Homilies

Mass of the Chrism

Mass of the Chrism

MASS OF THE CHRISM CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON TUESDAY 19 APRIL 2011 AT 11AM.INTRODUCTION Jesus Christ has made us into a kingdom, priest for his God and Father.  (Revelation 1:6)Dear Brothers and Sisters,As members of his priestly people we welcome especially our brother deacons, priests and bishops, as today we renew our commitment to service, witnessing to the redemption brought by Jesus Christ.  Together we pray for all priests; diocesan and religious, and those helping us from other places.  The gift of priesthood in the Church is...

Funeral Mass for Fr Ronald Merrick, Our Lady's, Wattle Park

FUNERAL MASS FOR FATHER RONALD MERRICK CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART
AT OUR LADY'S CHURCH, WATTLE PARK, ON FRIDAY 15 APRIL 2011 AT 11.00 AM

INTRODUCTION

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Last Sunday evening in the 87th year of his age and the 61st year of his priesthood, Father Ronald Merrick returned to his true home after a short period of suffering.

We are gathered in Our Lady's Church where he ministered for nearly fifteen years as pastor, to bid him farewell and pray for the repose of his soul.  Together with his sister Coralie, nieces and nephews, his parish and diocesan family, we commend him to the merciful love of God as we remember his faithfulness to the priesthood, his love of the Mass and of Our Lady in all the years that I have known him.

We extend sympathy to his family for the loss of a brother and uncle.  In beginning the Mass, when we pray his swift entry into eternal life, let us remember our sins and ask the Lord for light, pardon and peace.

HOMILY

"Our homeland is in heaven and from heaven comes the Saviour we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ"

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We have come to bid farewell to Ronald Hayden Merrick, a faithful priest for nearly 51 years.  We remember him as a sincere and kind man, ready to help others in need, generous to a fault, who kept very little for himself.  His embracing of the priesthood and of the love of people was very strong. His courage, despite indifferent health, shows how dedicated he was to God and to his people.

Ronald Merrick was born at Hawthorn on 22 December 1924 where his father was assistant station-master.  After education at St John's School Hawthorn and at Christian Brothers College Parade, he entered Corpus Christi on 1 March 1943.  Surviving members of his year are Father Des Cameron, Monsignor Jim Murray, Archbishops Little and Faulkner, and Columbans Fathers John Griffin and Chris Baker.  It was on 23 July 1950 that he was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Mannix.

As a small boy at St John's School, I remember Father Merrick coming to Immaculate Conception Church to celebrate one of his first Masses.  It may be that his appearance and four others from Hawthorn who had gone on to diocesan priesthood, in some way influenced me in the importance of parish ministry, although I do pay great tribute to the Jesuit Fathers' work in the parish.

Ron's priestly work was always doing what needed to be done generously and doggedly, with an openness to people and generosity towards them.  After a few weeks at Healesville at the end of 1950, he was assistant in Gordon from 1951 until 1956, Clifton Hill 1956 to 1962, and West Brunswick from 1962 until he was appointed Parish Priest of Seaford in 1964. 

He spent nearly nine years in that new parish of Seaford and commenced the work of what is now a thriving parish with two schools.  By 1972 he went to Avondale Heights, in January 1981 to Williamstown and then to Wattle Park on 16 July 1986, where he remained until being appointed Pastor Emeritus just over ten years ago, on 17 January 2001.  He shared his love of Our Lady both as pastor and in retirement by his great support of Marian groups.  This would, of course, reach right back to his family and to the Marist Brothers who taught us at St John's.

Father Merrick began to suffer from heart problems from the middle of 1978 and it was on that occasion that Archbishop Little wrote to him commenting, "It is the first time I have seen a letter of yours that goes beyond three paragraphs."  The whole of Ron's priestly life as he expressed it, is one of dedication to people, prayer and spiritual reading.  He did not yearn for large gatherings, seminars or meetings.

Friends to whom I have spoken have advised of his sincerity and generosity, the way in which he has liv

Mass for the conclusion of Share the Dream, the third National Family Gathering

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT XAVIER COLLEGE, KEW, ON SUNDAY 17 APRIL 2011 AT 2.30PM, FOR THE CONCLUSION OF THE SHARE THE DREAM CONFERENCE.

HOMILY

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We have just listened to the story of the infinite love of our God for us in Jesus.  As women and men, young people, boys and girls, we know that Jesus loves us with an infinite, lasting love.  And so as families, as we go to the cross, we can find in it the extent to which God was prepared to go to love us, so that we may see in our family the love and respect, giftedness, even in the midst of trials, that we are called to exercise and live in love.

We learn the secret of the resurrection when we learn the secret of the cross.  When we are called to share in some way in the suffering of Christ, then we come to understand not only what he experienced, but what this was leading to.  In family life, as elsewhere, every cross, struggle and difficulty leads to resurrection.

I like to think of life as each day being prepared by God’s providence.  In many ways it is the road to the cross, but it leads to a greater understanding of Our Lord, a greater share in his resurrection.  That is why in family and in life we have to hope more and more.  We see the realisation of God’s love shining even in the darkness.

Each day should see me more humble; each day more willing to accept what comes my way.  Thus, I become more closely united to the Lord – grow, as I grow, in grace, in the love of the Father.

Let us consider the value of the cross in the Church and in our families, pondering the words of Saint Paul:  “I am glad of my sufferings on your behalf, as in this mortal frame of mine I help to pay off the debt which the afflictions of Christ still leave to be paid for the sake of his Body, the Church.”  Words difficult to understand, but of enormous consolation.  When in my life the cross weighs heavy in suffering this is contributing to the whole life of the Church.  The cross is not something to make us less human.  No, it leads us in Christ and with Christ to the Father. 

