Please click on the link below to access Father Julian's homily.
Please click on the link below to read Father David's homily for this feast.
Please click on the pdf attachment, below, to read Father Julian's homily for the service held on Saturday 31st July.
Here is Father Julian's homily for this week.
Click anywhere on this text to open the document.
Here is Father David's homily for the Sunday of All Saints
Please click on the link below to read Father Julian's homily for the 6th Sunday of Pascha.
(John 4: 5-42)
Please click on the link below to view the homily from Father Julian.
At this time we are fully in mind of the early witnesses of Our Lord’s great event; His Resurrection from the dead. Their witness is so important, they assure us firmly of the Resurrection. After our preparations in Lent, the intensity of Passion Week and the glorious celebration of Pascha, we can be easily left with a sense of deflation on the week following. We may even wonder what it was all about. Unlike Metropolitan Anthony we may not have experienced “the life transforming joy” which was his first encounter with the Risen Christ.
Last Sunday we thought of St Thomas and the great blessing he brought for us. Often, he is regarded as the doubting but for us we regard him as the blessed one. He was hardly more doubting than the others. When the Myrrh- bearing women, whom we remember today, came from the tomb saying they had seen an angel who informed them of Christ's rising, the Apostles did not believe them. They also were full of doubt, but the Myrrh- bearing women were jubilant, they had seen the empty tomb and rushed with excitement to tell the other disciples and Apostles; they believed and were the first witnesses.
Thomas was fortunately absent on the first visitation of Christ so that, by Our Lord’s will, a week later, he could be a great witness for us. He was not prepared to believe until he had seen for himself, but then he was able to make a very definite commitment, saying, “My Lord and my God!” To which Our Lord was able to reply: “You believe because you can see me. Blessed are those who have not seen me and yet believe.” This is the blessing for us, by touching the wounded flesh, he cured the world of our disbelief. Through his doubting, and search for truth, he became a firm witness to the reality of the Resurrection.
Surely, all of us have doubts from time to time. It is easy to shout, “Christ is Risen!” but do we really believe this in our hearts so that our life is changed. Thomas saw and touched and said that not only he believed that Jesus, the earthly Jesus was Lord, but he also was able to say, in his heart, “You are also my God, a member of the Holy Trinity. Thomas then went on to be one of the greatest Apostles, travelling all the way to India to establish the Church there. We also should say, “Christ is Risen, my Lord and My God, now my life is to be definitely changed.
We may not like Metropolitan Anthony say that we have received “life transforming joy” which, like him we feel compelled to share with others. (He was awarded an honorary Doctorate by the Presbyterian Faculty of Theology in Aberdeen, “for preaching the word of God and for a revitalising effect on spiritual life in Great Britain”). But we too, if we reflect on our lives, will have had life changing experiences, when we have been certain that the Lord has been there with us. Perhaps we will have been aware of His presence, His guidance, His help when something has worked out better than we expected. Sometimes, others will have made a comment which we knew was from God. Then there are times when His presence in prayer or in the Liturgy seems very real. Many times, if we are careful to note them.
Christ’s resurrection appearances were not always immediately recognised. When the two disciples were on the way to Emmaus. Jesus walked with them several miles and they did not recognise him. Not until, at table, did they see him in the breaking of the bread. Then, they exclaimed, “Did not our hearts burn within us“ as He walked with us. Again, for our instruction. Like St Thomas, Cleopas and Luke, on the road to Emmaus, felt the heart burned within them at the presence of Our Risen Lord.
This is how Our Lord reveals Himself, even if we are no longer able to see Him. Metropolitan Anthony, our founding bishop, as a teenager, was no longer a churchgoer and did not believe. After an inspiring talk by a visiting priest, he decided to read St Mark's Gospel to see if there was any truth in it (he was rather of the opinion that there would not be). As he read, he was aware of another presence in the room, and he knew that this was the presence of the Risen Christ. From that moment his life was changed, he experienced “life-transforming joy” by this experience of Christ. Many have had a similar experience. One of our priests before ordination, had been estranged from the Cathedral for many years. Whilst listening to the broadcast Paschal Liturgy from the Cathedral one year and hiding in a boxroom so that no one would hear, he was suddenly aware of a presence, and knew this to be that of the Risen Christ. He re-joined the Cathedral and in due course was ordained a priest.
