Homilies

Mass for the annual Anzac commeration

Mass for the annual Anzac commeration

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART FOR THE ANNUAL ANZAC COMMEMORATION IN SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY 19 APRIL 2009 AT 11AM.INTRODUCTIONDear Brothers and Sisters, Just over a week ago in our high point of the Church Year we confronted the death and resurrection of Jesus, our death to self and the new life of baptism.Today we are privileged to be united with leaders of our community and society in remembering and valuing those who made the supreme sacrifice at Gallipoli in 1915 and all who have given of their lives and skill to enable us to have the freedom and...

Mass for the induction of Fr Hien Vu as parish priest of St Michael's Ashburton

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART FOR THE INDUCTION OF FATHER HIEN VU AS PARISH PRIEST OF ASHBURTON AT SAINT MICHAEL’S CHURCH, ASHBURTON, ON SATURDAY 18 APRIL 2009 AT 6PM.

INTRODUCTION

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Just a week ago we have celebrated the high point of our Church Year in the resurrection of the Lord.  We, in faith, can say we have seen the Lord and have known the power of his resurrection in our lives.

The challenge is to live the resurrected life as today we come to install Father Hien Vu as your Parish Priest.  In the short time he has been with you I know that many have rejoiced in his presence and priestly goodness.  We offer this Mass for him and for the parish that all may continue their journey inspired by the Risen Lord.

I now ask that his letter of appointment be read…

HOMILY

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the Gospel we have just read we confront the reality of death, as did the women who came to the tomb.  We see Jesus meeting his apostles, giving them the Holy Spirit, resolving their doubts, proving that he was risen and sending each of them on his mission.  Each of us has our own mission in the world and in society.  If we believe in the resurrection of Jesus and know its power, then even life and death become transformed.  Our destiny through this life is to strive onwards towards the refashioning of our society with respect for the dignity of each.

Father Hien has been Assistant Priest in Werribee and in Epping.  We respect his ability to lead and his generosity in coming to be with you.  I pray that you will welcome him, support him in the leadership which he must give in all aspects of parish life – worship, teaching, school, management of parish resources, so that Saint Michael’s will be a place of faith and strong Christian living.  I hope that his presence among you will be a constant reminder that God in his wonder goes beyond all that we might hope for and that it is him whom we search to see revealed in the transforming of your hearts.

Together with Pope Benedict and his Archbishop, Father Hien will strive to serve you faithfully and generously.  I urge you to welcome him and to remember of course the larger areas of responsibilities which he now has.

I want to reflect particularly on the work of your parish priest.  Jesus himself said, ‘I am the gate’.  A priest is invited into a mysterious gift of self to Jesus Christ.  When Father Hien received ordination as a deacon and as a priest, his personal and public consecration in celibacy and service of his people assumed a new dimension.

At Easter we celebrate the death and resurrection of the Saviour.  Each priest dies to himself, places his words and personality at the Lord’s service as he rises to offer the new life that only the Lord can give to us.  Through his celebration of the Eucharist the saving action of Jesus Christ in the cross comes to us.  The Eucharist celebrated, adored and brought to the sick is Christ present among us.

A priest is another Christ.  The Eucharist is tremendously important because here our human lives are directed to God, who fills them with meaning.

In a few moments Father Hien will open the tabernacle and adore the Blessed Sacrament.  He will be taken to the baptismal font to show that through his ministry new members will be given to God’s Church to be filled with his life.  I will take him to the Confessional where he is invited to be the minister of peace and forgiveness in the beautiful Sacrament of Reconciliation.  I urge you all to use it well.

We will come before an image of Our Lady and the Saints to remind us that we are brothers and sisters in the family of God’s Church and Father Hien will renew his promise of obedience made on the day of his ordination.  We cannot underestimate the praise of God and the service of people given by one who de

Divine Mercy Sunday, St Kevin's, Hampton Park

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT KEVIN’S CHURCH, HAMPTON PARK, FOR THE FEAST OF DIVINE MERCY, ON SUNDAY 19 APRIL 2009 AT 3.15 PM.

INTRODUCTION

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On this day when Thomas in the Gospel departs from doubting and comes to belief, we are invited to celebrate the Feast of Mercy brought about by the resurrection of Christ.

