Plenary voices: Chris Lee

This is the text of the intervention made by Chris Lee from the Diocese of Broken Bay on Tuesday

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The question of the margins is something to reflect upon for all of us. In particular my question is: are we still a church that must go only to the margins – or are we a church on the margins which now needs to be able to reach the masses?

My reflection on this stems from watching over the last few years governments all across the country pass legislation that is contrary to the faith and the Gospel of life. Euthanasia, for example, virtually unrestricted abortion legislation, attacks on the Seal of Confession and increasing restrictions on religious freedom which directly affect employment and Catholic institutions such as education, health care and aged care.

While this is obviously problematic, one thing we need to remember is that when it comes to these moral-cultural-legal issues, governments really do very little, only rubber-stamping ideas that have become already accepted by mainstream society.

This is why we need to reflect on our language when it comes to mission. While we absolutely need to continue our work going to the margins, we cannot look past our responsibility to evangelise mainstream society which, by all accounts, no longer encounters the person of Jesus – much less the Gospel of Life.

I reflect often on the Parable of the Good Samaritan, not because of the mercy that the Samaritan shows in stopping, but more because the Priest and Levite keep walking. Perhaps both the Priest and Levite thought to themselves that they didn’t have time to stop because there was “somewhere more important they needed to be”?

In their ‘mission’, they walked past the man that was struggling to breath right in front of them. My thinking is that when it comes to our zeal for mission to the margins we cannot take our eyes away from those who are right in front us, struggling with spiritual poverty, calling out to know the person of Jesus Christ.

Do we now need to refocus our mission on the proclamation of the Gospel to all people, especially those closest to us?