The longing for home is deeply human, and so much more than just the desire for a roof over our heads. We long for a place of deep connection, of warmth and rest, and for family. In a profound sense, we are homesick for God, who patiently calls us back to our true home in the Church.
This week, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli released a pastoral letter to the Church in Melbourne called ‘Welcome Home’. Reflecting on the sadness of being unable to gather physically in our communities during the pandemic, he pointed us towards Jesus Christ, ‘the Word who became flesh‘ and who ‘left for us his sacramental presence’. This bodily reality at the centre of our communities draws us in and binds us together.
In light of this, the Archbishop announced that the time has come for us to return home. As of the 1st Sunday of Advent, 27 November 2022, the general dispensation from our Sunday and Holy Day obligations will be lifted.
On Saturday 12 November, the people of God gathered at St Brigid’s in North Fitzroy to celebrate the recent canonisation of St Giovanni Battista Scalabrini, the Father of Migrants, with a Mass of thanksgiving. The Scalabrinians have been ministering to migrant communities in Australia since their arrival in the 1950s, providing important spiritual and practical care to those who come here in search of a new home. Many different communities and families gathered to celebrate and pray for the intercession of the Father of Migrants.
This past week, the Bishops of Victoria have also written to the Catholic community in Victoria, providing an election guide to help Catholics consider and navigate issues of significance in the upcoming Victorian election, particularly those relating to the common good. Acknowledging that ‘There is no Catholic political party and no single way that a Catholic should vote,’ the Bishops said that ‘Each of us are called to exercise our conscience, utilise our intellect and draw upon our faith in deciding how to vote.’
Following in the footsteps of Christ, the Church is particularly called to serve the most vulnerable. Last Sunday 13 November was World Day of the Poor. We hear from Michael McGirr from Caritas Australia about why we need a special day to see the poor and to hear their stories.
This week, we also hear the inspiring story of Olivia Chamoun, a young Melbourne jazz artist and Maronite Catholic who is soon to release her debut album. She talks with us about how she came to understand the rich relationship between her faith and her art, the history of jazz, and the healing power of music.
Finally, Scott Stephens, online editor for the ABC’s Religion and Ethics page, recently gave ACU’s annual Simone Weil Lecture. Reflecting on the influence of the media and social media on our culture, he argued that for the sake of the common good and the health of our democracy, we must attend to the ‘spaces between us’, relearning habits of grace in the way we talk with one another.
May God give us the grace to be the communities he truly calls us to be this week, providing a home for those in need, a place of family and connection, a place of grace.