Catholic in Yanchep

Go out into the deep.

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New for Lent: Saturday morning devotions!


New for Lent (and maybe beyond!)  Come and experience the power of prayer.  Join us on Saturday mornings for 8.30 a.m. Mass at the Presbytery at 3 Blaxland Ave, Two Rocks, preceded by Rosary at 08:00.  If you can’t join us, send us your prayer intentions and we will pray for you!

(Photo: By Daniel Tibi (Dti) | – (own work), Public Domain,


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The Third Sunday of Lent, Year C |The Ineffable God

Vine Dresser and Fig Tree James Tissot

The Vine Dresser and the Fig Tree, James Tissot (1836-1902), The Brooklyn Museum, New York.

We have three very interesting readings today which deal with different aspects of God.

The first reading shows us God’s revelation of himself to the Jews as a God who is utterly different from the pagan idea of God (or, for that matter, the Buddhist or Hindu idea of God).  Bishop Barron explains this eloquently in his commentary on Why the Burning Bush is Such Good News.

The Gospel reading presents one of the ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus and discusses the question of whether the evils that befall men are punishments for sin.  Jesus is telling us that we all need a metanoia (change of heart) as – get this –none of us is worthy to stand in the presence of God.  Brant Pitre discusses this here:

And the second reading continues the theme of non-complacency: “the man who thinks he is safe must be careful that he does not fall.”  How different from our usual thinking: “I’m all right, you’re all right.”  If only we had a greater consciousness of the absolute goodness, otherness and power of God, we would have more holy fear or fear of the Lord, something that is regarded by many as weakness, when it is actually wisdom.  My old school motto (St Cyprian’s, Cape Town) was Sapientiae Timor Domini Initium or The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom.  Who are we to tell God that he has no right to judge us?

Today’s readings:

Word format: Year C Lent 2nd Sunday 2016

Pdf format:Year C Lent 3rd Sunday 2016

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2nd Sunday of Lent, Year C | The Transfiguration: Giving hope to those experiencing hard times


The Transfiguration, Giovanni Bellini, c.1480, Oil on panel, Museo di Capodimonti, Naples.

Do you know anyone who is depressed or without hope?  We all experience hard times – disappointment in others, the death of a loved one, failure in our career, a difficult childhood – but God can help us to be resilient through these times and see past them.  In today’s Gospel, we see how those disciples who are closest to the Lord experience a foretaste of the glory of Heaven.   They don’t fully understand the event they have just witnessed until after Jesus’ death and resurrection, but by witnessing Jesus’ glory, they are strengthened for the hard times ahead.  If I have one piece of advice for those who struggle with depression, I would say, “Get close to the Lord.”  Read the Gospels, talk to God as if he is present with you every moment – and He will strengthen you for your journey, often in unpredictable ways – and quite possibly remove those trials which are too great for you to bear.  Just ask him!

If you’re looking for an uplifting commentary on our mystical consciousness and how we are helped by having a sense of God’s purpose for our lives, listen to Bishop Robert Barron’s homily for today on The Glorified Body.

If you’re more interested in a Bible Study perspective on these readings, try these:

Readings for today:

Word format: Year C Lent 2nd Sunday 2016

Pdf format:  Year C Lent 2nd Sunday 2016


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First Sunday of Lent, Year C |Christ in the Desert

Temptation in the Desert Maitre Francois

Two of the Temptations of Jesus in the Desert by Satan and Jesus served by the Angels, Maitre François, 1475, miniature, from St Augustine’s “La Cité de Dieu”; manuscript MMW 10 A 11; Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague.

The First Sunday of Lent focuses us on one of the key features of our Lenten journey: finding self-knowledge and working out how to make God the centre of your life.  Try these:

Bishop Robert Barron on “Three Questions from the Desert“.

Bible Scholar, Dr John Bergsma, on “The Temptations of Jesus“.

Bible Scholar, Dr Brant Pitre, on the readings for the First Sunday of Lent.

