Mass celebrated by Archbishop Denis Hart at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, on Sunday, 10th April 2016 at 11.00 a.m.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
After a night spent without catching fish Jesus sent the apostles back onto the sea of Tiberius. When they returned they carried in nets groaning with fish and struggled to bring them to the shore. Then Jesus did a remarkable thing. He said to Peter, “Tend my lambs, feed my sheep.” He gave Peter the work that he himself had done and foretold that Peter would die an unexpected death.
Jesus so changed Peter that he would associate even with non-Jews to accept all into the one flock of Christ, to heal, teach and preach, to feed the hunger of people for something that would sustain their lives. The apostles took the challenge and worked hard so that all people would be drawn to Jesus.
Notice though Jesus’ question, “Do you love me?” He did not ask, ‘how are things going?’, or ‘how many people have you converted?’, or ‘can you show some significant economic results?’.
The theologian Henri Nouwen challenges us as believers: “Do you love me? Look at Jesus. The world had rejected him; he was crucified and then dismissed. His love and words of love were refused by a world that preferred power, efficiency, order and control, to peace. Jesus appeared to those who had eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts to understand. This rejected and wounded Jesus simply asked, ’Do you love me?’”
If we are to communicate the unconditional love of God, then we have to allow Jesus to lead us. In texts from today’s Mass:
- We look forward with hope to our resurrection.
- Obedience to God comes before obedience to men.
- I will praise you Lord for you have rescued me.
- All praise, honour, glory and power to Christ, the Lamb of God.
- Christ is risen, the Lord of all creation. He has shown pity on all people.
- May the great joy you give us come to perfection in heaven.
Jesus asks each of us, “Do you love me?” He challenges us to remember all he has done and offers us the possibility of bringing Jesus more clearly into our world.
- Young or old we can speak to others of our love of him.
- Young or old we can show others that we are there for them rather than doing always what we want.
- Young or old we can learn like Jesus that the greatest happiness comes not from ease and rest, but from being there like him for others on their terms, open, giving, with courage and hope, as he was.
Then we can say we love him because we see him in our sisters and brothers.
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.