14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Celebrated By Archbishop Denis Hart at St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne on Sunday, 8th July, 2007 at 11.00am IntroductionDear Brothers and Sisters,Too often we judge what is being achieved by standards of worldly success – profit, results, etc.  And yet the Church is that part of mankind where Christ has begun to find himself at home.  There are so many others who need the invitation because the Church’s apostolic mission given to all of us in our own sphere linked to the teaching, sanctifying and caring mission given to bishops and priests, is to prepare people for...

Mass for the Conference of the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy

Celebrated By Archbishop Denis Hart
at St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne
on Tuesday, 3rd July, 2007 at 5.00pm


My dear Brothers in the Priesthood,

As other Christs we come to be with Jesus, our great High Priest, as together we are drawn into the inestimable gift of the celebration of the Mass.

Christ our Lord leads us in our praise of the Father, nourishes us with his own Word and then in the most profound mystery of the transformation of bread and wine into his own Body and Blood, given for us, encourages each one of us renowned for faithfulness to the Church and love of her, one with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, to renew our self-giving as victims for the life of the world.

Let us call to mind our sins.


Dear Brothers in the Priesthood,

With esteem for your great faithfulness, as we come humbly to be nourished by Word, sacrifice and sacrament, I present some brief reflections upon the Holy Father’s Apostolic Exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis, issued only in March.

We were all surprised when the Holy Father chose to speak of love in his first Encyclical Letter, developing his theme from human love, purifying it by self-giving and suffering, to inspire us to gaze at the mutual, profound love of the Trinity, which is the source of our own love of Christ and his Father and the Spirit and of the priestly journey which we make trusting in this wonderful gift.

We know that Jesus has loved us first, individually and as members of the Church, seeks to gather us to be instruments of the Father’s love for all human beings.

At the beginning of the Exhortation the Holy Father says:  “The holy Eucharist is the gift that Jesus makes of himself, thus revealing to us God’s infinite love for every man and woman.  This is because the Eucharist shows us the truth about the love, which is the very essence of God.

We owe a great deal to Pope John Paul II for his many initiatives at the universal and local level to re-awaken and increase Eucharistic faith, to improve the quality of Eucharistic celebration, to promote Eucharistic Adoration and to encourage practical solidarity, which, starting from the Eucharist, would reach out to those in need.  (S C 4)

One point, which needs to be constantly developed, is that we cannot see the Eucharistic celebration in isolation.  Such a great gift needs to be pondered and its power needs to be brought through practical love and service to other people.  
This I believe corrects a terrible imbalance, which has existed for nearly forty years.  Although in visiting Roman churches with regular exposition and adoration, in over twenty-five years I have seen the balance gradually being restored.  Indeed, Pope Benedict speaks in the Exhortation of the wonderful powerful effect of the collective adoration of Christ and the Eucharist performed in Saint Peter’s during the Synod.

As priests, however, we remember that we are other Christs.  The Pope says:  

“No one can say this is my body and this is the cup of my blood, except in the name and in the person of Jesus Christ, the one High Priest of the new and eternal covenant.”  (S C 23)  

Fundamental to our understanding of our role as other Christs in the celebration of the Eucharist are the Pope’s telling words:  “As a result, priests should be conscious of the fact that in their ministry they must never put themselves or their personal opinions in the first place, but Jesus Christ.  Any attempt to make themselves the centre of the liturgical action contradicts their very identity as priests.  The priest is above all a servant of others and he must continually work at

Mass for the Diocesan Clergy Assembly

Celebrated By Archbishop Denis Hart
at St Mary's Basilica, Geelong
on Tuesday, 10th July, 2007 at 5.30pm


My dear Brothers in the Priesthood,

With love for the priesthood, which Jesus has given us that we may be victims for our people, love for our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, and love for the Church, we are spending this time of reflection so that the care we give our people will be that of the Good Shepherd.

As we humbly thank God for the gift of priesthood and repent of our sins, let us ask the Lord that he will help us to persevere in our holy vocation and bring the life that Christ wills to our world.


