Homilies

Mass celebrated at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne - Sunday, 13th September 2015, with the Investiture of Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is very fitting on this day of Investiture for members of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre that our Gospel challenges each one of us here in the Cathedral to give our affirmation to Jesus Christ. It is significant, too, that it was Saint Peter, himself a weak man who would later deny Our Lord, who proclaimed fully ‘you are the Christ, the Son of the living God’.

Who is Jesus Christ? What is a Christian? These are two telling questions, which resonate in our own lives. The Jews saw him as the son of the carpenter; others thought of him as a prophet; others as the liberator, the saviour of Israel. When Saint Peter said ‘you are the Christ, the Son of the living God’ he acknowledge the divinity of Christ; the fact that we are all called to work for our salvation and the fact that the Church, which Jesus founded, is the instrument of leading us and walking with us.

Peter was also reprimanded by Our Lord because his idea was a human one; that Christ must never suffer, that he must always be lifted up. Whereas the paradox of our faith, the God who abases himself to take our human nature and then suffers the ultimate punishment as a criminal to lift himself up is the clarification of the difference between a human and divine idea of God.

The Order of the Holy Sepulchre dates back to 1099 immediately after the conquest of the city by the crusaders. Throughout its story the dedication to Christ and to the holy places, a commitment to a life of charity and service are the watchword of the Order, which now is a public association of Christ’s faithful with a legal, canonical and public personality. Its 28,000 active members practise a life dedicated to service and charity that they promise to uphold when they were admitted to the Order, which exists in 34 countries including our own. We pray that the noble ideals which they profess in the Investiture will benefit the Church and the community by their courageous and articulate witness.

Brothers and sisters, every one of us here in the Cathedral is challenged to answer who is Jesus Christ? No amount of acquired knowledge about him will ever replace a personal knowledge which comes from sharing in his life. A union with him in prayer and sacramental life, an awareness of him through pondering the Scriptures and a progressive sharing in that we lose ourselves and encounter the cross with him. The cross of Jesus Christ in our life, the crosses of suffering in our life are the test if we are really a true disciple of the unexpected Christ hidden under the form of a suffering servant.

Many of you who are married know the sharing of the life of someone you love. Is not this the very logic of friendship and it is this vocation to friendship with Jesus powerful and reaching into eternity to which we are invited as Christians. We face the cross of our suffering and weakness. We know the strength and courage of Christ and this enables us and challenges us to do deeds that will reflect him and his ideals in our life. Faith is not an abstract concept, but a call that shows itself in deeds so that we walk in the presence of the Lord, glorying in the cross of Jesus, knowing that anyone who loses their life for Jesus’ sake and for the sake of the Gospel will save it and others as well. This is the challenge of our response today.


+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.
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