Mass celebrated at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne

Sunday 5 June 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The raising to life of the young man by Jesus because he had compassion on his widowed mother, is a reminder of the wonderful mercy and compassion which God has shown to us in each of our lives. Despite our failures and even our perversity in going our own way, God rescues us, as he rescued Saint Paul on the road to Damascus, and turned him from being an opponent of the faith to its greatest missionary.

In this Year of Mercy Pope Francis has been seeking to draw us out in the attitudes we show to others. His description of the Church as a field hospital is a reminder that people are burdened and suffering in so many ways and you and I are invited to be the instruments of their healing because of the grace of Christ.

The Lord has rescued us from the consequences of our own wrongdoing and our own burdens and evil and he invites us to know the constancy of his love.

The Holy Father’s recent Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” puts very clearly in context the joy of Christian marriage and love, the responsibilities of parents and children and yet the way in which human parents struggle to reproduce the perfect love of Christ for the Church which he has set up as the model of all marriage.

We do remember that each of us brings to married life and to the community gifts that are unique. While we have our failures and need to repent of our wrongdoing we also have wonderful ways in which God invites us to be the instruments of his grace.

One of the principal messages of Pope Francis’ whole Pontificate is how we can influence the lives of others.

In his writing on marriage and family he spoke with great feeling about the compassion we must show to those who struggle; the divorced and remarried, those in same sex relationships, who are deserving of our respect and our compassion even though they cannot receive the Sacraments. We are to seek to involve them in the life of the Church community to the extent that they are able and to support them in their journey.

The words of the Psalm “the Lord listened and had pity, the Lord came to my help” are telling indications that the Lord is always near to us and to our lives. The raising to life by Elijah and Jesus are indicative of the power of God in human life and we need therefore to trust him and to realise that he is near that and we must allow him to work in us.

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.
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