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 #104

The Lord says, “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands” (Is 49:16)

Mistakenly, people categorise the Old Testament as portraying a God of vengeance. Clearly, this passage portrays a God who cares about each person intimately. This is not a distant God, nor a judging God, but a God of love – who loves each of us in a deeply personal way. A God who is fittingly called abba – not ‘father’, so much as ‘daddy’. Our own self-doubts prevent us from fully perceiving this about God. ‘God is love’ – but not for me. We cannot earn God’s love – it is gift, freely and lavishly given! Operating out of our limitations, we can create a God made in our image, a God of fear and judgment; then do greater damage by foisting that on others.
Young people are finding their way – thirsting for meaning. They can search for it in unhelpful places – some are hedonistic places, others can be places that numb their existential ache. It seems to me that if they could more fully grasp the intimate love that their creator has for them, as the quote suggests, this would be a great benefit to them. Our task is to be God’s heart and hands, showing God’s love for them as best we can.
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!

Educating for the Lived Gospel #102

If I say, ‘I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name’,
then within me there is something like a burning fire
shut up in my bones;
I am weary with holding it in,
and I cannot. (Jer 20:7)

As convinced as each of us may be in our vocation, there are likely to be times when we want to ‘hide away’. We may be tired or disillusioned. It may be a sign we need a break from our ministry. Yet, the first time I heard this passage, 20 years ago, it named my perception of being ‘grabbed’ by God – being ‘on fire’. Does the passage resonate with you?
Each of us in our own way is called by God. Our task is to discern that calling. Whether our vocation is religious or lay, we are all members of the body of Christ and we each have our part to play in building up that body. With the myriad of choices on offer, young people can feel uncertain. They may not be ‘on fire’ with a particular calling. Sometimes we need to set out on a journey and it is only when we look backward – and we all have 20-20 hindsight – that we can see God shaping us, drawing us on. But we need enough ‘mountain top’ moments to keep us moving!
If you’d like to share how the passage resonates with you – I’d love to hear from you!
Have a great week!


Educating for the Lived Gospel #99

G’day! After much prayer and reflection, I’ve decided to strike out in a new direction with the reflections, by reflecting upon pieces of scripture – though always with a Lasallian and Franciscan ‘flavour’. I hope that you find something in them for you!

Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10)

Such a passage makes me wonder: What does it mean to live life abundantly? What do I need to do to live up to this passage? “Living life to the full” can be an excuse for hedonism. However, this full life is connected to Jesus who is the one speaking in this passage. Think about how Jesus lived his life…selflessly, literally poured out for others. So, I think living life to the full has more to do with making the most of my talents, my opportunities and my relationships. It is my firm belief that a full life is one that is lived for others – one that embraces the Franciscan wisdom of “it is giving that we receive”. A full life is also lived by the Lasallian wisdom of touching hearts – focussing on our relationships. I also believe that a full life entails celebrating the small things that are easily ignored – a flower, a smile, any baby.

It is easy for young people to be seduced into thinking that a full life is centred on “me”. Rather, it is our task to guide them into seeing that the full life is truly centred on “we” – develop and use my talents, so that I can build my community. When we all act in that manner, we might glimpse a Pentecost moment!

Have a great week…and term!