Homilies

Mass for the Feast of the Ascension - Sunday 1 June

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY 1ST JUNE 2014 AT 11.00 A.M. FEAST OF THE ASCENSION

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we celebrate the return of Jesus to the Father, after his life in our human condition, gone to God and to glory.  He journeyed into our human need, frailty and sin and won glory by his death on the cross.

So often in our human relationships a person is close to us for a while and then moves away.  Jesus was not one of those.  He did not become superfluous, he bore our burden and carries us to heaven.

Together with all the great theologians, we are content to believe that Jesus, in ascending to God, has taken us with him and is leaving the Spirit in us now for our time of separation until the final moment when we come to be with God, all in all.

What Jesus did in coming, living, dying and rising, is what happens in our life.  We come to day by day life.  We die to our self in baptism and live for Christ.  We rise to newness of life.  And in this special season, together with those who have recently been welcomed into the Catholic faith, we are living for Christ until the day of his call comes at our death.

We need to remember that the goal of our welcome into the Church is that people will be active in parish life and their gifts will be brought to enrich the Church.  By prayer, by the contribution that they make to the various works of the parish, to ministry and service and the way in which they enable the parish to reach out to others.  This is very important.  The goal of initiation is to bring people to be active disciples of Jesus.

My own experience is that people who are welcomed and actively involved have a faith which is growing in themselves and challenges both themselves and others about the deeper meaning of being one with Jesus Christ.  The mission Jesus gave to the apostles, “Go and teach all people my Gospel.  I am with you always until the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:19) is a mission given to the whole Church.

At this time in our history we cannot be content simply to live our spiritual lives.  We have to interface with Christ and interface with people.  Each one of us today can ask, “Am I an active disciple within the community of faith?  Am I a witness to Jesus?  Do I show him to others by prayer, word and deed and unafraid and unashamed testimony to what Jesus means to me?  We too want to see Jesus and show him to others.

In the Preface of the Mass Jesus has gone before us to heaven, not to abandon us, but to give us hope and we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  May the presence of Jesus guide and direct us all in his own way.

+ Denis J. Hart,

ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.

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