Night Mass of Christmas, celebrated by Archbishop Denis Hart at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne

Sunday 24 December 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

God has come to share our nature in Jesus Christ. He, the Light of the World, opens up our darkness and uncertainty to the warmth of his love.

This evening I invite you to share in offering this Mass for all the people of our city; that we may know that God is near, and led by his light may live humbly in justice and truth all the days of our lives. We remember the poor, as Jesus was poor in the crib. We remember the lonely, as the shepherds who came to watch for him. We bring the light of our faith to bring our lives to him.

“Do not be afraid! Listen, I bring you news of great joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:13

Tonight, dear brothers and sisters, we come to the silence and simplicity of the crib to meet our God, who is our Saviour, who alone can help our lives to be changed and filled with love because he shows us what God is really like.

God comes to those who are watching; people of good will, if not the poor, the watchful, those who hope in God’s goodness and seek him. We come to the God who for our sake chose to become a child. In every child we see something of the child of Bethlehem. Every child asks for our love, as we think of those denied the love of their parents.
The child of Bethlehem summons us once again to do everything to put an end to the suffering of those children to make the light of Bethlehem touch the heart of every man, woman and child.

With the horror of abuse mentioned in our country, we see that only through the conversion of hearts, a change in the depth of our hearts, can all this evil be overcome. Only if we change will the world change and in order to change we need the light that comes from God and which has entered our night tonight.

Let us listen in silence, as did the shepherds, surrounded by the light-filled radiance of Jesus’ presence, the silence echoes through the centuries to show us yet again that God for our sake became a child. We too can respond simply, generously and take on his way of life in our living for others.

Our city is burdened with those who have no home, who embark on a life of violence and crime, who do not know where to go in their life. It is God alone, through the child, who will show us to be simple, to turn to him in prayer, to learn how to change our lives.

Through faith in Jesus we receive life. In the Sacrament of the Eucharist he gives himself to us, a life, and our praise is also a prayer. Yes Lord help us to see something of the splendour of your glory and grant peace in our hearts and on earth. Make us men, women and children of peace that we may help our city, our family, our community to live.

Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of goodwill.

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.

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