Homilies

Mass celebrated at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne

Sunday 16 July 2017 At 11am

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Have you ever been in a crowd so great that you might have felt crushed, perhaps coming out of a sporting event as people surged forward? Those in Rome speak of the crush on the buses or coming out of Saint Peter’s. A huge crowd like this, pressing forward, came to the lakeside to listen to Jesus.

There was always an attractiveness about him, a magnetic quality. Some would say it was the stories he told. They were realistic, simple and clear, and the points that he made highlighted God’s love for people and the invitation he gives to us to imitate his generosity.

The most powerful thing about Jesus is the way he demonstrates his own relationship with his Father as one of love and unity and then proceeds to show in his life how that love and unity can be reflected in human life and are the destiny of every human being.

Just as you and I know a person’s voice when we hear it on the telephone or someone coming in the door, so too the Word of God reveals to us what God is really like. The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest. We might become good ground if we realise how God never coerces, is always inviting us.

Isaiah said God’s Word does not return empty without carrying out his will and succeeding in what it was sent to do. To be good ground we need to say ‘yes’ to God’s truth, ‘yes’ to a life lived in accordance with it and, despite our falls, continue to faithfully acknowledge Jesus as Lord of our life and allow the power of the Holy Spirit to make us witnesses to Jesus.

Jesus did not ever come simply to establish a cosy kingdom in people’s hearts, which they kept selfishly for themselves, like a precious ornament hidden in a dark cupboard and brought out only to be admired by its owner. The Word of God, the good seed, was meant when planted in the soil of our hearts to burst into life and to give light to the world. Jesus said to you and me: “You are the light of the world.” A light is not given to be hidden but to be placed on a mountaintop.

Cardinal Newman stressed that the light of Christ is “…You shining on others through me. None of it will be from me. All of it will be from You.” What God has given us in our response to his Word, inviting us to live a life fully united with him, supported by his Commandments, inspired by the Scriptures and by the heroic lives of other Christians, is so that we can welcome Jesus’ Word, it can take root, grow, flower and bear fruit. We might well think what is the most important word of Jesus, how might we communicate it to others? Was it “love one another as I have loved you”? Was it “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full”? Was it “holy Father keep those given to me true to your name so that they may be one like us”?

Perhaps we should reflect this week. God’s Word is seed. It is largely up to us, whether that seed will flower. God wills that we become holy. He wills that the seed will flower and transform not only us but the whole world. As we pray this week, let us ask that the seed planted in the earth of our hearts may flourish and grow and bring a rich harvest of love for the kingdom to which we all belong.

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.


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