Thoughts March 2005

Thoughts for the Month

The 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.

“Who is Worthy?” Ted Kennedy

This month we remember Michelle Riley and all the young people who have died.

We continue the journey of Lent to Easter. It is also Women’s International Day on 8th March so we remember all the women of the world especially women who have struggled to bring about justice for their people.

Michelle’s Funeral

Michelle’s funeral was held at St.Vincents, Redfern with the celebrant, Fr. John Ford, at the request of the mother, Patricia.

It was a sad occasion yet at the same time a joyous one as hundreds of Aboriginal people from all around NSW and Toowoomba QLD, joined together with many white people to celebrate Michelle’s life.

Michelle was a well-loved member of the Redfern Community. She had over come many obstacles to reach the stage of enrolling at Eora College. Michelle’s continuous and courageous efforts had gained admiration from all.

Fr. John Ford gently drew the people into full participation of the service. Patricia, Michelle’s mother was asked by him to sprinkle the coffin with holy water to which she replied, “Just like as in Baptism” She was a gallant little lady who showed great courage and dignity.

Michelle’s three brothers carried the cask while at the cemetery her seven nieces danced a moving farewell to their beloved aunt.

May Michelle rest in Peace.

Mary McGowan.

Lent to Easter

As we approach the end of Lent and come into the time of Holy Week. We recall how we have travelled this journey in our liturgies.

Lent is a time to look at ourselves and how we can change so that we can be there for others. It is about us bringing hope to the story of disfigurement and maiming: hope to the story of others and the universe. … Jesus models for us a way to be human; how to resist; how to choose rightly; and how to live as God’s people.

The temptations are a three-pronged attack on Jesus’ humanity…. and ours. We are faced with challenges choices, failures, promises, change, small victories and deepened awareness of how we might still grow in our humanity.

“The purpose of Lent is not only expiation, to satisfy the divine justice, but above all a preparation to rejoice in God’s love. And this preparation consists in receiving the gift of God’s mercy – a gift which we receive in so far as we open our hearts to it, casting out what cannot remain in the same room with mercy. Now one of the things we must cast out first of all is fear. Fear narrows the little entrance of our heart. It shrinks up our capacity to love. It freezes up our power to give ourselves….”

Thomas Merton, in “Seasons of Celebration”

Jesus is thirsting at noon by the well as he does at noon on the cross. We are ‘at home’ on the way, with our grumblings, our doubts and our fears. Somehow the ‘Moses’ of our journey leads us from crisis to crisis, from one issue to another.

If it is not Aboriginal people it is women. If not women, then gay people. If not gay people, then the Muslims or middle easterners, or children, or refugees, or people living with mental illness. God is with us in all people with their difference and in all the different issues – where we are challenged to practice our full humanity, diversity and complexity. Places like the ‘urban well’ are the new places were we are free to meet God and one another, in freedom of spirit and fullness of truth.

March 20 Palm Sunday

The Sydney Peace and Justice Coalition, together with the Ecumenical Council of NSW, will conduct the annual Palm Sunday Rally and Liturgy at Parramatta Park opposite St Patrick’s Cathedral beginning at 2.00pm. Come to the geographical heart of Sydney to participate in a short walk for the long road to peace.

Please note: this will NOT take place at Belmore Park this year.

Reflecting on the Journey

Lent to Easter

We are aware of the seed and its journey deep into the darkness of the damp soil; it is in the darkness and the not knowing that it will slowly send out small roots; it will stretch up, moving towards the light and at some moment will break through into the light where it will grow strong with the energy of the sun and the rain of the cloud.

The green leaves change into the red, orange, yellow, burgundy colours of Autumn and fall to the ground to be buried into the darkness from where new life will emerge.

We thank the Earth for reminding us of the journey of darkness to life in this season of Easter. We ask our God, sustaining Word, Compassionate One, Breath of the Cosmos, Evening warmth and Heartbeat of the Universe to bless our world and all its peoples.

Remembering Moments of Grace:

Holy Ground

O Lord, our God
We are here
Because your are here
Because we have gathered,
And this is holy ground

We take off our shoes
Out of reverence
For your assurance
That you carry us.

We take off our shoes
To feel your closeness,
And to sense the goodness
Of all that you have made.

We take off our shoes
So that there’s nothing
To separate us from You…

Where ever we are. Help us to stand in awe at your presence for everywhere is holy ground because you are there Just as You are here.

Tom X. Corrigan

Reading: Elizabeth Barrett Browning told us:

“ Earth’s crammed with heaven
And every common bush afire with God.”

But she continued, seeing this reality depends on having a deep sense of the sacred, of being able to see through the mundane to the implicit graciousness of all life, since all is gift – all life, all creation is pregnant with the epiphany of God…

Forward to Holy Ground Tom. X Corrigan by Evelyn Woodward


Reflect on some of the epiphanies in your life recently. What has inspired you lately? What has challenged you lately? What has excited you recently?

Now choose a piece of paper and write a word which speaks of your reflection You may like to share it with someone.

All: As we have shared our stories we aware that whatever challenges, inspires and excites us will be the sparks for a new flame that will burn brightly for wherever I am – God is too.

March 8 International Women’s Day.

The UN invites us to recognise that peace and social progress require the active participation and equality of women, and to acknowledge the contribution women make to international peace reconciliation.

So in honour of this day we share this poem with you.

Poem in Honour of Woman Friends

Let there be in my life those women
Who, knowing and unknowing,
Flank my soul with
A sense of place home.

Let them come
tiptoeing their gifts
filling my heart’s halls
With food and drink
of laughter and tears, visions and memory.

Let them come
Stomping out of the wrath of
Indignities, indecencies, injustices, indescribable agonies of many sisters gone before,
Many still to come.
Let them live and move
and take up residence in me (I shall risk it)
where, at last, I/we cannot escape love – not a goddess named Sister.

J B Anderson.
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