FR DOM'S HOMILY
Year B 2021
A farewell message
It has been a wonderful three years serving in this beautiful parish of Gympie and surrounds. I remember when I was asked to come to Gympie, I was filled with a sense of trepidation but also hope. Trepidation because Gympie was an uncharted territory that I knew nothing about; and hope, because this uncharted territory would be a place for me to be still and docile to what the Spirit was asking me to do. A place to learn, to grow, to expand and to evolve in my ministry and life.
This expansive movement of learning and growing is what you – as a parishioner, has encouraged me in my time here. Your wonderful feedback on my homilies and the reflections I have shared with you on the pages of our parish newsletter has been very insightful, positive and enriching. Your love and support and the sense of community that you all have imbued in me is a treasure I will always cherish. It has been a privilege to preach to you, our wonderful parishioners, every Sunday and on some weekdays, to share my reflections via this newsletter and the parish website, to teach in our sacramental programs to our children, to train communion minsters and readers, to train altar servers, to serve in hospitals and nursing homes, to bring communion to your homes and visit the elderly, to celebrate the Holy Eucharist with you and for you, to serve and minster to our children in our primary and secondary schools, to share meals with you in your homes or in the presbytery, to celebrate your baptisms or that of your families or children’s children; to officiate weddings and to celebrate funerals of your loved ones, and to celebrate the sacraments in this wonderful parish and beyond, has been such a wonderful privilege. To simply serve in this parish community of Gympie and surrounds and the parish of Gayndah, has been very fulfilling and enriching in ways I never imagined. Today as I share once again the Good News of our loving saviour Jesus Christ, I am filled with gratitude that it finds a place in your heart.
In our Gospel reading today, the two sons of Zebedee James and John approached Jesus and asked to be seated one at his right hand and the other at his left hand in his Kingdom of glory. These two disciples of Jesus had a warped view of God’s kingdom only because they were influenced by the kingdoms of their world. They didn’t realise that God’s Kingdom is not for seeking glory but to serve as a servant. Service is the benchmark of God’s Kingdom wherever you find it. I believe it has been my utmost privilege that I get to serve you in the parish of Gympie and surrounds as well as Gayndah. I serve not to seek glory but to help you realise the love of God that has been poured into your heart - a love that you don’t have to do anything to merit but has been gratuitously given to you. I believe that my whole ministry and preaching, and theologizing is to help you realise and see that love in your life, and then live in the light of that. What I have come to realise is that as I have helped you realise this love of God in your life in whatever capacity, you have helped me to realise it in my own life. The ways you all have taught me to embrace this love of God in my own life is something I am forever grateful for. Now, I encourage you to fan it into flame all that you have learnt so far. As you have been an inspiration for me, I hope that I have inspired you someway, somehow, and in some capacity.
As my time here comes to an end and I move away from Gympie, it is with joy that I accept it and ask the Spirit to lead me wherever it pleases. We cannot deny the tugging’s of God in our heart. Sometimes what God asks of us terrifies us, but it is in fully trusting God that you find yourself. There is no life without God. That has been my strong belief and I believe it will lead me wherever I am and in whatever thing I am doing as a living, breathing human being in a human world. What I ask of you is for your prayers. I know I need them more than ever now. It is an end of the season for me, and the beginning of a new one. I now know it is time for me to move on, not because this season has not been good, but because it’s been wonderful. And so, I leave on a high note knowing that it will motivate me into venturing towards whatever God is calling me to do next and in whatever capacity I am privileged to serve.
Thank you for your love and support, for your kindness, for your generosity, for your sense of humour and for being an ever-shining light and strength in my life. I can confidently say that YOU ARE MY JOY!
And now for the last time, I say…
And may God bless you.