Homilies

Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral Melbourne - Sunday 21 June 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Mass today challenges us to reflect on the faith which we have in Christ. The first Reading of Job in the tempest and his being freed, the Gospel reading with the Apostles in the boat and Jesus going to sleep, shows that our faith will be tested and we need to ask ourselves what is the basis of that faith.

Faith is the ability to trust God no matter what may happen to us. Taking the first Reading, Job’s life was more than just a storm. He was an upright, faithful man and life’s circumstances got worse and worse and worse. The disciples on board the boat with Jesus were disappointed that Jesus simply went to sleep. Jesus later questions their faith.

Job and the Apostles really made the assumption that if you are a good person bad things will not happen to you; if we are well and bad things do not happen, then this is a proof that we are worthy. However, the Christian mystery is very different. Dietrich Bonhoffer in his letters and papers from prison does suggest that while need can bring us to begging, our Christian faith leads us beyond concern for ourselves to recognise and respond to God’s presence in every person in need.

Saint Paul today challenges us not just to live for ourselves, but to live for Christ and others. No, Paul did not say we would not suffer or die, but that suffering took on a new meaning. Pope Francis teaches that while we do not always understand it, faith provides an interior certainty, a conviction that God can act in every situation. Faith means believing in God, believing that he truly loves us, that he is alive, that he is mysteriously capable of intervening and that he does not abandon us, but brings good out of evil by his power and his infinite creativity.

Today’s Gospel invites us to evaluate our faith, not asking what it promises us, but to what it impels us. Sustaining faith is not just to comfort us, but it is the means by which we can be the instruments of God’s plan, conceived before all ages in all his wisdom for you and for me. Cast your care before the Lord and he will bear you up.

+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.

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