"Know that I am with you always" - Walk With Christ 2018

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Home > Archbishop > Homilies > "Know that I am with you always" - Walk With Christ 2018

The final words of the Lord recorded by St Matthew are: “And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.” (Mt 28:20) These were the parting words of the Lord as he ascended to his Father.

“Know that I am with you always.” It is clearly evident that though the Lord knew that once his earthly mission was ended he would return to the Father, he intended to leave a means by which he would continue to remain in a living union with his disciples.

With this awareness we can appreciate the deliberate actions of the Lord at the Last Supper. He transformed the Jewish Paschal meal into what we now know as the Mass. He transformed the Blessing Prayer over the bread into a consecratory prayer: “This is my body which is given for you.” He transformed the Blessing Cup after the supper into the sacrament of his blood.

He then added the very important injunction on his disciples, “Do this in memory of me.” Thus from the beginning the Christians gathered for the breaking of bread faithful to the Lord’s instruction.

From the beginning, the Christians understood the significance of this commemoration. St Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians said, “Anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup unworthily will be behaving unworthily towards the body and blood of the Lord.” (11:27)

He adds, “Everyone is to recollect himself before eating this bread and drinking this cup.” (v28) We are faithful to this word from the Apostle, and so we now say in the new translation: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

The bread is the Body of the Lord, the cup is the Blood of the Lord.

The Eucharistic Body and Blood of the Lord is the means par excellence by which the Lord’s promise to be with us always is realised.

The Lord walks with us over each of our life’s journey. He joins us along the way as he did to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Even if at times we do not recognise his presence, he is there.

At every Mass, the Lord is present in the consecrated bread and wine. He is there whether we are fully alert to his presence or not. He is present in the tabernacle whether or not we attune our hearts and minds to his presence when we enter a church.

On this point it seems Catholics are losing a sense of being in the Lord’s presence when we are in a church. There is so much chatter these days. It is as though people are in an empty auditorium waiting for the action to begin.

A church is the house of God. A church houses the Real Presence. The burning sanctuary lamp reminds us that coming into a church should be a time for our attention to be directed to the Lord. A church should be a house of prayer and not just a place of meeting.

Whenever we enter a church, our eyes should focus on the tabernacle. We cross ourselves with holy water. We approach our seat and genuflect with mind and heart focused on the Lord’s presence. We take our seat and kneel. We pray. We are silent in the Lord’s holy presence.

But irrespective of whether we acknowledge suitably or not his presence among us, the Lord is there, silent but available: “Know that I am with you.”

Our procession today in honour of the Blessed Sacrament gives expression to our appreciation of this gift of the Lord to us on our pilgrimage of faith. Our procession through the streets of Hobart is a witness not only to our love of the Holy Eucharist, but a testimony to the fact that the Lord is here in Hobart. He is here among the people of this city. The blessing of his presence radiates forth, whether recognised or not.

This beautiful city and its wonderful people have become exposed to a celebration of darkness each year with Dark Mofo occurring around the Winter Solstice. The festival promotes the powers of darkness and draws many unsuspectingly to be exposed to forces that can corrupt their souls. The winter festival, which this year will include a late night party called “Night Mass”, invites participants to embrace the darkness. There is a mimicking of Christianity occurring in these events; a deliberate reversal of Christian belief.

In the face of this disturbing trend, we want to declare Christ as the light, the light of this city of Hobart and all its citizens. We want to declare to all that Christ, our saviour, is the great hope for humanity.

Today we conclude our procession by the worship of the Lord in this time of silent prayer and adoration. Let us pray for our beloved city. Let us pray for the people of Hobart. Let us pray that light will triumph over darkness, salvation over condemnation.

We have walked with Christ through the streets of this beautiful city as a public witness to the fact that Christ is not only present for us, but present for all. He waits and longs for every person to come to him. In the temple of Jerusalem he cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me.” He issues this same invitation to all in this city, “Come to me.” He is the final nourishment of the human soul. He is the source of the living waters which will refresh the parched human spirit.

He waits. He invites. He offers.

Christ is Emmanuel. He is God-with-us. He was incarnate in time. Now in his resurrected glory he is sacramentally really present to all and in all places. “Know that I am with you.”
Today we have given expression to our grateful appreciation of this great gift and to the fulfilment of the promise made at the Ascension: “And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.”

Archbishop Julian Porteous
Saturday, June 2, 2018