My dear Brothers in the Priesthood,

The remarkable cure of the dumb Demoniac reminds us of our call to be ministers of healing and good shepherds of our people.  We as priests are among those whom the Lord continues to call by name, just as once he called the apostles on the shores of the Sea of Galilee to become fishers of men, that is his closest collaborators, in the proclamation of the Gospel and the service of the kingdom of God in our time.

Above all at this Mass we pray for the gift of perseverance for all priests, that we may be faithful to prayer, celebrate Holy Mass with ever renewed devotion, live listening to the Word of God and, day after day, assimilate the same sentiments and attitudes as those of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

The crowds looked on Jesus with wonder because they had a sense of need and saw that in Jesus that need could be met in the most astonishing way.  The deeper our sense of need, the more wonderful Jesus will seem to be.

What a contrast with the Pharisees.  Because Jesus was challenging them they saw him as being in league with evil.  They were too set in their ways to change.  They were too proud in their self-satisfaction to submit. Their attitude reminds us that Jesus can do nothing with a man until we surrender our life and our will to him.  Lastly, they were too prejudiced to see.  Their eyes were so blinded by their own ideas and their own prejudices that they could not see in Jesus Christ the truth and the power of God.  

This fact is what the Church proclaims, inviting us to be one with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, and our bishops and brothers and priests in the Church, to realise that in Jesus alone there is life and surrender to him and to his will and power will change us.

More than this, however, we are to be the instruments of his compassion, healing and forgiveness.  If we are to bring this consciousness to our people we must first of all speak of the reality of sin.  Knowing our own weakness as we do we have to announce to people what is in Christ’s invitation - to be one with him and his will and how sin separates us from the purpose for which God made us and thus is ultimately frustrating and is in fact our undoing.

Geoffrey Hazelwood, a great English headmaster, said that one of the tragedies of our age is that we are standing at a crossroads and the signposts have fallen down.  In our witness to Jesus we have to point to the two-fold reality of sin and its burden on humankind and to forgiveness.  For us true life consists in admitting our own inadequacy to attain Christ and true peace without the life of grace.

Indeed our whole priesthood must be turned towards Christ.   Humbly let us admit of our own sin and inadequacy so that being filled with the grace of Christ and having been ourselves forgiven, transformed and turned towards Christ, then we might be the instruments of compassion and forgiveness.

People have always loved priests because we show to them that there is always a new beginning.  For us as priests we have to leave behind the

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Celebrated By Archbishop Denis Hart
at St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne
on Sunday, 15th July, 2007 at 11.00am


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today the Church challenges us with the Word of God to see that our relationships with each other are not determined by how people relate to us as the centre of the world, but how we all relate to Christ as its Redeemer.

Jesus himself turned to those who were weak, suffering and burdened.  He identified with injured humanity and like a Good Samaritan he took pity on it.  Because of this mercy, forgiveness and peace are his gift.

As we call to mind our sins, let us remember that as our Redeemer he wanted all to be reconciled to him, peace having been made by his death on the cross.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

What must we do to inherit eternal life?  (Luke 10:25)

The lawyer’s question and his textbook answer – love of God and neighbour – are couched in the meeting of requirements, as if there is a certain limited work that we must do and that is enough.  We become logical and practical.  

If we were to sit down as a prayer group and discuss today’s story of the Good Samaritan, how far would we be prepared to go?  Perhaps in a modern city, at least after midnight, we might be afraid of someone attacking us if our guard were down and we were helping someone disabled.  Could we be sued by the victim?  Should we just ring the Police and leave it to them?

Yet today’s Gospel speaks of someone who was prepared to risk helping a person of a different race and creed and to render himself liable to criticism.  It is a place where we put ourselves out for another unconditionally, without discrimination and without regard for personal security.  If we are followers of Jesus who gave his all then we cannot be content with those easy definitions given by the lawyer in the Gospel.  To say ‘love God and your neighbour’ is one thing.  To do it is very much another.

