- Published: Sunday, 18 June 2017 08:59
LITURGY NOTES FOR THE 12th SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
Twelfth Sunday of the Year
June 25. 2017
Suggested formula for recognition of indigenous people and their land.
We respectfully remember the first people that live in our own respective areas and in honouring the memory of the traditional custodians we acknowledge with sorrow the immeasurable suffering caused to them and to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by European colonisation.
We recognise with shame that such suffering still endures to the present generation.
We pray today with faith and hope for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and ourselves that God’s mercy and justice will walk in our lives, our communities and in the heart of our nation.
(Adapted from an acknowledgement used by the Sisters of Mercy, Parramatta)
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.
First Reading: Jeremiah 20:10-13
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 69:8-10, 14, 17, 33-35
Second Reading: Romans 5:12-15
Gospel Reading: Matthew 10:26-33
1. Jesus, you ask us to proclaim you without fear: Jesus, have mercy.
2. Jesus, you want us to trust you and God, for we are precious to you: Christ, have mercy.
3. Jesus, you expect us to bear witness to you with boldness by our words and the way we live: Jesus, have mercy.
1. Jesus, you counseled your disciples to speak and act boldly: Jesus, have mercy.
2. Jesus, you assured them of God’s love for them: Christ, have mercy.
3. Jesus, you call us, too, to live our faith without fear: Jesus, have mercy.
you give us your gracious love through Jesus.
May our lives bear witness
that Jesus walks by our side
and that we may be courageous
in proclaiming through words and action
our hope and trusting faith in you.
Prayer over the Gifts
through the offering of bread and wine
Jesus shows us how to give ourselves.
May this offering reassure us
that love and justice can move this world,
and that you lead us to your future.
Deliver us, Faithful God, from fear
so that we may declare ourselves for you in the presence of others
and to commit ourselves to your work of integrity and truth.
Fill us with courage
to stand up for the freedom
and human dignity of our brothers and sisters,
so that we may not distort the image of your Son.
Help us to prepare with joy and hope
the full coming among us
of Christ Jesus, our Saviour. R./ For the kingdom…..
Prayer after Communion
your love frees us
from fear and gives us the courage
to confront life’s challenges
with loyalty and openness.
Help us to be free from competition
and distrust of one another
as we proclaim Christ’s presence amongst us.
· May we find courage in our lives for God loves us. .
· May we be bold in our lives for Christ walks by our side.
· May we reject fear in our lives for the Holy Spirit will give us courage.
May we go knowing that we are in God’s hands to face life and bear witness to God’s love with the blessing of our God, + Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Introduction: Let us pray with complete trust in God, that, free from all paralysing fears, we may have the courage to build God’s Reign. Let us pray: In your great love answer us, O God.
· For the Church: that its leaders may be courageous and bold in implementing renewal and dare to speak prophetically in the face of social injustices. Let us pray: In your great love answer us, O God.
· For peace among the nations and a greater appreciation of the diversity of gifts and cultures that each people bring to humanity. Let us pray: In your great love answer us, O God.
· For our country and our leaders: that they continue to promote justice and human dignity without fear and exception. Let us pray: In your great love answer us, O God.
· For those at risk for supporting believers in other faith traditions, especially Judaism and Islam. Let us pray: In your great love answer us, O God.
· For those dedicated to helping others overcome bullying or vilification for reasons of gender, sexual orientation, ethnic or religious beliefs. Let us pray: In your great love answer us, O God.
· For a world at peace and free from any kind of fear whether, personal, religious, political or economic. Let us pray: In your great love answer us, O God.
· For our country: that it might truly be a good neighbour to our brothers and sisters in the nations of the Pacific and Asia by promoting fair trade, respect for culture, and accepting our responsibility for the effects of our life style on global warming and climate change. Let us pray: In your great love answer us, O God.
· For our Government: that it continues to listen to those who seek to find new and more humane policies towards the people who come to this country seeking protection and asylum as refugees. Let us pray: In your great love answer us, O God.
· For people who are sick, poor, homeless and downtrodden: that they may find courage, hope and love. Let us pray: In your great love answer us, O God.
· For all of us present: that we may not be fearful of threats or ridicule, but live in trust of the God who carries us gently. Let us pray: In your great love answer us, O God.
