The below 2016 Federal Election message was delivered by Bishop Vincent OFM Conv, Fourth Bishop of Parramatta in his homily from 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time C, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, 26 June 2016
Ever since Pope Francis unexpectedly came onto the scene, he has challenged us to live out the demands of the Gospel. For him, discipleship has little to do with security, comfort, complacency and mediocrity. He challenged us not to dabble in mediocrity, not to prefer security and familiarity, not to cling to status quo at the expense of God’s comprehensive and radical dream for humanity. The pope from the periphery wants us to go to the margins, to stay close to those on the edges of life and to be that church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets and immersed in the coalface realities. It is the church that dares to do what Jesus did: to be all that it can be for the sake of others. As true believers, we endeavour to persevere in goodness, in love, in friendship, in solidarity with the oppressed, the asylum seekers, the children in detention, the homeless… and in all that is life giving for others.
[On] Saturday, as citizens we face a choice with respect to the kind of political leaders we want in this country, the values they espouse and the kind of society they can help shape. The Bishops of Australia have issued an election statement calling on our nation: to look out for the voiceless, to protect the vulnerable, poor and weak, to treat asylum seekers with justice and dignity, to respect life and to be good stewards of creation. As disciples of Christ led by Pope Francis, we endeavour to put the values of the Gospel into practice; we are driven by that undivided loyalty, single-mindedness and unmitigated dedication to the cause of the kingdom.
Let us pray that we have the courage, the generosity and the humility to respond to the call of Christian discipleship, to stake everything on the plan God has for us as individuals and as the church. May we follow Christ in the nurturing and realising of God’s reign of love and justice, even in the midst of doubt and uncertainty. May Paul’s words encourage us to live God’s plan with passion. “I count everything as loss before the surpassing worth of knowing Christ and … being found in him.”