This is the Gospel, this is Saint Paul:  “I share in the passion of Christ to share in his resurrection.”  And again:  “Risen with Christ, you must lift your thoughts above where Christ now sits at the right hand of God.  You must be heavenly minded, not earthly minded.  You have undergone death and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  Christ is your life and when he is made manifest, you too will be made manifest in glory with him.”

In this week as we go to contemplate the passion of Christ, let us carry with him all our sufferings and struggles, the love of our family as the people whom God has given us, the hope of full life and grace, which only he can offer.

And as we depart from this wonderful time together when we have shared our joys and sorrows and are renewed in our family life, let us remember that Jesus has been there before us and invites us to go on trusting him, knowing he will never desert us, knowing that our sufferings, our joys, our achievements, our families are carried close to the one who died and rose again, as he keeps us in his heart this special week. 

May Jesus guide and protect our families as he goes with full heart and love to be crucified for us, and rise again.

+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE

Palm Sunday

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, FOR PALM SUNDAY 17 APRIL 2011 AT 11AM.

HOMILY

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We have just listened to the story of the infinite love of our God for us in Jesus.

We learn the secret of the resurrection when we learn the secret of the cross.  And it is when we are called to share in some way in the suffering of Christ that we come to understand not only what he experienced but what this was leading to.  For every cross leads to resurrection.  I like to think of life as each day being prepared by God’s providence, and it is in many ways the road to the cross.  But it leads to greater understanding of our Lord, a greater sharing in his resurrection.

Each day should see me more humble; each day more willing to accept what comes my way.  Thus I become more closely united to the Lord – grow, as I grow in grace, in the love of the Father.

Let us consider the value of the cross in the Church, pondering the words of Saint Paul:  “I am glad of my sufferings on your behalf, as in this mortal frame of mine I help to pay off the debt which the afflictions of Christ still leave to be paid, for the sake of his body, the Church.” 

Words difficult to understand, but of enormous consolation: "When the cross weighs heavily this is contributing to the whole life of the Church.  The cross is not something to make us less human.  No, it leads us in Christ and with Christ to the Father.  This is the Gospel.  This is Saint Paul:  I share in the passion of Christ, to share in his resurrection.”

 And again:  “Risen with Christ you must lift your thoughts above, where Christ now sits at the right hand of God.  You must be heavenly-minded, not earthly-minded.  You have undergone death, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  Christ is your life and when he is made manifest, you too will be made manifest in glory with him.”  (George Basil Hume, O.S.B., Searching for God, p. 144)

+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.m b

Fifth Sunday of Lent

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT ST PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY 10 APRIL 2011 AT 11AM.

INTRODUCTION

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we see Lazarus going into the tomb to be called forth and back to life by Jesus Christ.  We grapple with the frequency of death in our lives.  The Church challenges us today to say whether we are really alert to the power of Christ in our daily life. 

Saint John wrote in his first Letter: "God has given us eternal life and this life is in his Son.”  It is Jesus alone who has power over life and over death.  This is why we seek to walk with Christ in our daily life, nourished by prayer, truth and honest searching to walk with Jesus at every moment. 

Because we know our frailty, let us call to mind our sins and ask the Lord for pardon, light and strength.

HOMILY

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Death can be very frustrating.  How many people have moaned at the timeframe chosen by God?  Why did such a person die so young?  Why at this particular time did I suffer that loss?  Why doesn’t God fit in more with my plans?  Even Martha and Mary said to Jesus when he came after Lazarus had died, “If you had been here my brother would not have died.”

Notice that the experience of Jesus calling Lazarus forth from the tomb shows the power of God over life and over death or in the words of Ezekiel: “You will know that I am the Lord when I open your graves and raise you from your graves and I will put my Spirit in you and you will live and I will re-settle you on your own soil.”

These powerful words paint a vivid picture of the stone being rolled back and Lazarus coming out of the tomb and can reassure us that all things are possible in the power of Christ.  Because of the gift of his Spirit, which God has offered to us, graves will open and dead will rise, sinners are brought to life and Martha, Mary and Lazarus, because they were attuned to Jesus, came out from death to life.  At Jesus’ command, ‘Lazarus, come out’, Lazarus came forth and out of his tomb to live again. 

In the words of a modern American writer, Patricia Sanchez, we too can learn: “Come out from sin and selfishness to know healing and wholeness.  Come out from hopelessness to a renewed trust in God.  Come out from pride and self-importance to stand in humble truth before God and others.  Come out from the indifference that allows injustice to foment.  Come out and be part of a solution rather than a source of the problem.  Come out from under those material transient preoccupations that dim spiritual sharpness and dull the appetite for God.  Come out from worry and live by faith.  Come out from your death in the tomb and live forever in God.” 

If Jesus raised Lazarus from the tomb he can raise us from our stupor, hesitancy and fright to live for God.  Jesus’ words elsewhere in the Gospel, “I am the Resurrection and the Life, whoever believes in me, though he dies, will live, and whoever is alive and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25) show us that if we entrust ourselves to the Lord in all the circumstances of life he will triumph in us.  When Jesus says, “Your brother is not dead, he is asleep, he will rise again”, we, like Martha, will say, ‘Yes, Lord, we do believe, help our unbelief.’ 

So the Lord invites us to come out of self, to walk with him.  The second half of Lent is a perfect time to come back.  We do not want to enter a real tomb without having really lived with God.  Confronted as we are with Jesus rising from the dead, which we will commemorate in two weeks, let us ask ourselves - do we really believe, what difference does it make for us?

+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE

Previous Homilies

Archive

Trending Now