Pastoral Letter for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 15th July 2018
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today’s Readings provide us with wonderful insights into the mystery of God’s purpose for us. I invite you, both today and in the months ahead, to join me in reflecting on the mystery of the Father’s love as we look to the future of our Diocese.
The Second Reading, the ‘hymn of praise’ from the beginning of St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, sums up for us the wonder of our very existence. We are brought together in Christ, through whom we are forgiven of our sins and in whom we find freedom. All that we are is for the greater glory of God. There is a real excitement in St. Paul’s words as he celebrates the fact that we believe and accept the message of Salvation and, in the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, find the freedom that comes from Christ.
This is a joy so deep that it can be difficult to put into words. As the “message of Christ finds a home in us” we are enabled to find life in its truest sense – a life built on Christ and lived entirely in Him. This life transforms us, our homes, our parishes and our places of work. It is “life to the full” – the destiny that Jesus tells us is ours and is the reason for His saving work.
This way of being is so wonderful – how could any of us turn away from it or reject its possibilities? How could any of us wish not to share that life with others? All of us must share in this Mission of bringing others to know Christ and the life He gives.
St. Paul’s sense of joy is to be lived out with purpose. We see this purpose as Jesus sends out the twelve. They travel light. There is a real sense of movement in the words of today’s Gospel and we are caught up in the journey. We too, as individuals, as families, as parishes, as Diocese, are sent out by the Lord Himself to do a work so vital for our world that we dare not shrink from it.
Yet, like Amos in today’s first reading, we may well not feel ready. God’s choice of Amos was a surprise to him and to the people, for he was not from a family of prophets. God called him to a new task in new places. Amos could not refuse and God provides the words that he would say.
So it is with us. The call of Jesus in His Gospel is for every one of us. His Real Presence in the Eucharist calls us to Him, to receive His Life, to adore Him and to share His life with others. We “come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled Himself to share in our humanity.” The Sacraments and our lives of prayer enable us to become more and more like Him. The relationship is real. It is lived.
Just as Jesus spent time with His disciples, teaching them and forming them, so He calls us to be taught and formed by Him. In this way, we become His people. Then, with real purpose we become effective witnesses.
In recent months, in parishes and deaneries, we have been considering the future life of the Diocese and this Mission to which we are called. In the Autumn, the Pastoral Plan for the Diocese will be presented in each Deanery. This is an important moment in the life of us all. Pray for our Diocese, that this work may be truly blessed.
I ask you today to reflect on the Scriptures that we have heard proclaimed for us. The sense of joy and wonder; the way in which God works in us, despite our frailties; the sense of real purpose in the lives of the disciples. Pray that this message will find a home in each one of us and in the whole family of our Diocese, that we truly be the people the Lord calls us to be: His disciples, His friends, His witnesses.
With every Blessing,
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Bishop of Arundel & Brighton
 cf. Eph. 1:3-14.
 Col. 3:16.
 Jn. 10:10.
 From the Offertory of the Mass, Roman Missal.
 Jn. 8:31.
 Jn. 15:14.
 Acts 1:8.