Mass at St. Mary of the Cross Chapel, North Sydney, for the meeting of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference - Friday 8 May 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Following the Lord’s injunction to a love which shows itself in action and in constant service, we offer this Mass begging the light of the Holy Spirit upon all that we will do this week.

Our deliberations here at Conference exist because the mission given to us, like Paul and Barnabas, to dedicate our lives in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, with a sense of the mission entrusted to them and to us in continuity of living and proclaiming that same message.  This message invites a response of thanksgiving and the particularly powerful verse of the Psalm:  “My heart is ready O God, my heart is ready”, which motivates us to thanksgiving for the graces of God and for what we are able to achieve.

My prayer today is that this whole week will be a time of listening to the Holy Spirit, of readiness with Christ to lay down our lives for our friends, being drawn into the special friendship and partnership which Jesus had with his Father because we are chosen, commissioned and fruitful.

Each one of us many years ago heard the call to priesthood and sought to fulfil it.  More unexpected was the call to episcopate, which enlarged our hearts, challenged our works and called us to devoted, constant service, often in difficult times and in many places.

We know that we are commissioned and, like Pope Francis, are encouraged to go to the peripheries so that nothing is left untouched in our efforts to bring about the kingdom, knowledge and love of Christ in this world.  Our fruitfulness will be because we entrust ourselves to the Gospel, proclaiming his mission of true and authentic love and truth.  We do this in season, out of season, welcome and unwelcome.  It is the Father’s fruit that we bear, then we know that the reward will be far beyond our deserving or even our capacity to know and to hope, caught up as we are into the wonders of this great call.
May this week show our commitment to loving each other in truth and to the service which we render to our people through the prayer, work and relaxation with which these days will be filled. 

Like Jesus who laid down his life, may we be given too in the certain knowledge that in our response to what the Lord asks we will ever find blessings, more abundant than we ever imagined.  Jesus has made known to us everything he has learned from the Father.

+ Denis J. Hart,


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