Who we are

Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, an Australian community, in a worldwide religious congregation.

Ministry Mission

Jesus loved with a human heart: with him we proclaim his love to the world.

Peace, Justice, Creation

We work to discover through advocacy, healing and reconciliation, God's presence in our world.

Spirituality

We are to be on earth the heart of God. God has no other heart but ours.

LITURGY NOTES: SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER

SECOND SUNDAY

Second Sunday of Easter Year

April 22, 2017

Suggested formula for recognition of indigenous people and their land.

 

We acknowledge the traditional 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.

 

or

 

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.

 

or

 

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land where we are now gathered,

(the …..) 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.

 

http://brucewriter.com/wp-content/themes/twentyten/images/headers/path.jpg

pp0809      12_pasc_c     27pascuaC2Celebrating the Word of Godshutterstock4martin-1000

 

 

 

                                                   Go on …. Touch me.


 

 

 

The resurrection does not solve our problems about dying and death. It is not the happy ending to our life’s struggle, nor is it the big surprise that God has kept in store for us.

No, the resurrection is the expression of God’s faithfulness….

The resurrection is God’s way of revealing to us that nothing that belongs to God will ever go to waste.

What belongs to God will never get lost.

Henri Nouwen, Our Greatest Gift

 

Readings

First Reading Acts 2:42-47

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 118

Second Reading 1 Peter 1:3-9

Gospel Jn 20:19-31

 

Penitential Rite

·         Jesus, you say to us: ‘Peace be with you’ as you are present among us with your Word and your body: Jesus, have mercy.

·         Jesus, you say to us: Peace be with you,’ as you forgive us our sins. Christ, have mercy.

·         Jesus, you say to us: ‘Peace be with you’ as you send us to bring your peace to all: Jesus, have mercy.

 

Opening Prayer

God of Peace,

as we celebrate Christ's resurrection,

may we be mindful of the new life

you give us through the Spirit.

As we encounter Jesus daily and live in his peace

may we not look for him among the dead

but open our eyes to see his wounds

and touch them in the people who suffer in our world.  

 

Prayers of the Faithful

Introduction: With hearts open to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit let us direct our prayers to God. The response is: Fill us with your Peace, O God.

·         We ask for peace for the people of Yemen, West Papua, Honduras, Colombia, Syria and Iraq; that the roar of arms may cease and that peaceful relations may be restored among the various groups which make up those countries.

·         We ask for peace and understanding of the people of North Korea who have for seven decades lived with threats, sanctions, starvation, war and genocide that the state of war between it and the USA end and that all parties use nonviolent means to seek real security through peace.

·         We pray for our Mother the Earth that is suffering so many wounds inflicted by people who fail to appreciate and nurture the gift of creation that God has given us.

·         We pray that as we again commemorate ANZAC Day this week we will study and reflect on the real effects of war for all people and recognise the actions of women and men who have since 1915 should alternative means to war by demonstrations, diplomacy and conscientious objection.

·         We ask that the international community not remain indifferent to the immense humanitarian tragedy that is unfolding in those nations where violence has unfolded and resulting in forcing people to flee their homes as refugees and asylum seekers.

·         We pray for the people in Yemen as they endure hunger and suffering as a result of the foreign military interference from Saudi Arabia, the USA and their allies.

·         We pray for the gift of peace for Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo where violence often passes unnoticed and without comment.  

·         We ask for peace and freedom for the many men and women subject to old and new forms of enslavement and those who are enslaved or become victims of drug dealers.

·         We pray for all people that are marginalised in any way – those in prison and those out of prison, the poor, the rejected migrants and refugees, children, women and men who are victims of violence.

·         We pray for all who exercise leadership in the Church that they will bear witness to Jesus’ first gift of the resurrection – the gift of peace – by lowering walls and barriers to people who seek to fully participate in the church community.

·         We pray that all Christian Churches together with people of other faiths and people of good conscience continue to develop ways toward peace and unity by mutual respect for the diversity and expression of culture and religion.

