Good afternoon,

I came across a Homily written by Fr Brian Gleeson an Australian Passionist who died last year.

This reading  is earthy and deals with what Good Friday is all about. The scripture readings are for Easter Sunday. So, I thought I would cover a few bases. To me there is no Easter if there is not Good Friday let alone the last supper. Like the adage ‘no pain, no gain…I’d love that to be not the case but in reality we live and we die. We have different gifts and talents and when share amazing things happen.

The collective process of us entering the garden and then with the decision made, exiting and witnessing the cost of being faithful – death, by the Romans was sheer brutality and then, there is the promise of Resurrection. This is us believing that God is with us; and laying on us; to give over ‘the spirit’. This will be us learning to live and love like Jesus and then at our time handing over. “It is finished’. Passionist Family Groups for so many has been the cup where they have shared love, pain and sorrow, and stood by those who are broken, weak, lonely and broken. From the cup we eat together sharing, creating moments where we break through to each other and see God in action. 

For many, this is their experience of walking together being church through community. These gifts are what we are called to share with all those who enter our communities doors – the lost, the lonely, the poor, the weak, the strong, those from other countries, isolated by language and culture we are to be ‘home’ for them. Allow this Easter period to be a time to reflect, pray and believe that our God manifest in and through Jesus is with us, unconditionally.

All this done in Christian fellowship, hospitality and sharing.



During ‘the troubles’ in Belfast, Northern Ireland, a few years ago, some small children in school uniform were walking two-by-two and hand-in-hand along a street. Suddenly a car swung round a corner, a window was wound down, and a live grenade was thrown in their path. With split-second timing a passer-by threw himself flat on the grenade and smothered the explosion. At the cost, of course, of his own life!

It was a heroic deed, a deed for which those children and their families will be always grateful. Yet, as it turns out, it was probably the only good deed the man had ever done. In that community, he was known as a derelict, a ‘no-hoper’, an embarrassment to his family and a burden to himself. So, it could not be said that he had died just as he had always lived – thinking of others, loving others, and helping others.

But when we come to the death of Jesus, as presented in our Readings today, we affirm what they reveal. Jesus died as he had always lived, – i.e. for others. He died with love and generosity, with compassion and forgiveness in his heart.

The way he died was, in fact, the completion and fulfilment of his mission. This was a mission which may be pictured as God the Father saying to his Son, before Jesus set out on his life’s work: ‘Go to my people. Tell them that I love them. Show them that I love them. Gather them together and bring them back to me.’

Speaking God’s love to people, showing them God’s love, and living God’s love in all its warmth and tenderness and strength, that is what Jesus of Nazareth was all about. That was his purpose from the start to the finish of his life on earth, a purpose summed up so succinctly in our First Reading today, ‘… through his wounds we are healed’, the wounds of his tireless and endless self-giving in love to people like us. In his work on earth, there was no one excluded from the love which burned in his great heart. He practised no racism, no apartheid, and no discrimination. To rich and poor, powerful and powerless persons alike, he reached out with unstinting and unstoppable love.


Of particular relevance to our society and Church where so many women continue to experience abuse, oppression, and domination from men, are the constant care, concern and support, which Jesus showed to women. In a patriarchal society where women were invisible in public life and treated as little better than slaves by their husbands, Jesus did not avoid women as the Law laid down. On the contrary, he welcomed them into his life and befriended them. Women such as Peter’s mother-in-law, the woman with a twelve-year haemorrhage, the widow from Nain, the woman who was literally ‘bent double quite unable to stand upright’, the woman in the city who was a sinner, the Samaritan woman at the well, the sisters Martha and Mary.

Equally relevant to our society and Church is the love and loyalty shown by women to Jesus in return. A famous Irish-born Passionist, Fr Francis Clune, got it right when he would point out on every parish retreat and mission he gave, including his last: ‘In the gospels, no woman betrays Jesus, no woman denies Jesus, no woman deserts Jesus.’ It comes then, as no surprise that, as John the Evangelist notes in today’s gospel of the Passion: ‘Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.’

On this Good Friday, when our Church community is urging us to remember with gratitude how rich and deep, how full and wide, is the love which led Jesus to his death, will we affirm that gift of love with a ‘yes’? Will we do so with an unqualified ‘yes’, then, to the questions put to us by that well-known Afro-American spiritual: 

‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they crucified my Lord?  O ___ sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Where you there when they crucified my Lord?

‘Were you there when they nailed him to the tree? Were you there when they nailed him to the tree? O ___ sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Where you there when they nailed him to the tree?

‘Were you there when they laid him in the tomb? Were you there when they laid him in the tomb? O ___ sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Where you there when they laid him in the tomb?’

Lyrics for Reflection on Good Friday (Songs (music) are attached)

Into the Garden:  (Watts & Traynor)

1.Into the garden, I enter alone, cold and afraid of the journey you’ve known.

Into the garden,  I meet with loneliness,

the night is come.  My heart is restless.

Refrain:   Father, I pray  in these hours of truth that I learn to live as you.

Father, I pray in these hours of truth

I learn to die in you.

2.Into the garden, I doubt what I believe;

the cry of emptiness tempts me to retrieve. Into the garden I offer my heart.

the call beckons me, I turn from the night.

Refrain:   Father, I pray in these hours of truth that I learn to live as you.

Father, I pray in these hours of truth

I learn to die in you.

3. Out of the garden, empowered by you, my life is given, no counting the cost. Father, I hear you, embrace the cross.

The Last Song -Elton John

Yesterday you came to lift me up
As light as straw and brittle as a bird
Today I weigh less than a shadow on the wall
Just one more whisper of a voice unheard

Tomorrow leave the windows open
As fear grows please hold me in your arms
Won’t you help me if you can to shake this anger?
I need your gentle hands to keep me calm

‘Cause I never thought I’d lose
I only thought I’d win
I never dreamed I’d feel this fire beneath my skin
I can’t believe you love me
I never thought you’d come
I guess I misjudged love between a father and his son

Things we never said come together
The hidden truth no longer haunting me
Tonight we touched on the things that were never spoken
That kind of understanding sets me free

Have a good week – blessings on each of you and those struggling….Paul      

  Scripture Reflection: Easter Sunday -31 March 2024 Year B.



O God, who on this day, through your Only Begotten Son have conquered death and unlocked for us the path to eternity, grant, we pray, that we who keep the solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection may, through the renewal brought by your Spirit, rise up in the light of life

First reading: Acts 10:34, 37-43
Responsorial psalm: Ps 117(118):1-2, 16-17, 22-23
Second reading: Colossians 3:1-4 / 1 Corinthians 5:6-8
Gospel: John 20:1-9.
Link to readings click here

We greet this day with thanksgiving and praise. Christ our hope is risen and we want to announce it by our life and our joy. This is how we see Peter in the First Reading. He is addressing Cornelius and his household, recounting Jesus’s life and death, and how, as a witness to it, Peter has been ordered to proclaim Christ’s resurrection to his people.

St Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians (Second Reading), encourages us with the practical example of getting rid of the old yeast, to be completely renewed through Christ, in sincerity and truth. The Psalm is a joyful Easter song celebrating Christ’s triumph. It will be a refrain for us throughout the season.

In the Gospel, after Mary of Magdala finds the stone rolled away from the tomb, she runs to tell Peter and John. By seeing the empty tomb and the discarded cloths, they slowly come to realise that Jesus has truly risen. Let us pray that we, too, will witness to the resurrection in our lives.