Every time that we come to Mass we do so in hope that the guidance of our Saviour will help us to face the challenge of our future. In this time before Christmas this is particularly powerful.
John the Baptist wants to know that if Jesus comes as a God of retribution to pay us back for our evil as he had been expecting. In answer, Jesus says that he has come as Messiah, not to judge, but to bring mercy.
The Church presents to us the energetic figure of John the Baptist crying to each of us to prepare a way for the Lord.
Peter-Damien McKinley today will make the significant step in his life when he receives ordination to the Diaconate at my hands. He will be a Deacon and Priest of the Archdiocese of Melbourne and will serve the Diocese in our parishes. At the same time he will be a member of the Emmanuel Community, a body of people who are an active presence in the New Evangelisation, and yet contemplatives whose strength is drawn from Mass and adoration of the Eucharist, community support and work among the people.
Today, as we celebrate the fact that Mary, the Mother of God, was conceived totally free from sin and remained perfectly united with God throughout her life, it is most appropriate that six Sisters should make their Religious Profession of chastity, poverty and obedience in the Sisters of Nazareth, following the inspiration of Mary, the Mother of the Saviour.
They too will be called to ponder the life of Jesus and bring his salvation to others through prayer, service and the works of the Sisters of Nazareth.
Tonight is a remarkable opportunity for us to know and love the forgiving power of God in the personal life of each of us. We are invited to enter into the realm of grace by responding to his invitation, "Know that he the Lord is God, he made us, we belong to him; we are his people, the sheep of his flock." (Psalm 99)