MASS FOR PRIESTS ORDAINED UNDER TEN
YEARS AT AMBERLEY, LOWER PLENTY, ON MONDAY, 1ST SEPTEMBER 2014 AT 6.30
dear Brothers in the Priesthood,
The Gospel we have just read, “The
Spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me”, is a telling
reminder of the mission given to us as priests. It is good news, an
engagement with the poor. It is freedom,
new vision, new hope and a reminder of the constant love of the Lord.
Our special call in living and
proclaiming the Gospel is to be linked with its essential joy. The news of Jesus is not something told about
a person. It is the news of the changing
direction of our whole human race. In Evangelii
136), Pope Francis
stresses that the Lord desires to reach others by means of our word but, note,
that by his words Our Lord won over the hearts of the people. They were amazed at his teaching and they
sensed that he spoke to them as one with authority, which brought all nations
to the bosom of the Church.
For us, to speak with authority we
need to speak from our own contemplation and love of Christ and the knowledge
which he wants us to bring of God’s reaching every person in love.
Whether our poverty be material,
intellectual or spiritual, the encounter with Jesus Christ needs to be
personal. One of the greatest challenges
of the priesthood today is to bring each of our people to a deeper personal
relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, so that they will
listen and converse with him in prayer and know that he is near in the
challenge of daily living.
Many of us, priests and people, are
captives to our own way of looking at things or to the bad habits that bear us
down. Is our yes to Jesus complete and
everyday or is it limited and hesitant, or is it qualified to only certain
things in our life?
The next challenge of course is one of
vision. Every one of us is a product of
our own culture and background and of the particular circumstance which beset
our everyday living. It may be the
limitations and challenges of the particular appointment we have. It may be that we are asked to do something
which would not be our first preference or that requires an atmosphere of
learning and being challenged before we can give of our best. The saying yes to Christ every day of our
life is not merely a new vision, but it liberates us from dependence upon
ourselves, upon our humanity and our readiness to be limited in what we do and
in the way we give.
I never cease to be fascinated by the
variety of our priests and of your gifts.
I thank you for your generosity to Christ and I commend you to see that
being anointed for mission means that our whole life is good news to those who
need it. We are not limited, we are
free, we are visionaries, and we find in that vision a liberation. As Saint Paul says: “If God is for us, who can be against,
because the Spirit of our God sets us free.”
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.