·         We pray that there may be forgiveness where there has been hurt, reconciliation where there is division, peace where there is conflict; respect where there is intolerance in our national community

Concluding Prayer: Loving God, the Risen Jesus is present among us with his scars. As we look upon the scars and wounds in brothers and sisters and on our earth, may we recognise your presence with them in solidarity and strive to people of healing and reconciliation.

or

Concluding Prayer: God of Peace, as we ask you to hear our prayers, transform our hearts so that we may be able to feel as our own, and share, the pains and joys of our brothers and sisters.  We make this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Prayer over the Gifts

God of Peace,

we have become a new creation

through the resurrection of Jesus.

Accept our offerings in our gathering today

and may our words and actions in the world reveal that

we share the gift of peace the resurrection offers to all. 

 

Deliver Us

Deliver us, God of Peace, from the darkness of sin and evil

and grant us the peace that comes from justice and friendship.

Set us free from the prisons we have made

for ourselves and for others by blindness and selfishness,

and let the light of Jesus, your Son, shine on us

as we prepare for the full coming

of Christ Jesus, our Saviour. R/ For the kingdom...

 

Prayer after Communion

God of Peace,

we have been nourished by Jesus’ words of peace

and the bread and wine we have shared.

Help us to be risen people who grow in faith and love

as we rise above our doubts, fears and indifference

to build together a community and a world

where joy and truth, love and justice,

peace and freedom become more and more a reality.

 

Notices

Earth Day Sunday April 22, 2017 theme is Environmental and Climate Literacy

2017 is a pivotal moment for the planet. This Earth Day marks the first anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement. Despite this remarkable achievement, we cannot afford to pull back our efforts. To build a world that values environmental protection and cultivates sustainable communities for all people, we must have educated citizens. 

Earth Day Network is excited to help facilitate successful and meaningful Earth Day events throughout the world. The theme for Earth Day 2017 is Environmental and Climate Literacy. Read more about the theme and access the toolkit on Earth Day Network website.

 

International Mother Earth Day April 22, 2017

Bottom of Form

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

 

A farmer in the drought-affected area of                    Senegal watering plants. UN Photo/Carl Purcell

A farmer in the drought-affected area of Senegal watering plants. UN Photo/Carl Purcell.

Resources

For more resources http://www.un.org/en/events/motherearthday/resources.shtml

 

Anzac Day Reflection - Tuesday April 25, 2017

The Gallipoli Centenary Peace Campaign will be holding an Anzac Day Reflection on between 10.30am and 11.30am in Richardson's Lookout - Marrickville Peace Park (cnr Richards Avenue & Holt Crescent in Marrickville 2204). Join us to: Respect victims of war including those who died in battle, those who were maimed.

 

 

 

 

Further Resources

The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.

Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time

 

My soul finds its place in the Name, and my soul finds its ease in the embrace of the Name. I struggled with shapes and with numbers, and I carved with blade and brain to make a place, but I could not find a shelter for my soul. Blessed is the Name which is the safety of the soul, the spine and the shield of the innermost man, and the health of the innermost breath. I search the words that attend your mercy. You lift me out of destruction, and you win me my soul. You gather it out of the unreal by the power of your name. Blessed is the Name that unifies demand, and changes the seeking into praise. Out of the panic, out of the useless plan, I awaken to your name, and solitude to solitude all your creatures speak, and through the inaccessible intention all things fall gracefully. Blessed in the shelter of my soul, blessed is the form of mercy, blessed is the Name.

Leonard Cohen Book of Mercy, # 47

 

… be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. Resolve to be always beginning - to be a beginner!

Rainer Maria Rilke Letters on Love

 

Protection of the land is a common cause promoted more effectively through active cooperation than through contentious wrangling . . . People are created in the image and likeness of God and are called to be neighbours to one another . . . The common good demands a proper respect for the land, the air and the water to assure that when we have passed through this land it remains habitable and productive for those who come after us . . . As people have become more absorbed by material things and less conscious of spiritual and social relationships, consumerism has replaced compassion, and exploitation of the earth has replaced stewardship . . . When every man, woman and child acknowledges individual responsibility for the well-being of the watershed, then the vision of a new earth described in Revelation 21-22 can come to pass.

Bishops of the North West U.S., The Columbia River Watershed: Caring for Creation and the Common Good.

 

The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. One word of truth outweighs the world.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918- ) Russian writer, Soviet dissident, imprisoned for 8 years for criticising Stalin in a personal letter, Nobel Prize for Literature, 1970

 

What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.

Hannah Arendt

 

The solidarity which binds all people together as members of a common family makes it impossible for wealthy nations to look with indifference upon the hunger, misery and poverty of other nations whose citizens are unable to enjoy even elementary human rights. The nations of the world are becoming more and more dependent on one another and it will not be possible to preserve a lasting peace so long as glaring economic and social imbalances persist.

Pope John XXIII, Mater et Magistra, #157

 

The fundamental sin is exploitation, whether it be expressed in the domination of male over female, white over black, rich over poor, strong over weak, armed military over unarmed civilians, human beings over nature. These analogously abusive patterns interlock because they reset on the same base: a structure where an elite insists on its superiority and claims the right to exercise dominative power over all others considered subordinate, for its own benefit.

Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ, She Who Is, page 27

 

As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

Benjamin Franklin

 

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth:

Henry D. Thoreau

 

Gene Stoltzfus (1940-2010), peacemaker, founder of Christian Peacemaker Teams.

 

Real criticism begins in the capacity to grieve because that is the most visceral announcement that things are not right. Only in the empire are we pressed and urged and invited to pretend that things are all right - either in the dean's office or in our marriage or in the hospital [or in the church]. And as long as the empire can keep the pretense alive that things are all right, there will be no real grieving and no serious criticism.

Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination

 

The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been two hundred years.

These nations have progressed through this sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;

from spiritual faith to great courage;

from courage to liberty;

from liberty to abundance;

from abundance to selfishness;

from selfishness to complacency;

from complacency to apathy;

from apathy to dependence;

from dependency back again into bondage.

Sir Alex Fraser Tyler (1742-1813) Scottish jurist and historian

 

Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking; where it is absent, discussion is apt to become worse than useless.

Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoi, (1828-1910) Russian writer.

Free inquiry requires that we tolerate diversity of opinion and that we respect the right of individuals to express their beliefs, however unpopular they may be, without social or legal prohibition or fear of success.

Paul Kurtz, ‘A Secular Humanist Declaration,’ in On The Barricades, 1989

 

‘This is, in theory, still a free country, but our politically correct, censorious times are such that many of us tremble to give vent to perfectly acceptable views for fear of condemnation. Freedom of speech is thereby imperiled, big questions go undebated, and great lies become accepted, unequivocally as great truths.

Simon Heffer, Daily Mail, June 7, 2000

 

Nothing is so important to the church as human life, as the human person, above all, the person of the poor and the oppressed, who, besides being human beings, are also divine beings, since Jesus said that whatever is done to them he takes as done to him. That bloodshed, those deaths, are beyond all politics. They touch the very heart of God.

Archbishop Oscar Romero

 

And though tyranny, because it needs no consent, may successfully rule over foreign peoples, it can stay in power only if it destroys first of all the national institutions of its own people.

Hannah Arendt, The Origins Of Totalitarianism p.128

 

If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence.

Bertrand Russell, Roads to Freedom

 

The ultimate end of all revolutionary social change is to establish the sanctity of human life, the dignity of man, the right of every human being to liberty and well-being.

Emma Goldman

 

Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you.

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)

 

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.

Bertrand Russell

 

The privacy and dignity of our citizens [are] being whittled away by sometimes imperceptible steps. Taken individually, each step may be of little consequence. But when viewed as a whole, there begins to emerge a society quite unlike any we have seen -- a society in which government may intrude into the secret regions of a [person's] life.-

Justice William O. Douglas - (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice

 

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences.

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), British Novelist

 

We are confronted with the necessity of a battle which must be continued  until it has been won. That choice has already been made for us, and we have no option to simply wish it away.

Malcolm X

 

Injustice is rooted in a spiritual problem, and its solution requires a spiritual conversion of each one's heart and a cultural conversion of our global society so that humankind, with all the powerful means at its disposal, might exercise the will to change the sinful structures afflicting our world.

Hans Peter Kolvenbach, SJ, former superior-general of the Society of Jesus

 

Come Holy Spirit,

whose justice outwits international conspiracy,

whose light outshines spiritual bigotry,

whose peace can overcome the destructive potential of warfare,

whose promise invigorates our every effort

to create a new heaven and a new earth now and forever. 

Amen.

Diarmuid O’Murchu MSC

 

Easter

Christ is risen!

Christ is risen indeed!

Come, you states and territories, glorify the Lord!

From coast to coast, tell of his love!

Today all our defeats are defeated,

and death is swallowed up in victory!

 

Praise him, all you Aboriginal people,

your humiliation is not forever!

Praise him, all unwanted and unemployed people,

your dejection shall be turned into joy!

Praise him, all prisoners in cells or in drug addiction,

your liberation begins at the empty tomb!

Praise him, all despairing and cynical people,

your fears are rolled away with the stone!

Praise him, all lonely and homesick migrants,

your risen Lord walks Australian streets, too!

Praise him, all who hurt from fresh bereavements,

your grief can be mingled with peace.

Praise him, all half-hearted Christians,

your Lord makes all things new!

 

who gets what?

make peace

not war

 

the children of Bagdad get the bombs

from the oh-so-upright world of freedom

they are not guilty to be born into a dictatorship

did they thereby loose their right to live?

can human rights be divided?

 

and what do we get from the Iraqi desert?

we get oil containing clotted blood

in our cars the blood will burn

when we proudly present the brand new models

are we really so blind?

 

and what about the veins of our life?

they slowly will be blocked by blood-clots

our wings are already stuck together by the curse of oil

how else are there so few warning raised hands?

rabbit in front of the snake?

 

we will be suffocated by oil helpless since idly

may be the big flash will save us before

then we will be together in peace

with the innocent children of Bagdad

the sky was blue in Hiroshima before the flash fell in

Reinhard Lehmitz

 

Looking in the wrong places

Lord Jesus,

we are always looking for you

in the wrong places;

among the good and respectable people,

when we should know you are to be

found with the poor and disreputable and outcast.

 

Lord Jesus,

we are always looking for you

in the wrong places,

at a safe distance, 

but you come so close to us,

nearer to us than breathing.

 

We look for you in churchy things,

but we are more likely to find you

among the pots and pans,

or around the kitchen table….

 

We look for you in buildings,

but you walked crowed streets,

and shorelines

and mountains….

 

Even now, even after Easter,

still we insist on trying to find you

among the tombstones;

among long-dead dogmas,

in old, decaying fears and hurts,

in the guilts and resentments

we inhabit like a coffin.

 

But the angel said:

Why do you look for him among the dead?

He is not here!

 

Lord Jesus,

help us to lay down the grave clothes,

roll away the stone and come out into life,

here and now.

 

We will find you, among the living,

ahead of us, going to the Galilee we seek.

You have wrestled death to the ground,

and now there is nowhere we can go,

no darkness we can enter,

which is not God-encompassed.

Kathy Galloway, Talking to the Bones,SPCK, London, 1996

 

Romantic love is blind to everything except what is lovable and lovely, but Christ's love sees us with terrible clarity and sees us whole. Christ's love so wishes our joy that it is ruthless against everything in us that diminishes our joy. The worst sentence Love can pass is that we behold the suffering that Love has endured for our sake, and that is also our acquittal. The justice and mercy of the judge are ultimately one.

Frederick Buechner, American theologian and writer

 

Over and above all movements for social justice is God's movement, [which is] the creative origin of any movement toward human liberation and solidarity.

Charles Marsh, Welcoming Justice, co-written by Marsh and John Perkins

 

The movement had a way of reaching inside me and bringing out things that I never knew were there. Like courage, and love for people. It was a real experience to be seeing a group of people who would put their bodies between you and danger. And to love people that you work with enough that you would put your body between them and danger.

Diane Nash, organizer for the Freedom Rides during the civil rights movement, quoted in Eyes on the Prize by Juan Williams

 

For many of us the march from Selma to Montgomery was both protest and prayer. Legs are not lips, and walking is not kneeling. And yet our legs uttered songs. Even without words, our march was worship. I felt my legs were praying.

Abraham Joshua Heschel, American rabbi, theologian, and philosopher

 

Even when they call us mad, when they call us subversives and communists and all the epithets they put on us, we know we only preach the subversive witness of the Beatitudes, which have turned everything upside down.

