Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, an Australian community, in a worldwide religious congregation.
Jesus loved with a human heart: with him we proclaim his love to the world.
We work to discover through advocacy, healing and reconciliation, God's presence in our world.
We are to be on earth the heart of God. God has no other heart but ours.
- Published: Tuesday, 04 July 2017 22:10
Fourteenth Sunday of the Year
July 9th 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 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 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.
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)
First Reading: Zechariah 9:9-10
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 145:1-2,8-9,10-11,13-14
Second Reading: Romans 8:9,11-13
Gospel Reading: Matthew 11:25-30
· Jesus, you lived in God’s presence and humbled yourself by becoming human like us: Jesus, have mercy.
· Jesus, you break the weapons of war and dictate peace to the nations: Christ, have mercy.
· Jesus, your reign of peace with justice extends to the ends of the earth: Jesus, have mercy.
- Christ Jesus, you proclaim peace to the nations: Jesus, have mercy.
- Christ Jesus, you offer rest to the weary: Christ, have mercy.
- Christ Jesus, in you we find our rest and our peace: Jesus, have mercy.
God of the weary and overburdened [or: God of the journey]
we bless you for revealing your love for us.
May we humble and receptive
to the Good News,
you reveal to those
aware of their humanity and poverty.
Fill us with your tenderness towards all
and may your peace and rest dwell in us.
God of the weary and overburdened [or: God of the journey]
by your gracious good will
the mysteries of your Reign are revealed
to simple people.
May we learn from the heart of Christ,
that in shouldering his yoke
we may discover your presence,
strength and peace.
Prayer over the Gifts
God of the weary and overburdened [or: God of the journey]
in these simple signs of bread and wine
your Son comes among us today
to be our companion on the road
and to help us carry our burdens.
May we learn from him
to [companion] go all the way with one another
on the road of serving love.
Deliver us, God heaven and earth, [or: God of the journey], from every evil
and grant us peace in our day
not by the force of weapons
but by the humble service of person to person
and the gentleness of the nonviolent.
Keep us free from sin
as we prepare with hope and joy
the full coming among us
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
R/ For the kingdom...
Invitation to Communion
This is Jesus the Christ,
who speaks to us now:
come to me, all you that labour
and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Happy are we to receive that peace and rest from him. R/ Lord, I am not worthy...
Prayer after Communion
God heaven and earth, [or: God of the journey]
we praise you for showing yourself to us in heart of Jesus.
Uplifted by his word and his bread of life
may we accept our poverty
and learn to give time and attention
to the weary and heavy burdened
and speak your encouraging word to them,
that all who seek you may find among us
your Christ Jesus, your Son.
Prayers of the Faithful
Introduction: Let us pray to the One, who teaches us that true wisdom is compassion and love. We pray: You are gracious and compassionate in all your works, O God [or: Renew our hearts and minds, O God]
1. For those who consider themselves wise and learned: may they humbly make space in their lives for those who are little, vulnerable and voiceless. We pray: You are gracious and compassionate in all your works, O God [or: Renew our hearts and minds, O God]
2. For those who have to carry heavy burdens: may they know the gentle presence of Christ and understand God’s love for them. We pray: You are gracious and compassionate in all your works, O God [or: Renew our hearts and minds, O God]
3. For those responsible for the welfare of nations: may they seek peace with justice and forsake the choice of war and violence. We pray: You are gracious and compassionate in all your works, O God [or: Renew our hearts and minds, O God]
4. For those who choose to be a presence among the poor and the oppressed: may they discover that they too receive from those who they befriend and find in it the love of God. We pray: You are gracious and compassionate in all your works, O God [or: Renew our hearts and minds, O God]
5. For the Indigenous people of this land: may they continue to discover their dignity and in their connections find the great gift they are to all in this country. We pray: You are gracious and compassionate in all your works, O God [or: Renew our hearts and minds, O God]
6. For those who continue to ignore the plight of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in their poor health, poor education and living conditions. We pray: You are gracious and compassionate in all your works, O God [or: Renew our hearts and minds, O God]
