EASTER 2017: Archbishop Costelloe: Accept the gift of friendship offered by the Lord
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe holds a candle during the celebration of the Easter Vigil at Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday 15 April. The Archbishop placed a great focus on the infinite love and friendship God offers unconditionally to us. Photo: Ron Tan
By Josh Low
“Without Christ at the centre of our faith, of our lives and of our Church, we are like people wandering in the darkness not really knowing what we are being called to do and to be.”
In his homily for the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday 15 April, Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB placed a great focus on the infinite love and friendship God offers unconditionally to us.
Deacon Paul Russell holds the candle on the sanctuary during the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday 15 April. Photo: Ron Tan
Drawing from the words of Saint Paul’s Letters to the Corinthians, Archbishop Costelloe reiterated the centrality of the figure of Jesus Christ and the importance of His presence in our faith and everyday lives.
“Our faith, before it is anything else, is faith and trust in and love for a person, Jesus Christ, who through His resurrection is alive and present to us in the most intimate of ways.
“Our Easter celebration tonight invites us to open our hearts and our lives to Him and to let Him make His home with us,” he said.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe sprinkles holy water on the congregation during the Easter Vigil celebration at St Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday 15 April. Photo: Ron Tan
The Archbishop spoke of the night before Jesus died, when He called the closest of His disciples, even the ones He knew would desert Him the following day, that they were no longer servants, but friends.
“While so many of our friendships are marked by moments of misunderstanding, of coolness and even of suffering, the friendship the Lord offers us is constant, unconditional and absolutely trustworthy,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
“As St Paul says in one of his letters, ‘we may be unfaithful but God is always faithful, for God cannot disown his own self’.”
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe holds a candle during the celebration of the Easter Vigil at Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday 15 April. Photo: Ron Tan
The Archbishop explained that, as those who were called by Jesus to follow Him during His life on earth came to know and understand Him better, and as they were drawn deeper and deeper into a relationship of intimacy and love with Him, they could not help but be set on fire both by His presence and by all that He taught them about God.
“Never before had someone spoken with such conviction of a God of overwhelming love, compassion and mercy.
“Never before had someone dared to address God, and invite everyone else to address God, as a little child might address his father.
“Never before had someone compared God to a father who puts his life on hold until his wayward prodigal son comes to his senses and returns home,” he said.
“The God whom Jesus spoke about, and spoke to in prayer, was a God worth believing in, even if to Jesus’ hearers such a God was almost too good to be true.
“Jesus brought something to life in the hearts of his disciples, he enkindled hope within them, and anything less than the God Jesus proclaimed would never satisfy them again.
In his homily for the Easter Sunday Mass on 16 April, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe called the faithful to accept the offer of friendship, made in generosity and love. Photo: Ron Tan
Archbishop Costelloe said that the gift of friendship which Jesus had offered to the disciples was the gift of friendship with God, with the promise of forgiveness being God’s promise, and with the assurance of eternal life being God’s assurance.
“It was all true. Because of the resurrection it still is all true.
“The Lord is still with us, living in His Church, constantly unveiling the depths of the mystery of God, and inviting us to be His friends. It is all gift, never earned; always freely offered, never withdrawn.
“The Lord is risen. He holds out the hand of friendship to us, wanting to make His home within us. He wants to help us live our lives to the full now and in eternity. Say “yes” to this gift. Accept this offer made in generosity and love,” the Archbishop said.
“As Saint Augustine reminds us; if we accept the gift and allow its richness to fill our lives, our restless hearts and spirits will gradually grow calm.
“Begin to live your lives in Christ, and allow him to enrich the lives of all you love. Let your restless hearts and your restless lives be stilled by the power of his gift of Easter peace,” he concluded.