Archbishop Oscar Romero, an advocate for the poor and marginalized, was assassinated thirty years ago (March 24, 1970) while celebrating Mass in El Salvador.

 

No one is fit to be trusted with power. ... No one. ... Any man who has lived at all knows the follies and wickedness he's capable of. ... And if he does know it, he knows also that neither he nor any man ought to be allowed to decide a single human fate.

C. P. Snow, The Light and the Dark

 

When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint.  When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.

Dom Helder Camara, Brazilian archbishop

 

The difference between social service and social justice’ is that social service ‘works to alleviate hardship’ while social justice ‘aims to eradicate the root causes of that hardship.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Liberty is often a heavy burden on a man. It involves the necessity for perpetual choice which is the kind of labor men have always dreaded.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.,(1809-1894)

 

Patterning your life around other's opinions is nothing more than slavery.

Lawana Blackwell,

 

Aldous Huxley

 

I thank God that at this hour I am dangerous to the war profiteers of this country who rob the people on the one hand, and rob and debase the government on the other; and then with their pockets and wallets stuffed with the filthy, bloodstained profits of war, wrap the sacred folds of the Stars and Stripes about them and [about] their blatant hypocrisy to the world.

Kate Richards O'Hare's Address To the Court Proceedings on the Sentencing of Mrs. Kate Richards O'Hare by Hon Martin J. Wade, 1 P. M., Friday, Dec 14, 1917.

 

A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair.

Abraham Joshua Heschel

 

Compassion literally means to feel with, to suffer with. Everyone is capable of compassion, and yet everyone tends to avoid it because it's uncomfortable. And the avoidance produces psychic numbing -- resistance to experiencing our pain for the world and other beings.

Joanna Macy

 

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.

James Baldwin

Suffering and joy teach us, if we allow them, how to make the leap of empathy, which transports us into the soul and heart of another person. ln those transparent moments we know other people's joys and sorrows, and we care about their concerns as if they were our own.

Fritz Williams

 

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.

Robert Frost, poet, b., March 26, 1874

 

Power consists in deciding which story shall be told.

Carolyn Heilbrun,

 

Our dreams must be stronger than our memories. We must be pulled by our dreams, rather than pushed by our memories.

Jesse Jackson,

 

[The one] who is devoid of the power to forgive, is devoid of the power to love.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.

M. Scott Peck, 20th century

 

Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.

Simone Weil, 20th century

 

We are all meant to be mothers of God.

Meister Eckart, 14th century

 

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Eleanor Roosevelt

 

One filled with joy preaches without preaching.

Mother Teresa

 

A people is never defeated until the hearts of the women are on the ground.

Cheyenne saying

 

The Boat

The Guest is inside you, and also inside me;

you know the sprout is hidden inside the seed.

We are all struggling; none of us has gone far.

Let your arrogance go, and look around inside.

 

The blue sky opens out farther and farther,

the daily sense of failure goes away,

the damage I have done to myself fades,

a million suns come forward with light,

when I sit firmly in that world.

 

I hear bells ringing that no one has shaken;

inside ‘love’ there is more joy than we know of;

rain pours down, although the sky is clear of clouds;

there are whole rivers of light.

 

The universe is shot through in all parts by a single sort of love.

How hard it is to feel that joy in all our four bodies!

Those who hope to be reasonable about it fail.

The arrogance of reason has separated us from that love.

With the word ‘reason’ you already feel miles away.

 

How lucky Kabir is, that surrounded by all this joy

he sings inside his own little boat.

His poems amount to one soul meeting another.

These songs are about forgetting dying and loss.
They rise above both coming in and going out.

Kabir

 

What’s In the Temple?

In the quiet spaces of my mind a thought lies still, but ready to spring.

It begs me to open the door so it can walk about.

The poets speak in obscure terms pointing madly at the unsayable.

The sages say nothing, but walk ahead patting their thigh calling for us to follow.

The monk sits pen in hand poised to explain the cloud of unknowing.

The seeker seeks, just around the corner from the truth.

If she stands still it will catch up with her.

Pause with us here a while.

Put your ear to the wall of your heart.

Listen for the whisper of knowing there.

Love will touch you if you are very still.

If I say the word God, people run away.

They’ve been frightened--sat on ‘till the spirit cried ‘uncle.’

