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 FOR THE SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

 

 6th

May 6, 2018

Suggested formula for recognition of indigenous people and their land.

We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land
on which we stand.
We pay our respects to them and for their care of the land.

May we walk gently and respectfully upon the land.

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

or

We acknowledge the …………………….people the first inhabitants of this land.

We honour them for their care of the land

on which we gather today, and with them,

pray for justice and their constitutional recognition.

(This could be recited by all in the congregation)

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Readings

First Reading: Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 98:1, 2-3, 3-4

Second Reading: 1 J0hn 4:7-10

Gospel Reading: John 15:9-17

Penitential Rite

q  God’s Spirit has been poured out on all the peoples. Jesus, have mercy.

q  God’s justice and peace have been revealed to all peoples. Christ, have mercy.

q  God’s kindness and faithfulness is shown to all peoples. Jesus, have mercy.

Alternative Penitential Rite

·         Jesus, you have loved us with God’s own love. Jesus, have mercy.

·         Jesus, you showed your love for us by laying down your life for us. Christ, have mercy.

·         Jesus, you showed us how to love those who are difficult to loveJesus, have mercy.

Opening Prayer

Merciful God,

may we joyfully celebrate the resurrection of Jesus

and express in our lives the love you call us to.

Bring us together in spirit and action,

bearing one another’s burdens

and sharing each other’s gifts

so that we may more effectively

establish your presence in our world.

Prayer over the Gifts

Merciful God,

accept our prayers and offerings.

As Jesus gives himself to us

as the bread of life,

may we become

your sacraments of love

which bring healing to all.

Prayer after Communion

Merciful God,

the rising of Jesus from the dead

has restored us to life.

May we be strengthened and encouraged

to put away our fears

and remain open to your Spirit

so that we may seek to love one another

effectively in our daily life. 

Prayers of the Faithful

Introduction: We pray to our Merciful God who shows no partiality and listens to the people of all nations. Let us pray that we look upon all people as filled with the Spirit of God and also friends of God. We pray in response: Give us the gift of love, O God.

·         That the talks between North and South Korea will bring an end to the state of war and lead to a peace and reconciliation for the people of the Korean peninsula and we all have the courage of Pope Francis to continually call our leaders to seek the way of peace, we pray: Give us the gift of love, O God

·         That the people of Palestine whose stolen continues to be destroyed by violence and conflict will have their rights respected, their land restored and their dignity as a loudly acclaimed but all nations, we pray: Give us the gift of love, O God.

·         That all discrimination, especially discrimination and violence against women and girls, be brought to an end, we pray: Give us the gift of love, O God.

·         That people stripped of their rights and trafficked into abusive work situations in fields, market gardens, mines and factories be given the respect and support they deserve, we pray: Give us the gift of love, O God.

·         That Mother Earth may be respected and cared for as our home for the future of our children and children’s children, our children and children’s children, we pray: Give us the gift of love, O God

·         That the Christian churches continually engage in religious dialogue with peoples of other faiths in all places with true humility, respect and understanding, we pray: Give us the gift of love, O God.

·         That we remember people who live with violence, daily hunger, sickness, displacement and the pain of indifference from those in power and the means to make a difference, especially those in South Sudan, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria, we pray: Give us the gift of love, O God.

·         That the people West Papua who continue suffer from foreign occupation may have their voices for freedom and peace amplified by nations such as Australia, the Netherlands and the United States, and that human rights abuses be condemned, we pray: Give us the gift of love, O God.

·         That we remember the people who suffer unnecessarily in our prison system that they may be acknowledged as persons who are loved and embraced by God and that their offenses do not define who they are, we pray, Give us the gift of love, O God.

·         That the churches speak the truth in all places and times, knowing that it is the silence that kills, and may they place themselves on the side of justice and equity for all people, especially those who live in poverty and exclusion, we pray: Give us the gift of love, O God.

·         That all people who are victims of any form of terrorism will have justice and eventually find healing and comfort through the compassionate support of their community, we pray: Give us the gift of love, O God.

·         That we as a nation recognise the pain and anguish of the dispossession of land, language, culture and family kinship that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to live with: may we live in faith that all people will rise from the depths of despair and hopelessness, we pray: Give us the gift of love, O God.

Concluding Prayer: Merciful God, generously pour out your Spirit upon our world and our church. As we remain in your love, lead us forward in hope and help us to build a future that includes all your people.  

