Archbishop Costelloe: Our faith is always a gift and a mission
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB has last Sunday 31 May on the feast of Pentecost, reminded viewers that the core mission of the Church is “to be witness to Christ”. Photo: Jamie O’Brien
By Amanda Murthy
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB has last Sunday 31 May, reminded viewers that the core mission of the Church is “to be witness to Christ”.
Celebrating Mass online at 11am from the Cathedral Parish House for Pentecost Sunday, Archbishop Costelloe was joined by Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton.
The Mass was also translated into AUSLAN (the sign language for the deaf and hard of hearing) for the first time during the Easter period, following the acquisition of appropriate technology from overseas.
“Pentecost is a very important feast in the life of the Church, today’s celebration brings us to the end of the Easter season,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
“In a colloquial sense, Pentecost is the birthday of the Church.
“This is a time to remember, with gratitude, the gift of faith that we have been given, and the gift of the Church, which for all our struggles and difficulties, nevertheless, remains God’s chosen instrument for being present amongst us, in the world,” he added.
Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton proclaims the Gospel on Sunday 31 May, the feast of Pentecost. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.
In his homily for the occasion, Archbishop Costelloe began by recounting the events that transpired on the day Jesus ascended into Heaven, reiterating His final words on that occasion.
“According to Saint Luke, just before Jesus returned to His father, He said to His disciples: ‘You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you – and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth’ [Luke 1:8],” Archbishop Costelloe said.
“It is the fulfilment of this promise of Jesus which we celebrate today.”
The Holy Spirit, promised to us all, Archbishop Costelloe reiterated, brings a power that “like a strong wind can turn a person’s world upside down and like a burning flame can shed light in the darkest night”.
“It is a power that enables those who receive it to be witnesses to one thing, or rather one person only – to Jesus.”
“….The Holy Spirit at Pentecost does not come upon the apostles and those gathered with them as isolated individuals, rather it comes upon them as brothers and sisters in the community of faith.”
Sue Meyrick, wife of Cathedral Manager Tony Meyrick, proclaims the first and second readings for Mass on Sunday 31 May, the feast of Pentecost. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.
Saint Peter, Archbishop Costelloe stated, often spoke on behalf of the faith community, contributing his leadership, as Petrus “the rock”, on which Jesus promised to build His Church.
“But it was the community united together in a communion of life and love, which received the commission from Christ, and the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, to witness to Christ,” Archbishop Costelloe cited.
“We are part of that community, that Church, which was energised at the first Pentecost.
“We have been given the same mission and we have received the same Spirit through our Baptism and our Confirmation,” he added.
Cathedral Cantor Emma Oorschot sings the responsorial psalm for Mass on Sunday 31 May, the feast of Pentecost. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.
Although the faithful have been given this privilege (of being part of a community and receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit) by Christ, Archbishop Costelloe reminded the congregation that “we often find ourselves stumbling and confused, struggling with the darkness that overshadow our own lives”.
Archbishop Costelloe then asked, “How can we respond to the needs of others when we are so needy ourselves?” and “How can we heal others when we ourselves are wounded?”.
In answering those questions, Archbishop Costelloe drew attention to the disciples and how confused and hopeful, they were described to have felt, in the scenario of the first Pentecost.
“Perhaps it was the very combination of confusion, of doubt, and of expectant hope which made that small gathering of believers open to the gift which God was about to pour out on them,” Archbishop Costelloe explained.
“After all, those who believed they have all the answers, would not be able to recognise their needs for the gift of the Spirit.”
Archbishop Costelloe ended his homily by encouraging the congregation at home to open up their hearts to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ, with gratitude, embracing it with joy and hope.
“Our faith is always a gift and mission. The love of God which we receive and recognise in and through our life in the Church, is a love we are called to share with others.
“May the precious gift of the Holy Spirit, whose coming at Pentecost we remember today, be poured out on the Church in great abundance,” Archbishop Costelloe concluded.