Mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne

Sunday 13 November 2016 (Catholiccare)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Pope Francis has been very strong on the role of each of us to accompany those who are poor or outcast, those who are burdened and suffering, those who are in difficult family and marital situations. CatholicCare does this with great expertise and we thank God for all that is done.

With special love I thank all associated with CatholicCare for the unique vision of the beauty and dignity of every person which inspires its outreach to people, regardless of race or creed.

The care which our agency offers, supported by your generosity, is the vision of Jesus for the poor, the sick, those who are burdened or in need. We look to create a society where we reach out in care to those who need us most. It is a practical response to the constant invitation of Pope Francis to go to the peripheries – and show that Christian love is always people-centred and practical – forgiving, encouraging and gifted.

We are very familiar with Christ’s first coming as a human being like us, his suffering, dying and rising again. We are consoled by the new life he offers us in the Eucharist. Today some of our brothers and sisters will receive the Holy Spirit and be given light for their life for the rest of their lives. The Holy Spirit will give his gifts of wisdom, understanding, right judgement, courage, knowledge, reverence, wonder and awe. God will remain with them and in them if their response is one of faith.

At the time Saint Luke’s Gospel was written the disciples knew that they would be persecuted. They were overcome by the suddenness of God’s second coming as judge and by the end of the world. Yet it is most important that we do not try to escape from the present. The end of a world is not the end of the world. Christ has foretold that our world will end in an instant and then there will be eternity. We know for certain that our world will certainly end at our death and give way to eternity.

The prayer which urges us to be faithful in serving God as our lasting joy means that we are Christians for the whole of our life and for eternity. That vision of God’s love for us, his saving us and our need to be faithful and just in his service is the one thing which will condition and prepare us for eternal life without end. It is this life that we are invited to seek. We can only do this by living according to the Gospel, nourished by prayer, by his teachings and by an outreach of service to others.

The battle between good and evil has gone on since the beginning of time, but one thing the devil has not counted on is the constant, persevering presence of God. He is always the same. His patience will not expire. He is always kind, compassionate and gentle. When we think of his second coming as judge it is our choice and no mere chance happening which will fix our destiny. Jesus reminds us not to be terrified because not a hair on our head will be destroyed. Jesus will give us the wisdom we need if we live with him through faith and obedience. Today let us lift up our hearts to the Lord and entrust everything to him.

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