We may wonder if such a small community will see the fruit of all the efforts made. It is not pessimism, rather a healthy realism. Those who are used to consider the fruits in terms of mere numbers tend to think like that. As a matter of fact, in the Bible, the real fruit does not consist in numbers, but in a hope based on God’s gift. That’s why the tiny community in Australia is a sign of hope in a future conquest for Jesus of the entire continent. They tirelessly sow and toil for the Gospel, even when the work is marked by disappointment and discouragement. Looking back at the history of the people of Israel, as written in the Bible, we recognize that God keeps using those few people ready to follow him and he performs great things and incredible miracles with them. Furthermore, it is the memory of God’s own promises that makes the hope stronger in time of trial.
With such a prophetic perspective we can notice God’s faithfulness in the small community in Australia, a faithfulness which confirms the coming fulfillment of all the promises received.
Our members, though few, regularly meet for the meeting of the House of Prayer since some years already and they give witness of their personal encounter with the Lord Jesus in their everyday life. The Lord manifested himself to each one of them in various ways, with sudden transformations in certain cases, or little by little. No matter the unlike path, Jesus gave each one a life which is new, different, full of joy, peace and new friendships. That’s why all of them wish that other people may experience their same blessing. Koinonia meetings offer a possibility to pray together, to grow and share how the Lord is at work in their daily life and to enjoy good food at table together. They mutually support each other with the prayer and friendship.
God never leaves us alone and he is faithful to his Word: this is what sustains and stimulates them to continue the journey without giving up, despite the fact that the fruits are not fast and numerous as desired.
Through the difficulties they face they learned not to depend on numbers, but on Jesus whom they put at the first place, day by day. Such a strenuous faith is impressive and it heals us from easy illusions and pastoral idolatries and it helps us to convert to God’s plan. By affirming so, I do not mean that the fruit has not to be abundant, rather that our vision of what a real fruit is, maybe, needs to change or to expand.
I have seen so much solid and untiring faith! Not to mention their zeal for the Gospel, manifested in a constant commitment to serve their brothers and sisters in various local parish activities. They carry on a children ministry, the preparation for the Sacraments and the liturgic life. In other words, they are helping and teaching to pray. As they are acquainted with community life, during 2020 Plenary Council of the Catholic Church in Australia, they will be in charge of the animation of various lay groups of sharing.
In Australia I met mature people in the faith, who will soon harvest the fruit of their labour. The Bishop of the Diocese of Sale, Mons. Pat O’Regan himself is encouraging us to continue our mission and also the parish priest of Wonthaggi, Fr. Darren takes any opportunity to come to refresh in our houses of prayer and find what Koinonia offers: the presence of Jesus alive in our midst.