Homilies

Easter Sunday Mass - Sunday 20 April 2014

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON EASTER SUNDAY, 20TH APRIL 2014 AT 11.00 A.M.

Dear Brothers and Sisters

The message ‘Christ is risen’ shows us that there is hope for us; we are no longer in the power of sin, that the mercy of God always triumphs.

Pope Francis challenges us when he says:  “Accept the risen Jesus into your life.  Even if you have been far away, take a small step towards him, he awaits you with open arms.”

When Mary and the disciples went to the tomb they were truly surprised to find it empty, that Jesus had risen.  Jesus’ rising from the dead shows that he wants to bring newness into our lives.  If we think we are burdened by our sins or are unable to cope, let us not close our hearts because there are no situations which God cannot change.  There is no sin which he cannot forgive if only we open our hearts to him. 

Today an age of grace is proclaimed.  Jesus reigns victorious from the highest heavens.  He commissions us to spend our lives bringing the joy and grace of heaven to earth, to our families, neighbours and friends and even to strangers.  Notice that Jesus calls us not servants, but friends.  A giver of life comes to touch millions of people because God has changed human existence.

Notice that when the women saw the empty tomb they did not even have the courage to look, but when they heard the message of the resurrection they accepted it in faith.  They were reminded of what Jesus said while he was still in Galilee and this changed everything.

So what is important is encounter with Jesus through prayer, remembering his words, his actions, his life.

Dear friends, let us stop and think what things God has done in our life; the opportunities we have had, the grace of living in a peaceful country as we remember those suffering so much in the Ukraine, in Syria, in Egypt and Venezuela.  Let us remember the abundance of food, education and the economic riches of our country.  Yet one thing counts and it is love.  As we look and see that Jesus is not dead, we see that he has been moving the life of each one of us all these years, making us a new creation.  Let us place Jesus in our hearts. 

Remember that just as he arose on the first Easter Sunday, so too he is living to give us grace and light and hope.  As Catholics we bear a responsibility to our community to witness to life, to truth, to the values of family life, to lift up those who are poor and suffering and to see that all in our community are treated with respect.  May our prayers and deeds on this joyful day go to see how we must be witnesses to Jesus, the same Jesus who says if we feel timid, do not be afraid.  Do not be afraid, Jesus will give the light and the grace for us if only we trust him.  May he live in our hearts forever.

+ Denis J. Hart,

ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE

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