In other news, on Friday, 12 February, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Russia met in Cuba. This is the first time the head of the Catholic Church has met the head of the Russian Orthodox Church since the Great Schism of 1054!  Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill have issued a Joint Declaration. Read and observe how the Holy Spirit is working in the Church today.

Today’s readings:

Word format: Year C 5th Sunday 2016

Pdf format: Year C Lent 1st Sunday 2016

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Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year B | Attuning Ourselves to the Divine Will

Adoration of the Trinity (Landauer Altarpiece), Albrecht Dürer, 1511, oil on poplar panel, Kunst-historisches Museum, Vienna.

Adoration of the Trinity (Landauer Altarpiece), Albrecht Dürer, 1511, oil on poplar panel, Kunst-historisches Museum, Vienna.

In one of my posts on Facebook last week, a comment was made that our religion was ‘repressive’ (referring to my support for traditional marriage).  By that, the speaker meant ‘how dare you tell other people how to behave’!  (The people who say these sorts of things are usually, by the way, advocates of free speech.)  Actually, the Church doesn’t tell ‘other people’ how to behave.  It tells its members how to behave, and it is the job of these members (the faithful) to advocate for best practice in the public square, for the good of society.  It is also the job of the faithful to bring up their children to follow the good, the true and the beautiful and to repress (yes, repress – or suppress, if you want to be less Freudian) its baser desires: selfishness, unfaithfulness, dishonesty, disobedience, pride, lust, envy, and so on.

In today’s Readings from Hebrews and the Gospel of John, we see Jesus wrestling with the natural desire not to die (i.e. repressing this desire), versus obedience to the Divine plan:

During his life on earth, Christ offered up prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears, to the one who had the power to save him out of death, and he submitted so humbly that his prayer was heard. Although he was Son, he learnt to obey through suffering; but having been made perfect, he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation. (Heb 5:7-9)

and again in today’s Gospel:

‘Now my soul is troubled.
What shall I say:
Father, save me from this hour?
But it was for this very reason
that I have come to this hour.
Father, glorify your name!’ (Jn 12:27-28)

In Jesus of Nazareth, Vol. 2, Pope Benedict discusses the troubled soul of Jesus:

The great Byzantine theologian Maximus the Confessor (d. 662) formulated an answer to this question [on the relationship between Jesus’ humanity and divinity] by struggling to understand Jesus’ prayer on the Mount of Olives. Maximus is first and foremost a determined opponent of monotheletism: Jesus’ human nature is not amputated through union with the Logos; it remains complete. And the will is part of human nature. This irreducible duality of human and divine willing in Jesus must not, however, be understood to imply the schizophrenia of a dual personality. Nature and person must be seen in the mode of existence proper to each. In other words: in Jesus the “natural will” of the human nature is present, but there is only one “personal will”, which draws the “natural will” into itself. And this is possible without annihilating the specifically human element, because the human will, as created by God, is ordered to the divine will. In becoming attuned to the divine will, it experiences its fulfillment, not its annihilation. Maximus says in this regard that the human will, by virtue of creation, tends toward synergy (working together) with the divine will, but that through sin, opposition takes the place of synergy: man, whose will attains fulfillment through becoming attuned to God’s will, now has the sense that his freedom is compromised by God’s will. He regards consenting to God’s will, not as his opportunity to become fully himself, but as a threat to his freedom against which he rebels.

The drama of the Mount of Olives lies in the fact that Jesus draws man’s natural will away from opposition and back toward synergy, and in so doing he restores man’s true greatness. In Jesus’ natural human will, the sum total of human nature’s resistance to God is, as it were, present within Jesus himself. The obstinacy of us all, the whole of our opposition to God is present, and in his struggle, Jesus elevates our recalcitrant nature to become its real self.

The question for each of us is: do we experience God as a threat to our freedom, or do we desire God so much that we happily allow him to use our freedom for his purposes, and in so doing, achieve true self-fulfilment?

