August 2009 at the Railaco Jesuit Mission in East Timor

A family gathering . . . a sense of belonging . . . reconnection and reconciliation . . . an invitation to eat together . . . a celebration as one.



Steve, Duncan, Michael and village chief Bernardo with ‘extended family’


Father Steve’s Sunday Mass Sermon to the people Railaco of on the parallels of the traditional Timorese family gathering and the Mass

Yesterday we were honoured to be invited to participate in an extended family gathering in a new Timorese traditional house.

All members of the extended family could come together, and any differences were able to be reconciled.

Young and old could share stories that linked them to one another and enabled them to understand that they belonged to a family.

This is our house, the house of God. God is our father and he gathers us together in this house.

We come here and we are aware that like the Jews in the gospel story today, we complain, we have our divisions, we have our conflicts.

The father wants to gather us together, so we are one, and when we come to the church, we are hungry and thirsty. Hungry for the life that endures and for the water that always quenches.

It is the father who draws us here and teaches us everything.

It is the father who teaches us everything by giving us his son Jesus. Jesus is close to the father’s heart.
Jesus is the one who has seen the father.
Jesus is love and his love is shown by his actions.

He invites us as one by his love and he gives us this bread that we eat that we may share in his life and we may have the strength to love as he loved; that we be one family, one people.

We are asked to believe in his love, to hear the teaching of the father, to listen; to believe in love, not hatred.

It is this life that we celebrate when we come to this house of God.

9th August 2009


Father Steve greeting at Mass MVI_5223  10 secs video