· For Christian communities: that we may not be divided by competition and distrust, but work together to build God’s Reign. Let us pray: In your great love answer us, O God.
Concluding Prayer: Faithful and ever present God, we ask you to hear our prayers. We thank you for Jesus who showed how to live boldly for other, to be patient with those who are afraid, and courageous before those who promote fear. May we remember that you are with us always, loving and protecting us.
June 22 Destruction of the Berlin Wall in 1989
June 24 Birth of John the Baptist
June 26 UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
The only thing worth globalising is dissent.
At a time of rampant individualism, we stand for family and community. At a time of intense consumerism, we insist it is not what we have, but how we treat one another that counts. In an age that does not value permanence or hard work in relationships, we believe marriage is forever and children are a blessing, not a burden. At a time of growing isolation, we remind our nation of its responsibility to the broader world, to pursue peace, to welcome immigrants, to protect the lives of hurting children and refugees. At a time when the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, we insist the moral test of our society is how we treat and care for the weakest among us. In these challenging days, we believe that the Catholic community needs to be more than ever a source of clear moral vision and effective action. We are called to be the 'salt of the earth' and 'light of the world' in the words of the Scriptures (cf. Mt 5:13-16)
US Bishops, Communities of Salt and Light
Do not let a desire for wealth cause you to become so consumed by your work that you prevent happiness for yourself and your family.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savour to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back—in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.
Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking
The rush and pressure of modern life are a form of its innate violence. To allow myself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns. To surrender to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything . . . is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of the activist . . . destroys the fruitfulness of one's own work because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.
My God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
And the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
And I know that if I do this,
you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death,
I will not fear,
for you are ever with me
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
It is not wrong to want to live better; what is wrong is a style of life which is presumed to be better when it is directed towards 'having' rather than 'being', and which wants to have more, not in order to be more but in order to spend life in enjoyment as an end in itself. It is therefore necessary to create life-styles in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors which determine consumer choices, savings and investments.
Pope John Paul II, Centesius Annus, 36
They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening.
Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful
and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind
The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.
We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth... For my part, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst; and to provide for it.
He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man... The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy this gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people.
The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that's the essence of inhumanity.
George Bernard Shaw
Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mourn not the dead that in the cool earth lie, but rather mourn the apathetic, throng the coward and the meek who see the world's great anguish and its wrong, and dare not speak.
As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead trying to kill me. They do not feel any enmity against me as an individual, nor I against them. They are only doing their duty, as the saying goes. Most of them, I have no doubt, are kind-hearted law-abiding men who would never dream of committing murder in private life. On the other hand, if one of them succeeds in blowing me to pieces with a well-placed bomb, he will never sleep any worse for it. He is serving his country, which has the power to absolve him from evil.
George Orwell, London. UK. 1941
In a pagan world, the Gospel wears the appearance of a crime against organized society. It is significant that Christ himself was summoned before a court of justice; it was in court that he found occasion to declare himself and his programme officially, before properly constituted authority…… throughout the Church's history this public affirmation of rights is constantly made; it is clearest when a Christian has to appear before the officers of government. Thus the early martyrs, brought to the bar of official justice, used this position to preach the gospel, vindicating Christ's claim to be the True King, and for this they suffered according to the law.
The same situation has been repeated all over the world, Christians being everywhere liable to arrest in the name of the law for the crime of Gospel…..
But the right of preaching the gospel is absolute, inalienable; whenever it is challenged by any political system, Christians are obliged to vindicate it, even at the cost of their lives. The issue is perfectly simple--Christian missionaries are on active service, they can tolerate no interference in the execution of their duty. Martyrdom is simply the limiting case of the situation.
Jean Danielou, S.J., The Lord of History. Reflections on the Meaning of History. [Translated by Nigel Abercrombie. London, Longmans Green, 1958.pp.288-289.]