Now they play hide and seek with somebody they can’t name.

They know he’s out there looking for them, and they want to be found,

But there is all this stuff in the way.

I can’t talk about God and make any sense,

And I can’t not talk about God and make any sense.

So we talk about the weather, and we are talking about God.

I miss the old temples where you could hang out with God.

Still, we have pet pounds where you can feel love draped in warm fur,

And sense the whole tragedy of life and death.

You see there the consequences of carelessness,

And you feel there the yapping urgency of life that wants to be lived.

The only things lacking are the frankincense and myrrh.

We don’t build many temples anymore.

Maybe we learned that the sacred can’t be contained.

Or maybe it can’t be sustained inside a building.

Buildings crumble.

It’s the spirit that lives on.

If you had a temple in the secret spaces of your heart,

What would you worship there?

What would you bring to sacrifice?

What would be behind the curtain in the holy of holies?

Go there now.

Tom Barrett

 

It is also in the interests of a tyrant to keep his people poor, so that they may not be able to afford the cost of protecting themselves by arms and be so occupied with their daily tasks that they have no time for rebellion.

Aristotlein Politics, J. Sinclair translation, pg. 226, 1962

 

The foulest damage to our political life comes not from the 'secrets' which they hide from us, but from the little bits of half-truth and disinformation which they do tell us. These are already pre-digested, and then are sicked up as little gobbits of authorised spew. The columns of defence correspondents in the establishment sheets serve as the spittoons.

E.P. Thompson, British historian

 

No man is prejudiced in favour of a thing, knowing it to be wrong. He is attached to it on the belief of its being right; and when he sees it is not so, the prejudice will be gone.

Tom Paine

 

Big Brother in the form of an increasingly powerful government and in an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law and order, to efficiency of operation, to scientific advancement and the like.

Justice William O. Douglas (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice.

 

How we burned in the prison camps later thinking: What would things have been like if every police operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive? If during periods of mass arrests people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever was at hand? The organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and, not withstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

 

It bothers me that the executive branch is taking the amazing position that just on the president's say-so, any American citizen can be picked up, not just in Afghanistan, but at O'Hare Airport or on the streets of any city in this country, and locked up without access to a lawyer or court just because the government says he's connected somehow with the Taliban or Al Qaeda. That's not the American way. It's not the constitutional way.

Laurence Tribe, Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard University in an interview on ABC's Nightline

 

Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder. In the Middle Ages when the feudal lords who inhabited the castles whose towers may still be seen along the Rhine concluded to enlarge their domains, to increase their power, their prestige and their wealth they declared war upon one another. But they themselves did not go to war any more than the modern feudal lords, the barons of Wall Street go to war.

The feudal barons of the Middle Ages, the economic predecessors of the capitalists of our day, declared all wars. And their miserable serfs fought all the battles. The poor, ignorant serfs had been taught to revere their masters; to believe that when their masters declared war upon one another, it was their patriotic duty to fall upon one another and to cut one another's throats for the profit and glory of the lords and barons who held them in contempt. And that is war in a nutshell.

The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose-especially their lives.

Eugene Debs, 16 June 1918: The speech was given to about 1,200 people and was later used against Debs to make the case that he had violated the espionage Act. The judge sentenced Debs to ten years in prison:

 

Politically speaking, tribal nationalism always insists that its own people is surrounded by ‘a world of enemies’, ‘one against all’, that a fundamental difference exists between this people and all others. It claims its people to be unique, individual, incompatible with all others, and denies theoretically the very possibility of a common mankind long before it is used to destroy the humanity of man.

Hannah Arendt, The Origins Of Totalitarianism p.227

 

America is a quarter of a billion people totally misinformed and disinformed by their government. This is tragic but our media is -- I wouldn't even say corrupt -- it's just beyond telling us anything that the government doesn't want us to know.

Gore Vidal

 

They hang the man and flog the woman

That steal the goose from off the common,

But let the greater villain loose

That steals the common from the goose.

The law locks up the man or woman

Who steals the goose from off the common'

And geese will still a common lack

Till they go and steal it back.

