The Reverend Canon Dr. Ray Cleary – Sermon for the Second Sunday of Advent

This time two years ago I had the privilege of leading the Ordination Retreat for 7 people, {2 deacons and 5 priests} in the Diocese of Newcastle. The retreat was held at a Holiday Park on the shore of lake Myall about 120 kilometers north of Newcastle. It is a beautiful location with much bird life and sanctuary for a wide variety of animals. Although I was a little apprehensive about a holiday as avenue for a retreat the location was ideal and provided the space for the candidates to spend time in;

  • Reading the scriptures
  • Prayer and worship
  • Silent refection
  • Walking and swimming
  • Discussion

I was reminded of the retreat experience when reflecting on our readings for the day that centre on the wilderness, places that allow us to explore, reflect and engage with the divine in places like Myall Shore national park, but also deserts and mountains that are in abundance here in Australia.

Speaking with family friends last week, once very regular church attenders, they spoke about how with the business of their lives Church has become less important and they seek and find God on their weekend travels into the mountains of Gippsland, walking and experiencing profound moments of faith on their journey. Others of my friends express similar sentiments, less committed to the Church as an institution but committed to the Christian narrative, although as I point out to them that does not equal belief.

I love camping in the desert. I could be called an outback junkie. Camped at night along the road to Birdsville or the Onadattta track, under the stars with a roaring fire and a good bottle of red or port is heavenly for me. Here I solve the problems of the world and my dreams for our country, for the children of the future, take shape. I say to myself if I was in charge there would be no more of this or that and we would love one another in true Christian spirit. Romanticism you may say. This is my idea of heaven-a place of hope, a space for reflection and inspiration. As I look up at the Milky Way, the magnitude and wonder of the universe is awe-inspiring and the place of we humans put into perspective. To suggest that all this has no meaning and that there is no meaning in life, other than to live for the day, or that we are all simply a freak outcome, seems to me to lack imagination and a sense of mystery and wonder. To even contemplate that humanity has it alone in the universe or is in charge, is I believe an affront to the universe and the world as we experience it.

The wilderness experience runs deep in the lives of the people of Israel, through the desert to the Promised Land. In the writings of the prophets God leads the people into the wilderness so he can speak tenderly with them. The spirit led Jesus, at the beginning of his ministry into the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil to aspire to status, wealth and power

How do you approach a wilderness experience? Sometimes they can be unwelcome and unexpected sparked by;

  • The death of a loved one
  • The onset of an illness
  • A troubled marriage or relationship
  • The resignation of staff person
  • Hurt inflicted when least expected.

There are other times when we are called to explore the dark and difficult times in our lives where God may seem absent or at best less than helpful. In those times the space of wilderness may be challenging as we grapple with the issues at hand. A wilderness space is not only a physical place to be experienced but also one of the mind. Wilderness, going into a space unknown or unchartered can be illuminating and enriching as well as disturbing or frightening. The latter is very common I am told for those men and women returning from active service and for members of the police, fire services and paramedics who are often the first on the scene for road accidents or other tragedies.

There is another experience of wilderness that many Christians feel in today’s world, with the marginalization and even the mocking of faith, and the trials we often experience of seeking to hold fast to our faith in these challenging times. Often in spite of all our best efforts results seem minuscule and we wonder about the future. Old Testament scholar Walter Bruggerman speaks about these times, as in part, the exile experience travelling in the wilderness of being the faithful remnant of God’s people. He goes onto say that being in exile also brings hope.

The season of Advent symbolizes the end of God’s absence and the period of expecting and waiting in hope. There is no doubt that we need more wilderness opportunities as we begin the journey to Bethlehem. We need at a practical level, wilderness to restore our tiredness and urban living and busy life. We need wilderness to find the hope that is within us and to encourage us amidst the challenges of our times.

In the wilderness John the Baptist, the Wildman of the desert, announces the coming of the Lord. The power brokers who are both bewildered and afraid challenge him. Out of the wilderness comes the bearer of Good news. A new story is to unfold. He is the pointer to the one who is to follow, Jesus. John’s announcement, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand “ is a reference to a new order. John spoke plain and people believed him.

As we move forward this Advent may we use this time to reflect wisely and to prepare our lives for the building of God’s Kingdom, to share afresh the news of salvation, to be the prophets of our times even a modern John or Jill the Baptist. Perhaps even as I suggested last Sunday evening we could become wild men and women of faith, so passionate, that what we say and do stands out as counter culture to the commercialization and crassness of so much of Christmas celebrations in out times.

