MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON THURSDAY, 25TH DECEMBER 2008 AT 11.00A.M.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
A child is born for us – Jesus the Mighty God, Prince of Peace and Lord of all. He comes to provide light in our darkness, hope and transformation for our world, a new focus for family and society.
Today I remember all of you, your hopes and desires, needs and sufferings, as I offer this Mass. At the end of Mass in the name of the Holy Father, the universal Shepherd of the Church, I will give the Papal Blessing that the peace and transforming power of Christmas may go into your hearts and into your lives.
Humbly, let us remember our darkness and his light, our weakness and his transforming power, as we call to mind our sins.
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of One who brings Good News, who heralds peace, brings happiness, proclaims salvation.”
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In the full glory of Christmas Day we realise that the baby born in the stable is Christ, the Light of the world. Last evening we reflected upon the simplicity of the Lord’s birth. Today it is our challenge to see that the Saviour of mankind has been born. As we celebrate Christmas to realise that God’s coming and our commemoration after two thousand years is just as powerful to enrich and transform human life as was his first coming in changing the course of our world.
This year our secular society has permitted legislation obliterating or perverting human life. The effect of such activity is a direct challenge to the family as the basic unit of society, to its role, with a mother and a father, to nurture and prepare future citizens of the earthly city and of the kingdom of heaven, and to provide witness to the authentic value of every human being.
When we reflect the words of Saint John: “God is light and in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5), we remember that the coming of God, born in a stable at Bethlehem in the fullness of divinity and truth, immediately engages our world and its people with the Creator, with the truth about humanity and its destiny, which we are committed to perceive and live at Christmas.
In his Message last Christmas Pope Benedict said: “Christmas is the mystery of love, which for two thousand years has spoken to men and women of every era and every place. The great light of Christ shines forth, bearing peace. However, if we are to receive it, faith and humility are needed. The humility of Mary who believed in God’s word and bending low over the manger was first to adore the Lord, the humility of Joseph, the poor anonymous shepherds, the little ones, poor in spirit and yet courageous to be builders of Christ’s kingdom of justice, love and peace.”
Christ comes to us to provide a truth which is authentic, nor merely arbitrary, changeable, which could be refashioned at the whim of human ingenuity. His coming shows the truth of every human being, the importance of family living and the respect which is due to each human being. The humility which comes from the crib into our life is the humility to accept the fact that our human nature depends totally upon God for every moment of our existence, our relationships are those designed and regulated by God in the family and in society, and the purpose of our society is to provide for the wellbeing of each individual in accordance with God’s plan so that each can reach their full human fulfilment and by living a just and faith-filled life come at death to our true and eternal home.