Mass celebrated at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne (Mass for Expectant Mothers)
Sunday 14 May 2017
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Every one of us realises that we are on a journey. We are born, we go to school, we train for a career, some of us get married, others embrace special vocations and the years pass by doing our work. What do we see as the destiny of the journey that we walk? Jesus himself says: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
From the earliest days we, as members of God’s redeemed people, realise that we are his children in Christ. The Acts of the Apostles, even at the beginning, describe the struggles of members of Christ’s family and yet remind us that if we trust God then his mercy will guide us. More than that, as Christians we do have to become a counter-culture.
The second Reading begins: “The Lord is the living stone rejected by men but chosen by God. We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation.” This to me implies that paramount in all of our life is a spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ if we realise that all that Jesus came to do; to live, to die and to rise again, is a call to a new way of life and a new relationship with him, which changes everything.
In the same way that we say that the resurrection changes everything in our life, so a personal, prayerful relationship with Jesus changes the way we look on people, life and society.
At the beginning of the Gospel Our Lord says: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still and trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house.” For us this will mean that provided we have a relationship with Christ, provided we live in the faith of his Church in celebrating the Eucharist, then our destiny is assured and we will come to eternal life.
However, Philip makes us uneasy. He says: “Let us see the Father and then we will be satisfied.” But this is the point. We have to live our journey in this life amidst all its struggles and imperfections and we will only do so successfully if Jesus leads us in the life of prayer, of family and of every day. Ultimately we will make our choice, but if we allow Jesus to lead us then we will see the Father.
Again at the end of the Gospel Our Lord says: “I tell you most solemnly whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself. He will perform even greater works because I am going to the Father.” In other words, if we have faith in Jesus Christ then we will be able to do things that we did not even imagine were possible. This is both the great challenge and the great invitation. Our lives can be tested and their success can be measured by our relationship with Jesus Christ. However, if we are not prepared to trust the Lord, then we are thrown back on our own resources and we may well find that we are then dissatisfied.
Let us remember this, that by trusting Jesus and believing in him we have the certain way to eternal life, we have the perfect way to tread our journey and our relationships with others, no matter what may be our later career, will be successful. After all, that is what it means to be a consecrated people, a people picked out by God from darkness into light, living that consecration if we are one with Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. I have every confidence that if we live what we do in the Eucharist, coming to God, worshipping him, receiving the Lord, then for faith, for life and for difficult moments we will have all that we need. “I am the vine, you are the branches, he who lives in me and I in him will bear much fruit,” says the Lord.
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.