Easter Feasting

Maquette for tapestry 'Resurrection' 1986 John Coburn

Maquette for tapestry ‘Resurrection’ 1986 John Coburn

There  are no eggs in this post. However you will  find a feast of  images, text and music  that I am mulling on during the great season of Easter.  This is  a post that will be added to and developed as we explore the themes, the stories and the  mystery of this celebration.

On Easter Sunday my Facebook feed included this beautiful set of images of the L’Arche Community in Syria:

فإن كنت وانا السيد والمعلم قد غسلت ارجلكم ، فأنتم يجب عليكم أن يغسل بعضكم أرجل بعض . يوحنا 13:14 غسيل الأرجل في السفي…

Posted by Alsafina – L’Arche Syria on Saturday, 26 March 2016

Jean Vanier has written a  text  on the washing of  feet that invites us into the sacrament of touch.

 

 

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Image above: Mikhail Nesterov “The Empty Tomb,” 1889

Eastertide Reflection (Mk 15:40-16:2): The Women’s Witness of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection by Ched Myers

Welcome to Easter Monday, one of the strangest public holidays we claim in the land of the long weekend. In fact Tasmania even gets to have a holiday tomorrow for Easter Tuesday.
It doesn’t quite have the feel of Boxing Day with the sales and family BBQs. There are no Myer windows to watch a diorama. In fact whereas Christmas has a bit of cuteness with the Bethlehem creche., Easter is a bit hard to market with the image of an empty tomb. The Myer window in Brisbane that usually hosts a Nativity setting is plastered with an Easter sales poster this week.
Even the music is muted. Bing Crosby put “White Christmas” into the standard repertoire for December but his rendition of Irving Berlin’s Easter Parade is now just a curiosity. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir have outviewed him with their rousing rendition of Christ the Lord is Risen Today, but you won’t hear it at your local shopping centre.
The eggs and chocolates will be half priced today and will drop off the shelves by the end of the week to make way for the next eye catching marketing ploy for our holy dollar. Pity really that those advertising gurus don’t realise that there are 50 days of Easter and a pretty sizable market of Greeks, Russians,Serbs and assorted Orthodox will be doing it all over gain on May 1 without the advantage of aisles of edible bunnies.
So, the challenge is to baffle friends by wishing them a “Happy Easter” over the next 49 days as you catch up at the footy, the pub and the supermarket. You can really cause chaos by wishing the staff at checkouts a “Happy Easter’ as they have probably been re wired to chant “Have a nice day” for the rest of the year.
Today’s reading: The Challenge of Easter James Martin SJ The Wall Street Journal
Easter Glory 2016

Easter Glory 2016 St John’s Cathedral Brisbane

Holy Week 2016

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This week in the Christian community of the West is known as Holy Week. it is a time of intense drama and memory retold in story and ritual. It has the power to shatter our self image as much as the original story recorded in the Gospels.

The ancient texts proclaimed this week tell of the “turning away” both of the imperial might of Pilate and the loyal followers of Yeshua of Nazareth.

It has been the turmoil of history in the Church as prophets and outsiders challenged Popes, clergy and civic authorities who turned away from the vision of a new world founded on justice and peace.

In our own days we witness the “turning away” of religious leaders from the long history of sexual abuse in the name of religion.

It is not unusual that the voices that challenge come from outside the structures of religion. That has been the pattern of reform from the time of Abraham and Sarah.

The powerful lyrics of Pink Floyd won’t make their way into the formal liturgies of this week. But they will touch the hearts of those who have seen the signs and heard the words that lead to life.

Christmas 2015

christmas2015

Catholic Missions Australia Christmas Card

As we celebrate the 12  days of  Christmas I greet my diverse social media  network with the universal message of peace on earth and good will to all.
I wrote this piece last year. It bears repeating just as our work of building peace and community is a constant refrain to life’s song.
May the ancient story of a child born in occupied territory open our hearts to the work of defending human rights.
May the birth of every child call us to our communal responsibility to protect children,to take them on wild adventures and to let them grow into the unique person they care called to be.
May the the image of a family forced to seek refuge and asylum far from their home inform our political choices as citizens of a global village.
May our messages of good wishes and happy holidays not blind us to the work of justice making and non-violence.
May the lights and decorations of the season remind us of our mission to bring light to the darkness and celebration to life.
May our gifting be generous as we remember those who live in situations of poverty and exploitation.
May we hear angelic voices singing our dream of peace on earth

Australian Catholics For Equality

I have recently accepted an invitation to join the advisory board of Australian Catholics for Equality.

This new role provides guidance to the Council of Moderators on issues affecting LGBTIQ Catholic persons, their family, friends and allies. The Advisory Board provides practical and strategic advice to support the total work of the organising community, improving the lives of LGBTIQ Catholics, their families, friends and allies to promote a just and inclusive church and society.

I look forward to the challenge and the opportunities of this new and exciting project.

