MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT ST PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE,
ON SUNDAY 19 DECEMBER 2010 AT 11AM.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
A meeting of Mary and Elizabeth, and the recognition of Jesus, place in a very human context the coming of Jesus, who is God with us.
He is promised as the great God, as the one coming to obey the Father’s will, to make us turn to him, to see his face and we shall be saved.
As we call to mind our sins, let us ask that we will walk with God and he with us in daily life, truth and witness.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Mary and Elizabeth met, both carrying children. One, the certainty of God’s life by the power of the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth, who had hoped for a child for many years, longing that her hope would be fulfilled.
Mary’s Son, whose origin goes back to the days of old, will bring God to our human existence. Elizabeth’s child will lead Israel to their highest expectancy.
The words, God is with us, show us above all, that he who shared our human flesh is with us in a manner no less real as we celebrate this Mass and receive him in Holy Communion.
The great theologian, Karl Rahner, wrote, “When we say that God is the Lord and goal of mankind, that without God there is no meaning to our lives, that God is our helper and Saviour on whose providence we are dependent, that God in his mercy will forgive our guilt … that for those who believe in, hope in, and love God he prepares an eternal life of happiness, then we shall have interpreted ‘God with us’ in the right way.”
Or Oscar Romero, who said, “Jesus’ birth attests that God is now marching with us in history, that we do not go alone and that our aspiration for peace, for justice, for a reign of divine law, for something holy, is far from earth’s realities. We can hope for it, not because we can do it, but because the builder of a reign of justice, of love and of peace is already in our midst.”
Indeed, keeping the gift of God with us means reaching out to him in truth and honesty, repenting of our sins and seeking sacramental forgiveness. Seeking to walk with him and he with us, so that God with us will always be a gift.
Christmas is a day that gives all our other days meaning and vision. In the midst of the busyness of this week some time for prayer, reflection or adoration is important if we want God to touch our hearts in the way that he wishes to transform them and carry us forward as his witnesses. It can be summed up in this way:
“God has determined unless I interfere with his plan I should reach that which will be my greatest happiness. He looks on me individually, he calls me by name, he knows what I can do, what I can best be, what is my greatest happiness, and he means to give it to me. God knows what is my greatest happiness, but I do not.”
(John Henry Cardinal Newman)
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE