Our world has changed. Because of the onslaught of evil last September our grasp on life seems much more fragile. Our priorities have altered. Our search for truth and life continues. Above all, at this time our Saviour comes to bring us hope.
Jesus is nailed to the cross. The whole of his life is directed towards this supreme moment. He has barely managed, gasping and exhausted, to get to the top of that hill. He is stretched out on the ground, the nails pierce his palms and his torn flesh. He is hoisted onto the vertical shaft fixed in the ground.
With humble joy for the first time as Archbishop of Melbourne, I welcome especially my brother bishops, diocesan and religious priests, migrant chaplains and you the people of God, to this Mass of the Chrism, when the oils for use in the conferral of the Sacraments will be blessed and the Sacred Chrism consecrated.
Today is a day of particular importance for our priests. We re-commit ourselves to be faithful witnesses of the salvation Jesus won for the world. Remembering with wonder the day of our ordination we seek to give ourselves more generously to the Lord's service in bringing his people to him.
Together we have walked through our city as a proclamation of our faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and King. Our witness to our faith is a wonderful response to the invitation of the Holy Father to each of us personally to be the saints of the new millennium and then to see witness to the faith through evangelisation by word and example as integral to our living of that faith in our time and in our city. This is nowhere more powerfully effective than in Holy Week, when on Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday we walk with Jesus the steps to Calvary, to his Resurrection, seeking to renew our lives by his power.
Today we have heard the living story of Jesus going to death for us. Those three phrases from the First Reading of today's Mass are a challenge to us as we see them perfectly fulfilled in Jesus going to his passion. Jesus was the perfect disciple of the Father because he fulfilled the Will of the Father, whom he loved perfectly, to save us. Jesus invites us also to be disciples in our word and deeds. He invites us to open our ear this week, to ponder yet again his word in prayer and in reflection on the Scriptures, to grapple with the reality of our own sin and through the beautiful Sacrament of Reconciliation to be made one with Christ and to listen to him for the rest of our lives.