Archbishop's Homilies 2008

Feast of Christ the King

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY 23 NOVEMBER 2008 AT 11AM FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING.


INTRODUCTION

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Readings today challenge us to think about the end of our life, our destiny to be with Christ, and the extent to which we have responded to that call.

Christ is the divine shepherd who seeks to invite us to eternal life.  We must be prepared by deeds of justice and truth and true repentance for our sins.

Let us ask the Lord for pardon that we may journey with integrity and honesty along his way.


HOMILY

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

By our adoration and our prayer together, united with the perfect sacrifice of the Mass, we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord of our life.

Today’s Gospel offers us the challenge that we should give to others what we ourselves have received.  All that we are and have comes from him; the gift of life, our prosperity, our education.  Jesus’ way of giving back was to go about doing good, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, welcoming strangers and reaching out to those imprisoned by sins or injustice.  No need was too small to claim his attention, no effort too great.

In the first Reading today Ezekiel gives us the picture of the shepherd whose life is given totally over to caring for his sheep.  Jesus gives his mercy to every one of us, no matter where we have strayed or been scattered.

We are invited to realise all the good things that have come into our lives because of Jesus.  We are invited also to give to others what we have received from him.  The Jesuit Father, Walter Burghardt, reminds us that our being saved by God takes place within our daily life.  It depends on being faithful to three relationships.  Do I love God above all else?  Do I love each sister and brother as Jesus has loved me?  Do I treat each thing with reverence, respect and restraint that God has asked of me?

Making Christ the Lord of our life is a strong invitation to make him the one upon whom our lives depend and to be challenged to follow him amidst our frailty.  We know that the Lord is our shepherd and therefore we will want nothing.  We know that our God has come to save us and we remember the question at the end of the Gospel – Lord when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and came to your help?  And the Lord’s answer:  “I tell you solemnly, insofar as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine you did it to me.”

That is the challenge.  We have received so much, Jesus invites us to be generous givers because we have received so much, as we offer, adore and receive our God in the Eucharist we know that his presence is the constant, living food to accompany us on our journey.

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne