Mass celebrated by Archbishop Denis Hart at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, with graduands from Australian Catholic University.
Sunday, 3rd April 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In a modern, cynical and doubting age there can be very real reservations about the power of faith.
Faith can be seen as something irrational and illusory. Even more dangerously faith is presumed by some who have no foundation in reality. Yet Christian faith is an acknowledgement of the reality of God and the fact that his word and his promises are true. These are no mere illusion, but point to the greatest reality which this world has ever seen; the fact that God has shown his limitless love in rising from the dead. This has anticipated any need or doubt of ours and the reality of God’s love is our destiny to journey through life and come to be with him in heaven. This is our goal.
Today’s Gospel makes it quite clear that true faith is the power of the Holy Spirit. Its belief not merely because we can see Jesus, as Thomas did, but because we can believe him, convinced by all of the signs in our world, in our society and in our daily life, which point to God. Because of this we are able to say, ‘I believe’.
Our acknowledging that the reality of Christ’s resurrection, the power of Baptism which makes us a new creation, then carries us forward into new realities, the reality of our rebirth and of the very fact that God has chosen each of us as the recipients of his peace for our personal lives and of a definite personal mission when he said to the apostles, “As the Father has sent me, so I have sent you.”
I now offer a word to those who have just graduated. My dear young friends, you have just completed a very demanding time of study and examination. My hope is that it has been a wonderful time of enlightenment and discovery in which your Catholic faith has aided you to prepare for the life in your chosen profession. Coming from a Catholic University you know that our relationship with God in faith, the way of life, expressing our love of God and dedication to him carries over into the service which we offer to our sisters and brothers through our chosen profession. When Jesus said: “Love one another as I have loved you”, he did not only speak about love in the sense of affection. He spoke of a true love, which promotes the welfare of every person with whom we come in contact and which invites us to enter into service of others as Jesus serves us himself. I want you to be sure that your gifts are unique and cannot be repeated. I want you to be confident in using your gifts, unafraid if you make mistakes, but believing always in the power of God to support you and to strengthen the witness which you will give in an often cynical and unbelieving world. Each one of us has a mission as Cardinal Newman sums up very effectively in these words:
“God has created me to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission – I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for nought. I shall do good. I shall do his work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it – if I do but keep his Commandments. Therefore I will trust him. Whatever, wherever I am I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what he is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirit sink, hide my future from me, still he knows what he is about.”
The words in the Gospel: “Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.” “Receive the Holy Spirit” and “As the Father sent me, so I may send you.” These are all signs which he gave to the apostles to work so that we may believe that Jesus, risen from the dead, is the Son of God and that through our belief we may have life through his name.
Jesus is Lord of our life, risen from the dead, promising us eternal life if we give our mind, our heart and our deeds to him.
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.