MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS
HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL,
MELBOURNE, FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING ON SUNDAY, 23RD NOVEMBER 2014 AT 11.00
Dear Brothers and
Behind me on the pillar is the white marble
crucifix fashioned by the German sculptor, Ackerman, for the dedication of the
Cathedral one hundred and five years ago.
It stood on that pillar until 1972 when it was relegated for twenty-five
years to the sacristy passage. I had
seen it in the Cathedral as a small boy and as a priest. In that twenty-five years in the passage I
came to see its delicacy and importance and I was delighted when the Cathedral
authorities decided to reinstate the crucifix as part of the renovations for
we say that Christ is a king, we recognise that he has sway over people’s minds
and hearts because of what he did on the cross.
We might define a king as someone who rules over people’s minds and
hearts and persons, controls their activities.
Our modern egalitarian systems tend to reject such a concept.
In our understanding of Christ the
King we see that Jesus is the Lord of our hearts and lives, not through an
ability to command, although we acknowledge and wonder at him as God, but
because of what he has done in the infinite love he showed his Father and which
he has demonstrated for us.
His love for the Father made him want
to come into the world, fulfil his destiny to establish the Eucharist, to
sacrifice himself for sin on the cross, to rise from the dead, and open the
gateway for us to eternal life. Christ’s
lordship for us exists because of the limitless value of his death, the free
choice that he made for us and the wonderful and free invitation which he gives
us to be his followers by a similar total and free gift. Jesus has loved us so much that he breaks the
power of evil by his death on the cross and when he is risen he brings us all
to life in Christ so that we will be judged by our response to him.
We cannot escape either the loving,
merciful Lord who has wrought the forgiveness of our sins, or the consequences
of that action which makes us responsible for how we have carried our response
to him when we pray in the Lord’s Prayer thy
kingdom come. In the words of
Origen, “When a man prays that God’s kingdom may come, he is praying that this
kingdom may rise, flourish and reach its full growth. Every saint is subject to God’s reign and
obeys the spiritual laws of God, who dwells in him as in a well-governed
city. The Father is present with him and
Christ reigns with the Father in the soul.”
The challenge therefore, if God is to
live in us, is to acknowledge that good and evil, light and dark, Christ and
the devil, cannot be partners. If we
have sin then we cannot be in the kingdom of God.
Today as we celebrate Christ the King,
the Lord gives us at the same time a wonderful invitation and an absolute
imperative. A wonderful invitation, 'Come you blessed of my Father', and an imperative that we will be judged upon
our response to Christ.
We have to make a definite decision today to be his
followers, to reject sin and not to put off either our decision or the
action. The words in the Book of
Revelation are Jesus’ invitation to us.
“Look, I am standing at the door knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the
door, I will come in to share his meal side by side with him. Those who prove victorious I will allow to
share my throne.” The invitation is an
absolute one: to make Jesus the centre
of our life, to renounce sin as a reality here and now, to seek sacramental
forgiveness and, helped by the grace of that wonderful sacrament, to walk in
the words of the Psalm, 'the Lord is my shepherd and king, there is nothing I
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.