MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS
HART AT SAINT AUGUSTINE’S CHURCH, KEILOR, ON SUNDAY, 23RD MARCH 2014 AT 2.30
Brothers and Sisters,
Today in wordless thanksgiving we
stand in wonder before the God, who for 150 years has brought us the comfort of
his presence through Sacrament, teaching and community life in Saint
Augustine’s. With so many precious
memories we treasure the past, rejoice in the present and look forward with
hope to the future.
The prayer of today’s Mass captures
the longing that is deep in the soul of each of us. The famous words of Saint Augustine: “Our hearts are made for you, O God, and they
will never rest until they rest in you”, are a reminder that in a sense all
human things are incomplete and our life is to be seen not through the prism of
earthly existence alone, but in the context of a growth and journey in which we
persevere towards the plans God has for us.
Like the woman at the well our thirst is to lead us to the light of
God’s life-changing truth.
This thirst for something not yet
attained is at the basis of all Christian service. We leave aside our own limited vision. We hear the Lord’s voice, praising him with
joy and living in hope. Saint Paul
reminds us that at the time of Christ’s death we were still helpless, but with
the grace of Christ, with the fact that he has died and made up for our sins
means that despite our failures we are capable of attaining that for which we
In one of his books Sinclair Lewis
speaks of a young couple having an unsatisfied longing, a vague discontent, an
awareness of something lacking that, as we believers realise, only God can
satisfy. Warwick Deeping in his book, Sorrell
and Son, records a conversation between Sorrell and his son when the boy
says that life is like moving around in a fog, often it breaks and you can see
the moon or someone else’s face, then it comes down again. So do we continue our search for God.
Mother Teresa described her thirst for
God as a “deep loneliness” and a “darkness” from which she longed to
emerge. She even wrote that her thirst
for knowing the joy of God’s presence was her travelling companion, asking for
prayers that might keep her on the journey.
The beautiful Gospel of Jesus leading
the Samaritan woman from guilt, to thirst, to the great reality of living in
God’s love and truth is a powerful invitation to each of us today: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your
hearts.” Jesus is teaching us that no
matter what may be our sin and weakness, forgiveness is possible. Whatever may be our sense of inadequacy the
light can come into our darkness, a light that darkness will never
overpower. Even when we are frustrated
by our own weakness through prayer, fasting and works of love we come because
we have heard Jesus. We know that he
really is the Saviour of the world and we continue our journey with him.
My dear friends, congratulations on
all that has been achieved here at Saint Augustine’s, on the faith, goodness
and care of so many people and on the encounter between God and people to
nourish and help us on our journey. May
Jesus live in our hearts forever.
+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.