It is a refuge for all souls and especially for sinners.  The depths of God’s tender mercy come to us pouring a whole ocean of grace upon those souls who approach the fountain of mercy.

Confession and Holy Communion will obtain forgiveness of sins and punishment, and the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened on this special day, as we call to mind our sins and remember the forgiving mercy of God.

HOMILY

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today is a wonderful experience of the full implications of the resurrection of Christ.  Jesus’ resurrection offers us peace, sending us out to witness to him and giving the grace of the Holy Spirit together with the power of the forgiveness of sins.

In this feast of Divine Mercy we remember that God comes to bring us a new power for life and a new hope despite our human weakness.  Today we remember that God is a person of mercy who washes away our sins in water, giving us new birth in the Spirit and redeeming us with the blood of Christ.

Our Lord has asked Sister Faustina Kowalska to pray and work to have the feast of Divine Mercy established on the Sunday after Easter.  Pope John Paul II decreed that this would be a day of total forgiveness of sins and of punishment due to sins for those who approach the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  It is to be an annual celebration like the Day of Atonement.  All sins and punishment would be washed away in God’s infinite mercy.

The Readings tell of this today:  “The whole group of believers was united heart and soul … the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord with great power.” (Acts 4:32-33)  “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ has been begotten by God.” (1 John 5:1)  In the Gospel Jesus says: “Peace be with you.”  (John 20:20)  He likewise promises the forgiveness of sins and to Thomas he offers the relief of doubt with belief.  We are to become a new creation with the power of Easter living in our minds and hearts.

On Mercy Sunday Our Lord asked that the image of the merciful Saviour be blessed and venerated and that Sister Faustina have an image painted with the words:  “Jesus, I trust in you”, so as to draw mercy from the infinite ocean of God’s mercy.

Jesus is coming towards us with his right hand raised in blessing, his left hand touching his garment near the heart, where two great rays of light shine forth, one red, the other pale.  He is dressed in the white robes of a priest coming with his hands raised in blessing with salvation for those who are waiting, coming with gifts of mercy, the life-giving water, blood and spirit.

So today we remember to turn to the Lord saying:  “Jesus, I trust in you.”  Even if our sins be as red as blood, they will be made white as wool if we turn to his infinite mercy and trust in him.  “Jesus mercy, I trust in you.”  Today is the day of mercy, available to us and to the whole world, to all who call upon his name.  With Saint Thomas the Apostles we reach out and touch the wounds of Jesus and place our hands in his pierced side and draw on his infinite mercy and cry out:  “My Lord and my God.  Jesus, I trust in you.”

This is so we will come to know and to love the truth that Jesus gives us, to be touched by the redemption and forgiveness, won on his cross and in his resurrection and to have this made personal by our sharing in the Sacrament at Reconciliation.

Saint Augustine calls these days, days of mercy and pardon, in his sermon for this Sund

Easter Sunday

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY 12 APRIL 2009 AT 11AM.

INTRODUCTION

“I am risen and I am with you.  Alleluia!”

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Welcome to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral as we celebrate the greatest feast of our Church Year.  This is indeed the day the Lord has made.  We rejoice because Christ is risen from the dead and through Baptism he has given us his risen life.  Each year we celebrate the resurrection because we know that we are always destined for higher things.

In our prayer today we remember those who are seeking to rise from the devastation of bushfires, those who are seeking to recover from illness, those who are looking for hope that Christ, the Giver of all hope, may be with them.

At the end of this Mass in the name of Pope Benedict I will give his blessing as a reminder that we are members of one holy, catholic church, founded on the apostles.  Let us call to mind our sins.

HOMILY

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The initial words of this Mass, “I have risen and I am with you” or “Christ the Lord is risen today”, are a reminder that once the resurrection occurred Jesus Christ was permanently changed.  Having undergone the suffering of human nature, the brutality of a terrible passion and crucifixion he is now risen, glorified, living for God.  He touches our earth to strengthen our faith.

Saint John’s Gospel shows the apostles rushing to the tomb, seeing and believing.  In a later section of the same chapter, Jesus appears to the women to strengthen their faith in the fact of his resurrection.  Their coming to the tomb was in fact rewarded by this remarkable gesture by Jesus.

