Vol 39 No 4
WELCOME THE STRANGER
HOLY, OR SAINTLY?
MINISTRY APPRAISAL: ONE PRIEST'S EXPERIENCE
THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY: SOME REFLECTIONS ON THE BIBLICAL DATA
VOICES OF THE WOMEN
THE ABUSE OF MINORS: A CINEMA RESOURCE
NEW RELIGIOUS BOOKS BY AUSTRALASIAN AUTHORS
AND THERE IS A TIME to celebrate ourselves. We need to celebrate who we
are, not because we are great people in ourselves, nor because we have
something we can boast about, but we need to celebrate the fact that God
in his wisdom has chosen us to be his instruments. We should celebrate
like Mary as she prayed her Magnificat, 'The Lord has done great things
for me.' Mary's Magnificat is the prayer of the whole church:
My Spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her nothingness (...)
The Almighty works marvels for me [and through me].
Holy his name!
The third Sunday of Advent, the Sunday just passed as I write this, is
called Laetare Sunday'Rejoice Sunday', a Sunday for celebrating.
The liturgy for that Sunday makes it clear that we are celebrating ourselves,
celebrating who we are as a Christian community: unworthy, obstructive
sometimes, but instruments that God chooses to enable his kingdom to come
in our world.
We are to be like John the Baptist, who was not the light, but gave witness
to the light. Like John, we are to let people know that there is a light,
to point in its direction and let others know that if they look closely
enough they may catch a glimpse of the light.
The passage from the prophet Isaiah (61:1-2) describes us when it describes
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners...
Perhaps we often get in the way, but our God is not easily put off. He
can use us to reflect at least a little of his light. He can enable Christ
to be present in usand where Jesus is present there is freedom and
joy. Through us our God can bring companionship to the lonely, a little
ease to those who are in pain. Through our words he can bring comfort
and relieve fears. Perhaps the way we handle our own fears, sufferings
and struggles can be the way in which God assists others to deal with
During Advent we pray and long for the Lord to come and establish his
kingdom of freedom, light and joy in our world. A reflection of that kingdom
can be glimpsed in the lives and conduct of his faithful people. We give
witness that the Saviour is coming.
The liturgy of Laetare Sunday invited us to celebrate all that, to celebrate
who we are as unworthy instruments, but instruments nonetheless, at least
The weekend of Laetare Sunday coincided with the weekend for celebrating
the Centenary of the Australian Province of the Missionaries of the Sacred
Heart. On the Saturday we participated in a splendidly appropriate Eucharistic
celebrationa large throng of worshippers sprinkled with distinguished
guests, both ecclesiastical and civil. The liturgy was expressive of a
stirring mix of cultures, ancient and modern. Then followed dinner under
a big top on the Kensington monastery oval, with keynote address and speeches.
There was no triumphalism, no over-blown rhetoric about past achievements.
The day recognised both the need for repentance and reasons for celebrationthe
dark and the light of our province's one-hundred-year story.
The Mass of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception was celebrated, the
8th December being our province's birthday. The theme of that feast is
a celebration of the coming of the Son of God and Saviour, with Mary's
Magnificat as the sub-theme. Our story is about our all-too-human endeavour
to make the heart of God known in the whole world; and we re-echo Mary's
prayer of wonder and awe, as we take her 'Let it be done to me' as the
model response to God's call.
One hundred years is a long time; many have toiled with great dedication
to spread the good news of God's love in many different fields within
Australia and abroad. We must have made some difference, and we feel justified
in taking some satisfaction from that thought.
It is uphill work: powerful forces work against God's plans. Subjects
raised in this issue of Compass refer to on-going struggles with powers
of darkness: our nation's treatment of refugees and asylum seekers; poor
self-esteem and disrespect for the human body; the long struggle to enable
women to make their contribution to the common good; abuse of minors.
The list is endless. And at this moment whole suburbs of Sydney are being
terrorised by thugs fired up by racism and alcohol. We are reaping the
harvest from the 'Children Overboard' and Tampa affairs, detention behind
razor wire, and campaigns of fear that implicitly target certain ethnic
groups within Australian society.
The kingdom of peace, justice, love and mutual respect still seems a long
way off. There is much to be done; we cannot dally long in celebration
Barry Brundell MSC, Editor