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Bishop Vincent’s column from Spring 2020 Catholic Outlook Magazine

22 September 2020
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, during the launch of The Well. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

 

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

We live in interesting times!

Who could have predicted the crises and struggles we have all been through these last few months?

As we approach the season of Spring and the breaking forth of the beauty of new life in nature all around us, let’s use this crisis well!

Spring is a good time for us to be creative and use this pandemic crisis to deepen our prayer and put lived faith in Jesus.

So let’s practice some ‘Spring cleaning’ of our souls. At such times we move the furniture in our life, take down the curtains, wash the windows and create space by removing what clutters our daily lives.

It is not just a matter of getting rid of mess. It is rearranging things, finding ways to create more room, a better space. We see ourselves differently and make more room for God.

Pope Francis has recently begun a new catechesis on how we need ‘spring cleaning’ to heal our world and learn important messages from this gruelling pandemic.

He speaks about the need to adopt a new way of life that promotes a circular, harmonious relationship with all life and nature. This mode of living contrasts with the prevalent mode of domination, competition, separation of nature and humanity. The foundation of a good life is essentially a matter of living in harmony with oneself, with nature, with human beings and with God.

The planet itself and the poor have been the major victims of this crisis. We must create a society and church that ensures we become protectors of life in a time of disease and death.

Let’s renew our church and society as we journey ahead as the pilgrim people of God! Let’s open our hearts and minds to a deeper, fuller awareness of God within us and around us.

May we become agents of change for a purified church, more faithful to the Gospels and a more just society that respects the environment and protects the most vulnerable.

During our life on earth we struggle to protect our future with bank accounts, credit cards and investments. We protect the future with health plans, life insurance, social security and retirement plans. There is nothing wrong with that.

But this COVID-19 pandemic calls us to move beyond individualism to a genuine renewed commitment to promote the common good.

Listen to Christ Jesus as he cries out to each of our hearts, this Spring 2020:

Do not be greedy.

Be lavish in giving your goods to others.

Live the generosity of God.

 

Do not be violent.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they shall be called children of God.

Do not be spiteful.

Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful.

 

Heal the sick and protect our precious environment.

 

Make the poor our first priority

 

Do not be frightened.

 

I am with you all days, even to the end of time.

Come to me all you who find life weary and burdensome,

and I will refresh you.

 

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv

Bishop of Parramatta

 

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