Mass readings for today …
Word format: Year B Lent 5th Sunday 2015

Pdf format: Year B Lent 5th Sunday 2015

Other resources:

  1. Listen to Fr Barron’s homily for today.
  2. Scripture study for this weekend.

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4th Sunday of Lent | Why do so many prefer darkness to light?

The Crucifixion, Isenheim Altarpiece, centre panel, Matthias Grünewald, 1512-1516, chapel of the Hospital of Saint Anthony, Isenheim, Germany, c. 1510-15, oil on wood, 9' 9 1/2" x 10' 9" Unterlinden Museum, Colmar, France.

The Crucifixion, Isenheim Altarpiece, centre panel, Matthias Grünewald, 1512-1516, chapel of the Hospital of Saint Anthony, Isenheim, Germany, c. 1510-15, oil on wood, 9′ 9 1/2″ x 10′ 9″ Unterlinden Museum, Colmar, France.

This week we saw the tragic death of 18 year old Australian suicide bomber, Jake Bilardi.  In a blog post from January 13, Bilardi says, “And that is where I sit today, waiting for my turn to stand before Allah (azza wa’jal) and dreaming of sitting amongst the best of His creation in His Jannah, the width of which is greater than the width of the heavens and the Earth.’’

How sad that in his search for God, he found the wrong one.  Carolyn Moynahan, in her article, Why do kids desert the West to fight with Isis, written well before Jake’s death, hits the nail on the head in her analysis.  And as Greg Sheridan says in his article in The Australian, “how long can the West live off the moral capital of religious conviction that it is now abandoning? The West is the only part of humanity abandoning religious belief. Can societies in which there is no overarching idea beyond the individual compete successfully in the long run?”

In our readings today, John invites us to turn to the right God while there is still time:

For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world,
but so that through him the world might be saved.
No one who believes in him will be condemned;
but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already

Of course, Westerners are likely to balk at the word ‘condemned’.  But of course it’s not God who condemns you, it’s your refusal to seek him that does.

Download today’s readings here:

Word format: Year B Lent 4th Sunday 2015

Pdf format: Year B Lent 4th Sunday 2015

To understand  how God can be both merciful and yet allow people to be condemned, read the homily from Sacerdos.  And listen to Fr Barron explain God’s tender mercy here.


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3rd Sunday of Lent, Year B | Jesus, the Embodiment of the Law

Pope Francis, Penance and Reconciliation during 24 Hours for the Lord

Pope Francis, Penance / Reconciliation during 24 Hours for the Lord

Are The Ten Commandments still relevant for us?  I have friends who claim the Bible is nothing special – just a man-made unenlightened compilation of Bronze Age writings, and certainly not inspired by the Holy Spirit.  If that were the case, Jesus would not fulfil so many prophecies from the Old Testament.  In today’s Gospel, for example, we see Jesus fulfilling prophecies from Isaiah 56:6-7, Jeremiah 7:1-11 and Malachi 3:1-3, to name only a few.

Mass Readings Word format: Year B Lent 3rd Sunday 2015

Mass Readings Pdf format: Year B Lent 3rd Sunday 2015

John Bergsma gives a great analysis of the readings here.

I have to conclude that my friends who denigrate the Bible are too used to thinking of themselves as ‘good people’ and find it too confronting to consider themselves as sinners, so they are compelled to ‘shoot the messenger’.  Getting down to practicalities, Pope Francis has called all Christians to make 13th and 14th March “24 Hours for the Lord”.  He wants us to go to Adoration, examine our consciences (take some time about this – perhaps spend an hour in Adoration asking the Lord to reveal your sins to you) and receive the sacrament of penance / reconciliation / confession during this time.  To prepare for this, why not listen to Fr Barron’s homily on the Ten Commandments here:



and do a thorough examination of conscience.  You can download these as a guide:

Word format: Confession and Examination of Conscience

Pdf format: Confession and Examination of Conscience

By the way, these lists of sins are not exhaustive – they are just meant as a guide.  If you take time to examine yourself and listen to the Holy Spirit, you’ll find many imperfections that aren’t even on the list.

