Jesus I know is no cold, hard Iron-Christ; nor does Jesus
deserve to be reduced to smug, glib and uncompassionate
irrelevancies when the real meaning of His love is what
people need so desperately.
is Worthy?" Ted Kennedy
month we prepare for Christmas. The world distracts
us from what this time is really about. Consumerism
and commercialism seem to go mad. Here are a few
thoughts to encourage us to reflect quietly at this
following reflections were complied by “the Missionaries
of the sacred Heart Justice and Peace Centre and
the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Justice office.”
Even the Smallest Seed
A seed in the ground.
A flame in the darkness. A hand outstretched. A
child in the womb. Hope starts small and overtakes
us, stretching the borders of what we have known....
Hope starts small,
even as a seed in the womb, but it feeds on outrageous
possibilities. It beckons us to step out with the
belief that the action we take will not only bear
fruit but that in taking it, we have already made
a difference in the world. God invites us, like
Mary, to open to God's radical leading, to step
out with sometimes inexplicable faith, trusting
that we will find sustenance.
Jan Richardson, Night Vision,
Without Justice there can be no Peace
"Peace is not merely the absence
of war. Nor can it be reduced solely to the maintenance
of a balance of power between enemies. Nor is it
brought about by dictatorship. Instead, it is rightly
and appropriately called "an enterprise of
(Is. 32:7). Peace results from that harmony built
into human society by its divine founder, and actualized
by men and women as they thirst after ever greater
Vatican II, The Church in the Modern World, #78
our eyes -
Advent prayer Cloth for the Cradle, The Wild
Goose Worship Group, 1997
|Open our eyes, Lord,
especially if they are half-shut
because we are tired of looking,
or half open
because we fear to see too much,
or bleared with tears
because yesterday and today and tomorrow
are filled with the same pain,
because we look only at what we want to see.
Open our eyes, Lord
To gently scan the life we lead,
the home we have,
the world we inhabit,
and so to find,
among the gremlins and the greyness,
signs of hope we can fasten on and encourage.
Give us, whose eyes are dimmed by
a bigger vision of what you can do
even with hopeless
cases and lost causes
and people of limited ability.
riddled by debt, deceit and disbelief,
shot through with possibility
for recovery, renewal, and redemption.
And lest we fail to distinguish vision
today, tomorrow, this open our eyes to one person
or one place,
where we – being even for a moment prophetic –
might identify and earn a potential in the waiting.
And with all this,
open our eyes, in yearning, for Jesus.
On the mountains,
in the cities,
through the corridors of power
and streets of despair,
to help, to heal, to confront, to convert, O come,
O come, Immanuel.
Advent – Hope, Listen, Prepare ,Search, Light and
The Advent call is
to break down barriers that separate us from others:
to find in others, including those different from
us culturally, sexually, ethnically and people of
other faiths the potential for a new humanity.
So Advent is a time
of active searching searching for the ‘spark’ of Jesus
in others and seeking hope when doomsayers say there
is no hope.
Can we make Advent
into an intense time of looking for, and listening
for, the hope planted by God within us? Can we make
it a time of refusing to accept darkness, despair,
and violence as inevitable parts of our lives? Can
we try to put some light and truth into places in
order to overcome the deceit and lies around us? Though
Advent falls during our summer and falls during winter
in the Northern hemisphere, Albert Camus’ words are
a challenge to us: ‘In the midst of winter, I
finally learned that there was in me an invincible
And.. “The Word Became Flesh”…
This is a time for
dreams and visions being made flesh in our lives.
This is a time of hoping outrageously for
peace now, for passionate repentance, for justice
to come among us. It
is about looking God in the eye, and rejoicing that
this God is on the side of the poor especially when
they are blamed for their situation; the immigrants,
the persons seeking asylum who are blamed and targeted
for their plight; the family struggling in the system
and falling through the cracks and being blamed for
being unemployed; the person living with AIDS in Africa
and Asia and Latin America who cannot receive medication
that would slow down the progress of his/her sickness.
What happens in the
End Time will depend on our attitudes and commitments.
No longer a threat from flood – but certainly nuclear
disaster. If we have loved and served, if we have
promoted justice and sought peace, if we have stood
up when people are unfairly marginalized, if we have
struggled for a more just world, we will have
no reason to fear. Things will be different
if we do not allow ourselves to be seduced by the
vanity with which the merchants want us to celebrate
these holidays: in feasts and drunkenness, in self-centred
wastefulness, fights and quarrels, forgetting the
poor and the little ones who are God's favoured ones.
