SACRAMENTUM: Jesus walks with us as he promised, says Bishop Sproxton

21 May 2020

By Amanda Murthy

Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton celebrated the closing Mass for the Sacramentum young adult online conference, on 17 May, in the Catholic Pastoral Centre in Highgate. Photo: Ron Tan.

By Amanda Murthy

Young adults from across the globe have last Sunday virtually participated in the Sacramentum conference closing Mass with encouragement from celebrant Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton to embrace the love of Jesus, and use it to be an example to others.

“If Saint John the Evangelist were living with us today, he would be telling us: ‘Love with the love of Jesus, give of yourselves to others and share your lives with others as fully as possible’,” Bishop Sproxton said.

The Catholic Youth Ministry conference – held from Friday 15 to Sunday 17 May – included several prayer sessions led by its Chaplain Father Mark Baumgarten, who also served alongside Bishop Sproxton for the 4pm Sunday Mass.

CYM Chaplain Fr Mark Baumgarten concelebrated the closing Mass for the Sacramentum young adult online conference, on 17 May, in the Catholic Pastoral Centre in Highgate. Photo: Matthew Lau.

Celebrated live from the Catholic Pastoral Centre, Bishop Sproxton began his homily by speaking about the inspiration of the conference – the five great loves that Saint John Paul II (St JPII) had, which included his love for young people.

Fives loves of St JPII that were explored throughout the conference included young people, human love, the Blessed Sacrament, the Virgin Mary, and the cross.

“When we read about St JPII we find that these five loves weave their way through his life,” Bishop Sproxton stated, such as when he grew to be an adult in his homeland of Poland, and when he was discerning his vocation to the priesthood during the period of horrific warfare in his homeland.

“He was constantly seeking the sources of strength and courage that he required, in order to be a man of faith and an encouragement to others.

“When he lost his parents, St JPII discovered that Mother Mary was a true mother to him, and he learned to trust her. He understood the place of the Cross in his life, and how it could turn into something glorious.

“In fact, the Cross became a way for him to grow in his personal faith journey and receive eternal life,” he added.

Bishop Sproxton went on to state that in fact, the former Pope once admitted that it was by the love of God that he discovered himself and came to realise an important fact.

“He came to realise that God loved him first, and showed him what love is, and I believe that St JPII lived as best he could in that love,” he cited.

Just like St JPII, Bishop Sproxton said he consistently seeks the source of spiritual strength and courage for his ministry as a Bishop.

“I found these graces through the prayer, where I have experienced a real communion with Jesus,” Bishop Sproxton noted.

“I’ve come to understand that Jesus walks with me, with us, as He promised – at every moment of everyday.

“The motto I chose when I became a Bishop, translates in English to ‘Go into the Deep’, and this has been my mission – to embrace what God has planned for me, without being paralysed by fear, because I have known the presence of Jesus by my side.

“He is there because of his love for me, despite my shortcomings. His gifts of grace have built on what is there by nature,” he added.

Ending his homily, Bishop Sproxton reiterated the teachings of another great Saint, John the Evangelist. St John was one of the first apostles of Jesus, who lived a long life.

The story goes, as St John grew older, he spoke more and more about the love of God.

“Someone asked him why he spoke about love so much to his community.

“He replied: ‘everything that he saw and heard in the life and teaching of Christ was about the love of God for us’. For John insists, we can only love because God has loved us first.”

This message of love was heard by the prophets in the past, Bishop Sproxton stated, and the love of God was fulfilled in everything that Jesus did as “our Saviour”.

“No one was or is excluded from this love of God.”