For those of you in the Perth Northern Suburbs, you can attend 24 hours for the Lord events here:

  • Joondalup Holy Spirit Chapel: Adoration and Confession from 00h00 (midnight) Friday until midnight Saturday.  Mass: 12:10 Friday.   Please put your name on the adoration roster in the front porch.
  • Our Lady of the Mission, Whitfords: Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament: Friday 09.30 a.m. to 7.00 p.m., Mass Friday 9 a.m, Saturday 08.30.  Confession: Saturday 12.00 to 13:00and 17:30 – 18:00.
  • St Simon Peter, Ocean Reef: Blessed Sacrament Adoration Friday 9:00 to 18:50.  Mass: Friday 19:00, Saturday 8:30, Reconciliation: Friday 18:30-18:50, Saturday 17:00-17:45.
  • St Andrew’s, Clarkson: Mass: Friday and Saturday 08:00, Reconciliation: Saturday 17:00 to 17:30, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction: Friday 15:00 to 17:00.

Wishing you joy and grace this Lent!

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2nd Sunday of Lent, Year B | Can you sacrifice what you love the most?

Abraham and Isaac, Henry Davenport Northrop, 1894, Treasures of the Bible, illustration.

Abraham and Isaac, Henry Davenport Northrop, 1894, Treasures of the Bible, illustration.

This Sunday’s readings link Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac with the Transfiguration of Christ.  What’s the connection?  And how are we to respond when people like Richard Dawkins say things like this in The God Delusion?

“Any modern legal system would have prosecuted Abraham for child abuse, and if he had actually carried through his plan to sacrifice Isaac, we would have convicted him of first degree murder.” 

Mass readings, Word format:Year B Lent 2nd Sunday

Mass readings, Pdf format:Year B Lent 2nd Sunday

John Kincaid lays it out brilliantly for you at The Sacred Page and Fr Barron also speaks about the meaning of the Abraham and Isaac narrative in his Lent reflections.  If you haven’t signed up to these yet, please do!  His homily for today focuses on the mystical experience of God.


The trouble with Dawkins is that he does not understand the manner of God’s revelation of himself, and neither does he want to.  If you really desire to understand God, pray for a heart that is humble and open to a mystical experience of him.  Nothing gets in the way of experiencing God like arrogance and self-righteousness.  And read a commentary that explains how the Bible works, such as Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins’ Walking with God.

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1st Sunday of Lent, Year B | Spiritual self-discipline

Noah Flood Joseph_Anton_Koch_006

Landscape with Noah’s Thank Offering, Joseph Anton Koch, ca. 1803, oil on canvas, Pinakoteck, Munich.

While all the confused western world watches and reads Fifty Shades of Grey, which elevates the degrading practices of bondage-discipline-sado-masochism, the church instead invites us to impose our own spiritual self-discipline during the six weeks of Lent: more prayer, more repentance, more fasting, more charity and almsgiving, all to be done with joy and without drawing attention to oneself.  Today’s gospel describes how Jesus prepares himself for his public ministry by 40 days of fasting in the wilderness.  Download today’s readings here:

Word format: Year B Lent 1st Sunday

Pdf format: Year B Lent 1st Sunday

What does all this have to do with the picture of Noah shown above?  Listen to Fr Barron’s homily here:



… and for a Scripture Study on these readings, go to Dr Michael Barber’s commentary here.

By the way, if you want an entertaining read about where the craze for Fifty Shades of Grey comes from, you can’t do better than Fr Dwight Longenecker’s Why Sado-Masochism is going to be huge and his excerpt from The Gargoyle Code, Pipteazle on Porn for Gals.  Seriously though, it’s scary that so many people are taking the wide and easy road to a place that ends in spiritual death.  Please pray for them.  By the way, no, I haven’t read it – the Wikipedia entry was enough for me to get a general idea.