Principal’s Opening Mass Address 2014
When Jesus first spoke the words “Whatever you did for one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did for me”, he would have been speaking very radical words.
In the time Jesus lived, in his context, it was considered ok to alienate or ostracise some sections of the community. There was a general hierarchy where some people were deemed great respect and others were given none. One example of this would have been those who suffered from leprosy. They were forced to live in a commune away from the general community. There was very little care or concern shown because it was more about protecting the majority. Society was particularly hard on women, and women who were deemed to be immoral were shunned. There was no real attempt to rehabilitate people, there was no real emphasis on forgiveness and so when Jesus began to talk about forgiveness and love this would have been a very different message.
We can be a very shallow people. We get very excited about celebrities, millions of dollars are generated around photographs, magazines that celebrate lives that seem or appear to be so different from ours and we’re fascinated. And yet we can very easily ignore others. We are happy to pay for just photographs of some people, will but try really hard to avoid others. In some ways I wonder if we are much better today than those in the time of Jesus. Many people in Jesus’ society were barely surviving, in our society we have more than we need.
What’s’ our excuse for missing opportunities to make a difference?
I once said to you that I see Clancy as the village on the hill, Carnes Hill, and from here we can emanate light and great goodness. Your combined light can make this a great College a community that lights the potential darkness all around us. Even here, if each one of our represents one ray of light, even a small ray can change an otherwise dark and dismal situation. One ray of light can make a huge difference.
We will continues to support refugee children here, young people in school in East Timor, orphans in Vietnam. Not for a reward, but because it is right.
The young people in Vietnam and East Timor will never see your face, shake your hand but you can be assured that you made a difference. Be assured Clancy, they have thought of you. I bring this card signed by every child in the Vietnamese orphanage, a message to wish you all a happy new year. Unnecessary, but greatly appreciated.
But what about your local context here at Clancy?
Do I believe we can do that here? Only last week a teacher told me a story beside the basketball court. There about 15 boys from mostly Year 8 to 10 were playing an intense game of basketball. Amongst them stood a new boy, a boy new to the school and alone. He wandered onto the court. These burly, passionate young men, stopped their game, passed him the ball and invited him to take a shot. It took our newcomer about 15 shots but when he did, they applauded him. It is by far the proudest moment I have experienced this year. That is making a difference.
Remember, It is never ok to choose cruelty, it is never ok to punish with your fist, it is never ok to demonise another person, to accept an injustice and ignore a wrong.
We challenge ourselves to be active in our faith, to turn our beliefs into good deeds and to turn away our prejudices, our capacity to ignore and condemn.
In this way we can truly “Love like Christ”