This Sunday's Gospel

Luke 21:5-19

Fr Richard Leonard SJ, who is a frequent visitor to John XXIII College, gives the following homily on this Sunday's Gospel. Fr Richard is the author of Preaching to the Converted, Paulist Press, New York, 2006, and we are grateful for his permission to reprint here.

Among the frightening things said by Christian leaders in the USA following the bombing of the World Trade Centre was that 'God turned away from America because we have turned away from God' and that 'God sent these acts as a wake-up call for us to live righteous lives and return to Him.' One went as far as to confidently assert that, 'September 11 tells us we are living in end times.'

We all have different reactions to shock and grief. Everyone asks, 'Why is this happening to us?' when tragedy strikes on any scale. Christian ministers, who should know better, must never resort to bad theology to further their own social and political agendas. They give us all a bad name.

For as long as I can remember there have been people predicting the end of the world. Whenever there is a tidal wave, cyclone, hurricane, earthquake or other natural disasters, someone declares that 'the end is nigh'. Just recall the Year 2000. Never mind that the dating of our calendar is out and so that the 2000th year occurred in 1996. The truth rarely gets in the road of the doomsday story. Sadly for us they usually invoke today's Gospel to support their case. The good news for us is that we are still waiting for the end of time. The good news for doomsday prophets is that one day they're going to be right!

We know from a variety of documents around the time of Jesus that the people of Palestine thought the world was soon coming to an end. Given they were being persecuted under an occupying Roman army and that their nation was in tatters, they seemed to have a better cause for this view than we do. In today's Gospel Jesus speaks to a demoralised people who thought, and maybe hoped, that it would all be over soon. In such a context people are liable to follow the loudest voice to what appears like the safest place and so Jesus offers us the hope of God's fidelity whatever suffering we may endure. We are challenged to counter despair, not place our trust in things or institutions which we can see but to not be afraid and stand up for faith and hope.

When bad things happen to good people, when they happen to us, we have choices. We can give into desolation, depression and despair. Some of us make a life-long career out of it. This is understandable and tragic. Or we can choose to hope. Christian hope is not about 'pie in the sky when we die'. It is not about 'putting on a happy face, come what may'. St Augustine tells us hope is based on the justice God wants in this world, and will see done in the next. Interestingly, one of the signs Jesus speaks about in today's Gospel is famine. We have known for thirty years that if we all lived justly and shared from our abundance, we could have seen an end to starvation. We choose otherwise and sometimes blame God.

St Thomas Aquinas teaches us that hope, along with faith and love, is one of the prongs in the anchor of Christian belief. No matter how stormy are the waters, how much we are tossed and buffeted by life's winds, this anchor keeps us rooted in God until calmer seas return. Hope is about holding on, come what may.

Today's Gospel is not interested in a timetable for disaster. It's about encouraging us to drop the anchor of hope overboard when the times get tough.

© Richard Leonard SJ.

Artwork ©Jenny Close

Community Mass

All welcome to join our community celebration each Friday. During November we particularly remember and pray 'in communion' for and with our loved ones who have died. There is a 'book of the dead' in the chapel. Parents and students are welcome to write in it the names of loved ones they would particularly like to remember in our Eucharistic celebration.

Day: Fridays in term time

Time: 8:00-8:30

Venue: Chapel

Parish Life

Sacramental Program

This weekend, a number of our Year 3 students are making their first Reconciliation at our local Jeusit parish, Holy Rosary, Nedlands. Our thoughts are with these students and their families at this special time: Madeleine Hillbeck, Zoe Koong and Chloe Rodrigo.

Also, our warm congratulations to the following students who have celebrated the sacraments in their parishes during the semester:


Kyan D'Castro at Notre Dame Parish in Cloverdale


Thomas Kitchin at St Mary Star of the Sea Parish in Cottesloe


Ruby Elliot at St Mary Star of the Sea Parish in Cottesloe

Xavier de Souza at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Palmyra

Is your parish:

Holy Spirit, City Beach

Our Lady of Grace, North Beach?

These parishes have provided comprehensive details regarding their 2014 Sacramental Program. Please access these pages on the College website

Is your parish St Thomas the Apostle, Claremont?

Enrolments for the Sacraments in 2014 are now open. You need to enrol your son or daughter to receive the Sacraments in the Parish. The dates for Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation will be printed soon. For more details please contact Silvia Kinder or 93844925.

Is your parish St Mary Star of the Sea, Cottesloe?


Or contact the parish office: 9384 2421. Talk to Fr James D'Souza (parish priest), Fr Wilson Donizzetti (John XXIII College Chaplain) or Sr Mai Delahunty (parish pastoral assistant).

2014 family-focused, parish-based, school-supported sacramental program, for children in Years 3, 4 & 6.


Children complete the classroom component of the sacramental programs for Reconciliation (Year3), Communion (Year 4) or Confirmation (Year 6) at the College.


Children celebrate their First Reconciliation, First Communion or Confirmation within their parish community.


Parents, as first educators in the Faith, enrol their children in the sacramental program in their home parish sacramental program.

What should I do?

  • Check your home parish. Many parishes have begun publishing their sacramental programs for 2014, and are currently enrolling.
  • Alternatively, go to your parish webpage via the PerthCatholic website:

  • Details of sacramental program from parishes close to John XXIII College are on the College website, and are updated regularly.

Any further queries please contact Mary-Anne Lumley:


The seasons of Advent and Christmas are approaching. Many families enjoy the special liturgies around the various parishes at this time. Watch out for special events in your own Parish. Coming up at St Thomas the Apostle in Claremont is the Road to Bethlehem - an Advent celebration of Scripture and carols.