By Olivia Bunter
“The Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:28
Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton addressed more than 150 Church agency staff representatives during the annual Archdiocesan Agency Mass on Tuesday 23 July at St Mary’s Cathedral.
“We have to always remember that we are earthen vessels and it is to us, the fragile earthen vessels, that God entrusts the Gospel,” he stated.
Bishop Sproxton thanked those present for their hard work, dedication and commitment to the roles carried out across the Archdiocese that provide assistance to the WA Catholic community.
“The agencies that we represent today are remarkable and wonderful assets of the Archdiocese. Much good is achieved through the persistent hard work by our staff,” he added.
“The good being done by the agencies is the good news stories of the Church. There are some great results for the people who approach them and we should be always ready to acknowledge and celebrate these.”
Bishop Sproxton was joined by concelebrants Fr Brian McKenna, Fr Philip Perreau, Fr Hieu Nguyen CSsR, Fr Conor Steadman as Master of Ceremonies, and assisted by Deacon Gregory Lowe.
The Auxiliary Bishop of Perth explained that good outcomes from the work provided by the agencies requires time and patience, especially when solutions seem just beyond our reach, and likened it to the work of Saint Paul.
“St Paul prepared an ‘apologia’ for his work which was announcing the good news about Jesus.
“He had been attacked for preaching the Gospel in the way that was not easy to accept.
“His preaching was put into doubt by his opponents because he had not proved his authority by spectacular displays. The Corinthians loved the extraordinary and spectacular; they wanted to see marvels that validated the preacher.”
Bishop Sproxton continued to say that against the boasting of his opponents, Paul was tempted to elaborate on his own spectacular experience that occurred on the road to Damascus.
“His meeting with the glorious, risen Christ, whose manifestation threw Paul to the ground and blinded him.
“In a strange way, we are most authentic when we remember that we are earthen vessels, entirely dependent on the grace of Christ,” he said.
“Our skills and experience are offered to him and with him so much more is added. When we shift the focus away from ourselves to the person there in front of us, Christ and the Gospel come alive in that situation.”
Bishop Sproxton concluded with a reflection and prayer for the Archdiocesan clients that sought help from the agencies who were facing struggles and difficulties especially.
“We will offer prayers of thanks and gratitude for the miracles that appeared in people’s lives especially when we were feeling the issues were beyond our abilities.
“We can praise God that we discovered his power when we turned our attention entirely on the other and found the love to do so.
“In these moments of poverty and humility on our part, Christ was able to shine in the darkness. This is the good news of the Church.”