On this Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday Deacon Boniface Perdjert, Wadeye of Port Keats, NT writes:
“Deep down, we Aborigines are religious people. We did not have many material goods, but we are rich with spiritual goods. It is this strong religious side that made us. It gave us our identity, our dignity, our self - assurance.
My People existed here in Australia thousands of years before Abraham. In all that time, God was with my people. He worked through their culture. He was saving us despite human weakness. He was preparing us for the day we would see the features of Aborigines in the image of His Son.” A statement such as the above immediately gives us a glimpse into the assurance of the presence of God in the lives of Aboriginal people. Springing up from the depth of this surety the statement gives credence that the ‘anchor’ point of their identity is one of a religious spirit permeating their very existence. The overwhelming message is that in spite of humanity’s weakness and infidelity God is always present revealing to us the countless faces of Jesus.
We can imbibe that same deep religious spirit of our Aboriginal sisters and brothers by being attuned to the sacred in the ordinary. Our daily experiences offer us an opportunity to see the image of countless faces of Jesus in our own ordinary day lives, and in the world in which we live. Has it been the sliver of the new moon in the winter sky which evoked a prayer of praise and thanks for the gift of creation? Has Jesus’ face be viewed in the face of the one who embraced me when I was feeling down and consoled me when I felt lost? Has it been seen when I experienced forgiveness for my misbehaviour and was utterly convinced I could begin anew? Has it been revealed when I sat around the table with good friends sharing laughter, stories old and new? Has that face been revealed in the one who cries for help?
Today’s Gospel gives three significant points revealing features of the face of Jesus. “I thank you Father for revealing this to the little ones.” “No one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” “Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest”. We shall learn well if we can integrate both the gift of the Gospel and the religious spirit of our Aboriginal sisters and brothers in our daily lives. We ourselves will all be the face of Jesus in the world.
Gabriel Williams osu