Closing Mass of the Australian Catholic Youth Festival
MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT FESTIVAL HALL, MELBOURNE, FOR THE CLOSING THE AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC YOUTH FESTIVAL ON SATURDAY, 7TH DECEMBER 2013 AT 7.45 P.M.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
John the Baptist exhorts us to prepare a way for the Lord and reminds us that it is this same Lord who will baptise us with the Holy Spirit and with fire. The words of our theme: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to heal the broken hearted”, is a telling announcement of the effect of our saying yes to the fire of love and the Holy Spirit being present and active in our lives.
On 13th October Pope Francis urged us to reawaken hope and be prepared for the surprises which God would offer. Just imagine the people in the synagogue at Nazareth; how surprised they were when Jesus spoke of his anointing and then said: “These words are fulfilled today in your presence.” Or the surprise of Our Lady when she was told she was to be the Mother of God. She simply said: “I am the servant of the Lord. Let what you have said be done.”
On that occasion Pope Francis challenged us. God surprises us, he asks us to be faithful and he is our strength. We might ask ourselves do we really believe that God has anointed us in Baptism and Confirmation? He invites us to know that the gifts he has given to us he has given to no other. He invites us to know that we can be the witnesses to God’s wonderful deeds in the world, a world which is waiting for us to give it hope. The secret, of course, is recognising our gifts, saying yes to God and then proceeding in hope. Mary’s hope led her to follow a simple life in Nazareth; alternate moments of joy and sorrow, the yes at the foot of the cross and then the embracing of all that Jesus left for us.
When we say yes to Jesus, aided by Mary’s prayers, then truly in the words of John the Baptist: “A way will be prepared for God and in our heart and in our lives there will be what eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive what God has prepared for those who love him.”
Love is the secret of saying yes. It is the trust that God will never desert us. It is the warmth of allowing the fire of God’s Holy Spirit to take over our lives and knowing that wherever he leads, or the surprise of knowing that where God leads we will never falter.
Remember God loves you . He has chosen you. He has a special mission for you in this world, in the Church, in the family. Love him, trust him and say I am the servant of the Lord joyfully, as Mary did. That is our preparation. That is our mission as we go forth from this wonderful gathering. May Jesus live in your hearts forever.
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.