Mass at St Augustine’s Church, Keilor - Sunday 23 March


Dear 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 are made.

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.

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