Homilies

Second Sunday of Easter

Second Sunday of Easter

Tuesday, 17 April 2012 MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY, 15APRIL 2012 AT 11am INTRODUCTION Dear Brothers and Sisters, Today, a week after Easter, the Lord challenges us as believers to be united heart and soul and to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Lord of our life. As we offer this Mass in the joy of the resurrection, let us ask the Lord to guard us always on our journey and keep us firm and unshakeable in hope. Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our failures and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred...

Divine Mercy Sunday

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART FOR DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY AT STMARY’S CHURCH, WEST MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY, 15 April 2012 AT 2.30 PM

INTRODUCTION

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today in the light of the risen Lord we come to celebrate the Feast of Mercy.  Jesus has wished that we might have the peace given to his Apostles; the forgiveness of sins and the ability to trust him so strongly that we will become his ambassadors.

Purified by the Sacrament of Reconciliation, hearing the mercy of God, venerating the image of Jesus, merciful Saviour, and trusting in him, we seal the covenant of mercy by our receiving of the Lord in Holy Communion.

United with each other and in loving trust in our Saviour, let us call to mind our sins, that his mercy may transform us abundantly.


HOMILY

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today above all is a day of mercy, as our sins are washed away and we are redeemed in his blood.  Together in such numbers we thank God for Jesus’ revelation of his mercy to Sister Faustina Kowalska.  The Gospel we have just read shows Jesus as the king of mercy, dispensing mercy, giving us his peace, breathing on the disciples the Holy Spirit of mercy and giving them power to forgive sins.  When Thomas came, he too said, “My Lord and my God”, and entrusted himself to the Lord.

We are given today a wonderful opportunity to know that whatever may be our sins, God’s mercy is offered to forgive them.  Today is a day of total forgiveness of sins for those who approach the Sacrament and Reconciliation about this time and approach the Eucharist today.

Pope John Paul II wanted this to be an annual celebration like the day of atonement, which is mentioned in the Book of Leviticus, chapter 16, and the Book of Sirrach, chapter 50.  All sins and punishments are washed away in Jesus’ infinite mercy.  Indeed, when Jesus says, “Peace be with you”, he underlines for his apostles the fact that Jesus’ peace is life giving.

In addition to the fact that we are born by God in baptism and share our lives together in Christ, peace and forgiveness are available to us this Easter.  The risen Christ breathes peace deep into our darkness and fears.  All we need to do is to surrender to have it.  Forgiveness comes to those who repent and it remains a life-giving gift to those who will be forgiving of others.

Today on Mercy Sunday we will bless the image of the merciful Saviour with the inscription, “Jesus, I trust in you”.  It is this attitude of trust in Jesus’ coming forward with his right hand raised in blessing and his left hand touching his garment in the area of the heart, where two great rays of light shine forth, one red and one pale.  He is a priest in blessing, coming with salvation for those who wait for him, with mercy for us all.  We too are invited to come to Jesus with trust, to tell him that we love him and give our lives to him and to cry out, “Jesus, I trust in you”.

We all need to remember that today is the day of mercy, even if our sins are as red as blood, they will be as white as wool if we turn to his infinite mercy and trust him.  His heart is waiting for us full of love and mercy ready to forgive and embrace us as we pray, “Jesus, mercy!  I trust in you.”

Like Saint Thomas, who had doubted Our Lord, we too can turn back, know his peace and forgiveness, being filled with belief and trust in Jesus, the Son of God, so that we will have life through his name.

 Dear friends, let us thank Jesus for his merciful love and understanding, for the peace he gives and the challenge that he provides in sending us to witness to that peace and trust amid our family and friends by faithfulness to prayer, responding in love to Jesus, and trusting in him above all.  Jesus, I trust in you.

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Easter Sunday

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK'S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON EASTER SUNDAY, 8TH APRIL, 2012, AT 11.00 A.M.

INTRODUCTION

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Lord has indeed risen! Glory and kingship be his forever!

We come to celebrate the resurrection of Christ knowing that the power of death and sin has been conquered and the way is open for each of us to eternal life.

Our human spirit is imperishable because of the life, which Jesus gives and in which we walk throughout this Easter season. May this Easter Day be an invitation to walk always with Christ and to have the hope, which ends only in eternal life.

As we call to mind or sins, let us ask the Risen Lord to be with us and guide us.

HOMILY

My dear Brothers and Sisters,

"This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad!"

(Psalm 117:24)

In these words the Psalm challenges us to joy and thanksgiving because Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Son of the Virgin Mary, one who shares humanity with us, is risen from the dead. Indeed, it can be said that we look for the living among the dead and even last night the story of the rolling of the stone away from the tomb shows us that Jesus' resurrection is not a cause for fear, because he has risen he is not here.

This morning two outstanding witnesses to the resurrection present to us the fact that Jesus is risen. Peter, speaking to Cornelius, a Roman, reminds us that these events are for all people. "You must have heard about Jesus of Nazareth and how he began in Galilee ... God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power ... I and those with me can witness to all he did; to the fact that they killed him by hanging him on a tree, yet three days afterwards God rose him to life." (Acts 10:34.37..) To him the prophets testify that all who believe in Jesus will have their sins forgiven through his name.

These words of Saint Peter help us to understand that the death and rising of Jesus are for the forgiveness of our sins. Because of this, they and we are witnesses. Jesus is our merciful Saviour. We are called to respond to his love. As Saint Paul says, "Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died and the life you have is hidden with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:3) In our witnessing it is important not to resist the tendency to ignore the fact of the suffering of Christ.

Peter Gomez, a Baptist author, suggests, "Protestants have long beguiled themselves with the notion that they worship a victorious and risen Christ, and thus display an empty cross. A faith that ignores the means by which Jesus went on to victory and risen glory, i.e. through suffering, is a travesty of the Gospel."

Today's Gospel is powerful for us because it begins with the most uncomfortable and challenging reality of our human condition, suffering and weakness, into which Jesus entered fully even unto death and this was the means to own both suffering and victory.

In the world of today, whether in our big cities with the tragedies of wasted lives through drugs, the weakness, the breakdown of family life, the greed, the human evil and perversion, or whether it be in the world at large where people fight against each other amid the horrors of war, suffering is very much part of the human condition. Indeed, the faith that is formed to ignore suffering worships at the Church of the costless cross and they already have their reward.

Gomez even says that all they get is a convenience store religion that may provide what one needs in the short term, but is incapable of sustaining us over the long haul at any price. Jesus paid the ultimate price in suffering and dying. We are the beneficiaries of that costly gift and remember Good Friday is integral to Easter.

The radical challenge in the Easter Gospel is about new life. We are calle

Easter Vigil

HOMILY PREACHED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT THE EASTER VIGIL IN SAINT PATRICK'S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SATURDAY, 7TH APRIL, 2012, AT 8.00 P.M.

My dear Brothers and Sisters,

Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. Alleluia! Alleluia!

This is the Good News of great joy that the Church proclaims on this holy night. This is the joy of being a Christian. This is the joy of humanity.

A little while ago we gathered at the entrance of the Cathedral to proclaim the Risen Christ as the Light of the World. We then followed in procession after the Easter Candle, which represents Christ, our Light. By his resurrection, Jesus dispelled the darkness of the world and became our leader, guiding us in his light along the path of life to eternal life.

No matter what tragedies and darkness there may be in our world, Jesus has shown his power over sin and death. Indeed, by dying he has destroyed our death and by rising he has restored our life. We remember that Jesus told us, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." Or, again, "I am the Light of the world."

This evening after the Liturgy of Light we came to the Liturgy of the Word, hearing about the wonders that God did for his people in the Old Testament. We proclaimed his love in creation and how he delivered his people from Egypt, enabling them to pass through the Red Sea in the first Passover. Seven hundred years before Jesus came, God promised he would establish a New Covenant and give his people a new spirit.

In a few moments in the third part of our liturgy, the Liturgy of Baptism, we will see the complete fulfilment of God's promise. Those of us who are already baptised are conscious of the great privilege of our own Baptism.

Saint Paul tells us that Baptism associates us with the death and resurrection of Christ. We die with Christ, we are buried with him, and then come those wonderful words of the apostle, Paul, "But we believe that having died with Christ we shall return to life with him: Christ, as we know, having been raised from the dead will never die again."

Saint Paul then explains the impact of Baptism on us and on our contact, "You too must consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive for God in Christ Jesus." And with our Baptism and Confirmation we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit from Christ and his Father, so that we may live and walk in newness of life. As we witness Baptism and Confirmation tonight we see both the challenge and the grace which God offers us.

The fourth part of our celebration is the Liturgy of the Eucharist, in which Jesus our Lord renews the sacrifice of his death on Calvary and its glorious highpoint in the resurrection. He shares with us his body and blood as the pledge of eternal life; the same life he received from his Father in his resurrection.

Because Jesus has been raised in victory over death and sin, we are called to walk in newness of life. Jesus the Risen Lord is our light. Through the power of his death and resurrection he gives us the strength to be faithful in the community of the Church to his way of life – our holy, Catholic faith. That is why our Church is not a supermarket, where we can pick and choose. It is a wonderful invitation to be totally one with Christ and to walk with him. He teaches us how to live, how to love, how to serve one another.

At Easter God's grace calls back to the community others who have been separated from the practice of their faith and from the joy of celebrating Christ's resurrection. Today the Church reaches out in particular to welcome those brothers and sisters and to share with them the joy of Christ's resurrection.

My dear friends, to you I proclaim the Good News of great joy. Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. Alleluia! Alleluia!

+ Denis J. Hart
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE

Good Friday - Liturgy of the Passion

GOOD FRIDAY LITURGY OF THE PASSION CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK'S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON FRIDAY, 6TH APRIL 2012 AT 3.00 P.M.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Every year, as I read the Passion, I find the story almost overwhelming. Words become superfluous. As Isaiah wrote seven hundred years before, "Harshly dealt with he bore it humbly, he never opened his mouth. Like a lamb that is led to the slaughterhouse, like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers, never opening his mouth."

We stand in wordless awe at the immense love of God upon the Cross. We are fortunate because we know Jesus' destiny. We know that his destiny is resurrection and life.

The Cross is the sign of the power of Jesus, who through the wood of the Cross defeated Satan and was glorified by his heavenly Father with new life in his resurrection. Jesus shows us through his passion and death that his destiny is ours. His triumph is ours. His life is ours. With this knowledge we pray, "We adore you O Christ and we bless you, because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world."

When we turn to Isaiah we remember so many details. "Ours were the sufferings he bore, ours the sorrows he carried. Yet he was pierced through for our faults, crushed for our sins. On him lies a punishment that brings us peace and through his wounds we are healed. We had all gone astray like sheep, each taking his own way and the Lord burdened him with the sins of all of us." (Isaiah 52)

In the fourth century Saint Cyril of Jerusalem said, "The Church is proud of all Christ's actions, but her greatest boast is the Cross." Today we boast of the love that inspired the Cross as Jesus went to the Cross out of love for his Father and out of love for us in the Church.

His death meant redemption for his Mother, Mary, and for all of us. His death took away the sins of the world. He won pardon for our offences.

Remember the words of Jesus on the Cross, "Father into your hands I commend my spirit." To Mary, his Mother, he reiterated his love, entrusting his apostle John to her and her to John. In effect he gave the whole Church and each one of us to Mary and he entrusted Mary to all of us as our Mother. These were his last moments and then he died. Jesus placed his destiny in the hands of the Father. It is resurrection and fullness of life for him and for us.

"We adore you O Christ and we bless you, because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world."

+ Denis J. Hart
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE

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