Homily given by Most Rev Anthony Randazzo
Bishop of Broken Bay
Friday of the Passion of the Lord
Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral
2 April 2021
As we stand beneath the Cross today we gaze upon the ultimate covenant of love. Through the Passion of our Lord, may our discipleship be purified and strengthened, and may we be one with Jesus in His sacrifice on the Cross. May we be washed clean in the precious Blood of Christ. This is our hope and our joy, my sisters and brothers, as we commemorate the passion and death of our Saviour.
As disciples of the Lord, the Cross must always be a sign of hope and joy. For it to be anything else is to underestimate the power that it contains. Of course, it is no talisman, no luck charm, no magic idol. The Cross of Christ is the supreme sign of God’s covenant of love.
From the beginning of time, the Spirit of God breathed life into creation. Man and woman in the garden of Paradise were given every possibility to live life to the full, they were in right relationship with God, and with all of creation.
At the centre of the garden was a tree (Genesis 3:3), a tree whose fruit represented the mind of God. In taking the fruit from that tree, man and woman attempted to displace God from the centre of life and love. The attempt to usurp God is the original sin that ruptured paradise. It is the cause of all evil in our world, it is the source of all sin and division.
Time and again God has offered us a covenant of love which would reconcile and restore humankind. History records that we are a stubborn people. Left to our own devices we are prone to selfishness, pride, anger, and hatred. And still God loves us with an everlasting love and continues to be faithful to us and to all of creation (cf. Jeremiah 31:3).
God’s love defies human logic. There is no reason for God’s love other than the truth that God is love (1 John 4:16). The Prophet Isaiah foretold that, out of love, the Father would send one who would serve – who would be lifted, exalted, and rise to great heights. The one who serves is Jesus, the Son of God, and our Saviour. The tree that once stood at the centre of the garden of Paradise has been replaced by the Tree of Life – the Cross of Christ. The fruit of the Tree of Life is the Body and Blood of Christ.
My sisters and brothers, the way to newness of life, to right relationship with God and with others, is through our communion in the Blood of Christ flowing from the Tree of Life. His sacrifice on the Cross is the supreme sacrifice which restores all of creation. It washes us clean of original sin and opens the way to eternal life.
Our world needs Christ, the Saviour. How might we bear witness to God’s love as disciples of Jesus the Lord? How might we be united with Christ crucified so that His cross will be the sign of hope and joy for the world and a reminder that God is the source of all life and love.
Every time we see people who are rejected, abused, hated, there is an opportunity for us to love as Christ loved. When people find themselves in moments of spiritual or moral darkness, there is an opportunity for us to love as Christ loved. When the evil one tempts peoples and nations to replace God with human power and knowledge, with norms and laws that deny the human right to freedom and life, there is an opportunity for us to speak the truth of the Gospel, to spread hope and joy, by loving as Christ loved.
My brothers and sisters, the passion and death of Jesus saves us from sin and desolation. As we stand beneath the Cross let us bring to Jesus not only our prayers and our needs, but our hearts. When we are united with Jesus in his death on the Cross then we will learn the true meaning of God’s covenant of love.