Breath of Pentecost and “Voice”
Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit on the terrified disciples who locked themselves up in a room. That breath of Jesus was a new beginning for them. They were empowered even to forgive sins. Pentecost was a Jewish feast before Christians adopted it. While the Jews celebrated their memory of their ‘past’ on the feast of Pentecost, for the disciples of Jesus it was the beginning of new life. In other words, it was the moment of a new creation. The evangelist indicated that it was a new creation by stating that it happened on the ‘first day of the week’, reminder of “the first day of the creation” according to Genesis 1:3-5. Pentecost is a feast of re-creation of the people of God in Christ. For us it is not just a memory of something that happened two millennium ago but an ongoing re-creation of the people of God. Pope Francis says, “All Christians, their pastors included, are called to show concern for the building of a better world” (Evangeli Nuncianti). The thrust of Evangeli Nuncianti is “the development of life in society and the building of a people where differences are harmonized within a shared pursuit” (221).
Australia is now called to vote on “Voice”, an attempt to include the original owners and custodians of the land with the rest of the nation builders. We have come a long way in recognising the aboriginal people. Yet we are conscious of what Pope Francis said in his Apostolic Exhortation. “An authentic faith – which is never comfortable or completely personal – always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better than we found it” (Evangelii Gaudium #184). We want to make a difference to our approach to the original people of our country, whose sentiments listening to leaders like Noel Pearson, takes to our hearts. His words were very gloomy. He said “We are a much unloved people. We are perhaps the ethnic group Australians feel least connected to. We are not popular, and we are not personally known to many Australians. Few have met us, and a small minority count us as friends.” (Cathnews 22 March 2023). Surely, we have a scenario where a new creation is much needed.
Most of us, who are not of Indigenous heritage know what is good for ourselves and for our dear ones. It is only proper then to listen to the Aboriginal community leaders to hear what is good for them and their dear ones. The merit of the referendum on “Voice” is to be judged according to the effectiveness in bringing peace and harmony. Also our brothers and sisters of indigenous heritage are entitled to feel the dignity as God’s people. Metaphorically, we the majority may have been in closed rooms so far, but now the Holy Spirit is with us re-creating the face of the humanity.