27. Jun, 2016

The Kingdom of God and a Seventh Aboriginal-owned State

The Kingdom of God and a Seventh Aboriginal-owned State

Rejoicing is a theme that runs through the first reading (Isaiah 66:10-14) and the Gospel (Luke 10:1-12, 17-20). For the Jews, the joy erupts from having been returned to their homeland after having being exiles in a foreign land. In the Gospel, the apostles are rejoicing that their names are written in heaven. They have come back to Jesus after their missionary efforts.

In fact, this Gospel is often used for Mission Sunday. Today (1st Sunday in July) it is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday. The question, however, begging to be asked is then: how much rejoicing is there among Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders? Probably not so much. Today is a wonderful day to reflect on what we might be able to do to help them feel this joy of the Jews at getting their land back/coming back to their land, or the joy of the apostles whose names were written in heaven.

You know at one time I really disliked Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. We studied this at the seminary. I disproved of the fact sexual needs were at the base (along with other physical needs) and took a disliking to it - along with Freud who talked about the development of the personality in terms of sexuality. However, I was missing the point of Maslow.

The insight of Maslow is that our basic human needs need to be met first prior to our even being able to get our head around higher needs such as self-esteem needs, for example. The practicality of this is if a person—a people—cannot be assured of having their basic human needs being met, there is no way their minds can turn to learning and integrating a complex faith such as Christianity. Particularly a foreign faith brought to them by the people who displaced them from their lands. How could this have ever made sense? How could they have ever prayed to the God who brought this calamity upon them?

So my dear brothers and sisters, today is a day to genuinely show compassion to our Indigenous brothers and sisters who are still in need of having their basic needs met. Let us not judge them (or us)! First we must look to their most basic needs. All else will follow. Then there will be rejoicing – true rejoicing of one nation reconciled in Christ, in God. But we need more than talk for this to happen.

Constitutional Change?

Do we need constitutional change? Prominent Indigenous Australians have thrown their weight behind the possibility of constitutional change and a treaty, (please follow the link) http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-03/indigenous-australians-on-treaty-or-constitutional-recognition/7469348

Beyond constitutional recognition and even a treaty, the lawyer and activist Michael Mansell has proposed an Aboriginal-controlled seventh state with economy raising powers as a way forward. There are precedents in the Westminster system - the Inuit territory in northern Canada and the devolution of power in Scotland.

Michael Mansell says a seventh - or first - state on defined territory, such as Aboriginal-owned or native title lands, would be a treaty in practice (please follow the link to the podcast) http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2016/05/aye_20160521_1845.mp3