20. Jun, 2018

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday

INTRODUCTION

Today is the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time and the day that the Australian Bishops have invited us to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday. Today we acknowledge that God has been walking with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, making his presence known through a continuous living culture over many thousands of years. We pray in thanksgiving for these ancient peoples who have enriched and sustained our continent over all that time. In particular we praise God for the people who nurtured the land here in our parish that we call home.

 

HOMILY

The theme for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday is: Because of her, we can. The ‘her’ is a reference to strong women in our lives - our mothers, daughters, aunties, grandmothers, sisters - and also to Mary, Mother of God. More than ever we need strong women who, like Mary, find their strength in God.

This theme questions the relationship between men and women which is a pillar of creation. Are we saying that in this relationship women are stronger than men? It may be that women are more resilient towards pain hence the man flu! It is my experience that men tend to want to be show chivalry and tend to desire to take care of the woman they fall in love with. And women tend to want this? Doesn’t this tell us men are stronger?

Even if the reverse were true (and I was only kidding), or the relationship was equal (in that sense), what makes the relationship between men and women strong and a pillar of creation is their fidelity towards each other. This fidelity can only truly flourish when they rely on God, and not themselves, to take care of them. Men and women who find their strength in God are the pillars of creation.

Today’s Gospel praises the strength of a women’s faith. This story is told by Mark, Matthew, and Luke. In all three, the strength-of-faith of the woman is what we must  aspire to imitate. Two females are sick, the woman with the haemorrhage for 12 years, and a 12-year-old girl. The woman’s faith is the key to interpreting what happens to the little girl: faith unleashes the saving power of Jesus.

Hearers of the Gospel are to conclude that faith unleashes God’s saving power in our lives. But are we like the onlookers in the story who have no faith? We may not ridicule the saving power of Jesus like those who laughed at him but is God’s power evident in our lives? We can become lukewarm and resist Jesus’ call to be faithful and follow him in the way of life set out in the Gospels. Two questions arise from the Gospel: In living of our Christian faith are we an onlooker? Do we need a crisis such as sickness for us to turn to Jesus to save us?

More than ever we need women and men who find their strength in God. We must not be onlookers and outsiders in the spiritual life. Let us pray that our faith in Jesus is strong among our Indigenous brothers and sisters and among Christ’s Body in Australia as a whole. May finding our strength in God be the pillar that unites us all.  

 

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

We pray for Pope Francis, all Bishops, Clergy, Religious and Deacons : that they will be guided by the Holy Spirit when making decisions that are inclusive of all. Let us pray to the Lord.

R. Lord hear our Prayer.

We pray for the disadvantaged, vulnerable, homeless and outcasts who are experiencing pain and suffering: that they may be treated with dignity and respect. Let us pray to the Lord.

R. Lord hear our Prayer.             

We pray for all young people: that they be guided by the Holy Spirit and find the love that the Lord has for them.

R. Lord hear our Prayer.

We pray for all in our communities who are sick and dying, especially those without anyone to care for them: that Mary, the Mother of Sorrows, will help us to be brothers and sisters to those who suffer.

R. Lord hear our Prayer.

We pray for a spirit of reconciliation in Australia: that all who live and work together will share this blessed land with their brothers and sisters.

R. Lord hear our Prayer.

We pray, in communion with the Mother of God, for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: that they will be healed of all injustices and look forward to the future with hope in the Risen Lord.

R. Lord hear our Prayer.

We pray in union with St Mary of the Cross MacKillop: that we will follow her bold example of living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

R. Lord hear our Prayer.

Conclusion

Gracious and loving God, we ask you to hear our prayers through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

ABORIGINAL OUR FATHER

You are our Father, you live in heaven,

We talk to you. Father you are good.

You are our Father, you live in heaven,

We talk to you. Father you are good.

We believe your word, Father,

We are your children, give us bread today.

We believe your word, Father,

We are your children, give us bread today.

We have done wrong, we are sorry,

Teach us, Father, all about your Word.

We have done wrong, we are sorry,

Teach us, Father, all about your Word.

Others have done wrong to us,

And we are sorry for them, Father, today.

Others have done wrong to us,

And we are sorry for them, Father, today.

Stop us from doing wrong, Father,

Save us all from the evil one.

Stop us from doing wrong, Father,

Save us all from the Evil One.

You are our Father, you live in heaven,

We talk to you, Father, you are good.

You are our Father, you live in heaven,

We talk to you, Father, you are good