Advent - not
a matter of 'killing time". It is a time of hope,
not just waiting. To wait with hope is to desire something
so passionately that one gives all of oneself to make
happen what we are waiting for. God has not promised
us the Reign as a fateful sentence, but as an exciting
task and mission.
long march with a sacred purpose
Age November 26, 2004
Michael Long's walk to Canberra is both symbolic
and practical, writes Larry Schwartz.
white four-wheel-drive pulled up on a Victorian country
road. The driver waved a greeting at a small group
of men who had joined ex-Essendon footballer Michael
Long on his walk to Canberra. "Enough in that
trailer for all of us," Paul Briggs, 51, a Shepparton-based
Yorta Yorta elder, said as he returned the driver's
smile. The blue trailer in tow was empty.
Briggs, who had joined
the walk from Wallan after a call from Long, saw some
symbolism in the journey. "We're quite prepared
as Aboriginal people to endure and to reach out and
to put some sweat and toil behind making this nation
a better one - if we're given the right opportunity
and consultations are real consultations," he
The symbolic nature
of the walk drew criticism from some quarters. "A
long march that can solve nothing," said an editorial
in The Australian. Such an endeavour, it cautioned,
"sends a signal to other Aborigines that there
is a prospect of progress in symbolic gestures. But
as the reconciliation bridge walks demonstrated, such
statements do not solve practical problems . . ."
So what of the small
group who came out to join Long? "I've never
been part of something like this," said Alan
Thorpe, 36, senior coach of Shepparton's Rumbalara
football club. "It does a lot for your soul and
your spirit, just walking the country . . . If we
can get some good outcomes at the end of it, that
will top it off."
His long hair flowing
from his peaked cap, 11-year-old Bunjil Lovett was
with his father, Brian. "I'm walking to represent
the country and myself, my family," Bunjil said.
For Darwin-born Long,
who had set out to see Prime Minister John Howard
with a sense of desperation about the living conditions
of Aborigines, the walk reflected traditional practices
of his people.
of Long's chances of success, it never occurred
to me this might be some futile exercise.
"They used to
walk to go to meeting places, dancing places, ceremonial
places, sacred places," he explained. "We
walk. It's a sense of belonging and connection to
The word "pilgrimage" is derived from the
Latin "peligrinus", meaning foreigner or
wayfarer. In a 1998 book, The Art of Pilgrimage, author
Phil Cousineau writes that it might also be traced
to the Latin "per agrum", "through
It was a sense that
seems apt now, as I think back to the few kilometres
I walked with Long and others on a hot day, flanked
by farmland of central Victoria.
that the earliest recorded pilgrimage was "accorded
to Abraham, who left Ur, 4000 years ago, seeking the
inscrutable presence of God in the vast desert".
The author says the
popular religious pilgrimages in the Middle Ages might
be regarded as a forerunner of modern tourism and
suggests that it is possible to "turn an ordinary
trip into a sacred one".
He cites examples
including an American woman, calling herself the Peace
Pilgrim, who from 1953 set out walking across the
country, with a message of world peace, lecturing,
talking and distributing pamphlets. By 1964 she stopped
counting after more than 25,000 miles. "A pilgrim
is a wanderer with a purpose," she once said.
"A pilgrimage can be to a place - that's the
best known kind - but it can also be for a thing.
Mine is for peace . . ."
Long wants to meet
the Prime Minister to urge him to take urgent measures
for indigenous Australians. "We need action,"
he said. "We can't wait. People are dying."
Regardless of his
chances of success, it never occurred to me that this
might be some futile exercise. Even if it is just
a desperate act to draw attention to the distress
of a marginalised people, it seems irresponsible to
dismiss it as a "long march that can solve nothing".
When Long thanked
me for joining them (briefly, I must note) on the
walk, I told him it was a privilege. It was. When
he passed me his bottle of water and insisted I finish
it, it was not with a view to symbolism but quenching
Larry Schwartz is a staff writer.
Gilbert 's 2004 University of NSW Faculty of Law Valedictory
Dinner Address was
distributed with the December issue of Thoughts for
Collated by Sheila Quonoey