Homilies

Mass for priests ordained under 10 years - Monday 1 September

MASS FOR PRIESTS ORDAINED UNDER TEN YEARS AT AMBERLEY, LOWER PLENTY, ON MONDAY, 1ST SEPTEMBER 2014 AT 6.30 P.M.

My 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 Gaudium (no. 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.

 
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