English folk poem, c. 1764

 

Americans cannot escape a certain responsibility for what is done in our name around the world. In a democracy, even one as corrupted as ours, ultimate authority rests with the people. We empower the government with our votes, finance it with our taxes, and bolster it with our silent acquiescence. If we are passive in the face of America's official actions overseas, we in effect endorse them.

Mark Hertzgaard

 

Those who have the privilege to know, have the duty to act.

Albert Einstein

 

To be a follower of Jesus means in the first place to enter by compassion into his experience, with all that it expresses of the divine and of the human. And it means in the second place to enter with him into the suffering and the hope of all human persons, making common cause with them as he does, and seeking out as he does the places of his predilection among the poor and despised and oppressed.

Monika K. Hellwig, Jesus: The Compassion of God

 

When shall we have the courage to outgrow the charity mentality and see that at the bottom of all relations between rich and poor there is a problem of justice?

Dom Helder Camara, former archbishop of Recife, Brazil

 

Do you believe that God is present in the smile of a child, in the tears of a parent's grief over a suffering adolescent, in the sudden breakthrough of understanding between quarrelling spouses? Eternal truths can be learned by observing the most common elements of life: nursing an infant may be a window into God's nurturing care for each of us; bandaging a cut can help us know the healing desire of God; playing games may speak of the divine playfulness that knows our need for recreation; tending a garden may teach us the dynamics of growth. Families learn that they are sacred communities when they begin to name and claim the many forms of God's grace in their daily life.

Marjorie J. Thompson, Family: The Forming Center

 

Peace demands the most heroic labour and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.

Thomas Merton

 

It is not scientific doubt, not atheism, not pantheism, not agnosticism, that in our day and in this land is likely to quench the light of the gospel. It is a proud, sensuous, selfish, luxurious, church-going, hollow-hearted prosperity.

Frederic D. Huntington

 

What God requires of those who call on God's name is responsive servanthood. God wishes to act in and through us, so Christian hope does not relieve men and women of responsibility. We are not primarily responsible for shrewd analysis of problems, for strategic selection of means, for maximizing the chances of success. We are primarily responsible for turning to God, for attempting to know and do God's will. That well may lead us into actions which are not shrewd, strategic, or successful, as the life of Jesus suggests. But as Jesus' life demonstrates, human action which is faithful to God's will can have transforming effect.

Parker Palmer, The Company of Strangers

 

When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism, are incapable of being conquered. A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies.

Martin Luther King, Jr. from ‘A Time to Break Silence’, King's address given on this day, April 4th in 1967 at the Riverside Church in New York City

 

 

Reverence is a gentle virtue; it is also strong.

Reverence is a tender virtue; it is also tough.

Reverence is a patient virtue; it is also persistent.

Reverence bears no ill will toward others;

it is able to bear the ill will of others when necessary.

Reverence is a virtue that prepares us well to belong to one another;

 it reaches out to those who have been given messages of not wishing to belong.

When we approach others with gentle reverence, we bring gifts and share theirs with us.

Paula Ripple, Growing Strong at Broken Places

 

From ancient times storytellers, poets and dramatists have presented the world in all its fullness; plants, animals, men and women, changing shape, speaking multiple languages, inter-marrying, travelling to the sky and under the Earth. The great myths and folktales of human magic and nature's power were our school for ten thousand years. Whether they know it or not, even modern writers draw strength from the wild side.

How can artists and writers manage to join in the defence of the planet and wild nature?

Gary Snyders, http://www.resurgence.org/2006/snyder239.htm

 

‘Jesus invites each one of us, through Thomas,

to touch not only his wounds,

but those wounds in others and in ourselves,

wounds that can make us hate others and ourselves

and can be a sign of separation and division.

These wounds will be transformed...’

Jean Vanier

 

‘There are only two feelings.

Love and fear.

There are only two languages.

Love and fear.

There are only two activities.

Love and fear.

There are only two motives, two procedures, two frameworks, two results.