7. For those who journey through this land: may we always be mindful that it belongs to another people who are the oldest living culture on earth and consider our responsibilities today. We pray: You are gracious and compassionate in all your works, O God [or: Renew our hearts and minds, O God]
8. For the people of the Pacific countries affected by climate change and rising waters: may we seek to make our selves aware of their vulnerability and find ways of overcoming our addiction to carbon. We pray: You are gracious and compassionate in all your works, O God [or: Renew our hearts and minds, O God]
9. For workers around the world who seek trade justice and fair trade: may they find the strengthen to continue their journey for justice and freedom. We pray: You are gracious and compassionate in all your works, O God [or: Renew our hearts and minds, O God]
10. For those who call this country their home: may we open our hearts and lives to refugees and all who are seeking asylum. We pray: You are gracious and compassionate in all your works, O God [or: Renew our hearts and minds, O God]
11. For people who are most affected by the policies and decisions of their political and religious leaders: may all find justice and peace wherever they live and work. We pray: You are gracious and compassionate in all your works, O God [or: Renew our hearts and minds, O God]
12. For nations and communities at war and in conflict: we pray that people will realise that war cannot be overcome by more violence so that our will be safe for all people. We pray: You are gracious and compassionate in all your works, O God [or: Renew our hearts and minds, O God]
Concluding Prayer: Compassionate and caring God, hear our prayers this day. Make your presence known to those who are most in need of your care and make of each of us a source of comfort and encouragement to those you place on our path this day. We pray always in Jesus’ name. Amen.
In peace the sons bury their fathers, but in war the fathers bury their sons.
On the whole we don’t take Jesus seriously – whether we call ourselves Christians or not. There are some remarkable exceptions, but by and large we don’t love our enemies, we don’t welcome the stranger, we don’t turn the other cheek, we don’t forgive seventy times seven, we don’t share what we have with the poor, and we don’t put all our hope and trust in God. We have our excuses. But is it precisely here and now that we need to take Jesus and our own prayer seriously.
Fr Albert Nolan op
Behind every great person there is someone who enabled his or her ascension. These friends, relatives, partners, muses, colleagues, coaches, assistants, lovers, teachers, and caretakers deserve some credit… When you consider your own life, there are dozens of people who have guided you along your path — whether a teacher from fifth grade who finally got you to raise your hand in class, a family friend who gave you your first camera, or that whiskey-sipping neighbor who’d tell you stories of his childhood. These relationships shape our lives, some lightly and others with more impact.
Aboriginal Thanksgiving Prayer
God of Holy Dreaming
Great Creator Spirit,
from the dawn of creation you have given your children
the good things of Mother Earth.
You spoke and the gum tree grew.
In the vast desert and the dense forest,
And in the cities and at the water’s edge,
creation sings your praise
Your presence endures at the rock at the heart of our Land.
When Jesus hung on the tree
you heard the cries of all your people
And became one with your wounded ones:
the convicts, the hunted, the dispossessed.
The sunrise of your Son coloured the earth anew,
and bathed it in glorious hope.
In Jesus we have been reconciled to you,
to each other to your whole creation.
Lead us on, Great Spirit,
as we gather fro the four corners of the earth;
enable us to walk together in trust
from the hurt and shame of the past
into the full day which has dawned in Jesus Christi
Australian Catholic social Justice Council, Seasons of Social Justice
Every human being is an unprecedented miracle.
The darkness has fallen and invaded all of the Gaza Strip. We tried to protest against the war today, but gunmen shot at us when we tried to cross the street. This was a peaceful demonstration to try to get these gunmen to stop killing our future, to stop killing our hope. The darkness has fallen. There are no other words. Gaza is not a place for human beings anymore.
Hossam al-Madhoun, lifelong Gaza resident. (Source: NPR)
We frail humans are at one time capable of the greatest good and, at the same time, capable of the greatest evil. Change will only come about when each of us takes up the daily struggle ourselves to be more forgiving, compassionate, loving, and above all joyful in the knowledge that, by some miracle of grace, we can change as those around us can change too.
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, Society of Jesus]
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 . . . What is being looked for is not simply the solution to one problem, but an entire shift of world view away from patterns of dominance toward mutually enhancing relationships.
Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ, She Who Is, 27-28
This is the hope which sustains the Church . . . that, by the grace of God, a world in which the power of evil seems once again to have taken the upper hand will in fact be transformed into a world in which the noblest aspirations of the human heart will triumph, a world in which true peace will prevail.
Pope John Paul II, January 1, 2002
We shall find peace. We shall hear angels. We shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds.
Consequently, the promotion of justice is at the heart of a true culture of solidarity. It is not just a question of giving one's surplus to those in need, but of ‘helping entire peoples presently excluded or marginalized to enter into the sphere of economic and human development'.
Pope John Paul II, 2001 World Day of Peace Message
I am done with great things and big things, great institutions and big success, and I am for those tiny invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which if you give them time, will rend the hardest monuments of man's pride.
I encourage you to continue and to renew your mission among the poor and with the poor. Unfortunately, new causes of poverty and marginalization are not absent in a world marked by grave financial and environmental imbalances, from globalization processes prompted by selfishness rather than solidarity and by devastating and senseless armed conflicts.
As I was able to reaffirm to the Latin American Bishops ...’the preferential option for the poor is implicit in the Christological faith in the God who became poor for us, so as to enrich us with his poverty (cf. II Cor 8: 9’.
It is therefore natural that those who truly want to be a companion of Jesus really share in his love for the poor. For us, the option for the poor is not ideological but is born from the Gospel.
Pope Benedict XVI, Address to the Congregation of the Society of Jesus, Rome, February 2008
The evils of government are directly proportional to the tolerance of the people.
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark;
the real tragedy of life is when men (and women) are afraid of the light.
Two nations, between whom there is no discourse and no sympathy, who are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts and feelings as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets; who are formed by different breeding, are fed by different food, are ordered by different manners, and are not governed by the same laws. I speak of the rich and the poor.
Benjamin Disraeli, former British Prime Minister
They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war, and strange as it certainly appears, no war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people
One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that we've been so credulous
‘People of religion have no choice in the matter. Where there is injustice and oppression, where people are treated as if they were less than who they are — those created in the image of God — you have no choice but to oppose, and oppose vehemently and oppose with all the force that you have in your being, that injustice and oppression. And so we can't help it if we oppose the obscenity of apartheid, which says that racism is the policy of a particular government. It isn't as if you sit down and say, 'Do I want to, or don't I want to?' If you are a believer you must oppose injustice, whether you are a Muslim, whether you are a Christian, whether you are a Hindu or a Buddhist, because you see, this is one of the common factors in these faiths: not one of them has a low doctrine of human beings.
So each of these religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) in its intrinsic nature compels its adherents to be people who strive for justice and for peace and for goodness. If you do not, in the face of injustice, stand up and oppose it, then every night you must confess and say, 'God, I have sinned, because I have disobeyed a fundamental law of our relationship.'
Desmond Tutu, excerpt from God Is Not a Christian and Other Provocations
Prayer of Nonviolence
God of Nonviolence,
Thank you for the gift
of your love and your peace.
Give me the grace to live
the life of Gospel nonviolence
that I might be a faithful follower
of the nonviolent Jesus.
Send the Holy Spirit of nonviolence upon me
that I will love everyone,
from my neighbor to my enemies,
that I may see you in everyone,
and know everyone as my sister and brother,
and never hurt or fear anyone again.
Make me an instrument of your peace,
that I might give my life
in the struggle for justice and disarmament;
that I may work for the abolition of war,
poverty and nuclear weapons;
that I may always respond with love
and never retaliate with violence;
that I may accept suffering in the struggle of justice
and never inflict suffering or death on others;
that I my live more simply,
in solidarity with the world’s poor,
that I may defend the poor
and resist systemic injustice and institutionalised violence,
that I may always choose life
and resist the forces of death.
Guide me on the Way of nonviolence.
Help me to speak the truth of peace,
to practice boundless compassion,
to radiate unconditional love,
to forgive everyone who ever hurt me,
to embody your nonviolence,
to walk with you in contemplative peace,
to be your beloved servant and friend.
Disarm my heart,
and I shall be your instrument
to disarm other hearts and the world.
