MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS
HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL,
MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY, 14TH SEPTEMBER 2014 AT
Brothers and Sisters,
Today we realise the full implications
of Jesus going to the cross to suffer for us.
On Good Friday we concentrated particularly on his suffering. Today we call to mind in a special way the
consequences of all that Jesus did for us.
We know in Jesus’ life that he was a
great teacher and leader, that on the night before he died he gave us the
Eucharist and then went to the cross to give himself totally in an act of
perfect love, which would save us because he was both God and human.
In his example we see the power of
self-giving and the strength which comes from suffering and which leads on to
resurrection. In the cross the hopes of
his followers, seemingly confounded for a short time, gave way to the reality
that Christ is risen and that our faith is not in vain. What Jesus did was to change the course of
our world, to take away the consequences of sin and to allow us freely to
embrace the love and light, which only God can give.
Saint Paul reminds the Philippians
today in the second Reading that Jesus’ state was divine, yet he did not cling
to his equality with God, but became one like us while remaining God. In his humility by accepting death on the
cross, the true dimension and power of his love transformed the world and gave
us all the possibility of achieving our eternal destiny, which we had lost by
original and personal sin.
The cross is a sign of victory over
sin, of the power of suffering generously endured to lead to resurrection and
of the hope which only God can give us.
That is the meaning of the Gospel passage, which describes that Our Lord
came down from heaven and was lifted up so that everyone who believes may have
eternal life in him.
Furthermore, of course, God gave his
only Son that we who believe in him may have eternal life. So we look at the cross as our inspiration and
as the reminder that we are on our journey.
Jesus invites us to faithfulness, to generosity, to truth and to
hope. It is in this context then that we
go forward on our journey as followers of Jesus, seeing that God’s plan for
each of us has its own dimensions and challenges. Sometimes it is strange or unusual,
seemingly, however, God is inviting us to come forward with him in faith
knowing that he has redeemed us and given us a life imperishable, a hope that
can never be taken away, a sense of purpose which will enlighten our every
action and thought.
So we never forget the deeds of the
Lord because God’s love is powerful and real; it leads us away from self to
embrace others and see the face of Christ in them and to allow the power of
Christ to work in us. May Jesus live in
our hearts forever.
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.