Homilies

Mass for Sunday 6 July

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY, 6TH JULY 2014 AT 11.00 A.M.

My dear Brothers and Sisters,

An accomplished painter wishing to share his talent and technique offered to conduct a class for aspiring artists.  When discussing the subject of artistic competition, he emphasised that it would be poor style to portray a woodland, a forest, or a wilderness without painting into it a path out of the trees.

When a true artist draws any kind of landscape, he explained, he always gives the picture an ‘out’.  Otherwise the tangle of trees and the trackless spaces may depress and dismay the onlooker.  This picture of a landscape may be one which is familiar to European eyes, and yet our Aboriginal brothers and sisters so close to the land can see its native contours and are completely familiar with it.

However, after considering the lesson taught by the artist, as well as the lessons put forth into daily Scripture, it occurred to me that God has offered humankind a similar ‘out’.  Amid the tangle of human experience and this trackless, broken and imperfect world, God, who is the ultimate artist, has gifted us with Jesus; he is the path that leads to life and to God.

In today’s Gospel Jesus invites the weary and the burdened, “Come to me, learn from me, and you will find rest.”  As the path that leads us, the way of Jesus is the way of salvation; therefore it is not to be sidetracked by the flesh but is rather to be guided and enlightened by the Spirit.  (Second Reading)  Moreover, the path to salvation is, as Zechariah pointed out, characterised by justice and peace.

In order to recognise the path that Jesus offers, a certain attitude is required.  Jesus described the posture of those who would follow his path as mere children or little ones.  It is the simplicity that is closest to the land possessed by our Aboriginal people that reminds us that we are all spiritual descendants of the remnant of the people of Israel shown in the Jewish Scriptures. 

Materially bereft, those in the Scriptures were totally reliant on God.  They with their empty hands became for the community living signs of a deeper poverty in which every human being from every race or nation stands before God.  While others in their self-sufficiency would strike their own path through life, those who admit that they are poor, accept the path that God has designated.  The 18th century Jewish teacher, Moshe Leib, remarked, “How easy is it for a poor man to rely on God!  What else has he to depend on?  And how hard it is for a rich man to rely on God.  All his possessions call out to him:  depend on us.”

We are disciples, the adopted children of God.  Christ is the one who is our riches and we are to be his poor ones.  We have to honestly example not only whether our personal beliefs and witnesses are true, but also whether as a people we have recognised the value that is in others. 

Let us ask that we will allow the spirituality of Jesus to penetrate every layer and aspect of our lives.  We ask that we may continually simplify, clarify and rectify all that does not fit in with our commitment to Christ. 

And yet, lest we are discouraged, Jesus says that we do not bear the yoke alone.  He is our path and our partner, he shares our burden, lightens the load.  Again and again he invites us: ‘Come to me, learn from me, find your path and rest in me.  Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light,’ says Jesus.

+ Denis J. Hart,

ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.

 
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