Homily: Knights of the Southern Cross: Mass for Deceased Members, 2018

Knights of the Southern Cross
Mass for Deceased Members
Our Lady of the Rosary Church, White Hills
22nd November, 2018

Rev 5:1-10; Luke 19:41-44

As faithful Catholics, we Knights and our families share a bond of love that goes beyond our immediate interests and activities, a bond that extends beyond time into eternity where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father. We are one with brother Knights and loved ones who have died, and it is my privilege to offer Mass today for our Knights who have gone before us.

St Luke's Gospel is structured around Jesus' journey to Jerusalem and in today’s reading, Jesus is now on the last stage of his mission. He approaches Jerusalem, which will be the scene for the last great act of his life – his passion, death and resurrection. From here too, will rise up the new community founded in his name, commissioned to continue the work he had begun.

Our first reading from the Book of Revelation is somewhat difficult to understand. Put simply, through our baptism and our identifying with the Lamb, we share in a special way in both the kingship and priesthood of Christ and also, in his role as prophet. This is true of every single Christian and not just the hierarchy, clergy or religious.

Today we give special thanks and praise to the Lamb, who sacrificed his life in love for us and who, through his life, death and resurrection and through the Gospel (the Scroll) he bequeathed to us, has left us a priceless guide to a life of happiness and fulfilment.

In light of this, our Gospel reading of this last stage of Jesus’ journey is particularly relevant. This turns into a triumphant procession from the Mount of Olives into the city (celebrated by us on Palm Sunday). However, at some point Jesus pauses, overcome with emotion. He looks at the city skyline, dominated by the magnificent temple, and he weeps aloud. What does he see? What moves him so deeply?

The whole history of Israel, his own people, unfolds before him. Everything leads to this day, to his own coming among them. However, they are blind, obstinate and unbelieving. They are rejecting their Messiah. Jesus also has a premonition of what this people will suffer during the siege of Jerusalem by a Roman army in 70 A.D. We should take the opportunity to stand quietly beside Jesus and allow ourselves to be drawn into his lament.

We often see Jesus filled with longing for the people he meets; as the sick and sinners come before him, he invites them to see their wholeness before God. Here, he looks at the city of Jerusalem and prays for its populace, wishing that it might receive what God is offering. If I consider how Jesus looks at me, I realise that he longs for my growth, for me to embrace all the possibilities that God offers to me each day.

Images of threat and destruction can haunt and immobilise us if we neglect to see that there is always an alternative, an offer of life. If these words of Jesus appear to be grim, listen again to notice for what he is longing.

Peace and contentment are two blessings that we desire in life and when we lack them we are greatly disturbed. Jesus, too, was disturbed and wept at the future destruction of his beloved Jerusalem. He offers us a peace that the world cannot give and can only be found in friendship with him.

This underlines the importance of Catholic lay organisations such as the Knights of the Southern Cross and it is critical that through your efforts you support parishes and work to build Christ’s Kingdom on earth. In our present society, there is such a need for proclamation and development of Christian values and ethics, and community is the binding agent, which allows these values to be upheld.

Each one of us is called to be a light to the 21st century in whatever part of the world we call home. There is a need for zealous Catholics, men and women on fire with the love of Christ and with a deep and abiding desire to save souls. As Knights, you are called to use your God-given talents creatively to present the fullness of the Gospel to your friends, to your family members and to your co-workers.

Today’s society presents continuous challenges — a deepening indifference to spiritual things, growing secularism in society and increasing polarization in communities. However, I am optimistic that those challenges can be overcome with the same Spirit that inspired those who have gone before us. I urge you to be committed to being men and women of prayer in order to carry on the work of the Knights of the Southern Cross.

Our Christian tradition will remind us that, from the very beginning of creation, God created us to live in communion, harmony and mutual reliance. We are not totally independent persons without responsibility for each other.

Rather, we are made for each other, are responsible for each other, and are most fully the people we are created to be when we move away from self-concern and move towards an understanding of ourselves as intimately intertwined. This is our vocation – your vocation as Knights of the Southern Cross.

As faithful Catholics, we Knights and our families share a bond of love that goes beyond our immediate interests and activities, a bond that extends beyond time into eternity where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father. We are one with brother Knights and loved ones who have died.

And so, we have gathered to offer Holy Mass for the happy repose of their souls, confident in that hope expressed most perfectly in the Eucharistic Sacrifice we offer: namely the Sacrifice of Christ, crucified and risen, that Sacrifice which unleased into the world the only love that is ‘stronger than sin and more powerful than death.’ Therefore, in hope, we commend our deceased brother Knights to the God who is rich in mercy, to the God who desires only our salvation.

Eternal rest, grant to them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them! Amen.