30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY 25 OCTOBER 2009 AT 11AM. INTRODUCTION Dear Brothers and Sisters, Today’s Gospel of the cure by Jesus of Bartimaeus is a reminder that every one of us in life’s journey is challenged to see more clearly the place of God in our lives, and the mission he has for us and for our society. Today we will offer this Mass in reparation for the crime of abortion and I invite you to join me at 12.30 for a service of prayer in reparation for abortion on the first anniversary of the Royal assent being given...

Ceremony of Investiture of College leaders at St Joseph's College, Newtown



My dear young friends,

As Archbishop and chief teacher and educator for the Archdiocese of Melbourne I am very pleased to join you at Saint Joseph’s for this Investiture of new Leaders for 2010.

It is an opportunity as the chief teacher and pastor of the whole Archdiocese of Melbourne to recognise the work done by Mr. Tobias and the staff and the important collaboration of young people in the search for faith and learning and in the preparation for life’s journey.  This is a place of lifelong friendship, of recognition and development of our abilities and this special occasion highlights the service which each of us can give in very different ways.

Throughout the ceremony I encourage you to think what are your particular gifts, how can they be used for God and for the Church.


Dear young friends,

Today’s Reading from the Book of Deuteronomy highlights that there are special gifts given to each of us – all to be used for the building up of the community.  In the Archdiocese of Melbourne I have to lead over 300 schools, of which Saint Joseph’s is an important part.  As the Reading explained, because I have many gifted collaborators that work becomes possible.  Saint Paul said to the Romans:  “If you are a leader exert yourself to lead.”  (Romans 12:8)  Exercising any kind of leadership involves effort and challenge as well as a vision to see broadly towards the future.

I mentioned earlier that I wanted everyone here to think of what are their gifts and how leadership can be exercised.  Saint Paul even says in Romans:  “And we have different gifts according to the grace given to us.  If the gift is prophesy that individual must use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is service he must serve.  If it is teaching he must teach.  If it is exhortation he must exhort.  If it is contributing he must do so with sincerity.  If it is leadership he must do so with diligence.  If it is in showing mercy he must do so with cheerfulness.”  (Romans 12:6-8)

So it can be seen that leadership is not just giving orders or instructions.  We are members of the Catholic Church, that body founded by Jesus Christ, with a mission to teach all people of all time, with the promise of his assistance right throughout history and of a destiny of eternal life.  Here at Saint Joseph’s being Catholics, seeing the importance of prayer and worship, of following Christ through Christian living and of developing our gifts is absolutely fundamental.

The special quality of Christian leadership is that we become servants like Jesus who was God.  He did not cling to that dignity, but became a servant and then died on a cross.  So following Christ when we recognise our gifts and have them pointed out to us, when we see the things that we are good at and work with others in respect, then we will be exercising real leadership.  However, Saint Paul said to the Philippians:  “Have that mind in you which was in Christ Jesus.”  For us then we recognise our abilities.  We are encouraging them in ourselves and others, but we have the same attitude of being for other people that Jesus had.  Christian leadership is always service and being there for other people.

I would put these things down as important in whatever leadership we may give, whether it is in intellectual life, in community service, in managing and organising this great College, in counselling and reassuring people, in sport or technology or music or art or literature.

  1. Christian leadership has at its origin the following of Jesus and being a servant.
  2. We trust Jesus as Lord of our life.
  3. We recognise that God the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts and we use them.

Six30 Holy Hour for youth


(Gospel Reading:  Luke 1:39-56)

My dear young friends,

The Gospel we have just read shows Mary proclaiming the greatness of the Lord.  Each of us is called to be a follower of Jesus and for each of us Christian life is a journey following Jesus Christ.  Pope Benedict spoke on 15th August of Mary being taken up to heaven; the final phase of her journey of total faithfulness.

Together this evening in the presence of our living Lord we ponder what faithfulness means and how we are invited to be followers of Jesus.  If we trace the journey of Our Lady from her Immaculate Conception, free from sin, to the Annunciation that she is to be the Mother of the Lord, her own motherhood and Assumption are interconnected and the Church shows that her destiny is linked with our history.

We too are given the great gift of birth.  God shows each of us that we have a special role to perform in life and as young people pondering in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament we are invited to discover that role and to fulfil it generously.  If we ‘pray earnestly, live justly and love tenderly’, as the prophet says, then we will come to a realisation of what is God’s unique call for each of us.  Whether we have a call to priesthood, to consecrated life, to dedicated professional life, to marriage or to single life, that search for God’s plan for each of us is the only thing which will make us happy.

If we go to the story of Mary, the plan of Our Lady’s conception is the first page pointing out that in God’s plan we were to have her purity and beauty.  Even though sin jeopardised, but did not destroy this plan, Mary gave birth to Jesus and gave us the Son of God so that our humanity could be restored to the free acceptance in faith.  Finally, when Mary was taken up to heaven we remember what we are called to be in following Jesus.

As we go through Mary’s life as a young girl and we see her perplexity at the Annunciation, her call to give birth, her nurturing of Jesus, her following of his Messianic journey, even the perplexity of her when he was lost in the temple, and then her final following through to Calvary, we have the image of a total faith in God and of an ability which she has to show us the path that God has planned for each of us.

In the Gospel we have just read, Saint Luke tells that after the angel’s announcement Mary “arose and went with haste into the hill country to visit Elizabeth”.  (Luke 1:39)  With these words Saint Luke wishes to emphasise that for Mary to follow her own calling in openness to God’s spirit who has brought within her the Incarnation of the Word means taking a new road and immediately setting out from home.  She allowed herself to be led on a journey by God alone.  This is a very important point for us.  We will only find our true capacity and our true happiness if we allow ourselves to be led by God alone.

Saint Ambrose commenting on Our Lady’s going with haste says:  “The grace of the Holy Spirit admits of no delay.”  Our Lady’s life is guided by God.  She says:  “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord.  Let it be done to me according to your word.”  (Luke 1:38)  It is modelled by the Holy Spirit, is marked by the event and encounters such as that with Elizabeth and above all by her special relationship with her Son, Jesus.

That is why our time at Mass and our time of Adoration are so important because they provide a direct contact with the Lord in which we can see things in the way he does and we can then follow him in the journey.

Pope Benedict said on 15th August that:  “It is a journey on which Mary cherishing and pondering in her heart the events of her own life sees in them even more profoundly the mysterious designs of God the Father to save the world.”

Then by following J

Mass at Tarrawarra Abbey, Yarraglen


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today's Gospel shows aspiration to greatness, the crucifying effects of suffering, and challenges us to what are the real riches, service and giving our life as a ransom for many.  In our modern lives we like to be highly esteemed as being good at what we do.  Whether professional life, being a parent, a student or a religious we like the esteem of others.  I am sure that this is what motivated James and John to ask Our Lord for the highest places in heaven.  Yet Jesus, as we know, stressed that this is not true greatness. 

When Our Lord came to be with us, he shared the human experience totally.  He wanted to enter so profoundly into the human condition that he knew and felt and experienced humanity in every way.  He took upon himself every human suffering, every sense of dread, every burden of guilt, even the punishment of sin and evil.  He took them on himself and he transformed them through his suffering. 

We live in a world where, with increasing technological skill, we strive for higher and higher standards of living; more gadgets, more conveniences, more comfort.  Yet Jesus entered the depths of human suffering, as if to spell out for us that human life will always be broken, suffering, burdened, in the process of transformation. 

Today, we are invited to be part of what he ransomed.  We are invited to come from our own inadequacy and struggle, crushed with suffering as the servant of the Lord, knowing his mercy and emerging through that suffering to a destiny that we haven't even begun to imagine, to the extent that we are invited to suffer, to that extent to which we are invited to give our lives, as ransom for many. 

James and John said that they were able to suffer readily but did not understand what was being asked of them.  We are being asked of a deeper faith, what Newman described as "I do not ask to see the distant scene.  One step enough for me."  The constant perseverance in suffering, the struggle of failure and rising again, the burden of our human limitation, is all something which we carry in faith and with doggedness, to go on to the future.

William Coffin, who died in 2006, was Pastor of the Riverside Church in New York in the late 1970s.  When in 1983 his son died in a road accident, someone tried to comfort him by saying it is God's will.  Coffin thundered, "The hell it is.  When my boy was killed God was the first one who cried."  That is how completely God enters into our suffering.  That is how important and essential our suffering is to our transformation.  That is how important is the ransom which our God won for us on the Cross.

+ Denis J Hart
Archbishop of Melbourne

Ordination of Deacons Richard Rosse and Nicholas Pearce



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This morning we welcome Nicholas Pearce and Richard Rosse, who are offering themselves for Ordination to Diaconate.

In a few moments I will make the choice of them in the name of the Church, as they come forward to be servants of the Gospel, called to be followers of the One who came to serve rather than be served.

All leadership in the Church begins from service and as these two young men come forward humbly I will accept them as candidates and ordain them to the Order of Deacon.

With fervent prayer for the grace of the Holy Spirit let us call to mind our sins, that as we support these two young men in prayer our lives too will be graced by humility and service.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Nicholas Pearce and Richard Rosse stand before you today, after nearly six years of prayer and study, recommended by their formators and teachers, with loving and open hearts to be ordained Deacon for the service of God and his people.  The word “deacon” means servant and as we will see the service that they give will be one of reading the Gospel in the liturgy and of powerful charity in daily life.  The Gospel is to be their watchword and it is for each of us from the Gospel which they will read and which they will preach that we learn how to serve as Jesus Christ did.

Pope John Paul II said that “the deacon is ordained to sacramentalise service and to be an icon of Christ the servant”.  The deacon is a unique, living, sacramental sign in our midst of Christ who serves; the one who knows suffering and who pours himself out for the good of others.  The deacon is ordained in Jesus’ own apostolic ministry and therefore he is no longer a lay man.  The deacon stands before Christ, not yet as victim and priest, but as servant.

As one theologian has said:  “The priest presides at the liturgy of the Eucharist that gives rise to charity.  The deacon, however, presides at the ‘liturgy of charity’ that achieves its high point in the mystery of the Eucharist.”

Nicholas and Richard you have been generous in your seminary studies and service.  Of particular importance is your search for holiness.  A deacon makes a self-gift and as he stands at the altar and raises the chalice at the doxology he offers himself to the Father, but carries with him the suffering and needs of all those with whom he comes into contact.  He knows the injustice, he hears the challenges, he makes the sacrifice of his life for the sake of all.  Faithfulness to the Divine Office and to daily prayer is therefore required of you because God’s people need it.

Secondly, service means being ready to do not what we would prefer but what is there simply to be done.  Now as a deacon and later as a priest in parish work we have to be distinguished for the service which God’s people need from us rather than for the service which we would prefer to be doing at a particular time.  A vocation means that we give to God and to others the gift of our heart and our service, to be ready to open that heart to whoever needs it and to be generous and constant in our self-giving.

This is a day of joy because God who receives your gift of yourself will enrich you beyond what you would ever imagine in the gifts you will see and encourage in others and in the genuine, selfless service not without suffering that you will give to those who need you and from which you will derive even humanly a satisfaction that you like Christ have been there when the need is greatest. 

May Jesus the servant inspire you in a courageous, persevering way to continue the commitment and the service which you have