MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT CORPUS CHRISTI CHURCH, GLENROY, ON FRIDAY 24 DECEMBER 2010 AT 7.30PM.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am delighted to be here with my friend, Father Tran and your Parish Priest, and each of you as we celebrate the feast of Christmas.
Christmas means that God came to be one of us and he invites us to be lifted up to what God has called us to be.
As we remember the love and care of God for us and the love and care that we have for each other, let us call to mind our sins and ask the Lord for pardon and strength.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Tonight we come to remember that God became one of us. This is both a wonderful gift and a challenge. It is a gift because God realises the goodness and the value that is in each person. As we come humbly to celebrate the Eucharist, to receive the Lord in Holy Communion, and to worship at the crib, we realise that God’s greatness and our humanity, which is sometimes frail, have come to meet each other.
Yet Jesus did an even greater thing; he took the weakness of being a baby and the magnetism of that event to draw us all to him so that we would live by love in his presence. In this night and day when we remember the love of God and search for a deep love of family and friends, then we discover that the great Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth, has come to be born by a virgin in a stable, in the simplest circumstances of human living, so that God’s care would embrace all human beings no matter what may be their situation. The poverty of the manger, the loneliness of the shepherds, the reminder that the great joy to be shared by all people is that a Saviour is born to us.
Christmas comes so that we may know Jesus, love him and follow him. We are further convinced in his coming by the fact that he lived a life of poverty, he instructed his disciples and then went to a terrible death which would be the redemption of the world. The baby lying in a manger is a sign that God comes to meet humanity wherever we are and we are never excluded from God’s love.
God invites us to ponder his continuing and limitless love in the face of the challenges which we as human beings face; of the extent to which we reach out to the poor, of the extent to which we live for God all of our lives and are faithful to Mass and to prayer, of the extent that we seek to overcome the materialism of our world and to live for those things which last forever.
The Lord is born for us. This means that God has come to us and lives and works for us every day of our life. Let us resolve to live this coming year seeing more clearly how near God is to us and what challenges and demands this places upon us to live through love in his presence. Light shines for those who are just.
We have to follow him in justice and truth. We might ask ourselves of the extent to which we are able to do this. He is our Saviour. He is the one who wanted us to live in his grace and to come to eternal life.
My prayer for you all this Christmas is that you will know Jesus is near, that you and I will respond to his invitation to live in love and truth and that we will have courage to continue no matter what may be the opposition and the struggle. May Jesus live in your hearts, the Lord who is near to us always, who knows us, loves us and calls us to live through love in his presence.
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE