WOE TO THE PHARISEE! Mtt. 23.13-20

I do not think I would have like to have been a Pharisee that day! Jesus is reprimanding and saying some very challenging words to the Pharisees. The Pharisees were a religious group in the time of Jesus, among many others. They were strict in rules and regulations and declared themselves faithful followers of the Law of Moses, the Torah (first five books of the bible). They were very religious people, devout and God fearing. Yet the problem is that they were legal in their living out these rules. Their interpretations were strict and very demanding to follow. Here we see Jesus challenge them for their seemingly outward piety yet legalistic hearts.
Matthew records seven woes given by Jesus to the Pharisees. They make it hard for people to enter the Kingdom of God because of the strict guidelines in adherence to the Law of Moses. They were very zealous in their evangelistic efforts, yet, horrendous to their converts. Jesus challenges their hypocrisy, envy, rigidity and formality.
Externalism and Legalism seem to be the name of the game when it came to the Pharisees. Their interpretation of the Law and its upkeep were legally interpreted by the letter rather than the spirit
I […]

By |August 22nd, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments


St Bonaventure is one of the greatest if not the greatest theologian of the Franciscan Order. His writings on the mind and heart of God for his people are still important sources of thought hundreds of years after his death. It just goes to show that the truth is immutable and endures from age to age. This is why we need to seek the truth and make it the foundation of our lives and reject the fads of our times when they are shallow and meaningless.

The Saints of the Church discover truths about the Christian life that command their attention and energy and so set them o n a path that becomes an example for all precisely because they are seeking and living the truth. This is what sets apart lives that will be remembered for their everlasting significance and those that will be forgotten by the next generation, or even the next fad culture! I think there is something in us all that desires to leave a legacy for the generations to come, but how many of us are willing to focus our lives to the extent that this will be possible?

Sportsmen and women have a singular purpose in […]

By |July 15th, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments


St James warns those who aspire to teach others that they will be judged with greater severity (C.f 3:1). Similarly Jesus warns us that those who lead others astray would be better off if they were thrown into the lake with a millstone tied around their neck! (C.f. Mt 18:6) It is therefore very important to be sure that we are on the right path if we are going to lead others along that same path!

In the Gospel today, Jesus exhorts us not to point out the splinter in another’s eye when we have a plank in our own eye. He is clearly exhorting those who desire to lead to first be sure that they can see and know where they are going themselves. Sometimes I think it would be better for us all if we spent a little more time allowing the Spirit of God to lead us, (after all He is an infallible guide), rather than insisting that we already know the way. Even leaders must in turn be led by another!

Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit for many reasons. One of them was for Him to be our guide and to lead us to all that is […]

By |September 11th, 2015|Daily Scripture|0 Comments


One of the more traumatic experiences I had as a child was changing schools from elementary to high school. It meant a whole new adjustment period. The changes were not merely cosmetic – from being in the oldest age bracket to the youngest; from knowing all the teachers well to knowing none at all; from having one teacher for the whole year to having different teachers for different subjects and so on. There was also the challenge of having to make new friends. However, as you can guess, I survived! In fact, dare I say, I flourished in the new environment after a very short while. Since then I have always enjoyed similar challenges.

When Jesus began to proclaim the Gospel people very quickly realized that He was calling for some very radical changes in the way that they understood and lived their faith. There were many who opposed Jesus and worked against all that He was trying to do. At the same time there were those who wholeheartedly embraced the Gospel as they saw in it a new and more vital understanding of their relationship with God. The Gospel Jesus proclaimed demanded new understandings of faith and religious practice that […]

By |July 4th, 2015|Daily Scripture|0 Comments


October 22    Whether we like it or not we all have responsibility for the graces God has given us and this means we have to discern how to use such graces not just for our own benefit but for the good of the Kingdom of God as a whole. The author of the Letter to the Ephesians reminds them how Paul has exercised stewardship of the graces of God for their benefit. This is why the community of faith has grown strongly. It is now up to each member of the community to respond accordingly and do the same.

This is also true for us today. In the midst of the secular world of today this can be quite difficult as the focus seems to be strongly placed upon ‘looking after one’s own interests above and beyond all else.’ This is true only to a limited extent in that if everyone only focuses upon themselves, then we will all lose out in the end due to lack of cooperation. If everyone is only interested in the biggest prize at a competition and shuns everything else, then there will only be one winner! If you remember the film “A Beautiful Mind” depicting […]

By |October 22nd, 2014|Daily Scripture|0 Comments
  • eagle-flying

The Call: Scared eagles

The prophet Isaiah tells us that “those who put their trust in the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall rise up with wings like eagles” (Is 40:31).

The promise sounds very encouraging, yet we need to be aware of what is not being said about this image. An eagle is able to soar up to the heights precisely because it has nothing. An eagle does not carry a parachute in case of emergency, it does not carry a map or GPS so that it can maintain its course, it does not harness itself to the nearest tree in case it fails on take-off and it does not carry a phone ‘just in case’ something bad happens along the way. If an eagle had these things, it would be extremely safe and in no danger of ever being hurt. However this would be because it would not be able to get off the ground.

When the scripture says that we will be able to soar like eagles when we trust in the Lord, it is because we are choosing to not put our trust in everything else. In that place of vulnerability, we are able to soar to the heights and achieve […]

By |September 9th, 2014|The Call|0 Comments
  • cardboard

The Call: The Cardboard-self

Imagine a world where every person carried in front of them a life-sized cardboard cut-out of themselves. This cardboard cut-out would be a the perfect image of themselves; their best picture, professionally ‘photoshoped’ to create the most perfect appearance. Whenever these people met each other, they would push their perfect image of themselves forward and request that the other person talk to the picture and not look at the real person behind.
Some might say that this is what our world has become. We celebrate perfection so much that we now hide behind a false image for fear that other people might see who we really are. As Christians, the real danger is when we do this to God. We come to prayer and present to God our ‘best selves’. We assume that since we do not like our ‘real-self’, surely God would not be pleased with it either.
It should be obvious that God would hate being presented with this ‘cardboard person’ as much as we would. He loves us in our real-self with all of its imperfections; he definitely does not like our pretend-self. If you feel that you are not encountering God in your prayer, perhaps it is because […]

By |August 27th, 2014|The Call|0 Comments

Talk: “The Catholic Thing” @ the Australian Catholic Youth Festival

Hi everyone, it’s nearly two weeks since the inaugural Australian Catholic Youth Festival.  It was a great success!  Xt3 recorded workshop talks and here’s the link to one of my talks.  It’s called the Catholic Thing… but the byline is a little misleading.  The talk is really about belonging, vulnerability, shame, courage and other universal […]
By |December 18th, 2013|chris ryan|Comments Off on Talk: “The Catholic Thing” @ the Australian Catholic Youth Festival