Parish Notices

May 10 Inaugural Address of Nelson Mandela as president of South Africa 1994

May 13 Mother’s Day originally called Mother’s Day for Peace

Advance notice for coming weeks

May 17 World Telecommunications Day

May 17 Death Fr Ted Kennedy 2005

May 20 Timor-Leste becomes fully independent 2002

May 21 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

May 21 Murder of Sr Irene McCormack, Josephite Sister, in Peru, 1991

May 25 Release of the Bringing Them Home Report (1995)

May 26 National Sorry Day.

May 26-June 4, Prayer for Reconciliation & Christian Unity

May 27 June National Week of Reconciliation and Week of Prayer for Reconciliation.

May 27 Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum which allowed the Federal Government to grant citizenship rights to Indigenous Australians.  Note that this Referendum saw the highest ‘yes’ vote ever recorded in a Federal Referendum, with 91% of the Australian people voting for change.  This meant that Indigenous Australians were to be included in the Census, and responsibility for them would lie with the Federal Government rather than with the States.

Further Resources

Blessed Are You Peacemakers

Blessed are you peacemakers, who say no to war as a means to peace.

Blessed are you peacemakers, who are committed to disarm weapons of mass destruction.

Blessed are you peacemakers, who wage peace at heroic personal cost.

Blessed are you peacemakers, who challenge and confront judges, courts & prisons.

Blessed are the peacemakers, who help those who are hurting.

Blessed are the peacemakers, who befriend perfect strangers.

Blessed are the peacemakers, who open doors for acting justly,

loving tenderly and walking humbly with God and all people of good will.

Blessed are the peacemakers, who welcome, encourage and inspire.

Blessed are the peacemakers, who offer hope and healing.

Blessed are the peacemakers, who care and comfort.

Blessed are the peacemakers, who help find answers.

Blessed are the peacemakers, who provide stability not insanity.

Blessed are the peacemakers, who help restore faith and love.

Blessed are the peacemakers, who delight in creation, art & creativity.

Blessed are the peacemakers, who see the good in others.

Blessed are the peacemakers, who never give up.

Blessed are the peacemakers, who give and give and give.

Fr. Paul Milanowski Grand Rapids, Michigan

I don't know a more irreligious attitude, one more utterly bankrupt of any human content, than one which permits children to be destroyed.

Daniel Berrigan, Jesuit priest, peace activist

I believe that if we had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-soaked fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own -- and if unfortunately their revolution must be of the violent type because the ‘haves’ refuse to share with the ‘have-nots’ by any peaceful method, at least what they get will be their own, and not the American style, which they don't want and above all don't want crammed down their throats by Americans.

General David M. Shoup, Commandant of the Marine Corps 1960-63, winner of the Congressional Medal of Honour.

He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.

St Thomas Aquinas

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

To arrive at the heart of the meaning of loving, we must spend time with Jesus, who makes explicit God’s love and loving action in the world.  Jesus life defines what the Gospel means by love: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

To follow this commandment, we must embrace the whole of Jesus way of loving.  Christian love is often reduced to sentimentality, niceness, politeness. 

Loving as Jesus loves includes -

v  challenging corruption and deceits,

v  caring for the welfare of our enemies,

v  lending without expecting to be repaid,

v  forgiving seventy time seven those who hurt us,

v  turning the other cheek,

v  giving without wanting gratitude or praise,

v  confronting with naked honesty the hypocrisies of religion,

v  expressing anger when one’s fellows are being exploited,

v  cleansing the temple,

v  embracing outcastes and welcoming sinners,

v  accepting that in some circumstances misunderstanding will be our lot;

v  that rejection and suffering may be the only apparent result of our holiest efforts.

Centre of Concern

No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite

Eric Bibb, Black song writer and singer

They say that we are disturbing the peace,

but there is no peace.

What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war.

Howard Zinn

Every single member of my family on both sides was exterminated. Both of my parents were in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. And it is precisely and exactly because of the lessons my parents taught me and my two siblings that I will not be silent when Israel commits its crimes against the Palestinians.

Norman Finkelstein - http://bit.ly/IQb7AE

There is only one-way in which one can endure man's inhumanity to man and that is to try, in one's own life, to exemplify man's humanity to man.

Alan Paton

It is certainly dangerous for a state when its citizens have a conscience; what it needs is men without conscience, or, better still, men whose conscience is quite in conformity with reasons of state, men in whom the feeling of personal responsibility has been replaced by the automatic impulse to act in the interests of the state.

