Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Advent


The grace of Advent is hope. Advent can revive hope when it has been lost, refocus it when it has been misplaced. It puts our hopes in order, raising them to a higher level. Advent is about transforming our outlook and expectations. This is why Isaiah keeps talking to us, why John the Baptist keeps coming on stage, why apostles are so busy reminding us of the Lord’s coming. Continue reading

Homily for 2nd Sunday of Advent


In the 2nd reading, St Paul says that what was written in the past in Scripture (our Old Testament) was written “that we might have hope”. The stories and the prophecies are there so we might have hope – and persevere. We can add: Advent is here so we might have hope. When Christ is born, when there is a baby in the crib, it’s faith that’s asked of us: this baby is Emmanuel. But in Advent it’s hope. And all life is Advent. The whole Christian life is one of hopeful waiting, and so is the whole Church’s life: “as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Every Mass, every Eucharist is a cry for the Kingdom to come. Continue reading

Homily for St Andrew’s Day


Today we’re celebrating an individual, a fisherman from Lake Galilee, a chosen disciple of Jesus, a 1st century Jew with a Greek name, Andrew (meaning “manly”). With time, he’s become patron of our country, and of others too. But he wasn’t an isolated individual. He was an Apostle. He was one of the Twelve. Jesus formed a core group around him: his gang, if you like, his circle, his set, his band, his mates. They went about together. They were “all together” in one place when the Holy Spirit came on them at Pentecost. The Liturgy of the Church calls them a company or a choir. “College” is another word. They are important as individuals, but they’re important as a group. Continue reading

Homily for Solemnity of Christ the Universal King


Today is the last great feast of the liturgical year.

At the Annunciation, the angel tells Mary that her son will be given the throne of his father David. At the Epiphany, we see him seated on his mother’s lap receiving the homage of wise men. Then, when he begins to preach, Jesus sits down on the hill, with his immediate disciples around him like courtiers and beyond them the wider group of the crowd. There Jesus, as it were, promulgates his manifesto: the beatitudes – the royal way to happiness. Continue reading

Statement of the Bishops of the European Union (COMECE): Fall of the Berlin Wall


On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, EU Bishops call upon all Europeans to work together towards a free and united Europe “through a renewed process of dialogue […] for a common peaceful future”.The statement was adopted by the Assembly of COMECE, which is composed of the Bishop-Delegates of the Episcopates of the EU. H.E. Mgr. Overbeck (Germany), Vice President of COMECE commented on the statement: “it is a call on the European people to cooperate in solidarity”.

To view the letter visit: 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall: EU Bishops call for a renewed process of dialogue

For more information about COMECE visit their website: comece.eu

Continue reading

Homily for the Solemnity of All Saints


There’s so much “seeing” in today’s readings.

First of all, in the Apocalypse, John sees – “I John saw”. He sees into heaven. He sees an angel stamping a seal on the 144,000 servants of God, “out of all the tribes of Israel”. Then “after that, I saw”. He sees again a number impossible to count “out of every nation”. Continue reading

Homily for Mass in Commemoration of the Canonisation of St John Ogilvie


On this day in 1976, in St Peter’s, Rome, John Ogilvie was canonized. There’s a full account in the Scottish Catholic Directory of 1978, pp. 432-437. Andrew Mann read the 1st reading and Colin Stewart, here tonight as Dean, was there too, a new student in the Scots College. Last Sunday, 13 October 2019, in Rome, another John was canonized, John Henry Newman – the first canonization of a Brit since our local hero, 43 years ago. It was good to be there. Tonight, rather than speak about either John directly, let me say something about the Catholic practice of canonization. What’s it about? Continue reading