Homilies

Mass for the 2008 National Colloquium for Catholic Bioethicists

Mass for the 2008 National Colloquium for Catholic Bioethicists

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART FOR THE 2008 NATIONAL COLLOQUIUM FOR CATHOLIC BIOETHICISTS AT ST AUGUSTINE’S CHURCH, MELBOURNE, ON TUESDAY 29 JANUARY 2008 AT 6.30PM.INTRODUCTIONDear Brothers and Sisters,I am delighted to be with you in this particular year to encourage the work of the National Colloquium of Bioethicists.The almost total abandonment of any reference to truth or natural law in the pragmatic endeavours of the legislature in this country and elsewhere remind us that all human knowledge is incomplete and that to come to the fullness of truth we need the light and...

Mass for the Opening of the Legal Year

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, FOR THE OPENING OF THE LEGAL YEAR ON TUESDAY 29 JANUARY 2008 AT 9AM.

INTRODUCTION


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Red Mass is an ancient tradition, invoking God’s blessings and guidance on the administration of justice under the power of the Holy Spirit.

On the first Pentecost the tongues of fire transformed the apostles from fearful people into men filled with the Holy Spirit, totally committed to truth, and courageous in the service they would render to deepening and extending the faith in Jesus Christ which we have received from them.

In extending you a warm personal welcome, I recognise especially the presence of representatives of government, judges and magistrates, barristers and solicitors, members of legal staffs, families and friends.

The Holy Spirit is powerful to make weak things strong, to bind up hearts that are broken, to bring justice and integrity to our people.  As we call to mind our sins, let us ask that the Spirit of God will grant us the life we need in our chosen profession and in the service that we render to society.

HOMILY

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The earliest evidence of a celebration of the Red Mass was in Paris during the thirteenth century.  Successively it spread to other European countries within a period of fifty years.  In Australia it has been celebrated since 1931.  It is a Red Mass because it is the Mass of the Holy Spirit.  The red vestments which are worn are symbolic of the fire, light and guidance of the Holy Spirit sought for the members of the profession and for the service that you render to our society.  It is a moment of appreciation on behalf of the Church, and from me personally as archbishop, for your genuine service of justice and the search for truth.

Regularly in their messages for the World Day of Peace on 1 January, the Popes have stressed that peace within individual families in societies arises “in that they should be built on solid foundations of shared spiritual and ethical values”.  

Pope Benedict said this year:  “It must be added that the family experiences authentic peace when no one lacks what is needed and when the family patrimony is well managed in a spirit of solidarity without extravagance and without waste.  The peace of the family requires an openness to a transcendent patrimony of values and at the same time a concern for the prudent management of both material goods and interpersonal relationships.”  (Benedict XVI, WDP 2008, 9)
    
Pope Benedict goes back further to the fundamental challenge of lawmakers, administrators and practitioners in a secular state when he says:  “The Church has often spoken on the subject of the nature and function of law:  the juridic norm which regulates relationships between individuals, disciplines external conduct and established penalties for offenders, and has as its criterion the moral norm grounded in nature itself.  Human reason is capable of discerning this moral norm, at least in its fundamental requirements and thus ascending to the creative reason of God, which is at the origin of all things.  The moral norm must be the rule for the decisions of conscience and the guide for all human behaviour.”  

He asks:  “Do juridic norms exist for relationships between the nations which make up the human family?  And if they exist, are they operative?  The answer is, yes such norms exist - but to ensure that they are truly operative it is necessary to go back to the n

Mass for the Opening of the Legal Year

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, FOR THE OPENING OF THE LEGAL YEAR ON TUESDAY 29 JANUARY 2008 AT 9AM.

INTRODUCTION


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Red Mass is an ancient tradition, invoking God’s blessings and guidance on the administration of justice under the power of the Holy Spirit.

On the first Pentecost the tongues of fire transformed the apostles from fearful people into men filled with the Holy Spirit, totally committed to truth, and courageous in the service they would render to deepening and extending the faith in Jesus Christ which we have received from them.

In extending you a warm personal welcome, I recognise especially the presence of representatives of government, judges and magistrates, barristers and solicitors, members of legal staffs, families and friends.

The Holy Spirit is powerful to make weak things strong, to bind up hearts that are broken, to bring justice and integrity to our people.  As we call to mind our sins, let us ask that the Spirit of God will grant us the life we need in our chosen profession and in the service that we render to society.

