Mass for Sunday 6 April 2014


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord, whoever believes in me will not die forever.”

(John 11:25-26)

Many of you are familiar with the story of Martha and Mary; the differing attitudes, the preoccupation of Martha with doing things and Mary with being.  Jesus’ arrival is met by the sisters’:  “If you had been here my brother would not have died.”  Jesus meets their sense of loss with a new action, which will sweep them from sorrow to joy, but he asks faith of them.  The key to sharing Jesus’ new world is believing that he is God’s Messiah, the one who comes into our pain and our death.

Paul, of course, said to the Thessalonians that he did not want us to grieve like the others, who had no hope, but he does see the value of grief.  Indeed, John tells us that when Jesus is in tears grieving for the one he loved, it is not merely because he has a full humanity, but because it is the word made flesh grieving with those whom he loves.

Isaiah said:  “He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows.”  (Isaiah 53:4)  It may have been grief for his death that stirred Jesus to the tears of Mary and the crowd and yet through his death it is only through his sharing of the common fate of humanity that the world can be saved.  Jesus enters into the full mystery of the burdens of human life, leading us to a response of believing in him and in his resurrection, so that we become his disciples.  “If anyone believes in me, even though he dies, he will live.”  That is a reminder to us that faith is the most important thing of all.

In the midst of our modern busyness faith nourished by prayer, good works nourished by true repentance and compassion, love nourished by the fact that divine love was lifted on the cross for us, our life, our joy and our salvation.  It is this possibility which changes our life and our world.

As we go towards Easter, we see the vision of forgiveness here and now, of resurrection of Jesus and of the invitation to each of us in our life to walk with him and so to be reassured of the promise of eternal life.  Like the disciples who saw Jesus performing this miracle we too are invited to believe in him as God who entered fully into our human nature and whose power is offered to us for each day of our life. 

As we undertake the last stages of our journey the effort of dying to self, seeking forgiveness, continuing to do penance, is the journey along which we will travel if we want to have the power that Jesus gives to those who love him - the light and the hope that cannot be taken away.

+ Denis J. Hart,

Archbishop of Melbourne.


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