Today’s first Reading invites us to be witnesses to the resurrection and the second Reading underlines that we have been brought back to true life with Christ, living for the things of heaven.  For us baptism means a new perspective.  We not only live for the things of everyday, the people and situations we hold dear, but all of these must be seen in the context of our destiny.

For forty days Jesus would appear from time to time to strengthen the faith of his first followers.  We praise him because his dying frees us from sin and opens us to the possibility of a permanent change.

The Protestant theologian, Karl Barth, insisted:  “We are threatened by the resurrection because we do not like to admit that we are deeply imprisoned in our world of sin and death and that we are incapable of helping ourselves.”  Our Catholic faith on the other hand shows that by the power of God we are able to face what went before and to live in newness of life.  As the Lord’s right hand has triumphed, as Jesus has overcome death, so we are able to overcome sin and to live for the future.

In many of our parishes last night candidates were baptised or received into the Church.  The faith that many of us have from our birth has been renewed.  We are invited to see that continual renewal of life as the work of the power of God in our lives.  While we may know our own poverty before God, we know too the merciful rescue that he gives, provided that we are prepared to surrender ourselves to him and go forward to life.

In the same way that people are seeking to recover after the bushfires, we see that this tragedy brought out tremendous human and spiritual goodness in the people of Victoria.  Indeed, the challenge for Victorians at present, while we live in the midst of economic uncertainty and certain unemployment, is to re-focus our lives as individuals and as a community on what was evident in the days after the bushfire.  People discovered good in others they never knew.  We discovered hope because we were alive.  For a short time we lived for each other rather than for isolation and material gain.  This teaches that living for Christ and for each other

Easter Vigil

HOMILY PREACHED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, AT THE EASTER VIGIL ON SATURDAY 11 APRIL 2009 AT 8PM.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

After our long Easter Vigil we come on the first morning with Mary of Magdala and the other Mary to the tomb and encounter the angels who tell the startling story that Jesus is risen.

Briefly we have meditated on the origin of light from fire.  The Easter candle shows us that Christ yesterday, today, is the beginning and the end.  All times and seasons belong to him forever.  His holy and glorious wounds protect us because he is Christ the Lord, the light of the world.

We ponder the Word of God, which shows the preparation of people’s hearts for the coming of Christ as we have recently celebrated his passion.  The silence of the tomb now gives way so that Christ rising in glory may dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.

The women going to the tomb had wanted to complete the burial rites that they had not been able to complete on Good Friday before sunset.  Yet they got the shock of their lives.  Coming to the tomb the angel tells them at the door of the empty tomb that Jesus is risen.  On every other occasion they are meant to be silent.  Here they are told to tell the disciples and Peter that Jesus is going before them into Galilee.  He is leading them on a mysterious journey where he will see them, as he invites us along a similar journey to take hold of newness of life through baptism.

Today in the Archdiocese many people will be baptised or received into the Church.  The moment of baptism is a time when Christ takes possession of us.  We leave aside the darkness of sin and enter a new life of grace.  God gives us his life to live for all eternity.  This life is equal to every challenge and suffering we may have.  It invites us to walk according to his pattern of commandment and reciprocated love so that we will know that by baptism we have been buried with Christ in death.  As Christ has risen from the dead we too walk in newness of life.  For this reason we celebrate baptism and we all renew our baptism promises.  For each of us it is the opportunity for us to enter a commitment to Christ that will make our lives totally different hereafter.

As we heard in the Exultet:  “The power of this holy night dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy.  It casts out hatred, brings us peace and humbles earthly pride.  Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth and man is reconciled with God.”  (The Roman Missal, The Exultet)

Tonight, then, does make a difference because Christ is our light.  He is the risen Saviour shining upon us.  We, God’s people, are invited to walk with Christ every day of our life, to know him as our friend, to adore him as our God, to know that his love is constant, until the day when he calls us home to be with him in heaven.

This Easter may the Lord be with each of you and those you love, with all who have worked so hard to help us celebrate this week, that together we may have some small glimpse of the glory of Christ our Saviour.

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne

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