HOMILY

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The earliest evidence of a celebration of the Red Mass was in Paris during the thirteenth century.  Successively it spread to other European countries within a period of fifty years.  In Australia it has been celebrated since 1931.  It is a Red Mass because it is the Mass of the Holy Spirit.  The red vestments which are worn are symbolic of the fire, light and guidance of the Holy Spirit sought for the members of the profession and for the service that you render to our society.  It is a moment of appreciation on behalf of the Church, and from me personally as archbishop, for your genuine service of justice and the search for truth.

Regularly in their messages for the World Day of Peace on 1 January, the Popes have stressed that peace within individual families in societies arises “in that they should be built on solid foundations of shared spiritual and ethical values”.  

Pope Benedict said this year:  “It must be added that the family experiences authentic peace when no one lacks what is needed and when the family patrimony is well managed in a spirit of solidarity without extravagance and without waste.  The peace of the family requires an openness to a transcendent patrimony of values and at the same time a concern for the prudent management of both material goods and interpersonal relationships.”  (Benedict XVI, WDP 2008, 9)
    
Pope Benedict goes back further to the fundamental challenge of lawmakers, administrators and practitioners in a secular state when he says:  “The Church has often spoken on the subject of the nature and function of law:  the juridic norm which regulates relationships between individuals, disciplines external conduct and established penalties for offenders, and has as its criterion the moral norm grounded in nature itself.  Human reason is capable of discerning this moral norm, at least in its fundamental requirements and thus ascending to the creative reason of God, which is at the origin of all things.  The moral norm must be the rule for the decisions of conscience and the guide for all human behaviour.”  

He asks:  “Do juridic norms exist for relationships between the nations which make up the human family?  And if they exist, are they operative?  The answer is, yes such norms exist - but to ensure that they are truly operative it

Mass for the Australia Day Observance

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY 27 JANUARY 2008 AT 11AM, FOR THE AUSTRALIA DAY OBSERVANCE.

INTRODUCTION

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today, in thankfulness for God’s gifts to our land and to its people, the richness of traditions from which we come and the peace, justice and truth for which we all aspire, this Mass is offered in thanksgiving and in hope for the future, that God’s plan that all will be saved and live in peace will be fulfilled, above all, especially in Australia.

Let us call to mind our sins that we may live in the sure hope of eternal life, which our God promises us.

HOMILY

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Gospel we have is very familiar to us.  It is Our Lord’s reminding us of the blessedness that comes from living his life.  When the first disciples were invited to be his apostles they had to leave everything they were doing and follow him completely.  Jesus today reminds us of the values and truths, which will guide us permanently on our earthly pilgrimage.  

Australians who have come from many countries of origin rejoice in the freedom, the spaciousness, the tolerance, and the peace of our country.  We rejoice in the huge material resources, which we have and these can tend to be all embracing and captivating.  The challenge for Australia in 2008 is to ask ourselves whether we will be satisfied with the material, the impermanent, the consumerist values that are constantly being thrust at us or whether we will respect the land in which we live, treat its resources with care, its people with respect and seek to go further in fulfilling the challenges given us.  It is an unfortunate fact that medical illness through alcoholism and drug taking has assumed epidemic proportions.  Together with these ills, our selfishness and lack of respect for others has meant that married life has become fragile, children unsupported and the nation is in the grip of rampant secularism.

At no time has the knowledge of the love of God for us been more sorely needed.  The Gospel today highlights that entrusting ourselves to a personal God is the beginning of a mission which can make us reach out to society and see beyond the immediate wants and desires to something which will serve us for eternity.

Beneath the constantly recurring restlessness and basic dissatisfaction of modern living is a desire for that happiness which goes beyond.  So today we ask - to whom do we turn to receive this immeasurable happiness which all people desire?

Jesus, the Son of God and great teacher in the Gospel, is the one to whom we turn.  Blessedness is something that we could aspire to because it is God’s happiness to make people happy.  This is often offered here and now by being poor in spirit, lowly and meek, in looking to God for salvation, by keeping one’s self right-minded and one’s heart pure, by working here on earth for justice and peace.

God’s word today, as always, at the same time sets forth a promise and a challenge.  The Beatitudes in this Gospel – Blessed … - are happiness from the other side.  It is the way God wants it for us – to see how this world can deceive us through finance, property and greed.  We can go after trivial happiness or we can endure and keep a clear vision of what can fully satisfy.  Only God, the Maker of our world, can give us true and lasting happiness and that only if we see his plan for us as spelt out so beautifully in the Gospel:  “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”

The challenge for us as Australians in 2008 is to go beyond the here and now, to value justice,

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