• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Tuesday, 30 July 2019 11:38

We have not cared and loved enough

 

Fr Asaeli Raass profile pic 150There is no second-guessing, the current life-style of many Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples is a battle ground for people who care. Who else in the world is suffering from dispossession, relocation and separation without having to leave their country? You don’t need to visit off-shore detention centres to feel the misery of a people longing for full liberation.

The massive challenges facing the first peoples of this land are far from over. Like everyone else on this planet, the needs are real because the people are real. The ministry today is absolutely hard yakka for anyone willing to have a crack at it. It affects everyone who dares to make a difference and as for me, after 11 years in the Northern Territory – what’s left is a “thorn in the side of this parish”. It’s something that God probably gives to his people as a “gift” to those who live side by side but very far apart. Whilst it causes restlessness and tensions in the body of Christ, I hope it could become a positive motivating factor to do something more about God’s mission in Central Australia.

Our parish has 16 Aboriginal Catholic communities scattered far and wide in the Tanami and Simpson deserts. How does a single Catholic Chaplain, Fr Olivier Noclam SVD, even attempt to adequately meet their sacramental needs and look after himself? Is there a better model of being Church in remote desert communities than relying solely on the one priest? What has happened to the baptismal priesthood of all believers? Can we give Aboriginal desert dwellers other life-giving alternatives whilst remaining true to their Catholicity?

Our response should be a resounding yes. But the missionaries’ hands are tied and therefore not free. What the Church is probably refusing to see is the creativity of God’s Spirit in the lives of desert dwellers. My hope and prayer is that the upcoming Plenary Council 2020 will seriously re-look into how we engage in God’s vineyard today.

It’s also sad to see how the massive rate of westernisation of everything is placing so much pressure on culture, language and biodiversity of this great land. In the name of progress, local entrepreneurs and rich people have continued to make substantial revenue in return for exploiting minerals initially owned by the Aboriginal peoples. The Catholic Church in Australia really needs to see the violence perpetrated by greed and mindless acquisition of wealth that produces just rotten fruits.

Jesus says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” (Luke 10:2). The Spirit of the Desert is now calling for any Catholic Bishop of Australia or Provincial of Religious Orders to have a go at it. Yes, for a new category of laborers who are willing to risk, to offer something new, exciting, and life-giving by eliciting the Aboriginal people’s deepest aspirations and bringing them to fulfillment. Let’s not add more religious restrictions but invite our first peoples of the land to enjoy the freedom of God’s children as exemplified by Jesus Christ 2000 years ago.

In my homily on NATSICC Sunday and at the beginning of NAIDOC Week, I expressed my deep sorrow and apologies to all the traditional custodians of this land on which this church has been built.

• For the many times we have ignored you on the streets of Alice Springs, I am sorry.
• For the many times we have not invited your family for dinner, I am sorry.
• For the many times we have not attempted to fight the good fight with you, I am sorry.
• For the many times we have shut the door in your face, I am sorry.
• For the many times we have not been relevant, I am sorry.
• For the many times we have not recognised the creativity of God’s Spirit in your culture, I am sorry.

If at the end of the day, this parish has not cared and loved you enough, I pray that you may take comfort in the prophesies of Isaiah, “Like a son comforted by his mother will I comfort you”, Isaiah 66:10-14.

* This message was taken from Fr Raass' homily delivered on the Celebration of NATSICC Sunday 2019, OLSH Parish, Central Australia.

Yours in the Word,

Fr Asaeli Raass SVD

Vice-Provincial

(Provincial, Fr Henry Adler SVD, is currently on home-leave)