‘She will guide you into all truth’

HOMILY: The Jewish Pentecost (or Shavuot) is a celebration of the fruitfulness of the land, blessed by the sun, rain and “wind/breath” of God. It is also a celebration of God’s giving Torah (good teaching) to a newly liberated people – 50 days after the Passover, 50 days after the Exodus.

In the church, we celebrate how the Spirit or “wind/breath” of God has “in-spirited” human beings – Jews and Gentiles – to live “highly” of themselves. The work of the Spirit is that all creation, including human beings, radiate Christ.

‘Dove and fire’

HOMILY: There’s something about our text from John 14 that calls up ancient commentary. Perhaps it’s the promise of the Spirit, a wellspring of experience and testimony. The past recalled in present troubles – deep calling to deep (Psalm 42) – a call for help, a deeply hopeful calling …

‘Abba, Hokmah, Sophia, Messiah …’

HOMILY: Jesus says, “Whoever has seen me has seen Abba God.” Abba/Amma is Aramaic for divine source of life, God as loving father and mother of all. “Whoever has seen me – walked with me, talked with me, shared with me – has encountered God.”

‘A way in and a way out’

HOMILY: Jesus, John invites us to imagine, is a gate. The metaphor allows many meanings – its expression looms large (just the right size) at the entrance to SSUC, the handiwork of unknown miners and metalsmiths, as well as Cathie, Bernie and André … and soon to be spray-painted heritage green!

‘Becoming believers’

HOMILY: Luke 24 (the “Road to Emmaus” and other stories) is structured like a traditional liturgy: gathering, journey, meeting Christ who interprets the scriptures in relation to Wisdom, then breaks the bread, then sends disciples out into the world …

‘So many stories to tell’

HOMILY: There is an oft-viewed Ted Talk by the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie called “The Danger of a Single Story”. In it she talks about her heritage and how her reading habits shaped her view of the world growing up …

‘Love with determination’

HOMILY: Mary of Magdala sees that the stone has been rolled away from the tomb’s entrance. Mary sees … Mary weeps and misunderstands.

‘One palm branch, one cloak …’

HOMILY: Jesus enters Jerusalem, slowly. Slow enough that people walk alongside the donkey he rides. People follow behind him. Some even walk ahead. There is something about the pace of this story that just might help us right now. A slower pace encourages reflection. A slower pace promotes gratitude, kindness …

‘Fully alive’

HOMILY: One point from which to begin reading/thinking today is verse 25. The Greek word, zoe, connotes quality of life – abundant – more than mere bios or physical life, zoe connotes confidence, moral strength, freedom. St Irenaeus wrote that the glory of God is the human person fully alive (see also verse 4). Zoe means “fully alive”.

‘The one who showed compassion’

HOMILY: Ashley Anne-Maree Montabello was a kind person. Whenever we met – for lunch or coffee at Barn Doors Café on Redfern Street, with carers from St Vincent de Paul, at the Uniting Church in Raglan Street, in Phillip Street – she would greet me as a friend, with affection, humour, respect. And I will never forget it.