Mass for Sunday 23 June
MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY, 23RD JUNE 2013 AT 11.00 A.M.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are all aware that Jesus Christ is at the centre of our faith, recorded powerfully by the accounts of the four evangelists. Some of you may be aware of the four classic mosaics that overlook the high altar in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Each depicts a rather elderly man with an almost blank manuscript in one hand, a stylus in the other and a dove on his shoulder. The implication is that they are eye witnesses to the ministry of Jesus, who in their old age composed a history of what they saw and heard, aided by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
But we must remember, of course, that in reality the four evangelists are second and third generation disciples of the risen Jesus trying to convey the implications of the Jesus who is present and active in their lives.
Today Saint Luke brings us to a fundamental challenge; the question of Jesus ‘who do the crowds say I am? … who do you say I am?’ It is significant that when Peter said ‘the Christ of God’, Jesus told him to tell no one about this. Jesus was determined to fulfil his mission to teaching, passion, death and resurrection because he wanted to emphasise that in the acknowledgement of Jesus there must also be an acknowledgement of his cross. This cross of suffering and struggle must always be present in the journey of our listening to Jesus, the Good Shepherd, or in our thirsting for him as Lord and God.
Even though it took more than thirty years for the infant Church to admit Gentiles into the faith, right from the beginning they professed a sense of their unity in Jesus Christ. Throughout the 960 years of the Order of Malta from Jerusalem (1048), Rhodes (1310), Malta (1530), in the 20th and 21st century the original Hospitaller mission has once again become the main activity of the Order.
Charitable activities were carried out during the two great World Wars and similar welfare and aid projects are continued throughout the world. The Australian Association is involved in medical and ambulance work in Timor Leste, providing pharmaceutical support, coats for the homeless and charitable works in Australia. Here in Melbourne the involvement with Caritas Christi and Eastern Palliative Care is well known. Indeed, in answering the question, ‘who is Christ to me?’, the Order of Malta speak of ‘Our Lord’s, the sick’, - the ability to see Christ present and active, particularly in those they serve.
Today as we are honoured to have the Knights with us for the annual conference, we too each personally seek to answer the question of who Christ is to us, remembering that the cross of suffering, striving, even failure and loss, brings us closer to the one who gave all that we might live. We are all one in Christ Jesus. We thirst for him as Lord and God, for he has been our help, his right hand holds us fast.
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.