Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Anzac Day - 2012

On this special day we join with the whole nation in lauding the courage, generosity and loving sacrifice of our fallen soldiers. As Australians we do this well.

There will not be many here whose families have not been touched by the First and Second World Wars, as well as the more recent conflicts around the globe.

None of us wants to fall into the trap of glorifying war because we all know it is a dirty, grubby tragedy for both sides; for those who are unfortunate enough to be led into unjust aggression as well as for those who are called upon to defend against it.

But we must never forget the fallen and their legacy to us of freedom and democracy. For the fallen of all sides in a conflict there are no winners. It is we, their descendants who inherit the fruit of their sacrifice.

Today we show our gratitude.

Firstly, and perhaps most simply, by remembering.

From time to time we may rightfully criticise the secular media but each year at this time the media shine in bringing us words and images which enable every Australian to remember not only the wars but also the battles, and the heroic struggles of our Australian soldiers.

Secondly, we show our gratitude by publicly honouring them in appropriate ways. It is important to attend the dawn service and the Anzac Day march. We cannot allow ourselves to become so preoccupied with the demands of our own daily routines that we become careless and even ignorant of the personal sacrifices made for our sake. We owe our fallen; they have given us their very lives.

Thirdly, we show our gratitude by wisely valuing and living our hard won freedom and the growth it makes possible as Australian people. Freedom to elect governments, freedom to remove governments, freedom of speech, of association and, most importantly, of worship. We must use wisely what the fallen have given their lives to preserve. And, in our turn, we must be ready to give our lives for it.

Fourthly, we show our gratitude to our fallen heroes by praying for the repose of their souls. This is something we, as Catholics, are very good at. Each man and woman has an immortal soul which will one day come into the presence of God and be judged. Each of the fallen needs our prayers. Each of the fallen needs the redeeming sacrifice of Christ.

They died for an earthly city and we pray, as in the Collect, that our Saviour, who died to make possible entry into an eternal city may: Resurrect them in our true homeland, where he will: perfect that peace for which they longed and died.

May the souls of all our Australian fallen, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.

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