Our mission this Advent is to embrace what God says is possible, and to believe that what God says is possible and to believe that what God says will be so. The call is to focus our lives on the essentials, to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and to find him in the places we least expect.

God has assured us that he loves the world despite our brokenness and behavior towards each other and the whole of creation, by sending his presence in the person of Jesus so that we can be reconciled to God and to each other. God shares in our wilderness with his presence among us. As we continue our journey this Advent may we be a people of hope and joy as we celebrate the birth of the Christ child, God with us in our times.


Locum Letter for Advent 2


The presence of wilderness is present on many occasions throughout scripture. The wilderness experience runs deep with the people of God as scripture describes the journey of the people of Israel through the desert to the Promised Land. In Australia we are fighting to preserve what we describe as wilderness, both rugged mountain ranges with their rivers and foliage, and the vast open spaces of wilderness deserts. Today we increasingly recognize the importance of wilderness as spiritual space as well as a place of sustenance and renewal in our rapidly expanding urban environment. As I travel into the outback of this land I reflect on how for over 60000 years the indigenous people roamed and lived without all the modern comforts of today. At night sitting under the stars with a glass of Port in one hand, the majesty and awe of the Milky Way reminds me of the beauty of the creation stories in Genesis and the mystery of life itself.

In the wilderness we are able to take stock, reflect and refuel ourselves on many fronts. I find it restores my soul, cynicism and disillusionment with many aspects of contemporary society and restores my hope.

What place does wilderness have in your life? Are you able to find a wilderness time and space for your own reflection and preparations at this busy time of the year? Are you able to find the time to prepare the way of the Lord? Yes we are all fragile and less than perfect but also have the capacity for others to see good in our lives and the possibility of the new heaven and earth. The wilderness can provide the space and the occasion for this experience.

Finally I have left a small Advent booklet from Anglican Overseas Aid that I encourage you to use this Advent for personal refection and study.



The Reverend Canon Dr. Ray Cleary – Sermon for the First Sunday of Advent

ADVENT 1 – 2017

St Georges Ivanhoe East

Helder Camara – onetime Catholic Archbishop in South America, a strong advocate for the poor and dispossessed, and a champion of Human Rights, wrote these words:

“When I dream alone

that remains a dream;

When we dream together

that is the beginning of reality.”

Most of us dream from time to time. Our dreams can be imaginative thoughts we experience while awake or asleep. Sometimes we indulge our dreams with wishful thinking or fantasies. Our indigenous brothers and sisters describe their history, spirituality and culture in what they describe as the “dreamtime’, the place and space for their beliefs and understanding of life and its relationship with Mother Earth. I wonder what you dreamed about last night. {Do not worry you do not have to share them}

In our sleep, dreams often appear to come from nowhere. Where did that come from we ask ourselves. Some of our dreams frighten us because they raise aspects of our thoughts that we find distasteful or painful and often challenge our identity of who we believe we think we are. We wonder where such ideas, thoughts or experiences have come from.

Parents, at the birth of a child, couples who commit themselves to marriage, or a new graduate entering their chosen profession, dream and hope for the future. Dreams and hopes give us adrenalin; they provide the impetus for our daily living and our relationships. Sometimes our dreams can be impractical or impossible to us but not to others.

Dreaming and hoping seems to be difficult for many of us in our own Church. We often want to cling to the familiar and comfortable and seem unable to dream of a future that embraces the different or challenging.

In a visit to Australia in 2002, the now Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, spoke about the task of the Church as being to inspire the people of God to express the hope of God’s dream for the creation, and to be distinctive by its prayer and worship. He went on to say how worship is the drawing together of the earthly life and human experiences we all share together, and when our Eucharistic gatherings are devoid of the experiences of our human family, our worship is diminished.

Like the wider community, we are tempted are we not to put aside our dreams and possibilities that may be too challenging and costly, or that threatens us and divert our thoughts into reality TV, backyard renovations, the Great Outdoors and, in my case, Irish music.

Today, we begin the season of Advent:

  • A time of waiting;

  • A time of reflection;

  • A time for preparation;

  • A time for dreaming and hoping.

