Solemn Mass with Archbishop Hart presiding at the Liturgy of the Word Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Sunday, 28 February 2016 at 11am.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today’s Readings give us the constant relationship between God and us as his people. This was true of Moses whom God reminded he is the Lord God forever.
Pope Francis has invited us to participate in the Year of Mercy knowing that the Lord is kind and merciful; he forgives our guilt, he leads us to justice, is full of compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.
The great Year of Mercy that we are experiencing now is so that we will know the true reality of God’s relationship with us and the response that we are invited to give to him. Pope Francis invites every one of us in the Church to take one small step towards God. So it is important that we look at our relationship with God in prayer, with just deeds, in the removal of sin from our lives.
In his book, The Name of God is Mercy, the Pope shows us the mercy that is available to us when we go to Confession and he encourages every one of us to do so. The priest in the confessional is a brother, a sinner like ourselves, but who acts in the person of Jesus Christ so that we know that we are forgiven. The motivation of course is in the Gospel Acclamation: “Repent says the Lord; the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
The Gospel reminds us of those who suffered, but of the infinite patience of God, likened to the expectant growth of the fig tree. God is like that; he waits to see whether we will bear fruit, he is patient with us, he gives us another chance. Well this season of Lent is a chance, an opportunity to see things more clearly, to acknowledge the fact that God is the only one who will bring us true light and peace and to go forward in our daily life of prayer and work, of family living, of the challenges and sufferings that we have to know that it is all a journey towards God.
This year as we journey towards Easter with those who are entering our faith as catechumens, let us discover the wonderful mercy of God, thank him, bless his holy name and be grateful for his constant, forgiving, loving presence, so that we will take the means of obtaining this forgiveness and be sure that this forgiveness will reflect in our lives, in our deeds of love, mercy, compassion and justice.
The Lord is asking us because he is merciful. What are we doing to be compassionate and understanding of others, to be the instruments of his mercy, which he has invited us to be.
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.