Educating for the Lived Gospel #133

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ (Mark 10:25)

In the world context, all who read this reflection are rich, since it is distributed by electronic means that put us amongst a select few. We almost all live in developed countries and, comparatively, we may not be amongst the richest, but it is good to reflect upon our relative privilege. The kingdom of God is where peace and justice reign. There can be no true justice where there is inequity. How am I bringing God’s reign closer? Is my focus on people or possessions? We, young and old alike, are ready to point the finger at ‘others’. Am I willing to do the ‘internal work’ and see where I need to more closely live the Gospel?

Human institutions can also help or hinder the coming of the Kingdom of God. Are our schools and institutions focussed on prestige and power? Or living the Gospel through caring for those in need?

Have a great week!

Educating for the Lived Gospel #132

‘Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien, the orphan, and the widow of justice.’ (Deut 27:19)

It is a common misconception that the God of the Old Testament is ‘different’ from the New Testament. The Gospel thrust toward justice which is well known to Christians has its roots in this most fundamental of Jewish Scriptures, the Torah (the name given to the first five books of the Old Testament). We give our governments the responsibility to take care of those in need. Because they are human institutions, governments will always make mistakes. However, some current governments are falling well short of the mark outlined in this text and many others like in the Bible. As adults we have responsibility, thus we need to ponder: ‘Is the government representing my wishes?’

Young people can have a passion for justice. It is vital that they are taught about the justice in the Scriptures and its moral claim on our behaviour. We also should ensure that they recognise the continuity between the Old and New Testaments. It is appropriate that schools continue to provide opportunities for young people to act for justice, especially for those ‘on the outer’ of society.

Have a great week!

Educating for the Lived Gospel #126

Is not this the fast that I choose:
   to loose the bonds of injustice,
   to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
   and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
   and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
   and not to hide yourself from your own kin? (Is 58:6-7)
During Lent, we most frequently focus on fasting of a bodily kind. This fascinating passage asks an interesting question: what is the point of fasting? Rather than a spirituality modelled on our society, i.e. individualistic, this passage implies that fasting should draw us into community, that we might see others’ needs, have compassion and help them.
Young people can assert that religious language and rituals have little to do with ‘real’ life. Relationships are very important to young people. Religious practice that cares for those in need strikes many young people as relevant and resonates with them developmentally.
Have a great week!

Timor Leste

Four intense days

How can I make sense of all

That I experienced?

In essence, as always, it is

About people.


Bureaucracy changes face

But its bizarre logic is familiar.

Young babies still reach out

And grab whatever they can

With all their might.


People aspire

People experience disappointment

People are frustrated

People hope



Skin colour

‘Level of development’

are unimportant.







These are central, as always


“You do justice where your feet are”

A wise man said


Where are your feet?

How are you acting for justice?


Educating for the Lived Gospel #107

Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? (Matt 7:3)

It’s terribly easy to find fault with others. After all, we have an ‘objective’ view. The twin imperatives of justice and compassion should direct our gaze elsewhere. In justice, I acknowledge my own failings. By doing so, I am able to be more compassionate toward others and their failings. In that way, I build community through right relationships.
Developmentally, young people are ‘caught up in their own stuff’. Given that they are in the midst of the delicate task of ego-building and meaning-making, we need to tread carefully. We need to help them glimpse their limitations, without crushing them, to build compassion in them. We also have a responsibility to hold them accountable for their failings. It is also our task to show the young people in our care that the doing of justice lies inward as well as outward. As it has been said, ‘the world will only change if we do’.
Have a great week!

Educating for the Lived Gospel #103

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

Thus, the Gospel message of justice was continuing a theme that had been part of Judaism for centuries. As humans, we can complicate matters. We can also be paralysed because we’re not sure how to move forward. This passage states clearly and simply what is required of us as people of faith – do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God. It is interesting to note that we are required to build relationships and community – through justice and kindness. What might walking humbly with God look like? Someone who is open to God’s presence around them – in people and in what Franciscans refer to as the ‘Book of Nature’. Someone who fosters their relationship with God through prayer. Someone who knows their gifts and talents – and knows they are all God’s grace.
Young people love the doing of justice – but may need our help to see it ‘close to home’. We can guide them by our words and actions towards kindness – for others and themselves. Our greatest task – and challenge – is to help them foster their faith and their relationship with God – through prayer and wonder at creation, including the wonder of their own gifted creation.
Have a great week!