MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART FOR THE BLESSING OF SAINT MARY’S CHURCH, KINGLAKE, ON SUNDAY 27 MARCH 2011 AT 2.30PM.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On this third Sunday of Lent when the Gospel recalls the meeting of Jesus with the Samaritan woman whom he initiates into the way of faith leading true adorers to the Father, we come with joy and hope to bless the new Saint Mary’s Church.
Over the years of the three churches on this site your example has been one of tremendous faith and constancy. God and you alone know what you have suffered; all of us, I think, see this as a tremendous moment of help so close as it is to the feast of the Annunciation to Mary that the Lord is coming to save his people.
As disciples of the kingdom, as we sprinkle this church with holy water as a sign of blessing, comfort and hope, let us open our hearts, as Mary did, as true servants of the Lord.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
“Give me living water that I may never thirst again.”
I am honoured to be with you, dear brothers and sisters, as we re-open Saint Mary’s Church as a reminder that God’s love and presence are constantly with us.
Many of you will remember that Jews and Samaritans never mixed. Jesus went to meet with the Samaritan woman as an indication of the universal mission of Jesus and of us in the Church to reach out to all kinds of people, to bring them to encounter the Gospel. Jesus’, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me”, is a reminder that he has a mission in which he invites us to participate. This is only possible if we are reconciled with him and with his perfect fulfilment of what God the Father wills.
There is a telling lesson for us in our times when Jesus meets with a woman who is not only from the wrong nationality, but also by Christian standards was a woman of immoral life. She came to draw water when few people would brave the noon day sun. Through her encounter with Jesus she begins to drink the water of life.
We notice that Jesus meets her not in the superficial pleasantries about weather, sport or things that interest us, but in the deep meeting of her own sin and facing the reality of its consequences. She was humble enough to be willing to be exposed to the truth, was graced with the desire to repent and to invite Jesus into those places in her life where he alone can make a difference.
This deep meeting between Jesus and the woman is a reminder of the level at which Jesus wishes to meet us and to meet our lives. He offers us hope, as he offered the woman in the Gospel transformation.
Once again, I wish to pay tribute to the generosity and faith which support all of you, particularly in the face of terrible losses of family, loved ones and property. Yet we realise that Saint Peter’s invitation to show to the world the reason for the hope that is in us means that we come together as people wanting to do our best to build the kingdom of God and its goodness and justice and virtue in people’s hearts. So this building is a sign both of the total openness of Mary to the Lord’s plan and also of our readiness to see what we can become.
I congratulate Father O’Neill and all of you, not merely for pressing ahead with the reconstruction of the church, but for your own practical works that you have done to bring us all to this day. I pray that this day will be a beacon of hope to the people of Kinglake, that they will help us to know that the Lord and his Blessed Mother are with us in our tears and trials, but also especially in this moment of hope and joy. May Saint Mary’s lead us to love of Jesus, faithfulness to his plan, as today we entrust all our loved ones to the One who loved us in a way beyond all telling. Jesus wants to meet each of us to offer encouragement and hope, the livin