturgy has probably been a deeply moving and inspiring experience for many. But now life goes on as before, in a world that does not seem to have been changed. The words of the Preface, ‘The joy of the resurrection renews the whole world’, don’t seem to ring true. As this mood overtakes us, let us recall that the apostles themselves did not find it easy to come to terms with what the Saviour’s victory over death meant for them. They had looked forward to sharing with Jesus in his messianic triumph, but now their world seemed to go on as before. It is remarkable that all four gospels tell of the ‘doubts’ and ‘hesitations’ of the apostles as they came to faith in the Lord’s Resurrection. In today’s gospel reading from John these doubts are expressed by Thomas – the stolid realist who objected at the Supper, ‘We don’t know where you are going; how can we know the way’. Perhaps we shall find the way forward in the faith journey of this Easter season if we reflect upon Jesus’ greeting of ‘Peace’...

Extract by John Thornhill sm - read more at The Emmaus Series | Image courtesy of pixabay.com

When despair and isolation gave way to hope and love PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 21 April 2019: Easter Sunday

The teaching of scripture is that he must rise from the dead

The Richmond Catholic Parish wish you and your family
a blessed, healthy and happy Easter!
May God bless you all!

Love springs eternal.  Image courtesy of pixabay.comMany paintings of Easter depict springtime: green grass, flowering shrubs, colourful birds and lush growth. That is understandable, because most painters were European and Easter is celebrated in the European spring. But it is not just a matter of timing. The stories of Jesus’ Resurrection in the Gospels also have the feeling of spring. On the sea the winds are still; the fire on the beach is kindled, not to warm frozen fishermen but to cook their breakfast; the tender meeting of Jesus with Mary Magdalene by the tomb is set in a garden; even the funereal upper room where the disciples are gathered springs to exuberant life when Jesus appears. The stories echo simplicity, play, community, joy, hope and affection – all the qualities that characterize life in the Garden of Eden before the Fall. The joy and companionship that Easter brings echoes the vitality and friendliness that on sunny spring days bring people out together.

Of course, we live through each of the seasons of the year and all the seasons of our lives, each with their own challenges. The point of Easter is to assure us that our hopes lie beyond all those seasons and beyond the youth and ageing of the world we live in. The discordance between the images of Easter and the experience of autumn in Australia actually sharpens the meaning of Easter for us. Easter represents our hope that even after the winter to which the year is heading greenness will return. The memory of Easter is food for a testing journey. It is about both memory and hope.

When engaged in accompanying vulnerable young people whose experience of life has sometimes been loveless and violent, as we are at Jesuit Social Services, we often need to renew our hope and to remember springtime. Their life can seem so hopeless that we can become locked into grief rather than filled with hope. But it is precisely the hints of Easter which we see in their lives that sustain us – their resilience, their refusal to surrender to despair, the memory of unexpected good time and the moments of connection that break through isolation and suspicion, the sudden hope that can be stirred by a friendship or by faithfulness.

The first Easter was about relationships and the change that comes when something new comes in as spring interrupts winter. It is like the first experience of being deeply loved for one’s own sake that a young person has. It is founded in the experience of the disciples at Easter when despair and isolation gave way to hope and love as they met the risen Jesus. It gives us the assurance that God loves us deeply and that nothing will be lost in our hopes and our lives in God’s future.

Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ

New Young Adult Parishioner's Group - Reminder

Connecting handsInterested in joining a weekly group where young adults can get together to share their faith, have a meal, biblical reflection, an excursion or all of these?  Other ideas also welcome.

As mentioned in this and last week's parish bulletin, the first group get-together will be a midday lunch on Sunday 28 April 2019.

For more details, contact one of our parishioners, Denis, after a Sunday 9:30am Mass or on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Walking with Jesus on Palm Sunday PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 14 April 2019: Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord

Palm SundayAs we imagine the scene of the first Palm Sunday, we can’t miss the disconnection between what we see with our eyes and the high meaning it proclaims. We see a man seated precariously on a barrel-like ass, accompanied by a raggle-taggle group of bystanders waving green tree fronds, as he makes his way through the dust into town. What it means is that the King of Israel has arrived for his installation. This is dynastic history played as comedy.

This contrast between appearance and reality makes Palm Sunday the right day to remember people who have sought protection in Australia. They, too, have come to Australia in mockeries of boats and have tried to enter through its sea gates. They, too, have been captured on arrival and hung out in prisons in order to deter others.

As on the first Palm Sunday a handful of Catholics will gather this year to march with others through their city streets. In Melbourne they will include people from Jesuit Social Services and Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum. They will march under banners insisting that these people are human beings like ourselves and demand respect. As they did on the first Palm Sunday and have done for many years bystanders will stop to watch for a minute or two and pass on, perhaps moved to reflection, perhaps dismissive of such puny challenges to a powerful State.

Yet, year by year the marches continue, gathering people who are still seeking protection, their relatives, and people who are horrified that our fellow human beings are suffering so in the name of Australia.

For Christians who march Palm Sunday is a holy day. It expresses their belief that Jesus’ way lay through suffering, torture and death to the exuberant life in which we share. What began in the humanly comic scene on Palm Sunday and continued in the humanly serious and brutal business of Good Friday, concluded in the divine comedy of Easter Sunday and its victory over the forces of death-dealing.

The Palm Sunday celebrations and marches remind us that the story of Jesus’ life, death and rising does not remain in the past but continues to be a compass bearing for our lives today. It reminds us, too, that governments can treat human beings badly, can preside over their descent into mental illness, isolation and despair, but that they cannot deprive even the most neglected and unlikeable of people of their dignity as human beings, each of whom matters and is precious to God. It reminds us, too, that we are bound to one another and that all other persons’ suffering is also our own; that, just as Jesus shared the life and death of people who were disregarded and seen as expendable, so we are called to allow the pain and desperation of people who seek protection to touch us and to move us to stand with them.

At the Palm Sunday marches we may seem to be few, as were those who remained with Jesus during his Passion. In reality, however, we are many, linked with all those through history who have hungered and thirsted for justice and for freedom for those enchained.

In Catholic Churches on Palm Sunday we hold green branches. Green is the colour of the springtime growth and promise that follow the chill of winter. The Palm Sunday March is held during the winter of the spirit, but it expresses our hope that people left to rot will be freed and will live with us.

Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ | | Image courtesy of Hermanoleon Clipart

New Young Adult Parishioner's Group

Connecting handsOne of our parishioners, Denis, would like to start up a weekly group for the parish where young adults can get together to share their faith, have a meal, biblical reflection, an excursion or all of these.  Other ideas welcome.

Interested?  Contact Denis after a Sunday 9:30am Mass or on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The first meeting will be on Sunday 28 April 2019 for a midday lunch.

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