Michael E. Coughlan, 1978, Rocker, Culture and Nationalism, p.197

It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.

Samuel Adams

Dissent is what rescues democracy from a quiet death behind closed doors.

Lewis H. Lapham

The death of a single human being is too heavy a price for the vindication of any principle, however sacred.

Daniel Berrigan sj

These are the men who, without virtue, labour, or hazard, are growing rich, as their country is impoverished; they rejoice, when obstinacy or ambition adds another year to slaughter and devastation; and laugh, from their desks, at bravery and science, while they are adding figure to figure, and cipher to cipher, hoping for a new contract from a new armament, and computing the profits of a siege or tempest.

Samuel Johnson

As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.

Clarence Darrow

We've forgotten that a rich life consists fundamentally of serving others, trying to leave the world a little better than you found it. We need the courage to question the powers that be, the courage to be impatient with evil and patient with people, the courage to fight for social justice. In many instances we will be stepping out on nothing, and just hoping to land on something. But that's the struggle. To live is to wrestle with despair, yet never allow despair to have the last word.

Cornel West, from The Impossible Will Take a Little While

Let us understand

The gravity of our situation.

Let us understand

That our only redemption

Is love.

Love for a small, endangered planet

On which we are utterly dependent.

Only love can transform us

From plunderers and savages

Into Earthkeepers and peacemakers.

Only love can show us

The integrity and rights

Of all other beings.

Only love can open our eyes

To the truth and beauty

That surround us.

Only love can teach us

The humility we need

To live on this Earth.

And only love can now save us

From extinction.

Mary de La Valette, Poet and activist, Gaia Institute, Massachusetts

We look with uncertainty

Beyond the old choices for

Clear-cut answers

to a softer, more permeable aliveness
Which is every moment

At the brink of death;

For something new is being born in us

If we but let it.

We stand at a new doorway,

Awaiting that which comes…..

Daring to be human creatures.

Vulnerable to the beauty of existence.

Learning to love.

Anne Hilman, Author and international lecturer, California

The world is dangerous not because of those who do harm

but because of those who look at it without doing anything

Robert Stewart

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent

Issac Asimov

The only thing that's been a worse flop than the organization of non-violence has been the organization of violence.

Joan Baez

Before the terrifying prospects now available to humanity, we see even more clearly that peace is the only goal worth struggling for. This is no longer a prayer but a demand to be made by all peoples to their governments - a demand to choose definitively between hell and reason.

Albert Camus, On the bombing of Hiroshima - in the resistance newspaper Combat, August 8, 1945

There are causes worth dying for,

but none worth killing for.

Albert Camus

You can bomb the world into pieces,

but you can't bomb it into peace.

Michael Franti

But it was impossible to save the Great Republic. She was rotten to the heart. Lust of conquest had long ago done its work; trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home; multitudes who had applauded the crushing of other people's liberties, lived to suffer for their mistake in their own persons. The government was irrevocably in the hands of the prodigiously rich and their hangers-on; the suffrage was become a mere machine, which they used as they chose. There was no principle but commercialism, no patriotism but of the pocket.

Mark Twain

Today the tyrant rules not by club or fist, but disguised as a market researcher, he shepherds his flocks in the ways of utility and comfort.

Marshall McLuhan (1951)

A time will come when a politician who has willfully made war and promoted international dissension will be as sure of the dock and much surer of the noose than a private homicide. It is not reasonable that those who gamble with men's lives should not stake their own.

H.G. Wells

Don't ever let them pull you down so low as to hate them. (also cited as: I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.]

Booker T. Washington

I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream -- a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man's skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

What is hateful...is not rebellion but the despotism which induces the rebellion;

what is hateful are not rebels but the men, who, having the enjoyment of power,

do not discharge the duties of power;

they are the men who, having the power to redress wrongs,

refuse to listen to the petitioners that are sent to them;

they are the men who, when they are asked for a loaf, give a stone.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

At the heart of racism is the religious assertion that God made a creative mistake when He brought some people into being.

Friedrich Otto Hertz

This focus on money and power may do wonders in the marketplace, but it creates a tremendous crisis in our society. People who have spent all day learning how to sell themselves and to manipulate others are in no position to form lasting friendships or intimate relationships... Many Americans hunger for a different kind of society -- one based on principles of caring, ethical and spiritual sensitivity, and communal solidarity. Their need for meaning is just as intense as their need for economic security.

