Co-responsibility – A Baptismal commitment

THROUGH the sacrament of Baptism we enter into the life of Jesus, and “are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission.” (CCC 1213)

It is fascinating to see how Catholics live out their baptism in sharing this mission of the Church. We do this together. There is a co-responsibility in this mission. We imitate Jesus in this.

St Paul’s great hymn in his letter to the Philippians summarises it all: Jesus who “being in the form of God …emptied himself, taking the form of a slave … even to accepting death, death on a cross … but God raised him on high … and that every tongue should acknowledge Jesus as Lord to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2: 6-11)

Baptism gives us the “response – ability” to enter into this saving mystery by grace and faith.

Of course, the overwhelming majority of Christians live out their baptism in taking on missionary responsibility in their marriages, families, parishes, communities, work place, and society in general.

Daily I meet people responding in their particular ways with much missionary zeal, even if they do not express it such a way. But in taking on co-responsibility for the spread of the Gospel they experience deep inner peace and hope.

Another example is more specific. Recently, I have presided over the Funeral Masses of two remarkable parish priests who died within two weeks of each other: Fr. Mayne Murphy and Fr Philip Harding. May they rest in peace.

They are especially remembered with great affection by parishioners in the parishes in Lake Cargelligo and Temora.

Then, in the last few weeks, I have ordained to the diaconate, Adrian Chan and Namora Anderson, and to the priesthood, Joshua Scott. All three are fine men. They are so eager to surrender their lives in service of the Kingdom of God in the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn. This is their expression of their baptismal calling in co-responsibility with all the Church.

A final example was my Mass and gathering with the religious institutes serving in this Archdiocese. To hear their testimonies of the vast apostolates they take responsibility for over many years is truly inspirational.

In this month of November, we cannot forget in our prayers our loved ones who have died but whose gospel examples still live on in our hearts and minds.

And so now, the baton of faith has passed into our hands. The key word remains CO-RESPONSIBILITY. Christianity is never our little private and pious world. This is a totally misunderstanding of the sacrament of Baptism. Co-responsibility is always extroverted and never introverted. It is ready to serve where the need is greatest – especially with the poor and marginalised.

Let us all really have this understanding afresh in our hearts as we move towards the end of year activities and gatherings. 

Also, it should animate us as we make our pilgrimage towards the 2020 Plenary Council of the Australian Catholic Church.

Surely a noble starting point for this historic gathering is to focus afresh on our baptismal vocation in a co-responsible manner alert to our current Australian challenges.

We continue to pray for each other with Mary and all the saints.