“Keep Christ in the centre” was the advice given by Dunedin Bishop Michael Dooley to the students and staff of Good Shepherd College in Ponsonby as the bishop celebrated the college’s opening Mass on February 22.
Bishop Dooley acknowledged the college’s “vital part in the Church’s mission: to learn, to reflect, to think about God . . . in the context of a complex world and a complex Church”.
“Don’t be tempted to ignore Jesus, because if we keep Jesus at the centre of it all, then we have his assurance that he will guide us,” he said.
The bishop spoke on the day’s Gospel reading where Peter declared Jesus is the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:13-19).
Paraphrasing an author of a book he read years ago, Bishop Dooley said, “Life is not difficult. Life is rather complex . . . We can see things as difficult, but in reality it’s the complexity that gets to us sometimes.”
He cited four different occasions being observed on the day, in addition to the opening Mass. They included the feast of the Chair of Peter, the Vatican summit on the protection of minors in the Church, the first year anniversary of the announcement of his appointment as
bishop and the eighth anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake.
“People often ask me, ‘are you enjoying the new job?’ and I say, ‘no’,” he said, which elicited chuckles. “It’s a very interesting role. So, I’m not too concerned that I’m not enjoying it.”
Going back to the events he mentioned, he said “all these events seem to be all over the place and complex, but they are brought together today in the liturgy, especially
in the Gospel”.
He said Peter often gets things “very wrong but here, he gets it right”.
“He [Peter] offers this Christ-centered answer. The key is Jesus before him,” said Bishop Dooley. ”For us, especially gathered today for this opening Mass, the prime question,
linking in at the question of Jesus to Peter is — where is Christ for us? Where is Jesus? That’s a key question.”
He said at the Vatican summit, the bishops acknowledged that Jesus is with the survivors of abuse.
“We see the sense of opening our eyes to see in this situation, where is Jesus? And thinking of the Vatican summit, the crux of the problem is where Jesus has been ignored. I reckon
we can extend that to our lives in general: when we ignore Jesus then we get on the wrong track,” he said.