Rabbi Michael Lerner

Abide with us, Great God of relationship and love;

that we may abide in you–

bravely living each day open to new challenges;

fiercely loving those you have given us to care for;

and earnestly seeking in all we do

to seek justice, to love kindness,

and to walk humbly wherever you lead. Amen

Reflections on the readings…….

Today’s gospel contains Jesus’ final message to his disciples with the reminder that now, because of the resurrection, God is constantly enlarging the boundaries of love, and invites them and us to adapt our lives to ever inclusive patterns of love. The gospel also affirms us: ‘You are my friends!’ I call you friends, said Jesus. I chose you; I love you. Love one another, remain in me and bear good fruit. The readings are brimming with words of affirmation for us. Today’s gospel reading comes from Jesus’ farewell discourses at the Last Supper.  Though we are still in Easter time, Jesus’ discourse is about farewell, assurances, final instructions and promises. He promises to remain with them and the church. He has not come for a set period of time to get things going and then go away and may be return to see how we went – pass or fail! He did not come to live a model human life for us to imitate and then leave us on our own to live up to his example. 

A book I like to go back to, called The Help by Kathryn Stockett tells the story of 12 black women who worked as maids in wealthy families in 1960’s Mississippi. One of the books figures, Miss Eugenie ‘Skeeter’ Phelan, who has recently graduated from university,  shares the stories of these domestic workers (or ‘the help’) in their own words. They are fearful and initially reluctant to tell of their struggles as they raise the children and attend to domestic duties of people where there were still racist laws and segregation.

One of ‘the help’, Aibileen, tells of her attempts to raise a child (Mae Mobley), whose mother ignored her as she was disappointed in her ordinary appearance and slow ways. Aibileen uses every opportunity to show affection to this child and encourage her each day with the word, ‘Mae Mobley, you is kind, you is smart, you is important.’

In the readings we are assured that no one is beyond God’s reach and concerns. In the Acts of the Apostles, Peter reassures his hearers: ‘You are filled with the Holy Spirit!’ He uses an inclusive ‘you’ – Jews and gentiles. We see from this story that even the Roman soldier, Cornelius, was not beyond God’s concerns. The beauty of the story is how Peter slowly coming to understand the God’s open heart to all. It is heartening that we are in process. Never perfect.

Again, God’s love for the community is affirmed in 1 John: ‘You are loved!’ Jesus’ appearances since his rising from the dead, seem to be constant affirmations to his followers that they are loved and because of that love are encouraged to enlarge their hearts, break-down barriers, and enlarge our horizons in order to ‘incarnate’ or ‘enflesh’ God’s love for us into concrete expressions of love for others.  Naomi Klein in Windows and Fences can offer us a challenge as we gather, to ask, ‘Who's missing? Who's not here who should be here?’

The powerful affirmations of regard and relationship with God in Christ cannot stop with us. We are called to give as we have received-unconditionally. We are also to affirm, encourage, raise up, love and do justice for others. They too are friends of Jesus. These affirmations make it possible for us to come together and share the ‘mercy’, the ‘compassion’ that flows from God passion for us.

Jesus is stretching us so that we might open places in our lives to love anyone who considered ‘other’ in our church or society. If we take our relationship with Jesus seriously – that of friend rather than servant – then our orientation towards the other takes on new meaning. We see this clearly in Peter’s response in the reading from Acts. Being regarded as friend by Jesus is more than a nice feeling of intimacy but empowers us to love our neighbour as he did.

We have all had some experience of meeting people different to us, sitting with them and listening to them, getting to know them and then finding that our position, our perspective and standpoint can and does shift. Peter realised that what God has made clean should not be considered profane or unclean. This explodes the ‘us and them’ mentality and promotes the ‘we and they.’

Peter’s encounters with gentile or non-Jewish people (originally considered beyond God’s concern) forced him to reexamine his own history, his training, and his prejudices. The risk for Peter and his companions prior to meeting with Cornelius was to make the Gospel more exclusive. Peter’s amazement that ‘even the Gentiles’ receive the Spirit follows the original difficulty to ‘get’ or ‘comprehend’ the radical inclusiveness of God’s reign that always encompasses the people we consider strangers, enemies, and the unclean. We see that exclusiveness again in many places in threats to gay and lesbian people in the church and in society. It is a painful reminder that we need to continue to work to understand and embrace the radical inclusiveness of God’s reign. Six years ago as Austrian priest, shortly before Communion, outrageously announced that only Catholics in the state of grace should come for Communion. This would have excluded divorced and remarried Catholics as well as those who did not attend weekly Mass. The powerful lesson coming from the people was, according to reports, that not one adult came forward to receive Communion. The congregation demonstratively remained seated.