God of nonviolence,
with the whole human family,
into your nonviolent reign of justice and peace
where there is no more war,
no more injustice, no more poverty,
no more nuclear weapons,
no more violence.
I ask this in the name of the nonviolent Jesus,
our brother and our peace.
A people that wants to be free must arm itself with a free press.
Paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell.
Our weapon is love
Our armour is truth
Daniel Choi, US military officer and gay rights activist
Blessing of the Senses
May your body be blessed.
May you realize that your body is a faithful and beautiful friend of your soul.
And may you be peaceful and joyful and recognize that your senses are sacred thresholds.
May you realize that holiness is mindful gazing, feeling, hearing , and touching.
May your senses gather you and bring you home.
May your senses always enable you to celebrate the universe and the mystery and possibilities in your presence here.
May the Eros of the Earth bless you.
Fr. John O’Donahue
Those who don’t feel this Love pulling them like a river,
those who don’t drink dawn like a cup of springwater
or take in sunset like supper,
those who don’t want change, let them sleep.
This Love is beyond the study of theology…
I’ve given up on my brain
I’ve torn the cloth to shreds and thrown it away
Politically speaking, tribal nationalism [patriotism] always insists that its own people are surrounded by 'a world of enemies' - 'one against all' - and 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
Seas of blood have been shed for the sake of patriotism. One would expect the harm and irrationality of patriotism to be self-evident to everyone. But the surprising fact is that cultured and learned [socially conditioned and indoctrinated] people not only do not notice the harm and stupidity of patriotism, they resist every unveiling of it with the greatest obstinacy and passion (with no rational grounds), and continue to praise it as beneficent and elevating.
The theory of the free press is not that the truth will be presented completely or perfectly in any one instance, but that the truth will emerge from free discussion.
Not the faults of others, nor what others have done or left undone, but one's own deeds, done and left undone, should one consider.
50th Stanza from the Dhammapada (The Path of Wisdom)
Believers, let not a group of you mock another. Perhaps they are better than you. - - - Let not one of you find faults in another nor let anyone of you defame another.
Holy Quran, Chapter 49:11 (Al-Hujarat)
You see in others what you actually see in yourself
The Guru Dronacharya in Mahabharata
I went in search of a bad person; I found none as I, seeing myself, found me the worst.
Kabir, Saint Poet of North India
I wonder whether there is any one in this generation who accepts reproof, for if one says to him: Remove the mote from between your eyes, he would answer: Remove the beam from between your eyes!
Talmud: Baraitha: Rashi (1050-1115 AD) quoting Rabbi Tarfon
It is easy to see the faults of others, but not so easy to see one's own faults
Gautama Buddha (563 - 483 BC)
Blind patriotism has been kept intact by rewriting history to provide people with moral consolation and a psychological basis for denial.
William H. Boyer
A US Officer who has spent months in prison for his refusal to return to Iraq and continue to wage war, wrote the following words in a letter from prison:
‘Many have called me a coward. Some have called me a hero. I believe I can be found somewhere in the middle. To those who have called me a hero I say that I don't believe in heroes but I believe that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. To those who have called me a coward I say they are wrong, and that without knowing it they are also right. They are wrong when they think that I left the war for fear of being killed. I admit that fear was there, but even more there was the fear of killing innocent people, the fear of putting myself in a position where to survive means to kill. There was the fear of losing my soul in the process of saving my body. The fear of losing myself to my daughter, to the people who love me, to the man I used to be, the man I wanted to be. I was afraid of waking up one morning to realize my humanity had abandoned me. But they who called me a coward without knowing it are also right. I was a coward for not leaving the war sooner, for having been part of it in the first place. Refusing and resisting this war was my moral duty. A moral duty that called me to take a difficult action. A moral duty that was clear and the accomplishment of which was urgent. I failed to fulfill my moral duty as a human being and instead I chose to fulfill my duty as a soldier.
‘I apologize to the Iraqi people. To them I say I'm sorry for the rage, for the killings. May they find it in their hearts to forgive me. One of the reasons I did not refuse the war from the beginning was that I was afraid of losing my freedom. Today as I sit behind bars I realize that there are many types of freedom and that in spite of my confinement I remain free in many important ways. What good is freedom if we are afraid to follow our conscience? What good is freedom if we are not able to live with our own actions? I am confined to a prison now but I feel today more than ever connected to all humanity. I am truly free.’
