Mass celebrated at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne - Sunday 19 July 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It has become a fashionable practice in business for those who are ready for leadership to have to attend seminars and workshops to help them to experience the demands that will be placed upon them in the future and the responsibility which they bear for the lives of others.

Jesus’ followers were spiritually to imitate the care which God showed to his people Israel and to replicate in their dealings with others all that they had received from God.

The time that we generously spend as our duty recognising God and being in his presence this Sunday and in other parts of the week underline a fundamental human necessity to be one with God if we can fulfil his mission. Indeed, the words of the Alleluia, “My sheep listen to my voice, I know them and they follow me” (John 10.27), underline for us that such a listening is essential.

Other Christians not of our Catholic faith, such as William Penn (1644-1718), the religious leader and British colonist, said, “In the rush and noise of life, as you have intervals, step home within yourselves and be still. Wait upon God and feel his good presence; this will carry you evenly through your day’s business.”

True musicians learned that it is precisely the musical rest in the score that makes the whole piece. The rest is nothing in itself, just a space, but that rest is what makes the music a composition instead of a series of connected notes. Some of you older may remember the ballet dancer, Nijinsky, who was famous for seeming to freeze his movement in mid-air. The audience was always amazed and asked how he did it. He replied, “I just leap and pause.” That impossible pause was the stillness that connected the last step to the next step and made his ballet a work of grace instead of just a series of clever steps. Maybe that is why God rested from creation. Or the little girl whose watch battery stopped - she said, “My watch ran out of time.”

Every one of us needs to remember that we do not live for very long until we realise ‘I am running out of time’. The purpose of our pause, of our need daily for prayer and reflection is so that the words, the actions, the deeds we show are an illustration of the fact that everything comes from him. Sunday is God’s day. It shows that he sustains the universe. Nothing we do can make us more valuable than God already made us; more important than what I do is who I am when I am doing nothing. Mass is a time set apart when we can rest from our labours and from ourselves to remember all that God has done in creation and in our lives; a time to rest with God, time to know who God is and how we can reflect him.

Merciful Father, may these mysteries give us new purpose and bring us to a new life in you.

+ Denis J. Hart,
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