- Published: Wednesday, 08 February 2017 01:07
February 12, 2017
Suggested formula for recognition of indigenous people and their land.
We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land
on which we stand.
We pay our respects to them and for their care of the land.
May we walk gently and respectfully upon the land.
I acknowledge the living culture of the ……..people,
the traditional custodians of the land we stand on,
and pay tribute to the unique role they play in the life of this region.
We acknowledge the traditional owners and occupiers of the land where we are now gathered, (the Gadigal people of the great Eora nation,) and recognise that it continues to be sacred to them.
We hail them: as guardians of the earth and of all things that grow and breed in the soil; as trustees of the waters – [the seas, the streams and rivers, the ponds and the lakes] - and the rich variety of life in those waters.
We thank them for passing this heritage to every people since the Dreamtime.
We acknowledge the wrongs done to them by newcomers to this land and we seek to be partners with them in righting these wrongs and in living together in peace and harmony.
Liturgy of the Word
First Reading: Sirach 15:15-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 2:6-10
Gospel: Matthew 5:17-37
· Christ Jesus, you show us how we may respond to God’s love with our whole heart: Jesus, have mercy.
· Christ Jesus, you have made love the heart of all commandments: Christ, have mercy.
· Christ Jesus, your life was a total Yes to God and to people: Jesus, have mercy.
God of love,
you have revealed how we might fulfill your loving will.
Dispose us to respond to your love
from the depths of our heart so as to be faithful in all we do.
Make us and attentive to the needs of people,
even when they remain indifferent and thankless,
and bring to it your love and mercy.
Let us pray to our loving God, whose law is a light for our life. Let us say: Set your people free, O God
1. May the church, its leaders and members support one another in a spirit of service and sincere cooperation, and use their power and influence to be a community that reflects the loving heart, let us pray: Set your people free, O God
2. May the church, its leaders and members, courageously strive to build relationships with each other and reflect the possibility of peace and reconciliation between all people, let us pray: Set your people free, O God
3. May world leaders move away from bellicose speech and incrimination against each other and seek ways of promoting the well-being of all their peoples and the God’s creation, let us pray: Set your people free, O God
4. May the leaders of nations respect and promote human rights and dignity of all people, but especially of the persecuted and largely overlooked Rohingya people, let us pray: Set your people free, O God
- May the peoples in conflict situations (the Palestinian territories, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria) have their dreams and aspirations for peace and freedom be respected, let us pray: Set your people free, O God
6. May the people who are poor, sick and those living on the fringes of society have the good news of God’s love and kindness be shown to them, let us pray: Set your people free, O God
7. May those who minister to the poor, the imprisoned, the homeless, refugees and all victims of war, natural disaster or injustice know that it is God’s heart they are revealing to those they minister to, let us pray: Set your people free, O God
8. May we as members of the church community not put the law above people but live from the heart the great commandment of loving one another, let us pray: Set your people free, O God
Concluding Prayer: Loving God, hear our prayers for our world, for those we may never meet and for those we love and hold in our hearts. Give us the courage to be free and responsible for ourselves and also for others. R/ Amen.
Prayer over the Gifts
Jesus gives himself to us in these signs of bread and wine.
May our participation in this celebration
help us to bear witness to Jesus,
that our sense of justice and sharing
may give a taste for life and love
to those around us.
Prayer after Communion
your Son Jesus has set before us
the demands of the Good News.
In the tensions and risks of life;
give us a firm trust in you
that we can always count on you
and that your Spirit will guide us
to show our faithfulness to you
by loving our sisters and brothers from the heart.
February 8 Feast of St Bakhita, patron saint of people who are trafficked. It is also International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) will also have its National Conference in Sydney at the same time.
Please check this link for resources: Voices of Vulnerability <http://www.holycrossjustice.org/resources/HCIJO%20Document%20Library/2017HTPrayer/1.17_human%20trafficking%20prayer%20reg.pdf>,
In his 2017 Message for the World Day of Peace <https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/peace/documents/papa-francesco_20161208_messaggio-l-giornata-mondiale-pace-2017.html>, Pope Francis speaks of "piecemeal" violence that pervades our world, violence of different forms and levels that causes great suffering globally. Human trafficking is one such source of suffering, but it is also true that trafficking itself is the bitter fruit of deeper forms of interconnecting violence in our social, cultural, economic, and environmental realities. In this prayer, we invite you to reflect on this violence that permeates many of our social, cultural, economic, and environmental arenas, increasing vulnerability to human trafficking.
A Blessing for the Brokenhearted
There is no remedy for love but to love more.
– Henry David Thoreau
Let us agree
that we will not say
makes us stronger
or that it is better
to have this pain
than to have done
without this love.
Let us promise
we will not
time will heal
when every day
opens it anew.
Perhaps for now
it can be enough
to simply marvel
at the mystery
of how a heart
can go on beating,
as if it were made
for precisely this—
as if it knows
the only cure for love
is more of it
as if it sees
the heart’s sole remedy
is to love still
as if it trusts
that its own stubborn
and persistent pulse
is the rhythm
of a blessing
begin to fathom
but will save us
Jan Richardson, The Painted Prayerbook
Prayer for Children
When I Am Prickly
God our Saviour,
when I get bad-tempered
and prickly as a spiky echidna
and I won’t play happily with friends,
please send Jesus into my heart,
to get rid of the yucky stuff
and to change my mood,
so that I become more like
happy rainbow lorikeets
who seem to get such fun
out of being together.
If you have walked God’s road blamelessly,
full-on happiness is yours,
if you have followed Christ, never looking back,
you are among the choicest saints.
But if you have sincerely tried yet sometimes failed,
you are still numbered among the happy.
If you have sought God with your whole heart,
you can count your many blessings.
Commandments are given for our own good,
to be embraced diligently.
God help us to keep our focus and our love,
that we may stay steady under pressure.
We know that if we keep our eyes on the goal,
we will never live to regret it.
We will be able to praise God with a clear conscience,
and go on to learn more of our Lord’s ways.
B. D. Prewer 2006
On Keeping the Vision
I commence each day
watching the birds
visit and enrich
Minors, magpies, mudlarks,
rosellas and red-rumped parrots,
wood ducks and chestnut teal,
galahs, corellas, cockatoos,
wattlebirds and ravens,
little honey eaters and swallows,
ibis, herons, spoonbills,
and on special mornings
pelicans and black swans.
They go about their business
as if we, land-bound, cumbersome
humans did not exist.
Singing and nesting,
chasing each other;
In new-day enthusiasm
flying laps of the lake
like athletes enjoying training,
then feeding on worms and insects,
or teaching their young to fly.
In my old age
I still have wonderful dreams
in which I join the birds
in riding the wind.
I do not do it very well,
there is much puffing,
I cannot as yet soar high,
but I can do it.
I can do it!
In my dreams
I cannot understand
why so many people
even attempt it!
Oh you birds,
keep enticing me!
Oh Eagle of Heaven,
Mistress of the winds,
guide me up higher
B. D. Prewer 2004
There is no smaller package in the world that that of a person all wrapped up in himself.
William Sloane Coffin
Christians have to listen to the world as well as to the Word -- to science, to history, to what reason and our own experience tell us. We do not honour the higher truth we find in Christ by ignoring truths found elsewhere.’
William Sloane Coffin,
An individual can march for peace or vote for peace and can have, perhaps, some small influence on global concerns. But the same individual is a giant in the eyes of a child at home. If peace is to be built, it must start with the individual. It is built brick by brick.
Those who try to lead the people can only do so by following the mob
The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.
He is a hypocrite who professes what he does not believe; not he who does not practice all he wishes or approves.
Mental slavery is mental death, and every man who has given up his intellectual freedom is the living coffin of his dead soul.
Robert G. Ingersoll, (1833-1899) American political leader, orator
Freedom rings where opinions clash.
Adlai E. Stevenson, (1900-1965)
When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free.
Justice Charles Evans Hughes
T. S. Eliot
A man must first of all understand certain things. He has thousands of false ideas and false conceptions, chiefly about himself, and he must get rid of some of them before beginning to acquire anything new. Otherwise the new will be built on a wrong foundation and the result will be worse than before. To speak the truth is the most difficult thing in the world; one must study a great deal and for a long time in order to speak the truth. The wish alone is not enough. To speak the truth one must know what the truth is and what a lie is, and first of all in oneself. And this nobody wants to know.
One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
Carl Gustav Jung
I would like everyone - every one of us - to find his or her own reason to cry out. That is a precious gift. When something makes you want to cry out, as I cried out against Nazism, you become a militant, tough and committed. You become part of the great stream of history ... and this stream leads us towards more justice and more freedom but not the uncontrolled freedom of the fox in the hen-house.
Reflection on the readings
For some time there has been within the Church a robust discussion, if not conflict, between what being a follower entails. Some in the church believe that life needs to rule based, conforming, top down. On the other hand, others, including Pope Francis, focus on a Jesus-centred, heart-centred approach of mercy and compassion that allows for people to make mistakes and grow. This has occurred in the dealings between the Knights of Malta who have a very old, traditional understanding of church in contrast to that of Pope Francis. The rumblings by a number of prelates in the Vatican and beyond in response to Pope Francis’ letter Amoris letitia on the family is another example. In it, Francis gives thanks for the many families that even if they fall many times, and are not perfect, keep moving forward; acknowledges that though families are marked by all kinds of crises, these crises need not weaken relationships. No rule book is thrown at them. For the Pope and Jesus, it is not about perfection but about acknowledging the love and mercy of God present in our relationships. The two sides I just mentioned seem to speak different languages. For Jesus ‘righteousness’ was not just about following externals, but the heart. Our hearts are challenged when dealing with whatever destroys relationships: anger, lust, adultery, divorce and making promises (vows). We are to care about the things that undermine our relationships. Pope Francis in 2013 said: ‘There are ecclesiastical rules and precepts that were once effective, but now they have lost value or meaning. The view of the church’s teaching as a monolith to defend without nuance or different understandings is wrong.’ Guidelines for living are not rigid laws.
We still hear stories like the one where a woman (Carol) and her mother were long time members of a parish. When the mother died, it was natural that the funeral would take place in the parish. However, when the pastor read the obituary, he learned that Carol was in a committed relationship with her female partner. Both were told they would be refused communion. One could imagine the hurt and pain at receiving the news that, despite more than years of active church membership, including singing in the choir, and volunteering as a cantor and a lector, she would be excluded from communion at her own mother’s funeral!!!
Faithful and true spirituality cannot be about ticking off an obedience box but doing the work of the heart, of examining the real impact of who we are and how this works out in what we do and in our relationships. So the heart of our call is to embrace the quest to reflect God’s love, God’s goodness and God’s integrity.
It is easy to be a good citizen, doing what is legal, but living in ways that hurt people in the farming community, or people working in factories, or the environment itself. We can deal with institutions that do the legal thing but serve only themselves leaving others impoverished. The challenge is always to refuse to allow ourselves to live the minimalist standards of the law and live from the heart which involves serving, seeking justice, welcoming the stranger, showing compassion, protecting the vulnerable and protecting God’s creation. This is more difficult than living according to the law alone.
It is easy to go to church on Sunday. It is easy to not steal, not kill, not commit adultery. But, these laws alone are not life-giving. It is when we allow God to break open our hearts, to allow ourselves to be continually and disturbingly challenge as see our sisters and brothers around us and allow our hearts to be moved that makes it possible for us to make a healing, restoring contribution to world we live in. As already mentioned, this living from the heart requires greater effort and merely obeying the minimalisms of the law. Clearly, if we have the courage to live from the heart, we will find a richness and fullness, a deeper connectedness and a more gracious way of relating and living together. Though few people would actually kill another, all are capable of destroying relationships by treating others worthless; when we ignore, bully, withdraw, fail to welcome people. Our deeper call is not to avoid some things but to be committed to upholding justice, dignity, truthfulness and peace at home, work, school, or when driving our cars. Where distance, boundaries, division or suspicion exist, we are called to bring trust and truthfulness, supplant guilt with joy, limitations with openness, and fear with affirmation and courage.
Pope Francis has said: ‘It hurts to see how in some Christian communities, and even among consecrated persons, we consent to various forms of hatred, slander, defamation, revenge, jealousy, desire to impose our own ideas at any cost, and even persecution that seems like a relentless witch hunt. Who are we going to evangelize with that behaviour?’ He seems to work for a Church where ‘everyone can admire how you take care each other, how you give each other mutual encouragement, and how you accompany one another.’ Rules will make you righteous, but relationships will make you real. The words of Pope Francis at Lampedusa in 2013 again spring to mind: ‘The ‘other’ is no longer a brother or sister to be loved, but simply someone who disturbs my life and my comfort. In this globalised world, we have fallen into globalised indifference. We have become used to the suffering of others: it doesn’t affect me; it doesn’t concern me; it’s none of my business.’
It is not legalistic approaches that will help us to respond to the millions looking for asylum; for the captives of modern slavery and trafficking; people living with physical, intellectual and psychological disabilities; our attitudes to indigenous people, people excessively overweight, unemployed people, people begging on the streets, people with physical or intellectual disabilities. When we live from the heart, we can look them in the eye; we will not dodge them or pretend we did not see them. When we live from the heart, we allow ourselves to meet the other who is different and not allow our prejudices that are constantly being stimulated to determine our responses. We are called to listen to our hearts and find something of the heart of God reflected there. The challenge is to allow our hearts keep time with the beating of God’s heart. God would have us love in a way that respects the dignity of every human being.
Living from the heart is more demanding and requires greater awareness than legalism. Living from the heart requires that our attitudes and conventions be continually challenged. We come to the liturgy, not because we are finished products, but because we want to place ourselves in the hands of the One in whose image we are formed.
We can easily see problems and blame others. The bigger challenge is to examine how we might also be contributing to these problems that cause division, or how to make a difference to what we observe around us (remember last week’s ‘you are the sale of the earth’).We are being challenged to see ourselves, each other and the world in a new way. What is our view of humanity? Do we have a vision for justice that will bring about healing and equality? Do we have a vision for reconciliation that will provide a hope and a future for those who are marginalised and ostracised by society? We are being led to hard places which involve looking at our hearts and creating newness within.