Mass of Welcome Homily by Cardinal Ambrozic

Exhibition Place, near Lake Ontario, 23 July 2002


Whenever I pray, I pray, whether I advert to it consciously or not, "through him, with him and in him." This does not make my intellectual and spiritual horizon narrower; it offers it, in fact, its greatest expansion and depth. For when I am with Jesus I am in contact with the truest, the most real and genuine human being and I am in direct contact with God Himself.

1) Jesus is a totally genuine human being. In him we detect no self-dramatizing, no striking of poses. In him we find no quibbling about God's will, no connivance with evil, no compromises, and at the same time no censoriousness. His is total kindness, compassion, forgiveness, love. He was able to be "a friend of publicans and sinners" without ever buying that friendships by means of conniving and pretending that sin was not sin.

Jesus is convinced that, in his works, his words and his destiny, the Kingdom of God is already present, that Kingdom which is the final purpose of God's creation and redemption, the Kingdom in which God and His creatures are to be fully united, where God's will will reign supreme and unopposed. This Kingdom already exists in Jesus, making itself visible and operative in what he says and does and in what happens to him. He already is what God expects every human being to be. In Jesus we find an immense sense of responsibility which permits nothing that is good in creation to be destroyed and resists the impatient desire of a premature weeding.

The resurrection does not make Jesus outgrow his earthly existence; rather, it preserves it forever. His words, spoken in time and thus subject to its limitations, do not fall victim to its passing and oblivion but become, like himself, eternally true and valid. His way on earth is not one of the untold millions of human existences which cease to matter even to those most affected by them, but the way for every single one of us. Jesus is and will remain forever a Galilean Jew of the first half of the first century, who is now seated at the right hand of the Father, living and reigning forever. He is now the object of the Church's proclamation because God's Kingdom has reached full reality in him and for us in him.

2) But Jesus is not only a human being, made eternal in his resurrection and ascension. He is also God. On the Mount of Transfiguration we are in touch with God's revelation; the Father alone knows the Son, and it is His to reveal him. When Peter, shortly before the Transfiguration, confesses Jesus to be the Son of God he is told that flesh and blood, i.e., his human intelligence and powers of deduction, did not disclose it to him but the Father in heaven. To know who Jesus really is we depend, not on our cleverness and insight, but on God's revelation.

Who is Jesus? Light and whiteness are God's element. We are told that "God is light and in him there is no darkness at all" (1 Jn 1:5). This light is not streaming from outside of Jesus, as the sun shines through a stained-glass window, but from within Jesus. God's voice then spells it out: Jesus is God's beloved Son.

Yes, Jesus is a human being; but far more than that, he is God, God with us, God made tangible and observable. Jesus is the greatest thing that could ever happen to us, the highest sign of God's will to be with us, of His love for us.

Qui est Jésus? Lumière et Blancheur rayonante sont les éléments de Dieu. Car "Dieu est lumière et en lui il n'y a aucune obscurité" (1 Jn 1:5). Cette lumière ne vient pas de l'extérieur de Jésus comme le soleil brille à travers un vitrail main émane de l'intérieur de sa Personne. La voix de Dieu le dit clairement: Jésus est le Fils bien aimé de Dieu.

Oui Jésus est un être humain, mais bien plus que cela, il est Dieu, Dieu avec nous, Dieu rendu visible. Jésus demeure le grand signe de la volonté de Dieu d'être avec nous et de son amour pour nous.

Jesus is the Centre of all humanity, of all human history. In him all our dreams and ideals, our greatest insights, religious or secular, find their ultimate sense and fulfilment. As the Old Testament, present on the Mount of Transfiguration in Moses and Elijah, Law and the Prophets, is incomplete without him, so all other human insights, no matter how profound and beautiful, are incomplete apart from him. Only in him will they find the heart of their heart, the final truth and goodness for which they strive.

No wonder Peter exclaims, "Lord, it is good for us to be here." "To be with Jesus" is the finest description of a disciple's being and life.

3) The command, "Listen to him", is the natural consequence of who Jesus is. In Jesus and through Jesus God shows us what He is like and what He expects of us.

By being with Jesus, by listening to him and following him, we become one with him; we become suffused with his own light. We become light ourselves: "You are the light of the world; You are the salt of the earth."

In our day-to-day life, in our words, in our most ordinary actions and our entire way of acting and reacting we are asked to show God's countenance to the world. We are asked to be ready to make our defense to anyone who demands from us an accounting for the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Peter 3:15). When occasions arise we ought to present, calmly and confidently, the faith we live by; we must refuse to feign the politically correct tolerance which imagines that all religions and convictions and values are equally valid. Through us, the world is to be drawn to Jesus, and with him to the Father.
Back