We are invited by the Church to hope for what God has promised. Advent, taken seriously, has the potential to disrupt us and call us a fresh to look at what is happening in our Church, in our relationships, in the workplace and wider community.

It is a call to model our own leadership as the ‘body of Christ’, on the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus, not as some magical, mystical hour upon which he is to return in the future, but in the present, while we wait and live between the beginning and end of God’s time. At our Annual meeting that follows this service dare we hope to dream what may be possible for this parish? Are we prepared to embrace a leadership model that seeks to engage beyond ourselves and to reflect our Lord’s passion for all in need?

Advent reminds us that ‘waiting upon God’ is an important ingredient in our Christian journey, and that our dreams, may not be God’s. Advent reminds us to be patient, alert and ever ready to embrace the disturbing actions of the Holy Spirit of God. Advent calls us to look afresh at Scripture and to apply our God given intellect and the wisdom and traditions of the Church to the issues of the day. To identify the stumbling blocks which divert our attention, or cause us to retreat into our cocoon, or the safety of the sanctuary?

Advent calls us to prepare to receive and celebrate the holiness and mystery of life as experienced and told in the story of the Christ child. Our faith is what we say today as counter culture. It challenges those who wish to dismiss the birth of Christ at Christmas and to rename Christmas trees as Holiday trees or to exclude nativity scenes or to sing carols at schools and in other public places.

As we gather as a faith community this day, our very act of worship, the words, symbols and actions of our Eucharist together is a sign of new life, hope and promise as we say in the words of the second form of the Great Thanksgiving prayer:

‘At the dawn of time you wrought from nothing,

a universe of beauty and splendour,

Bringing light from darkness and order from chaos.’

So, as we gather on this Advent Sunday, I invite you to journey with me and the whole Church, to dream about the possible, to set aside the distractions, to revisit the great Christian claim and fundamental, that whoever we are, and whatever the distractions and challenges we face, God loves us, and we are to love another.

As we observe Advent, and focus our thoughts on Christmas, the Baby born at Bethlehem, fulfils the promise and hopes of the Hebrew Scriptures, but does much more; the baby becomes the promise of much more – the promise of God. We no longer await his birth, but the return. Dreaming the impossible dream for a creation and humanity at one with God and each other is the dream of God. He offers this dream and invites us to share it with him.

May your dreams this Advent be for God’s Kingdom. May they be filled with passion, creativity, and rejoicing, confident that in our dreams for a better world, so there will be God.


Locum Letter for Advent 1.

Locum Letter for Advent 1

Today we begin the season of Advent and over the next four Sundays we will be challenged by our readings each Sunday to prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus among us as a human child. In my younger day Advent was much the same as Lent, a penitential time of fasting, prayer and almsgiving. While elements of these themes remain the season of Advent has been balanced by the themes of hope and expectation.

During the next four weeks we are invited to look and listen, to open our eyes to the world around us and to look for the one who is to come and who is already among us and in the places we may least expect to find him.

Today’s three readings proclaim the day of the Lord and as disciples and followers of Christ we are called to watch and pray. We are however not to use the season of Advent to beat ourselves with a stick or to fear remorseful for past mistakes. It is not to burden us with guilt.

Advent is to be a positive experience for all and a time to evaluate our own faith journey and to enjoy the fullness of the Christmas message of peace and goodwill.




Locum Letter – Christ the King

Locum Letter

Today we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King against a context where those who set the agenda for the world are those who control the corridors of power. Democracy appears to be fragile. Democratically elected governments across the world are in trouble with voters of all political persuasions tired of rhetoric, the pursuit of ideology as an end in itself, self interest and short term gain. New political parties are emerging in this environment appealing to fringe attitudes and being a less tolerant and compassionate community.

In Australia we are privileged to live in a society that prides itself on respect for others, a universal health scheme and many other social provisions. Such an environment can only be maintained when we together share values that bind us and not separate us from each other. We are enriched by difference and have managed diversity with a great deal of success. In light of the recent plebiscite the challenge and the agenda is for us all to live in harmony with each other irrespective of our views and opinions.

The Feast of Christ the King takes place in this context and at the centre of the readings is not power as the world seeks to exercise it but the ethic of love. What merits our redemption is service to others, outreach to people suffering distress and compassion for the needy. As Christian s we believe that love conquers all and we are to love one another as Christ loves us .

Shalom Ray

The Reverend Canon Dr. Ray Cleary – Sermon for Christ the King

The Feast of Christ the King

26th November 2017

My favourite, if you are allowed to have a favourite Christian leader and theologian is Desmond Tutu, better known today as Bishop Tutu. By his words and actions he speaks powerfully, with passion and authenticity of what it means to be a Christian and follower of Christ. He is not reticent to condemn the actions of neither political leader that abuse and exploit, nor Church leaders when he believes they have not done enough to speak out or remain silent against atrocities committed in the name of faith. In the words of Rowan Williams former Archbishop of Canterbury,

Desmond is immersed in movement that speaks about what it means to be human. It is a humanity that is created ‘ around the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus, and a humanity that is not always going to be successful and in control of things, but a humanity that can reach out from the depth of chaos to be touched by the hand of God”.

As a Church and a national and global community these words speak powerfully into the Church’s failures in the present time and the worlds unwillingness to share the resources of the earth with justice and equity.

Tutu has written many books and spoken without fear or favour, having experienced abuse, alienation and threats on his life, on atrocities across the globe, and names and calls out in a powerful way the abuses that have occurred in his homeland of South Africa and other places, conducted and sanctioned in the name of the Church, reminding us that Christian faith by its past practices and atrocities cannot claim a moral monopoly. He reminds us that the Church sometime gets it wrong.

On another occasion he said, “I do not preach a social Gospel. I preach the Gospel period. The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is concerned for the whole person. When people were hungry, Jesus didn’t say, ‘Now is that political or social? He said I feed you. Because the Good news to the hungry is bread.”

We live in an exciting and challenging world. I am excited by this world, yet I am diminished by its brokenness, and awake to the potential that the creation has to offer and the Church seems unable to comprehend or achieve. There may be some of you here this morning that feel likewise.

All around us are the outcomes and products of our post-modern world. The advances in medical science have prolonged life, air transport has enabled mass movement of travellers to all parts of the world with comfort and ease, every home in Australia now has a range of white goods to ease the tasks of cooking, washing and bathing. The motorcar has reshaped how we live and do business with one another. Sunday is no longer a holy or religious day but one like any other. Traffic is as bad on Sunday as any other day of the week, unless you are up for 8am Church. It is hard to think how we could survive today without these changes; in the main, they are accepted as essential to our way of living.

There are those in the Church who resist change that in any way appears to comprise with the context in which we live , whether it be around liturgy, music or ethics , yet at the same time embrace the changes and advances in medical science , transport and technology that has improved our standard of living.

As we gather on this last Sunday in the Church’s year, on this Feast of Christ the King, we are mindful of the past, conscious of the present, and yes, concerned about the future.

The Church has a long tradition of justice, care and hospitality. Throughout the ages this has been provided in a variety of ways, from the earliest monasteries providing hospices and programs of care for sick people and hospitality to travellers, through to emergency relief, housing, services for older people, emergency accommodation, foster care, children’s homes, day care centres, to name just a few. In addition, at the local Parish level, there have been small, effective community support programs, such as a casserole bank, pastoral visits, and concern for those who are ill.

In recent times I read a book by Phillip Yansey, entitled “Sole Survivor, how my Faith survived the Church”. Yansey tells the faith journey for some well, and lesser-known, individual Christians, such as Martin Luther King, John Donne and Henry Nouwen. He tells the stories of each of their own attempts to reconcile the Jesus of the Gospels, with the teachings of life and witness of the Church. He tells how each of them in their own way have been bruised and scarred from their relationship with the Church, and their involvement in the community of faith; yet, each has sustained a search and journey with “the hope” of gaining a “glimpse of God”, free of paraphernalia and dogmas, so often associated with Christian belief and practice. How true this is, as I reflect on our current debates in our Church, around human sexuality, dying with dignity or the response of our Nation to the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees. The book I suggest is very much about Phillip Yansey’s own bruising, faith, journey and brokenness, recognised in part through the struggles of others.

I think I read the book with interest because, in part, it has, and still is, my journey, but the book also tells of the struggle and experience of many of my friends and contemporaries, once active in the Church, now burnt out and abused. It may, in part, be your story also.

Friends often ask me as to why I stay a Christian and priest. Many have left the Church in recent years and have shared with me their disillusionment and what they perceive as abuse and rejection. I give the following responses.

  1. All institutions have their faults, foibles, blind spots and failures at times, including governments, corporations, community organizations and families. The Churches are not the only institution that has come under the spotlight in recent times.

  2. I believe the narrative of Christian faith is far more powerful and definitive in helping to be human in a complex world. I have found nothing better the an the Sermon on the Mount as a guide for living life as a gift from God.

  3. I am confident in the disturbing spirit of God and the voices outside the Church that challenge and call us to account.

In a visit to Australia in 2002, the now Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, spoke about the task of the Church to inspire the people of God to express the hope of God’s dream for the creation, and to be distinctive by its prayer and worship.

He went on to say how worship is the drawing together of the earthly life we all share together, and when our Eucharist and gatherings are devoid of the experiences of our human family life, our worship is diminished. Rowan was speaking about the place and role of the Church in contemporary society reminding us of the need to ground our faith in the lives of the people of our time.

As we gather on this Feast of Christ the King, we are reminded of the image of the shepherd, of the one who sought to protect and care for those for whom he had responsibility. Shepherds are called not to exploit abuse or scatter God’s flock, but rather, protect, encourage and include them.

In today’s Gospel Reading, we return to the man on the cross. Here we are, reminded again, of the passion of our Lord and the events leading up to the first Good Friday. In the words of the Jesuit Priest and writer, Anthony DeMello, we are invited to experience the call of the suffering servant of God, who even as he approached his death, was conscious of the vulnerability of those who called themselves Disciples, and those for whom they are called to serve.

The words of DeMello:

“As I gaze at that lifeless body, I slowly understand that I am looking at the symbol of supreme and total liberation. In being fastened to the cross, Jesus becomes alive and free. He is a parable of conquest, not defeat. It calls for envy, not commiseration.”

Today’s celebration of the Feast of Christ the King, is not to be understood as a celebration of might and power, as many expected the Messiah to be, but rather, a story of servant hood, an obedience to God, expressed in the offering of one’s life in redemption of a broken and confused humanity.

The celebration of Christ the King is not an event to celebrate Christ’s kingship in our image, or how we would like Christ to be, but rather one that affirms his identification with those on the edge of society. A reality that makes some of us feel uncomfortable at time.

The Feast of Christ the King reminds us that it was the victim, the persecuted one that reached out and offered a helping hand. It is the one who was abused, and spat upon by those who persecuted him and sent him to death, who had the final word. Once these truths have been understood, the true meaning of Christ kinship is apparent.

Throughout the entire Gospels, we see Jesus seeking out the lost ones, the lost coin, the lost sheep, the lost two sons, the woman of ill repute, the tax collector, and the Samaritan. Remember the words of Jesus as he was lifted onto the cross, as the despised and rejected one and a further lost one comes to light and asks him, “remember me when you come into your Kingdom”, and Jesus responds, we are told, with the words “today you will be with me in paradise”. Such a view of kingship is light years away from the need to control, exploit and exclude.

As Tutu said on another occasion, you may be surprised whom you meet in heaven.

In my youthful days, I recall this Sunday as stir up Sunday, with the words of the collect for the day:

“Stir up we beseech you, Oh Lord, the wills of thy faithful people, that they plenteously bring forth the fruit of good works, that they may be plenteously rewarded, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”

May I invite you to make this prayer your own, on this Feast Day of Christ the King,


The Reverend Canon Dr. Ray Cleary – Sermon for the Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost 19th November 2017

Sunday 19 November 2017

Matthew 25: 14-30

Let me begin with a confession and what I am about to say may surprise you. But be careful about a quick judgement.

I know that at times I can be a jealous person. Jealous of another person’s talents, gifts and abilities.

I am jealous of people who seem to be able to loose weight without any difficulties while I slave over it time and time again, with only minimal success.

I am jealous at times when I see another person fix or repair something that may take me two days? They have gifts and talents I lack. Sometimes I find myself envious of the skills and achievements of others and even feel a failure.

Are you jealous or envious of the rich and famous –the celebrities who seem to have it all? Do you get not so much as jealous but annoyed at those in our community who seem to have no scruples or morality when it comes to issues that affect our community life? {I am sure that non of us would fall into any of these categories.} Would you like to be an accomplished organist like Roger or an AFL star footballer, or the perfect husband or wife. I suspect we all have our little secrets. I certainly do. We are at times regretful even jealous and envious that we do not have talents or gifts of others.

Jesus in today’s Gospel as in last weeks and again in next weeks reading is aware of the context in which those who were his followers and others lived their lives. He was aware of the contradictions, differences, and attitudes of those who exercised religious and political power. He was aware of how unhappy they were of his teaching and expectations. I suspect not too much different from today.

Matthew’s Jesus was aware of the plight of many including slaves, women, outsiders and those without any sense of concern for the other. He also knew about the jealousy of his disciples at times and their indifference to others. Jesus was aware that we all have not bee given the same talents but was not concerned about the differences but rather how we used what has been given to us .

The question posed for us today in the Gospel is, “How do we live our lives in the world of today with all its contradictions with the knowledge, gifts and talents, using them for the benefit of not only ourselves but others?

In today’s gospel we have the reverse of indifference and jealousy. Instead we are to be encouragers. We are to be delighted, inspirational, excited and enriched by the different gifts and talents we have all been given and to use them in a constructive way to build heaven on earth God’s kingdom. We are not to hide them under a bushel or be envious of others with different gifts.

This Gospel reading is part of the great discourse of Jesus prior to his death. It projects the future in a worldview that reflects the language and imagery of the Jewish apocalyptic framework. Much of it makes little sense to us on a first reading- therefore we need to delve below the surface as we say. Non of us are comfortable with judgement, the second theme in today’s readings and even more pointed in next weeks Gospel, the account of the Sheep and the Goats, although we are too often willing to judge others.

Over the past few Sundays the readings we have heard from Matthew emphasise a number of points required of discipleship:


-! Faithfulness. We are called to be faithful to God not to be successful as the world suggests. We are called to be faithful and regular in our prayer and worship life. As we gear up for Advent and the season of Christmas consider joining the faithful on Wednesday morning when I am planning to lead a 5-7 minutes segment about Mark’s Gospel the centre of our readings in 2018.

-2. Being prepared. How are your plans going for mission and outreach at Christmas. Have you thought about inviting and bringing Grandchildren to the 6pm service on Christmas Eve? Encourage them to dress up. How about inviting family and friends to the Carol Service on the 17th December or the Midnight Mass

-3. Generosity. Lets support the Christmas Bowl with renewed enthusiasm. Come along to share a meal on the 9th December and bring a small gift for Anglicare.

-4 Good stewardship. We are called to be good stewards of the resources given to us personally and as a community. Our Buildings suggest we are all aware of this commitment here at St George’s. How may we use the other resources we have for mission and outreach?

Each of the Gospel readings we have read over the past few weeks are told as I have said in the context of the lead up to Palm Sunday, during a time when the religious and political leaders of the day were a “little unhappy with him”.

Last week we dealt with the Parable of Wise and Foolish virgins. This week with hear the Parable of the talents. “In the parable of the 10 bridesmaids, the foolish young women thought the task was easier than it turned out to be, in the parable of the talents, the wicked servant thinks it harder than it turns out to be and afraid of using what has been given. ”

Today’s Gospel is found only in Matthew. It is similar to the parable of the Ten Pounds, found in Luke 19: 11-27. The difference is that in Luke the servants of God have one task, they are given the same talent to live out the faith. In Matthew they are given different talents, and they are expected to live out their lives according to the talents given. Jesus affirms those who use their talents wisely, and condemns those who do nothing. But is there something strange about the parable? It seems to chastise the poor and affirm the rich, opposite to all Jesus has been saying and teaching. No, the point is not about wealth as money but rather the richness we can all gain by using whatever has been given to us, not for ourselves but for others. Remember the story of the widow’s penny?

As always Jesus surprises and troubles us when he speaks as we do not expect him to. Here he subverts the established order, both politically and inside the Temple that spends time and energy looking after itself and defending self-righteousness and ignoring the plight of the other.

Today’s question for us: How do we use our talents to create and imagine a future to work in partnership with God to create God’s kingdom? What are the barriers or obstacles we need to break through to enable this to happen? Perhaps it is – prejudice

– fear

– self interest

– greed

– laziness

I know mine.

Brendon Byrne, Jesuit Theologian says:

The gifts God has entrusted to us, our mind, limbs need active exercise if they are not to atrophy and wither.

The second reading from 1 Thess. 5: 1-6, coheres with this in the sense that believers as ‘people of the day, who should be up and about, watchful and active, rather than asleep’, as in the night.