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We are one body 
with the Lord

I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands to which I have driven them and bring them back to their meadow; there they shall increase and multiply. I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing, says the Lord.”

These words from the prophet, Jeremiah, illustrate the profound care that the Lord expressed for his people. It is a promise from above that we will be given the protection and the guidance that we need, and that the dishonesty of the evil ones will be replaced by honesty and integrity.

Jeremiah is expressing a profound need for the people to change their ways and for a radical change in the way they relate to each other and to God.

Just as the Lord took direct action to care for his people in Old Testament times, the Sacred Constitution on the Liturgy from the Second Vatican Council recognised that the Church needed to change and that Catholic people needed to change the way they were living their faith, so that the Church could be reinvigourated to meet the needs of the time.

Naturally, the manner in which we understand faith must affect the way in which we celebrate and express it, so profound changes in the way we celebrate liturgy were seen as necessary by the council fathers.

The fathers made one extremely important pronouncement. They proclaimed that the Church is sacramental by its very nature and this says a lot about how the Church defines and describes itself.

This self-image is reflected in the manner in which the people celebrate and, as a sacramental people, it places the celebration of the liturgy in the number one priority spot in our lives.

In his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul stresses the importance of the cross, as the barriers that divide people are only broken down by the cross of Christ, through whom we receive the Holy Spirit.

This mystery is made visible in our celebrations of the liturgy. If we want to know what the Church looks like, the place where we can find out is in the way we celebrate our liturgies.

The liturgy is an action of Christ the priest and of his body, which is the Church. It is a sacred action surpassing all others. It is by participating in the liturgy that we learn how to show to the world the Church as a sign lifted up among the nations, under which the scattered children of this world can be gathered together in unity, peace and justice.

Mark tells us of the hunger of the people for the word of God. But the hunger is discerned in the gathering of the disciples with their high priest, Jesus. This speaks to us of the importance of unity in our Church, a unity that is sought through the whole flock coming together with its bishop.

In the liturgy, this is reflected especially when the bishop, priests and people gather together for the one Eucharist in a single prayer at the one altar, as then Christ is truly identified as the head of the Church.

         Homily notes 

              for the Year of Grace

              Adelaide Archdiocese