Mass celebrated at Amberley, Lower Plenty, for priests ordained ten years and under, on Monday, 7th September 2015
My dear Brother Deacons and Priests,
In the first Reading today Saint Paul gives us a challenging indication of who we are. We are servants of the Church, responsible for delivering God’s message. Saint Paul himself mentions his own suffering, the fact that the revelation is mysterious and shown only to “his saints”. In the New Testament the community of God’s people were often referred to as “the saints” because sanctity is our goal and ideal.
So we too are servants of the Church, responsible for delivering God’s message. The message as we know is that Christ is near and because he is near we have hope of glory.
The challenge for us then is to maintain that strong relationship with Christ, which is essential to being called to ordination: It is a call to holiness; it is a call to perseverance; it is a call to sorrow for our sins and conversion, so that Christ’s love will captivate us the way it captivated Saint Paul.
Notice what we have to do is to thoroughly train everyone, to instruct them, to make them perfect in Christ. This can be tiring, but we must remember that we are body and spirit and it is the spirit and the mind and heart which are intended to guide the body. In this passage Saint Paul is very human: He is “happy to suffer for us”; he “has to struggle hard for us”; he has to “struggle wearily on helped only by his power driving me irresistibly”.
We need then to ask ourselves, is our relationship with Christ sufficiently nourished in prayer, are we aware of his presence and of the strength because he is our rock, because of our ability to take refuge in him and because of the promised healing described in the Gospel which is offered to each one of us by Jesus, our Saviour.
Let us pray for each other today that we will listen to Jesus, we will follow him and in him we will find our strength because he knows us and loves us, he is our safety and our glory. And because our ministry is inextricably entwined with our people our giving of ourselves will make us filled with the love only Christ can give.
May Jesus live in our hearts forever.
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.