The affirmations we heard in the readings challenge any attempts to reestablish boundaries to limit God’s loving action in our world. Was this not behind the re-wording in the words of consecration in the Eucharistic Prayer - “It will be shed for ‘you and for all’ changed to ‘given for many’”. Just who is included in the ‘many’?  We know that any attempt to limit God’s presence and love in people different to us is to fundamentally treat them as ‘less then ourselves’. In its extremes we saw this in the Crusades, Apartheid, the genocide of Indigenous peoples, the Armenian genocide or the massacre of 100’s of Yazedis in Syria just this week, the killing fields in Cambodia and the Balkans, the Holocaust, Rwanda, the oppression of the Tamils in Sri Lanka that continues despite the end of the war, the indifference to people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa, and discrimination and equality attributed to women and homosexuals.

Peter realised, as we must, that God has no boundaries and the Spirit goes beyond the boundaries of our communities and blesses the ‘outsider’. We realise that our solidarity with others does not depend on a particular language because solidarity has many languages - as love has many languages. Peter saw that we cannot refuse to recognise what God is clearly doing – and that the Spirit has come upon all people. We need to invoke Peter’s simple reasoning. ‘Is there evidence that God’s Spirit is active among the people on the other side?’ If it is ‘yes’ then we need to pull down the barricades and welcome them. Recently, in a beautiful eulogy for one of our MSC Brothers, the former provincial said, ‘When we gather to say farewell and give thanks for someone in our Christian community we ask the question: where and how did the life of God shine forth in this person?’ No doubt this is what Peter also had in mind as he came to understand how wide and deep is God’s love for all. Peter like all of us had, and have, blind spots. This beautiful brother had later in his life troubled by what he called a serious “blind spot” in his views about gay people and was concerned that he may have said some things in mixed company and offended people he loved and cared about. He had discovered that he had worked with people on various committees  who were in fact in committed gay relationships and even attended the same mass that he did. He resolved that he would write a letter to the Southern Highland News to apologise for any comments he had made that may have offended people. He received a very positive response from that. As the preachers said, ‘He was a man open to listening, learning and new understandings as he grew through his years. His life lived with integrity.’

The is some controversy in the church at the moment where some people seem to be complaining on the fact that much of our talk is about love, mercy and compassion. Pope Francis has taken many hits from those who want to have a more legalistic approach to people and their behaviour. They seek the stricter black and white demands and commands they remember from childhood. The teaching on love, mercy, and compassion is not a recent innovation or something trendy. This is Jesus’ teaching for us today when he speaks to us as friend. Servants, whose lives are dictated by the one in authority over them, follow rules. God’s love in Jesus is the foundation of our faith and life. God’s love is unconditional. We do not have to earn it.  All that we are asked is to live out the consequences of that love.  We are his friends, and we are called to ‘befriend’ others. Jesus knows the world will be rough on those who follow him and his teachings.  He wants them/us to know that, no matter how difficult things get, they/we are beloved. ‘Success’ will not be based by the standards of achievement, stature, property acquired, popularity that we tend to use. They will not be measurable signs which people usually associate with a successful life. What they and we have are his words, ‘As the Father loves me, I also love you...remain in my love.’


The love Jesus speaks of is not the love for dearest one. It has nothing to do with liking someone. It means being willing to go out of the way for others; acting in the best interests of another; assisting when they need help. Jesus’ death on the cross is a perfect reflection of how God feels about us. God loved us, was willing to go out of the way to show us that love, and acted for our well-being.


Easter is coming to an end, and Pentecost is two weeks from catching fire. Love is the passion/energy of God's justice, and joy is its mark. This love and joy should mark our worship and witness.  We are called to be reflections of God; to mirror God’s love.  To arrive at the heart of the meaning of loving, we must spend time with Jesus, who makes explicit God’s love and loving action in the world. Let us be like the beloved disciple, John, who placed his ear close to the heart of Jesus, to be attuned to his love, whilst looking outwards to the world. Let us spend time with Jesus whose life defines what the Gospel means by love: ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ In the words of today’s psalm, Let us sing to the Lord a new song!’

 6th