The Greek writer, Aesop, whom we may remember writing the stories of The Tortoise and the Hare or The Boy who cried Wolf, once wrote:  “No act of kindness however small is ever wasted.”  What a wonderful prelude to the Gospel story today.  The humanitarian leader, Albert Schweitzer, said more recently:  “Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown into a flame by another human being.  Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.  Only a life for others is worth living.”

At times we might be hesitant, we might think that loving our neighbour as ourself diminishes our self-love. After all we want to love and be loved.  We want that for ourselves and everyone else.

Jesus’ words of everlasting life show how much he was prepared to do.  The words at the end of the Gospel:  “The one who loved was ‘the one who took pity on him’, whom Jesus challenges as he challenges us ‘go and do the same yourself’.”  (Luke 10:37)  These are the words of everlasting life; the need that we have to receive from the Lord, the light that he gives through the peace that comes from his cross.  Like the sparrow we find a home in the Lord’s house with his attitudes, with his giving.  They indeed are the words of everlasting life.

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.

Installation of Fr Greg Bennett at St Bede's Church

Celebrated By Archbishop Denis Hart
at St Bede's Church, North Balwyn
on Saturday, 4th August, 2007 at 6.00pm


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On this eighteenth Sunday of the Year and Feast of Saint John Vianney, Patron of Parish Priests, we are invited to work, examining how we stand before God – and our Parish Priest - to grow in holiness, love of God and service of our brothers and sisters.

I am delighted to come to Saint Bede’s to induct Father Greg Bennet as your Parish Priest.  I know he has received a warm welcome from you and the prayers of all of us in the important ministry which he fulfils among you.  Joining him in residence is Father Max Vodola, who is doing University studies in History.

I now ask that Father Bennet’s letter of appointment be read before he will be presented with the keys of the church.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today’s Gospel invites us to examine how we stand in God’s sight, guided by his truth – always together on our journey to eternal life.  When we are ‘in Christ’ there are no distinctions between people – but only one challenge – God!

In Saint Bede’s I ask that all of you be caught up into the mystery of God’s love shown and demonstrated by the prayer, word and deed of every one of us in the parish.

Father Greg Bennet has worked as Assistant in Greensborough, Administrator at Seymour, has undertaken studies in counselling and spiritual theology in America and Rome, has spent a term as Director of Ministry to our Priests and of Ongoing Education of Priests, and is continuing the term begun almost three years ago as Director of the Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation.  He thus has the dual role of Parish Priest of Saint Bede’s and Director of the Office.

We respect his ability to lead and his generosity in coming to be with you.  I pray that you will welcome him, support him in the leadership which he must give in all aspects of parish life – worship, teaching, school, management of parish resources, so that Saint Bede’s will be a place of faith and strong Christian living.  I hope that his presence among you will be a constant reminder that God in his wonder goes beyond all that we might hope for and that it is him whom we search to see revealed in the transforming of your hearts.

Together with Pope Benedict and his Archbishop, Father Bennet will strive to serve you faithfully and generously.  I urge you to welcome him and to remember of course the larger areas of responsibilities which he now has.

I want to reflect particularly on the work of your parish priest.  Jesus himself said, ‘I am the gate’.  A priest is invited into a mysterious gift of self to Jesus Christ.  When Father Bennet received ordination as a deacon and as a priest, his personal and public consecration in celibacy and service of his people assumed a new dimension.

At Easter we celebrate the death and resurrection of the Saviour.  Each priest dies to himself, places his words and personality at the Lord’s service as he rises to offer the new life that only the Lord can give to us.  Through his celebration of the Eucharist the saving action of Jesus Christ in the cross comes to us.  The Eucharist celebrated, adored and brought to the sick is Christ present among us.

A priest is another Christ.  The Eucharist is tremendously important because here our human lives are directed to God, who fills them with meaning.

In a few moments Father Bennet will open the tabernacle and adore the Blessed Sacrament.  He will be taken to the baptismal font to show that through his ministry new members