I have probably, before, told you of a friend of mine, a doctor. He and his wife did not leave their room in the morning until they were sure in their hearts that Christ was Risen! This could be a good intention for us also. When we say Christ is Risen, we should know in our hearts that this is true, and our lives are changing as a result. When our hearts burn within us, we should say with St Thomas, “My Lord and My God or with St Francis, “My God and my All”.
“Robed in sincere righteousness whiter than snow, let us exult in the Paschal celebration, remembering the day on which Christ, the Sun of Justice, rose. Risen from the dead, He allows us to rejoice in His immortal brightness” (vespers Thursday evening of the week of Thomas) and our lives are changed.
This is our blessing for Christ is Risen indeed.
I wonder if this sounds familiar to you…
We were travelling by car, and I was trying to get our passenger to appreciate our native countryside. However, after a quick look out of the car window, the passenger continued to scroll on a mobile phone. Or how about this one; “Just listen to this beautiful piece of music I have discovered”, I said. After little more than 10 seconds the monologue recommenced!
C S Lewis talks about ‘The Secret Thread’ that common quality that makes you love something, though you cannot put it into words; but most of your friends cannot see it at all. They are looking at the same thing that you are looking at but there is a gulf between what you are seeing and what they see.
I think there is a parallel between the examples above and the events recorded in the gospel reading for today, Palm Sunday. I am sure we are all very familiar with the images portrayed in our icons, that accompany the gospel accounts of our Lord’s entry into Jerusalem (John 12: 1-18). Jesus entering Jerusalem riding on a donkey (v 14-15), How the crowds, ‘when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! [which literally means “Save us, Lord!”], ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! ’The King of Israel!””. These people are they who had seen, or heard, how Jesus had called Lazarus from out of his tomb (v 17-18).
“Save us, Lord!”, for years the people had been languishing under the yoke of Roman occupation, soldiers everywhere, constant threats of violence and heavy taxes. They were tired weary and wanting their freedom! And here, on a “red carpet” of Palm branches rides Jesus, the liberator, the man who could raise up an army and free the people! The freedom that is obtained with spears, swords and bloodshed. The crowd believed that they were on the threshold of a great battle that would change everything.
As with the examples I gave earlier, the people just could not see the ‘Secret Thread’ the true beauty that linked all that they had seen and heard. Yes, Jesus would free people. Yes, Jesus was going into battle, but not to fight flesh and blood. The people were looking and not seeing, hearing but not listening.
We have each endeavoured, in whatever way we can, to make a Lenten effort. And we may well feel tempted at this time.; tempted by hunger, tempted by sloth and a reluctance to go to church, to stand in prayer, tempted to gratify ourselves with worldly delights. We may even feel tempted in the same way that those who cheered Jesus felt tempted; tempted to demand our freedom from everything and everyone that we feel oppresses us!
As our Lord rides into Jerusalem, he faces temptation as never before – the crowds cheering him and begging for him to lead them into battle against the Roman occupying forces. But He is not that kind of leader. He is no earthly King. He is the heavenly King. The like of which the world has never known. A humble king, crowned with thorns, spat on and mocked, enthroned on a cross. This is the victory of Palm Sunday! The humble king who rides into Jerusalem, tempted in every way, keeps his eyes fixed on the Cross that stands before him.
In the same way that the heavenly King entered into Jerusalem, today, Christ prepares to enter our hearts. To enter, if invited, and to fill us with his power, his strength, his love to give us the victory and freedom we long for; to invite us to follow him and to lay down our lives as he did: for our brothers and sisters, our neighbour even our enemies.
Today the grace of the Holy Spirit has gathered us together,
and we all take up Thy Cross and say:
Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest.
This mainly contains homilies and messages from our priests, although there is some scope to share thoughts and interesting articles which we may want to share with others