'There is no need to be afraid little flock' - Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Decrease font size
Increase font size
Print this page
Home > Archbishop > Homilies > 'There is no need to be afraid little flock' - Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

We are living through a time of extraordinary social change. We are seeing legislation being passed in various states which enshrine in law moral positions which are directly opposed to the Christian understanding of the human person and God’s good and wise plan for human life.

It seems that there is now a veritable flood of legislation flowing through our parliaments which are directly in opposition to traditional Christian teaching and we seem powerless to stop it. Our voice is howled down or simply ignored.

Victoria has seen the first person choosing to end their life by euthanasia. Western Australia is well advanced to introduce similar laws. We will soon see legislation for euthanasia introduced once again in Tasmania – for the third time in six years.

St John Paul II spoke of a rising “culture of death” emerging in society. This culture of death is now very evident.
In New South Wales despite Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious leaders joining together to oppose the proposed Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019, it has now passed the lower house.

Leaders of these three faiths declared their basic stance that “human life begins at conception”. They added, “This is not only a religious tenet, but taught in every reputable medical textbook in use today.” Their concern is that the bill would allow abortion up until birth. In other words it condones infanticide. The NSW government has now effectively accepted the murder of a child capable of life.

The religious leaders in NSW were also concerned that the right of conscience for medical workers is overridden in that such workers are required to refer patients to practitioners who will carry out the procedure. In other words, a person of conscience is required to be complicit in an immoral act which they abhor. Again this is now to become law. A medical worker is being forced to go against their conscience or face being debarred from their profession.

Some months ago Tasmania was the first jurisdiction in Australia to pass laws concerning gender identification at a time when there are many questions surrounding the medical and psychological effects of gender transition. Laws are being hastily enacted with little care about their wisdom and implications.

Recently, in a document entitled “Male and Female He created them”, the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education released a comprehensive teaching on the Catholic understanding in relation to gender dysphoria. 

The document outlined grave concerns about the promotion of Gender Ideology which it sees a damaging persons in their sexual identity and having seriously negative effects on marriage, family and society.

Every time we come to Mass we unite ourselves with our Catholic faith expressed in the liturgy which has remained substantially the same over two millennia. We are linked with the ancient Christian faith professed by the Apostles.

We receive the Word of God read to us in the Scripture readings as a source of inspiration and truth. In this way we are spiritually nourished at every Mass. This enables us, as the first reading said, to “joyfully take courage”. At Mass we can affirm what we deeply believe to be true and right and good. At each Mass we participate in the mystery of our redemption achieved by Christ on Calvary.

The second reading from the Letter to the Hebrews reminded us that “only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for”. Faith lifts our hearts and minds from the merely human and rational to the sphere of the spiritual and transcendent.

As the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us, we stand in a tradition of men and women who have lived their lives inspired and directed by their faith in God. They have taken bold steps in faith trusting that God will guide them and fulfil his purposes in their lives. They have been prepared to trust in God and His wisdom and not just rely upon their own perceptions.

Faith has lifted so many to live extraordinary lives. Faith has taken them to places and experiences they would never have imagined.

In the face of disturbing changes in our society the words of Christ in the Gospel reading are very comforting. Jesus said, “There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.” God has drawn us into the life of his Kingdom. As men and women of faith we are living even now under the protection of God and we are sharing in the life of God.

The Gospel speaks of a treasure that will never fail. This is what we have – we have a treasure in our faith that enable us to have a relationship with God. Our faith is a treasure, a precious gift which it seems many have now lost.

The Lord comments that where your treasure is, “There will your heart be also.” Our treasure is our faith. Thus our hearts are fixed on God. Here we find comfort and reassurance. In our faith we find hope and inspiration.

“There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.”

Archbishop Julian Porteous
Sunday, August 11, 2019