Proclaiming the Kingdom
The third Mystery of Light
Praying with the gospel stories is becoming increasingly commonplace. The result can offer a renewing and deepening of the contemplative spirit for the ordinary person of today, not just for religious mystics. I consider this could have been at the heart of John Paul II’s offering us this Mystery of Light—to rediscover the Jesus of the gospels in our world today. Meditating and reflecting on these stories within the Rosary will help deepen our understanding of how he would like the world to be for us.
As an Aboriginal Christian, this third mystery, appeals to me especially, because it is full of stories and sheds new life and meaning on praying the Rosary.
Each of the writers in the four gospels sets out to tell us about the life and events of Jesus as he walked the earth and how he dealt with the needy, as well as what he thought about the religious leaders of the day within the Jewish culture.
The Spirit who inspired these writers knew that one version of ‘The Jesus Story’ would not capture the many different profiles of Jesus. Each telling depends on who each writer was talking to, and where that writer was coming from.
Matthew presents Jesus as a King. He was writing primarily for the Jewish people who saw Jesus as the Son of David. Jesus is the promised Saviour/Messiah.
Mark depicts Jesus as a Servant to all. He has written mainly for the Romans—he gives no genealogy. Jesus is apowerful Saviour.
Luke sees Jesus to be the Perfect Man. He has written for the Greeks. His genealogy goes to Adam instead of to Abraham. Jesus is a Perfect Saviour.
John portrays Jesus as Son of God. He writes for all who will believe and tells of Jesus’ Divinity. Jesus is a personal Saviour
These different approaches in story telling can also be seen in Aboriginal stories. Different tribes would have different ways of telling a story about a similar myth or event. For instance, some groups say that it is the Kookaburra who is the first bird that announces the rising of the sun, other groups would say it is the Crow. These differences do nothing to discredit the stories of the sunrise, they simply say that each group has a preference for a bird that is more common to their area.
The story of creation in the Bible has a background close to that of the Dreaming story. Christians say that ‘In the beginning’ refers to the moment that the world came into existence. Even before creation, God and his angels existed before all time.
Aboriginal people say, ‘The Great Creator gave us our law through the ancestral beings who existed before creating the hills, mountains, rivers, seas and all the creatures that lived in them’. For Aboriginal people, the essential reality of the Creator God is through their own experience of nature and all living creatures. Although putting it into words would be difficult, the lived experience is realfor them. They had no written word; it is simply their law.
So how do we bridge the gap between the written word of Christianity and the lived experience of our Australian Aboriginality in relation to knowing Jesus and the gospel stories?
It seems to me that we have been like the Hebrew people of old, who were following the Word in their hearts while living the law and their culture during an evolving journey of the Spirit. Then in the Eternal Wisdom of the Great Creator it was time to manifest to the people the Word in human flesh, just like us.
The Great Creator Spirit breathed life into the womb of a young Jewish woman, Mary, who loved her God deeply. And so the Spirit Child Jesus came into the world, to heal us and show us how to live the way of the Creator.
Aboriginal people understand Spirit Children strongly, because we believe they come to us from the Spirit in the womb of our Mother—the Land/Waterholes. The Breath of the Creator Spirit lives in all things, making all things sacred. This then, is how we can bridge the gap of understanding. We too can understand Jesus through our stories. This following story is about a man called Mirrabooka—a Jesus figure.
Biami the Good Spirit was kept very busy guarding the tribes as they roamed throughout the earth but he was very troubled for them. He found that he could not watch over them all at once. He knew he must have help to keep them from harm.
Among the tribes there was a man called Mirrabooka, who was much loved for his wisdom and the way he looked after the welfare of his people. Biami was well pleased with Mirrabooka and when he grew old Biami gave him a Spirit form and placed him in the sky, among the stars, promising eternal life.
Biami gave Mirrabooka lights for his hands and feet and stretched him across the sky, so that he could watch for ever over the tribes he loved. The tribes could also look up at him from earth and see the stars which were Mirrabooka’s eyes gazing down on them, making them feel safe and cared for all the time, because Mirrabooka loved them.
In later times when white invaders came from across the sea, they did not know that this group of stars was Mirrabooka. They named them the Southern Cross and his eyes they called the pointers. But we know it is Mirrabooka and he will be there forever because Biami has made it so.
(Story from Stradbroke Dreaming , Oodgeroo [Kath Walker], 1993)
As we begin to look at these images within Aboriginal culture it is not to difficult to discover how Christianity is universal and fits into all cultures through their signs, symbols and stories. This is what brings new life into these Luminous Mysteries, as we rediscover Jesus in many different ways.
‘When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.’