Bishop McKenna's Lenten Message ~ 2019
Dear Friends in Christ,
As we begin our Lenten observance this year, the words of Jesus from last Sunday’s Gospel may be ringing in our ears:
How can you say to your neighbour, ‘Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour’s eye. (Luke 6:42)
Lent is a time for each one of us to enter that private room of prayer and conscience where God will meet us and speak to our hearts. We cannot see into other people’s hearts, but with God’s mercy we can begin to see our own. Only by opening ourselves to the Holy Spirit can we begin to recognise those things in our own lives that cloud our vision of reality and truth. And only the forgiveness of Christ can remove the blindness that belongs to sin.
Last year, we began Lent with four days of prayer and fasting for all who have suffered sexual abuse as children, especially in our own church family. Those prayers must continue as long as their suffering endures; so must our work as genuine followers of Christ to build communities that are safe for children and the vulnerable.
Last week, we were stunned by the news of Cardinal Pell’s conviction, which he is appealing. I have said that I would refrain from public comment on that case until the appeal process is concluded. Whatever the outcome, these are testing times for all of us who belong to the Church, but Jesus has taught us that authentic faith tested grows clearer and stronger.
Mary, Mother of our Redeemer, Untier of Knots, Our Lady of the Central West, accompany us on this Lenten journey and show us the face of your Son, that in his merciful gaze our eyes may be opened and our faith purified and deepened.
Bishop of Bathurst
Ash Wednesday 2019