• 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

  • 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

  • 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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Wednesday, 27 November 2019 12:24

Advent reflections on being a Church at the margins


Henry Headshot 2019 150 Light backgroundAs we head into the Advent season of preparation and reflection, Pope Francis’ recent trips to Thailand and Japan illustrate for us yet again, one of the key messages of his papacy – we must be a Church that goes out to the margins.

Both Japan and Thailand are countries with only a tiny percentage of Christians, but Pope Francis travelled all the way from Rome to encourage and support them, as well as to meet with the leaders and people of other faiths.

In Thailand, he spoke of the need to share our faith not by proselytising but by attracting people to the person of Jesus Christ, to a relationship with Him. And we do this by living our own faith joyously and being prepared to share this joy with others. In Japan, he visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki, both the site of nuclear bombings during World War II, and spoke powerfully of peace and how we can achieve it.

The Pope’s emphasis on being a Church that operates from the margins resonates with us in the Divine Word Missionaries. We too, are called specifically to walk with the people on the margins of society. Indeed, all Christians are.

In Thailand, which is part of the SVD AUS Province, our ministries are focused on caring for those with AIDS or those left orphaned by AIDS, as well as parish ministry in more remote areas, and migrant ministry in bustling Bangkok.

It’s true that overall, the percentage of Christians in Thailand is not great, and this places Christians somewhat on the margins in the predominantly Buddhist nation. But our presence there is meaningful for the Christian community as well as for the broader society who are cared for through our ministries. Interfaith relations is a part of every-day life and many warm bonds have been created over the years.

The situation is the same in Myanmar where our Province has just established a presence at the invitation of Cardinal Charles Bo. It is our hope that we can be a source of encouragement for Christians in Myanmar through our Bible ministry, but also a bridge for friendship with all whom we meet.

At home in Australia, I think of our work with Indigenous Australians, who are surely among the most marginalised among us, and I give thanks to Pope Francis for encouraging us in our conviction that this is indeed where we need to be.

It’s not always easy to minister on the margins and to accompany people there, but Jesus showed us that there is no other way.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)

Wishing you and your family a blessed Advent, as we prepare for the birth of the Prince of Peace.

Fr Henry Adler SVD