The readings were mostly taken from Saturday Week 22 Ordinary Time Year II, with the Proper for the feast day of St Gregory the Great.
Opening hymn: Sing a New Church (to Beethoven's tune of 'Come Sing a Song of Joy…')
Cardinal Wuerl : We gather together for the Eucharist, our source of faith and energy, our purpose and our reason for all that we do.
The first reading was from 1 Corinthians 4: 6-15, a passage where St Paul asks us to keep to what is written, and to remember that all we have has been given to us so that there is no cause for boasting. He reminds us that as apostles poor treatment is expected, and that we are to pay back with a blessing.
The responsorial psalm was part of Psalm 95(96), which includes 'Sing to the Lord all the earth, sing to the Lord, bless His Name.' taken from the readings for St Gregory the Great, with the sung response 'Proclaim, proclaim, proclaim His marvellous deeds to all the nations.'
The Gospel reading was from Luke 6: 1-5 about Jesus walking through the cornfields with his disciples on the Sabbath, and getting into trouble because the disciples were doing 'work' on the Sabbath by picking the ears of corn and eating them.
My brother bishops, priests, religious, and brothers and sisters in the Lord, I want to express to you my gratitude for participating in this Conference with you, and for the intensity of your commitment. Today we celebrate the feast of St Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church, a great inspiration for his day and age. His Book of Pastoral Rule written to help bishops in their ministry still inspires us today. He was the Pope who used the title Servant of the Servants of God for the first time. How do you carry the Gospel into the world in which we live? In the Gospel we hear Jesus say that 'The Son of Man is master of the Sabbath', helping His disciples understand who He is. What does Jesus ask of us, as He reveals who He is? That we place our faith in Him. The Eucharist is the agent and power of our faith. We come to Mass to be renewed every day, praying to be open to the powerful influence of the Holy Spirit. Faith, great as it is, is meant to be shared. Jesus says to each one of us, 'You will be My witnesses'. Grateful for the gift of faith, St Gregory the Great sent missionaries out. We are particularly thankful for the missionaries he sent out to the English speaking world. St Paul tells us that we are born to faith through those who have proclaimed it to us, and in turn we become Gospel reflections to others. We hear the words of Jesus, 'You will be My witnesses', 'Proclaim, proclaim, proclaim', 'You will be My disciples'. When we respond through the act of faith we become active participants in the transformation of the world. St Gregory the Great challenged his missionaries to engage in the announcement that Jesus is Lord. How do we in turn bear witness to the people around us who are in need of the faith, love and presence of Jesus? That is the great task of the New Evangelisation. Firstly our minds and hearts must be renewed in the faith, continually, over and over again. Then in confidence stand, and calmly and serenely offer to others the words of everlasting life. Live it. Go Out. Share it. Pope Francis encourages us not to stay locked up in the comfort of faith, and to go out and share it. What does it take for each one of us to invite someone to Mass? A true witness will recognise that it is our turn. The same power of the Holy Spirit is with us to quietly, persistently, consistently live in the joy of the Gospel in such a way that invites others to share that joy. He is the Lord, we are His witnesses and the power of the Holy Spirit is His gift to us.
Communion Hymn: Take and Eat
Recessional Hymn: Go To The World (with the tune of 'For All the Saints' Sine Nomine)
For me this homily contained the key thought for this third day of the Conference: 'In the power of the Holy Spirit, quietly, persistently and consistently live the joy of the Gospel in a way that invites others to share that joy.'
This homily brilliantly distilled in a few sentences all that we had heard God calling us to do throughout the Conference. The hard part, of course, is actually doing it. May God help us.
In the next issue will be notes from the keynote speech of Bishop Nicholas Hudson about how to make our parishes oases of mercy.