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Tony Robertson, Advisory Board Member
Tony is a Brisbane based social worker, who also uses his skills as a photographer to promote social change and equity in the community. He spent six years with the Capuchin Friars as a young adult and has been involved in various public ministries of the Church as a speaker, educator and retreat leader. Tony is an occasional commentator on LGBTI issues for the ABC and has extensive media experience writing press releases and responding to interview requests. He is currently the Spiritual Life facilitator for the L’Arche community in Brisbane. Tony is a member of the Brisbane LGBTIQ Action Group and supports Gar’ban’djee’lum Network an independent social network for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people, sistergirls and brotherboys (GLBTSB) in and around Brisbane.

Celebrating Anthony

Celebrating Anthony

One of the significant days of this month is June 13th, my name  day. My parents made sure I would spend my life gaining easy and instant recognition as a good Catholic boy by naming me after St Anthony of Padua whose feast-day falls on this day

Now this boy should not be confused with the many other holy Anthonys who have front row seats in the celestial realm:St. Anthony / Anthony / St. Anthony the Abbot / Bl. Anthony Baldinucci / St. Anthony Dainan St. Anthony Daniel / Bl. Anthony della Chiesa / Bl. Anthony Fantosat / Bl. Anthony Francisco / St. Anthony the Hermit / St. Anthony Ishida / St. Anthony Kauleas / Bl. Anthony Kimura / Bl. Anthony Kiun / Bl. Anthony Manzi / St. Anthony Mary Claret / St. Anthony Mary Gianelli / St. Anthony Mary Pucci / St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria Bl. Anthony Middleton /St. Anthony Nam-Quynh / Bl. Anthony Neyrot / Bl. Anthony of Korea / St. Anthony of Saxony /Bl. Anthony of St. Bonaventure / Bl. Anthony of Tuy / St. Anthony Pechersky / St. Anthony Peter Dich / St. Anthony Primaldi / Bl. Anthony Sanga / Bl. Anthony Turner / Bl. Anthony Vom

My “Anthony” is a one of Catholicism’s pin-up boys. He is patron for a number of a eternal chores including: against shipwrecks, against starvation, against starving, American Indians, amputeesanimalsassesbarrennessboatmenBrazildomestic animalselderly peopleexpectant mothersfaith in the Blessed Sacrament,  fishermen, harvestshorseslost articles,  lower  animals,  mail,  mariners, oppressed people, pauperspoor peoplePortugalpregnant womensailors, seekers of lost articles, shipwrecks, starvation, starving people, sterility, swineherds, Tigua Indians, travel hostesses, travellerswatermen In his spare time he poses for thousand of popular images and statues that adorn churches homes and religious houses.

Somewhere along the timeline he also featured in his own movie:

It’s always good to remember that saints are often given to us to admire rather than imitate.Anthony was part of the weird and wonderful world of medieval Catholicism  in the early 13th century. He died at 36 in 1231 and never had an intimate relationship. So far I’ve outlived him and have not found the queue for the call to lifelong chastity.

Anthony was a great public speaker and had a pretty sharp intellect. Catholicism has a quaint practice of awarding posthumous PhDs to smart cookies and Anthony eventually got his in 1946.

Iconography of the saints is a big business as Churches, Monasteries, Convents,Schools, Oratories, Retreat Centres,Presbyteries and the humble domestic house have all gone shopping for their heavenly personalities to decorate walls.Anthony has quite large choice for the buyer although these days the neighbours might raise their eyebrows at an image of a grown man swooning with a near naked boy. Despite an attempt to theologise the image I suggest it is one that has well passed its use by date. The icon used in this blog is from the work of Robert Lentz OFM.

Tourism is also part of every saints working life after death. Anthony has inspired a series ofChurches and Basilicas. In Melbourne the local Capuchins applied for an extension of their friary chapel back in the 1950s..By the time they finished Power Street Hawthorn was adorned with its very own Italianate Shrine to St Anthony.

I have also discovered that Anthony himself is on tour for special events. He last appeared in 2010when his less than attractive remains were taken for a lap of honour around his home base Basilica. Close up pic here.

Behind the saccherine hagiography lies the story of a man of faith and service, a man of his time with passion for truth, people and the needs of his era. Yeh, I still invoke him when things go missing and he has been part of my community of faith since my childhood days when his pic used to hang in my parents house over the bathroom door!!!.

So here’s a call out to all those who share variants of the name Anthony! Celebrate, eat some good bread, indulge in some Italian or Portugese wine and make a public statement about  your passions

Palm Sunday 2015

Our cries of “Hosanna” must echo the cries for freedom and liberation of those detained because they seek refuge and asylum in our land.

This week will not be Holy unless we refuse to crucify the innocent.
This week will not be Holy unless we break bread and drink wine with the poor and abandoned of our community.
This week will not be Holy unless we walk the passion of the earth.
This week will be Holy if we commit to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with all that is sacred.