Our faithfulness will depend on our willingness to go where there is brokenness, loneliness, and human need. If the church has a future it is a future with the poor in whatever form
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey
Reflections for 12th Sunday of the Year
A woman, also a religious sister, who in the 1980’s cared for many people living with AIDS wrote about her father’s physical and psychological abused towards. In one line she defiantly said to herself: ‘There is one part of me you cannot touch’. Though maltreated she knew even as a young girl she had a value and dignity in God’s eyes. She knew there was ‘the more’ within her. Like many people who are or have been oppressed, they know they will not live as if defined by those who would control them (Rm. 6:3-4). This was powerfully and profoundly expressed in the recent (May 2017) Uluru Statement from the Heart by Australia’s First Nation people who having been counted for centuries, now want a voice. (Statement on the First Nations National Constitutional Convention. Uluru_Statement_From_The_Heart.PDF ). This same dignity and value is expressed by the young Afghan Peace Volunteers who despite the lack of peace in their own country will seek to help the people suffering in Yemen (Kathy Kelly, Feed the Hungry, Treat the Sick: A Crucial Training https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/06/16/feed-hungry-treat-sick-crucial-training.)
I believe that as we come to trust that our true identity is in Christ, we are enabled to be in solidarity with people who are victimised or in trouble. We will not allow others to define who we are or be defined by fear or dominated by it. We accept the identity that comes to us from God; that we belong to God; that we are of infinite value; and this identity is available to everyone else as well.
In Jeremiah we see a passionate person, with our status or power, but knew that God is on the side of the just and does not abandon the poor. But when he meets opposition his understanding of God leaves much to be desired in his brutal call for vengeance. His contemporaries did not want their well-being disturbed; they blame the victim; it’s their fault; they are inadequate. Jeremiah shows how God causes the truth to well up in us and demands to be heard even if we prefer to be comfortable and safe in our silence. Even when earlier he says, ‘I will not mention God, or speak any more in God’s name,’ something like a burning fire that has been shut up in his bones and a weariness that comes with holding it all in, causes him to be unable to remain quiet. It is like looking with compassion on people where one’s guts are split, and finding we have to speak our truth and claim our part in God’s promises. It was expressed in another passage where Jesus looked upon the crowd with compassion. What did he see? People ‘harassed and helpless.’ People ‘leaderless.’ People ‘dejected and despondent.’ As we look out, what do we see? All who benefit from the status quo – those in authority, clergy, the dominant race, the highly educated, the wealthy, etc. - know that prophets question their privilege, privilege which they generally believe they have earned. The privileged among us recognize prophetic words as a threat to our complacency and our comfort. We are called to ‘declare ourselves for God before others.’ We are to bring to the light what is in the dark. The ‘dark ‘is oppression, cover-ups, injustice, corruption, abuse, high-handedness. More than 10 years ago, a courageous and indefatigable bishop, Geoffrey Robinson, spoke out about the church’s role in the sexual abuse of children. He highlighted the lack of accountability of bishops for what they did or did not do. He was labeled at the time as being ‘in error’ by Australian and US bishops. Bishops in the USA told him - ‘don’t come’; ‘don’t speak here’? Or would Jesus be saying, bring into the light what has been in the dark, let there be healing and justice and reconciliation? Would Jesus not say if he is wrong, welcome him, talk with him and if he is right listen to him? Professor Gillian Triggs, the Australian Human Rights Commissioner, says that he first argument was not with the politicians and bureaucrats, though there were many, was in her own home with her own husband who implied that her job was to support the government. Her response was, "I replied that not only could I speak out; my statute says I must speak out if particular acts are contrary to Australia's obligations under international law. And she suffered for that over the years. (http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/lauded-and-vilified-gillian-triggs-australian-human-rights-commission-president-20170616-gwsk3b.html)
We need prophetic voices that cut through fear, unaccountability, complacency and indifference. These voices are not just from and often are not from those in leadership but by ordinary people who say ‘no’ to abuse, violence, environmental degradation, inequality and inequity, cronyism and vilification. We must imagine our lives and the world differently. Let’s have more poetry rather than moralism, more stories, images, experiences rather than judgementalism - that offer a different view of the world. These can reach into places of resistance and embrace in our hearts. Fr. Johann-Baptist Metz, a German theologian, says that our task is ‘to keep alive the memory of the crucified Lord’. It is a dangerous memory of freedom. Being a disciple is to embody the one whose radical redefinition of who belongs and what matters denounces all previous sets of priorities. This is risky business. Because we are reminded that perfect love takes sides, and demands nothing less than our lives.
