The First Sunday of Advent
The Gospel reading from Mark this past weekend, reminds us to “stay awake”. For what we ask? In this Advent time of preparation and waiting, we can get caught up in the busyness of preparing for the celebration of Christmas – trees, decorations, gifts, and so on. How do we go about preparing ourselves, our interior renovations, if you like? How ready are our hearts and minds to receive Christ in our lives, and do we know what we are looking out for and staying awake for? “If he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep” is what Jesus teaches in this passage. Veronica Lawson, a Sister of Mercy, reflects the following:
Advent is about recognising our own tendency to be less than vigilant and even to turn away when our presence is most needed. It is about allowing the grace of God to take hold in our hearts, keeping us watchful for the sake of those on the edge and for the sake of a regenerated Earth. Most of us would agree that our Earth communities are in crisis. We need to be alert to causes as well as to consequences so that the cycles of violence might eventually be broken. Our gospel asks no less of us.
Our final IONA of the year, and we have so much to celebrate as a College community. I would like to acknowledge the way our students have thrown themselves into the Transition Program over the last two weeks – attentive, engaged, hard-working, eager and keen – are the words teachers have used over and over. Thank you to our amazing teachers who have developed an engaging and rigorous learning program as we tie up 2023.
I would also like to acknowledge all of the students who committed themselves to the co-curricular program this year – the vibrancy of this College community doesn’t happen by chance. It happens when people commit – when we commit to activities that are defining of who we are such as Laudato Si Week and Child Protection Week, when we commit to each other through our time and energy to rehearsals, training, meetings, and when we commit to showing leadership, through formal and informal roles, that help make this community a better place. In particular, this semester there have been a great number of students who have stood out as upstanders – they have called out poor behaviour, and in doing so, have stood up for the vulnerable, and showed what it means to be truth in action – one of our key values this year.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Wishing all our students and their families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ahead. May this joyous season bring peace, love and hope into your lives and your homes. I look forward to seeing you all in 2024.