Mass Celebrated by Archbishop Denis Hart
at St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne,
on Sunday, 30th June, 2002, at 11.00am
My dear Brothers and Sisters,
Jesus gives us a love that transforms us and helps us reach out to others. We are invited to walk in the light of Christ.
Today let us think about our relationship with him and the difference it can make, as we call to mind our sins.
My dear Brothers and Sisters,
In the 1960s the Canadian born communications theorist, Marshall McCluhan, became famous for the quotation, "the medium is the message". This was his view of the powerful influence of television, computers and other electronic technology in shaping thought concerning sociology, art, science or religion.
The medium was the person who gave the message. He knew that the prophets would encounter tough audiences and unfortunately some refused the medium, killed the messenger and missed the intended message; such as those who killed Jesus. Others like the women of Shunem in the first Reading welcomed both the medium and the message and lived to enjoy its blessings.
It is significant that in all his instructions to his own followers, Jesus made it very clear that their discipleship was not just a personal decision, but rather a response to what God had given before. It means offering to God when he calls and comes to each of us as a welcome into our heart, soul and life.
Arnold Heinrich has said this, "Discipleship is not a question of our own doing; it is a matter of making room for God so that he can live in us." Jesus seems to be of a similar mind.
Commentators on this Gospel have shown that it establishes the four links in the chain of salvation.
- First there is God out of whose love the whole process began.
- Then there is Jesus who brought the message to mankind.
- Then there follows the human messenger or what we have seen early, the medium, that is the prophet who speaks, the good person who becomes an example, the disciple who learns. All of these in turn pass on to others the good news that they have received.
- Then there is the believer who welcomes God's mediums and messengers and finds there life and salvation. Since a chain is as strong as its weakest link, it belongs to each of us to maintain our relationship with Christ. There we will find the grace and the strength necessary to persevere and to be our part of the chain.
John Paul Sartre wrote, "All things are born for no reason, continue through weakness, and die by accident." Saint Paul wrote, "All things work to the good for those who love God." The choice that each of us has is whether we will lose ourself into nothing after an accidental death or whether we will voluntarily die into Christ and attach ourself to himself. Or as the mystic Eckhart said, "Christ is the word of God - everyone else is a byword." Or Karl Rahner said, "Jesus is the word, all of us are letters."
Our life has meaning only as part of Christ's life and that is why crosses in our life invite us to share in the life that Jesus had and won for us on the cross. We believe that our unexplainable suffering is a sharing in the purposeful suffering of Jesus. Suffering refines us. Instead of a fickle love at first sight it leads us to a finer, stronger love, when we realise that God's will is his desire for my personal self and salvation. This is the gift he offers me. Will I take it?
+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.