CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON
SUNDAY, 21st DECEMBER, 2014, AT 11.00 A.M.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Mary and Elizabeth met, both carrying
children. One, the certainty of God’s
life by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Elizabeth, who had hoped for a child for many years, longing that her
hope would be fulfilled.
Mary’s Son, whose origin goes back to
the days of old, will bring God to our human existence. Elizabeth’s child will lead Israel to their
The words, God is with us, show us above all, that he who shared our human
flesh is with us in a manner no less real as we celebrate this Mass and receive
him in Holy Communion.
The great theologian, Karl Rahner,
wrote, ‘When we say that God is the Lord and goal of mankind, that without God
there is no meaning to our lives, that God is our helper and Saviour on whose
providence we are dependent, that God in his mercy will forgive our guilt …
that for those who believe in, hope in, and love God he prepares an eternal
life of happiness, then we shall have interpreted “God with us” in the right way.’
Or Oscar Romero, who said, ‘Jesus’
birth attests that God is now marching with us in history, that we do not go
alone and that our aspiration for peace, for justice, for a reign of divine law,
for something holy, is far from earth’s realities. We can hope for it, not because we can do it,
but because the builder of a reign of justice, of love and of peace is already
in our midst.’
Indeed, keeping the gift of God with us means reaching out to him in
truth and honesty, repenting of our sins and seeking sacramental
forgiveness. Seeking to walk with him
and he with us, so that God with us
will always be a gift.
Christmas is a day that gives all our other days
meaning and vision. In the midst of the
busyness of this week some time for prayer, reflection or adoration is
important if we want God to touch our hearts in the way that he wishes to
transform them and carry us forward as his witnesses. It can be summed up in this way:
‘God has determined, unless I interfere with his plan I
should reach that which will be my greatest happiness. He looks on me individually, he calls me by
name, he knows what I can do, what I can best be, what is my greatest
happiness, and he means to give it to me.
God knows what is my greatest happiness, but I do not.’ (John Henry Cardinal Newman)
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.