Camilo Ernesto Mejía (b. August 28, 1975), Nicaraguan American who was a former staff sergeant of the Florida National Guard, anti-war activist and war resister. Son of Carlos Mejia Godoy, Sandinista songwriter.
You who have taken upon your own shoulders
the burden of the redemption of all creation,
You who offer us a yoke that is light, a weight to bear that is not heavy,
bear us up, strengthen our limbs, embolden our hearts,
that we might be of help to others,
to set them free,
to restore their hope,
to remove the obstacles in their path.
to repair the breach between enemies,
and that your Body may grow strong and the face of the earth may be renewed,
in the Name of the One who bore it all that grace might abound. Amen.
Reflections on the Readings…
The readings contain a strong counter-cultural message. For those who are beneficiaries of a well off society economy there is a great responsibility. Clearly, Jesus is not necessarily addressing people who are healthy, well off, gifted, employed, and comfortably situated in life when he invites the weary and overburdened to come to him. Jesus’ words become a mockery for those for whom these words were intended if little is done to ease their burdens in some way. Jesus words challenge us to look at our values, and the values of the world where power and control are often of prime importance.
The scriptures often show us that God continually uses the unconventional, the quirky, those on the lowest rung, to speak truth, to bring peace, to shape our faith in new and surprising ways. We see it in that unconventional, countercultural image of the donkey ridden by the One who brings peace to the nations; the one who confronts armies with their weapons of war to bully smaller other nations and peoples all in the name of freeing people from barbarism, tyranny or terrorism. The One on the donkey does not look or act the way we expect. He might even appear crazy. He does not follow the easy way out, or the common sense approach.
Zechariah today presents us with an extraordinary vision of peace. Ironically, he says this peace would ‘extend from sea to sea, from the river to the ends of the earth’. The territory he is referring to is today’s war-ravaged Iraq. Today’s scriptures contrast Zechariah’s view of peace and that of today’s empires. Zechariah’s message of the One coming to bring peace and justice is proclaimed alongside the constant theme of God’s mercy and faithfulness.Jesus ‘way is to reject horse and chariot and reject weapons of war if there is to be peace through the world. Crazy!! Though some will not or cannot receive Jesus and his message, he still invites any who are burdened to come to him to show that God longs for connection with us, and is always available and accessible to people in need – to people caught up in the widespread effects of sin - injustice, slavery of all kinds, conflict and judgement. Jesus comes into this devastation seeking to bring liberation, justice, peace and mercy. What will we do? Will we accept Jesus’ invitation and come to him to find life, or question the effectiveness of his message and presence, and go our own way? It’s an important choice.
We don’t have to look far to see the effects of human brokenness on our world. Our cities manifest this brokenness in the numbers of people who sleep without a home and then are blamed for their predicament and moved on. We do not have to look far to see the marks of dire poverty - unjust economic and power relations between rich and poor; slavery and other forms of human trafficking; the expedient exploitation of the earth’s resources which is a theft and violation of the sacredness of the earth but theft from the caretakers of the earth and future generations; corruption in business and government; lies that lead to wars and wars between nations; conflict between factions, families and individuals. Looking at all this, Jesus’ invitation may seem ineffectual and belief in his liberating reign naive. Alone we cannot address the burdens and struggles we and others face but we must resist cynicism and pessimism, and allow themselves to be empowered and inspired by the spirit of Jesus. It is increasingly necessary for us to express our faith in the daily choices that impact the realities of our world, and in extending Jesus’ invitation to others. The problems seem vast but we can all sows seeds of care, welcome, humanity, compassion, kindness. Often this is where we fail when we pretend not see in respecting the humanity of a person who is begging on the street or make excuses for not writing that letter, making that phone call, visiting a local member of parliament or council in trying to change harsh and inhumane policies towards vulnerable workers and people seeking asylum. It seems that the call is for us to let those whose voices are not heard to be amplified, to give them courage, to work alongside the least to ease their burdens and stand against the unjust people and institutions that oppress and enslave. And unbridled militarism is one of those institutions that is eating away at our a peaceful environment and future.
