As National Reconciliation Week draws to a close, Australian Provincial Fr Brian McCoy reflects on how we are all on the journey to reconciliation together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Full transcript below.
We’ve just completed National Reconciliation Week. It’s theme – ‘In this together’.
This theme was announced in January this year. And those who named it as the theme seem to be incredibly prophetic, insightful, as to a theme of three words that might name where we are all experiencing life in this country, in this world, at this time.
We are ever more aware that we’re in this together. Our First Peoples, First Nations peoples, are asking us to consider what it means to be with them in this together, in a constitution, in relationships, in learning culture and language in respect of thousands of years of history, to know that we are with them in this together.
COVID-19 has reminded us that in so many ways we want to be, and need to be, in this together. Hygiene and social distancing, and other ways we show respect for one another, because we want to believe and live that we are in this country, in this together.
And in our Province I’ve seen, over these past weeks, wonderful examples of what it means to minister, to live, to be, in this together. Sacrifice of salaries, giving up time, working less days a week, sharing some of our resources with other ministries. It’s offered us a wonderful opportunity to share what we have in this together.
Last Sunday we celebrated the Feast of Pentecost. And as we remember that time, the disciples, with Mary and – I dare say – other men, women and children were locked down. They were frightened – frightened of what might happen to them if they opened the doors, and what it would mean to be part of the society in which they lived at that time.
So the Spirit comes to free them, to open up the doors, to take away their fears and enable them to go and spread the Good News of Jesus to others. And the miracle of Pentecost is that others start to hear them in their own language. This gift of Pentecost is that others hear the gift of the Spirit in their own way, in their own lives, in their hearts.
Because when Jesus said, ‘I will send another Paraclete’, another advocate, he was saying, ‘I will be with you’. Jesus says I will be with you. But he says I’m sending another one, an advocate, a power of Spirit, to stand with you. To strengthen you, to speak for you, and speak to you. And, above all, encourage you to know that God’s Spirit is always within you. Because with Jesus, with the Spirit, we live, and are, in this together.
Fr Brian McCoy, Provincial