Australia Day marks the anniversary of the day Captain Arthur Phillip raised the British flag at Sydney Cove on the 26th January 1788. He led the fleet north into Port Jackson landing on this day in 1788 after eight months at sea. Phillip named it Sydney Cove after Lord Sydney the British Home Secretary.
More than 700 convicts (188 female), 700 merchant seamen, Royal Navy and Marine personnel and families, 209 fowls, 74 pigs, 35 ducks, 29 sheep, 29 geese, 19 goats, 18 turkeys, 5 cows, 4 stallions, 3 mares and 2 bulls disembarked from the First Fleet.
In 1787, King George III sealed Australia’s fate by declaring it Britain’s new convict colony. Being sent to Botany Bay was a severe punishment. Sentences ranged from a minimum exile of seven years to life, with various degrees of hard labour.
Australia’s national day is also an important annual opportunity to recognise the place of Indigenous Australians in our nation’s history, and to promote understanding, respect and reconciliation. We reflect on being Australian. To be “fair dinkum”, people who give everyone “a fair go” and to open our hearts in gratitude to God for all those gone before us who have provided us with freedom and peace.
There is a hero in every family, the one who goes “the extra mile”. May we be as generous as they who show us the meaning of Jesus’ words: Love one another.
God love you
The following reflection comes from “Set Your Heart Free” by Francis de Sales.
My Day Begins
With persistent caring our heavenly Father is forever planting in our hearts
gentle inspirations that he hopes will awaken and kindle in us
a desire for his heavenly love.
gratefully, reverently, and without hesitation.
Listen to them meekly. Cultivate the love you feel.
Finding joy in these inspirations
may not seem like much, but it is a great step.
For even though such delight
falls far short of complete commitment to his love,
it still demonstrates that we are moving,
however slowly, however cautiously, in the right direction.
Do not forget, however,
that perfection lies in acting on these inspirations,
for if, after welcoming them gladly,
we fail to act on them, we greatly offend God
and trivialise his goodness.
Do not stop, therefore, with his inspirations,
but follow through on them fully, lovingly and ceaselessly.
For then our Father who is under no obligation to us,
may hold himself obliged by our love.
A consent that remains nestled in the heart
and produces no outward results is like a vine that bears no fruit.
God love you
Today we celebrate the Baptism of Our Lord as He begins His public ministry. There is a question that could be asked as to what was Jesus doing before His baptism? He began His public ministry around the age of 30 and by tradition He was crucified at 33 years of age.
Tradition places Jesus as living the life of a carpenter’s son. It was in the seclusion of Nazareth that Jesus spent the greatest part of His earthly life. He grew in strength and wisdom and grace with God and man. Jesus as a young person under the direction of Joseph and Mary leant and acquired the Shema and Hallel. This refers to the Scriptures and Psalms and Prophetic Books. He would have learnt Aramaic and Greek. The scriptures show Jesus was a close observer of the sights and sounds of nature and the habits of all classes of men and women. He acquired the necessary skills for life from Joseph and Mary. Above all He was a young man of intimate union with God our Father, whom He called with affection Abba.
Here lies the secret, hidden life of Jesus – prayer, contemplation, work, family life and community. Prayer and service, humility and generosity were his formation.
May this New Year renew in us the call to prayer, service and holiness. Placing God as the first of our love puts every day in His Providence.
God love you
Today’s feast of the Epiphany, which means the manifestation of God’s divinity in the child Jesus, will mark the end of the Christmas season with the Baptism of Christ next Sunday. Already as this New Year begins, we have come to Mass to adore Jesus, truly present in His Word and the Eucharist. The red light of the sanctuary lamp manifests His presence as does the tabernacle veil. Our Church is full of the presence of Jesus. We too are asked to manifest, to be the epiphany to others of the presence of Jesus.
This year I encourage all of us to practise the Presence of God. A Carmelite brother, named Laurence of the Resurrection, who was born in 1614 in Hériménil in France, discovered what he called “the practice of the Presence of God”.
Prayer is nothing else but a sense of the presence of God. Each one of us has His presence within us. We can be at times insensitive to God’s presence within. This does not negate the reality that He is always with us and that He only waits patiently for us to invite Him into our hearts.
This practice of being aware of the presence of God is our greatest gift to Christ. This practice, which can be easily done by just simply repeating the Holy name of Jesus reverently or, as we did in Advent, breathe in and out the Word of God, Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus. Repeating that mantra- Come Lord Jesus – will enable us to be sensitive, to become aware of the beautiful presence of Jesus within.
We receive Holy Communion in order to manifest His presence to everyone we meet. This simple prayer will help us to spend our whole day in His presence. St Paul encourages us to “pray at all times”, this is possible through this holy practice of the Presence of God – “Come Lord Jesus.”
We all need tranquillity and peace. For this Jesus came to bring us peace. In the middle of all our daily work and the moments of trials and adversity, the practice of the Presence of God will inspire within us a deeper self-estimation because of the joy of knowing that Jesus is always with us.
Like the three Kings who come today to offer their gifts in homage and adoration, so too, we offer to Jesus our hearts so He can live, and move and breathe in us. Give Jesus this year, the opportunity to make a real difference in your life. Offer Him each day, the practice of His Presence – Come Lord Jesus – and then begin the joy of being always in His presence.
God love you