Zechariah envisioned a time when ‘militarism shall be cut off. . . and there shall be peace to the peoples.’ When militarism/military expenditure is cut, then we can offer comfort to the weary and overburdened in terms of food, education and healthcare. ‘God's reign would include a vision of universal peace and justice. It was a message of hope.
Zechariah hoped for a time when political leadership would reflect God's character. We need a peace-maker. But, entrapped by the wisdom of the world and notions of a leader as one who is strong, authoritative, charismatic, - we may miss the arrival of the one who is meek, self-effacing, and vulnerable. Yet it is precisely the ‘weak’ sort of leader that may be the one sent by God to interrupt business as usual, to ‘command peace’.
The modern equivalent of Zechariah’s warrior's bow is the Kalashnikov and nuclear weapons. If we can dream of such a day, we invite this reign to come. War, conflict, news of war and threats of terrorism make up our news more and more whether it is threats again Iran or North Korea. We dread it, yet expect the violence to continue. This culture of violence does not only exist at the international level. We still have to face the culture of violence that led to the dispossession of the First people of this land as well as and current attitudes to asylum seekers – especially those who come from the Middle East or Asia!
The vision of peace, well-being for all, offered in the readings also means that healing of past hurts is basic to reconciliation, empathy and friendship. The vision of peace involves making space so that we can listen and be attentive to others where they feel understood, appreciated and accepted; walking in their shoes and trying to appreciate what life might be like for them. Jesus walked in our shoes and knew what it is like to be human.
Elsewhere Matthew [10:26-33] speaks of bringing into the light what is hidden or in the dark. Recently we were challenge by Refugee Week to bring into the light the darkness, fear and tragedy that affect people who seek asylum. Last week, NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day of Culture) brought to light another tragedy – that of the stolen generations and the harm caused to the Indigenous people of this land because of European settlement and since but also the enrichment of Aboriginal and Torres Islander culture to us all. So, as the first and last peoples of this land were commemorated as in need of special attention and care we also challenged to recognise the significant contributions – if we care to open our eyes – which each group has made and continues to make in our community. A vision of peace requires that see ourselves as interconnected with people and earth, recognising that we are related and connected and that what happens to another also touches us and affects us. A vision of peace requires seeking forgiveness. It involves overcoming the silence about violations, neglect and damaging mistakes. It involves presenting history accurately and removing the ‘white blind fold’.
The broken and weary ones of the world are with us in every family, every community and every neighbourhood. The broken and weary ones are us, and those we live with. I wonder what many Indigenous Australians or asylum seekers would make of Jesus’ words: ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest……..’ (vv. 28-30). What would be easy or light for the people still living under the Northern Territory Intervention? What would be easy or light for people forced to leave harsh and violent situations and then find themselves in detention? What would be easy for the poor person, hungry person, homeless person or gay youth? What would they make of this Gospel passage? Would they believe that these words are intended for them?
‘We need some Christians who are as crazy as the Lord. Crazy enough to love like Jesus, to give like Jesus, to forgive like Jesus, to do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God— like Jesus. Crazy enough to dare to change the world from the nightmare it often is into something close to the dream that God dreams for it. And for those who would follow him, those who would be his disciples, those who would live as and be the people of the Way? It might come as a shock, but they are called to craziness.’ (Bp Michael Curry)
So, it is when we live simply and generously, resisting the temptation to hoard, accumulate and consume more than we need that we bring rest to those who struggle to survive each day. It is when we work within our community to bring change to unjust laws, to take notice of the hurting and vulnerable ones, and to welcome those with whom we would normally not associate that we bring rest to others. These actions make no sense to those who benefit from and buy into the world’s systems, but they are the only ones that bring life and grace and liberation to all – both those who do them and those who benefit from them. It is time that the Church stopped trying to be wise in the world’s eyes (or even wiser than the world but on the world’s terms), and embraced a childlike naivety and a gracious, inclusive openness that can offer an alternative way of being in this often burdensome world.