“Coming of the Light”

Tomorrow is Australia Day. This day, and indeed the attached weekend, is surely an opportunity to stop, look back, give thanks, and thus move forward in faith in hope.

The opening prayer for the mass tomorrow is more than helpful:

Grant, we pray, O Lord our God,
that as the Cross shines in our southern skies,
so may Christ bring light to our nation,
to its peoples old and new,
and by saving grace, transform our lives.

This reference to “light” reminds me of a historical fact that is not well known in Australia. In 1871 Protestant Missionaries brought the Gospel to Torres Strait Islanders. Christ was welcomed, since he brought peace between different tribes and exploitation by mariners ceased.

Each year, on 1 July, the Torres Strait Islanders celebrate the “Coming of the Light.” It is a public holiday, with all Christian faiths participating and celebrating.

That opening prayer is more than apt, don’t you think?

People today too easily dismiss Christianity and its influence for good in Australian life, but not so our indigenous brothers and sisters. They celebrate the “Coming of the Light” without worrying about political correctness and with deep gratitude.

Please God we can open ourselves to the “Coming of the Light,” receive “saving grace” and have our lives transformed. For there are many people – especially young people – in our beloved country who are searching for “light to direct their steps.”

And that light is Christ and the grace, beauty and power of his Holy Cross.