Celebrated By Archbishop Denis Hart
at St Augustine's Church, Melbourne
on Tuesday, 12th December, 2006 at 5.45pmIntroduction
My dear Friends,
I am delighted to be with you as Catholic Lawyers to offer Mass at the end of the year in praise of God and in dedication of your considerable gifts, so generously placed at the service of your fellow human beings.
The Lord invites us to prepare a way for the Lord in our hearts. Let us do so as we call to mind our sins.Homily
“It is never the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.” (Matthew 18:14)
My dear Friends,
Today’s Gospel speaks of the care of God for all of us. It comes from a section of the Gospel speaking of the lost sheep, the lost coin, the hair on the head that is counted, to show that everything is within God’s providence.
To you who exercise the distinguished profession of law, the balancing of strength and compassion, the articulate presentation of the cause of your clients, and the constant recourse to prayer as an effort to get the balance correct in the practice of your profession is something which acquires a particular poignancy in Advent.
Each of us is aware of our own brokenness and failure, of the way in which we are always in need of reform and in the wilderness of our heart and our conflicting desires, our striving and failure, we are invited to prepare a straight highway for the Lord, to allow him to enter into our life, our decisions and our conquest of self.
It is only in the light of this that we will take on the mind of Christ and because we know his mercy, that we ourselves will become instruments of mercy and equity. The first Reading from Isaiah stresses of the Lord providing comfort, inviting us to prepare so that we may see his glory, know he is near and see him feeding us. This whole passage is an invitation to a perception of God which overflows into our deeds.
Last Sunday we saw people coming to John the Baptist saying, what must we do, how can we fulfil our response to the nearness of God and to the hope that he brings. Surely, if we have received mercy and compassion from God, we will know how to exercise it towards others; yet, with a strength that comes from justice and a hope of rebuilding and refashioning the world after his designs.
The last verse of the Psalm, “With justice he will rule the world. He will judge the peoples with his truth,” show that the Lord when he is present is filled with justice, truth, compassion and mercy because he comes to save us.
May we realise the important contribution that we make to the building of a new world by remaking our own heart and soul this Christmas after God’s image and in response to his merciful invitation.
+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.