MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART
AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE,
ON SUNDAY, 25 DECEMBER 2011 AT MIDNIGHT.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Jesus our God came to share our human condition, embracing it and our lives in all things except sin.
As we gaze at the wonder of the crib and God’s nearness, let us ask him that as we journey with our brothers and sisters remembering especially the young and those who suffer, we may each of us know the transforming power of the God who has come to save us.
Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
“Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to people of good will.”
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This ancient song of praise uttered by the angels is a reminder that earth and heaven come close on this night. Amid all the emotion and attractiveness of a human birth God is coming to visit his people. The reality of his coming is in Jesus Christ. For that reason God speaks to us and makes the human divine, enabling us to encounter God in himself and in each other. Jesus, the child born for us, is truly Emmanuel – God with us.
God gives himself into our hands as a child begging for our love, implanting his peace in our hearts. It is also a prayer that we make to the Lord for his promise to come true; war and violence will come to an end and give way to an eternal peace.
So often this Advent we have remembered that joy is not an illusory happiness, but comes from the certainty that God is near, that he will fulfil his promises, that our lives can be transformed because the child that is born is the great God to whom we and our lives and our deeds and our thoughts are important. That is why we have to lay aside everything that does not lead to God because we are waiting in hope for the blessing which will come with the appearing of Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ birth shows us that things can be different because he lived, died and rose for us. His birth brings new hope for our city. It reminds us of the imperishable value of each human being; young or old. It reminds us of the challenge to witness to that value in our society. It reminds us that we are given the life that comes from God in the Eucharist so that we too may witness to him.
Then we truly will be people of good will. We will come to proclaim God’s glory. We will each of us say today is born our Saviour, Christ the Lord.
May our saving Lord be with you and your families and friends. May he reassure you in the hope he promises and in the light that can shine in any darkness and uncertainty in each human heart because God is faithful to his transforming power and to his promises.
Jesus, the Messiah is born, a new era in the story of humanity has begun. Today is born our Saviour, Christ the Lord.
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.