We are stronger when we stand together

Do you know how Quasimodo, better known as the Hunchback of Notre-Dame, got his job as the bellringer at Notre-Dame Cathedral?

You can save the world in which you live. Those human bricks that lean on you - your husband your wife, your children, your parents - you can save them, you can hold them up.

Quasimodo said to the Archbishop of Paris, "I want to be your bellringer at Notre-Dame."

The Archbishop looks at him strangely and said:, "Umm...I don't want to be rude or anything, but wouldn't that hunch on your back get in the way?"

"What hunch?", said Quasimodo. The Archbishop said: "Um. Okay then. Let's see what you've got!"

So Quasimodo climbs up to the bell tower of Notre-Dame in excitement.

He takes a run-up along the cathedral's ancient roof to jump out and grab the bell rope.

However, the hunch on his back catches on a gargoyle and he trips and his face slaps into the bell which causes it to ring loudly.

He bounces down the stairwell - bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, right out onto the pavement at the front of Notre-Dame. Quasimodo is out cold.

As people crowd around him an old woman asks the shocked bishop "Archbishop, who is this man?"

The archbishop replies: "I don't know. But his face certainly rings a bell."

I had a hunch you'd like that one.

I want to say a huge thank you to those who sent me your best wishes and I guess condolences on the partial burning down of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, especially those of you who aren't Catholic.

If there is one thing about us Catholics, we take the building of our churches seriously. Well, we used to.

But let me tell you something you already know. The Church is not the building, it's the people. So a church doesn't just stay there on a street corner.

It goes down to the shopping centre. It lives in your homes. It goes where you go.

But a church building is a symbol of that church and so we call it "a church" and we build a church the way we want our souls to be; beautiful, strong, inspiring, solid, loveable.

It was a horrible and yet an ultimately inspiring and symbolic way to begin Easter this year.

Not just Christians but also people all over the world who are lovers of art, history and beautiful things, to discover that Notre-Dame in Paris, the oldest and perhaps the most beautiful Gothic church in the world, was burning down.

People cried and when you saw the size of the flames it seemed that what stood strong for over 800 years was now gone.

But our sadness turned to amazement and even inspiration when we saw that the walls did not also come down.

Why not? They were built over 800 years ago with no modern tools, no computers, no modern spirit levels - just water.

No measuring tape - just rope. No machines, no cranes, no trucks, no hard hats or safety boots.

Not even a cement mixer. They had no lights except for the sun and candles.

So why didn't the walls come down?

Well, here's where the symbolism comes in. Over 800 years ago the builders used a design that was experimental at the time.

They used what we now call flying buttresses and rib vaults.

So instead of the bricks being built on top of each other, the bricks were laid against each other so that they support each other, they hold each other up, and therefore defy gravity.

And that is what we must do as stones and pillars of society.

We have to hold each other up and support each other, especially when we are under fire.

Then, when one of us is down or being tempted or in despair, they can lean on us and not collapse.

People will say "Ahh! You can't save the world!".

You can save the world.

You can save the world in which you live.

Those human bricks that lean on you; your husband your wife, your children, your parents, your brothers, your sisters and your friends - you can save them, you can hold them up.

So be like Notre-Dame. Because, when under fire, the human bricks that you hold up are the bricks that hold you up also.