Experience shows that those who preach life over and against death will be attacked every step of the way. We need to be frank and clear. We cannot take refuge in the dark even though the Gospel could expose us to ridicule, suspicion and even persecution. Colleagues, friends and family might want us tone things down or not make waves as Gillian Triggs and Jeremiah found. We might get hate mail, annoying or threatening phone calls – always anonymous – but we must continue to advocate with respect and understanding. Jesus gave his best energies to implement God's reign. People are still called ‘bleeding hearts’ for standing with asylum seekers, ‘unpatriotic’ for opposing war, or ‘part of the latte set,’ when they oppose the detention of people seeking asylum in this country. Geoffrey Robinson was called a ‘troublesome priest’. No doubt these words were also used of the assassinated Oscar Romero, the murdered Archbishop Janani Luwun of Uganda by Idi Amin, the martyred Salvadoran Jesuits and their companions, the many indigenous peoples from Australia the Philippines and from Brazil to Bolivia struggled against dispossession by mining companies, and many other known and unknown people. Despite persecution, the call is ‘do not be afraid’. God is with us. The words ‘do not be afraid’ need to be heard by the church over and over. The gospel uncovers what is opposed to God’s will to love: such as the disguised mistreatment of others, especially the poor and the defenseless. It uncovers the lie of religious justifications that some people offer in the defense of their petty interests and privileges. Jesus warns us not to be intimidated and mocks attempts to bury the truth. He does not leave silence unchallenged. He will not have his followers bullied by silent pressures to shut up about the good news. Fear is beneath our dignity. Discipleship has its costs. When we come out of the silence and stand with Jesus on the side of full humanity and liberation, we may find that people who claim to be our family begin to act like enemies.
So what stand do we take before many injustices people experience today? What stand do we take at the verbiage of social lies that cover up injustice? We might walk into a wall: fear, opinions of friends, family security. We have a choice – silence, look away, or truly look, feel the compassion, and act.
Many say, ‘It’s not my problem!’ ‘I have enough of my own problems’. Famine and world hunger. Terrorist attacks in European cities now. In the Middle East Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen. Human rights abuses in Iran and Saudi Arabia. Human trafficking even in our country. Homelessness. Exclusion of people. It is not my problem – at least until it touches me or my family.
Justice in the bible transcends what people strictly deserve. It begins with acknowledging our dignity, the dignity of all others and expressed as fidelity to all - every sister and brother, especially those least preferred. There can be no strangers for us. No one in God’s image can be a stranger. We know Jesus’ ministry scandalised the authorities – and provoked opposition. He was not scandalised by prostitutes, tax collectors, and sinners but embraced them. He refused to participate in, or condone, victimisation and scapegoating by confronting a system that is based on violence and destruction. Our solidarity with those who are cruelly treated in any way brings to light injustice, brings to light what perpetrators want to ignore or keep hidden. Solidarity knows no limits. It begins in our homes, communities, churches and our streets. In sending the apostles to preach the coming of the reign in word and dead, he knows they meet resistance even life-threatening opposition. He says again, ‘do not be afraid’. As the woman whose father was abusive, the real danger comes, not from those who kill the body, but suffocate the human spirit.
Jesus asks a lot of us. We are called to reconsider our vocation as Christians who are baptised to share in Jesus’ prophetic ministry. Will we stop and ask ourselves if we are willing to step into those places where the ‘world’ contradicts the Gospel and say “It does not have to be this way” by loving our world enough to be part of making it a place as it was meant to be. Accepting the call to prophecy means that, like Jeremiah, we are accepting the role of speaking and acting as renegades for life. He tells us to buck the system big time. We are not to become players in the world's most popular game, where people become either victim or victimiser. Bucking the system also means recognising in the one who victimise, one who needs to be embraced, needs love and mercy, needs to included. It can sound impossible. Some might imagine it as unbearably weak but it really contains the strength of God. We refuse to be remade by the evil done to us. We reject the stifling identity a win-lose world might thrust upon us. We accept that our identity comes from God. Because we belong to God, and manifest God’s image and likeness, we are able to work so that others – the just and the unjust – may be free.