With Advent we begin a new Church Year. We are faced with the Second Coming of Jesus as judge, which we cannot predict or postpone. Our only hope is to remain spiritually alert, conscious that the responsibilities that we have to live a just and honest life in the midst of other people is our preparation for eternity. Christ is our Lord and Saviour. When he returns as judge we need to ask ourselves ‘what will he find?’
For many people December means that another year is ending. For Christians, it also means another year is beginning. Advent is not just a wind-down time towards holidays and the year’s end. It is also a start-up time: time for a re-think, a fresh look at where we are and where we are going. Above all, it is time for a fresh look at Christ and at our lives within the Church.
Today we are delighted to be one with his mother, Mary, at the ordination of Peter Damien McKinley as a priest of the Archdiocese of Melbourne and as a member of the Emmanuel Community. After some months of further Emmanuel experience in France, Peter Damien will serve in our parishes and will be available as a priest to nourish the Emmanuel community.
I recognise with esteem the presence of Father Jacques Benoit Gonin, who has travelled from France to represent the Emmanuel Community, and thank all of you for the powerful union of your prayers in this most significant act of the Church, as we confer the Order of Priesthood upon our brother, Peter Damien.
As we hold Jesus Christ as our Lord and Shepherd, we remember that this is the last Sunday of the Church Year and we are challenged to think about the last days of our life. Not to dream about heaven as the solution to all our problems, but to live as befits one who awaits the immense gathering of all people in the presence of Jesus Christ, our Shepherd and Messiah. Our final destiny is worked out in the smallest details of our present life in which we say yes or no to him.