1 Thessalonians 1:1-5; 8-10
As parishioners were leaving the church, I was asked a question: ‘Do you know how many people you have upset during your homily? I replied, ‘No’. ‘You don’t have any right to tell people how they should vote in the upcoming referendum’. My reply was, ‘to answer your question, I have no idea how many people I have upset this morning’. The ‘Alas + 3 in the gospel led to another text.
In the Acts of the Apostles, there is a text that influences my approach to ministry and religious life. It has far-reaching ramifications for all aspects of our Christian life. From Acts of the Apostles 10:34-35, St Peter, speaking to the Roman centurion Cornelius, says, ’The truth I have come to realise is the God has no favourites – that anyone of any nationality who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him. With these words, a revolution or an evolution took place within the early Christian community. Nothing would be the same again. God has no favourites. Everyone is equal in God’s sight. (Amazing)
While saying this, we recognise that everyone is unique in God’s sight. We all have gifts, talents, insights, wisdom, and a voice that is uniquely ours. Our voice must be heard, our vision must be shared so that creative and freeing decisions can be made, and the equality we share in God’s presence may be affirmed.
We reasonably expect to have a say -on whether a cable car is constructed on Mt Wellington, -a sports stadium to be built on Macquarie Point -to further regulate the timber industry and fish farms. This is community consultation through which we take responsibility for the health, education, social, economic and environmental decisions we make.
Is the referendum giving voice to First Nation peoples a revolution or an evolution of the Gospels being lived in our society?
Fr Peter Addicoat CP is parish priest and community leader of our St Joseph’s parish/community in Hobart, Tasmania.