Love and fear. Love and fear’

Michael Leunig

 

Reflections on the readings

It is somewhat intriguing that we seem to make more of Thomas’ so-called doubting rather than the fear of the disciples. Doubting at least leaves one open to the new, whereas fear closes one off. Doubt is not the opposite of faith. It is fear which closes one off to the reality of the world and other people.  Despite his doubts, Thomas did not give in to the fear that kept the disciples closed up in the room. He had been out and had the courage to return to a group of people which had had an experience he did not share.  Thomas is a symbol not of faithlessness, but of courage. His scepticism might have been evident, unlike most media outlets and politicians around the world, when we heard that the firing of missiles into Syria by the USA as ‘beautiful’. The recent attack on Syria was not the first time the media applauded the destruction of life in the Middle East and now they seem to keep talking up a pre-emptive strike on North Korea!!

 

We have just celebrated Jesus’ resurrection but at times it seems easier and safer for us as Christians and as Australians to avoid the circumstances and people before us not only by locking the doors of the house or nation but sadly locking the entrance into our hearts. Jesus’ appearance in the upper room appearance seems to be similar to his appearance at the tomb of Lazarus where he calls out Lazarus and each one of us from all that is death, destructive, violent, dark, non-life enhancing. He is telling them to not make the tomb our natural habitat. But being in a locked room, or in retreat for fear, is a not a good place for a follower of Jesus to be. It seems that for Thomas faith is something that walks, touches, responds, learns. The only God that matters is one that has scars and wounds. And Jesus images that God. Because the crucifixion has left its indelible marks upon the resurrected one, he is only recognised through them. Resurrection has not erased his wounds.  Even as his wounds remain, Jesus’ body is made whole and new. Thomas’ demand for proof gives our 21st century faith room to move. We have many questions about God and the world, and the rampant presence of evil around us feeds our doubts. The space offered us is that doubt can help us listen and learn from people with different beliefs; that we do not have all the answers to all questions and problems.

 

The unfortunate thing is that this is how we imprison ourselves, lock ourselves in, and can present both a fearful and mean spirit. We see this in the gospel today. Mary Magdalene announced ‘I have seen the Lord’ which made no impression on the disciples. They gathered

in the house locked in fear despite an appearance of the risen Jesus as well. A week later when Thomas is with them… nothing has changed. The same house, the same closed doors, the same locks. Jesus has left the tomb but the disciples have created one for themselves. Jesus is free and the disciples are caught up in their fear. This is the fear that closes one to faith and closes one to love, to openness to the other. The resurrection of Jesus is the constant invitation to do life differently but fear makes us blind and prevents us from seeing that life is different and can be different for us… and for the other.

 

Thomas unlike the others was not locked away in safety and knew death and suffering when he saw it. He knew what his ‘God’ would look like too and it had something to do with wounds and scars. The wounds Jesus bears are the identifying marks of suffering around the world. The only God that matters is one with wounds. It is the only one that can be in solidarity with crucified peoples of the earth.

 

We have seen many wounds in our lifetime: our own, those of loved ones and the wounds of our world in Yemen, Iraq, Gaza, Syria, Turkey, West Papua, France, Germany and even Australia (Sydney). But some people’s scars and wounds and losses are more important than others if we are watch the western media. Today’s gospel passage is super-imposed over each image of a wounded adult or child or the earth where Jesus points to these wounds – for they are his too. He says to each of us ‘put your finger here’ – to touch, to put our minds and voices there. 

 

The wounds are a reminder that Jesus was crucified by the powerful to maintain the religious and political status quo. As we commemorate Earth Day today, we are reminded that the earth is being crucified by us. Those wounds include countless species extinctions, collapse of fisheries, rampant deforestation, demise of coral reefs, rising sea levels, acidified oceans, and rising global temperatures, caused by the unprecedented rise in greenhouse gases from industrial nations. Those wounds include and appear in the mounting human toll: famine and drought that bring starvation and death in increasing numbers and frequency, more and more people fleeing their drought-stricken lands or sinking coasts, a rise in mental health issues for those who have suffered repeated flooding and storms.  We cannot look away.  As people of faith, we must recognise that the root causes of climate change which affects the poor and underdeveloped nations most are due to human greed, narrow vision, indifference to the plight of others, and the fear of lifestyle changes.

 

These wounds cannot be ignored. They must be seen and felt and believed as in the case of Jesus. Can we touch the deepening wounds of the earth, encounter flesh and blood victims of polluted water and rising sea levels, meet with people whose lives are disrupted by drought, flooding, and storm.

  SECOND SUNDAY