Recently my dear mother who is fast approaching 87, went shopping for my birthday gift. The effort itself these days is quite an overwhelming act of kindness. Over the years I have received pretty regularly the ABC Cricket book for the season ahead, and a few cans of condensed milk, which was part of my diet as a very young fellow in order to gain weight. (It worked splendidly!) This birthday as the beautifully wrapped present was passed into my hands, the familiar shape of the condensed milk cans was sadly absent. Unexpectedly, the present was in fact a book by the Australian political journalist Greg Sheridan, titled “God is Good for You – a defence of Christianity in troubled times”. Possibly it was intended as a clear and direct motherly intervention, but was accepted as a fascinating Advent reflection, and I commend it to you in this holy season.
Whilst we draw near to Advent, a time of preparation and anticipation for the celebration of Christmas, it is also the conclusion of the 2018 school year. In our Marist school communities across the country people are being rightly recognised and thanked for their work and contributions to the Marist mission of making Jesus known and loved. As members of Marist Schools Australia, it is important to recognise significant leaders among us who will soon be concluding in their roles this December.
At the beginning of each November we are invited to remember those who have been before us. The Feasts of All Saints and All Souls draw us to recall the lives of loved ones, and those in whom glimpses of God seemed most apparent. Archbishop Mark Coleridge celebrated Mass in the new Chapel at the Marist Centre in Mascot on All Saints day, and in his homily spoke eloquently of the importance of “memory”. Our Catholic tradition of remembering and celebrating the lives of Saints helps to inform and inspire our actions now and in the future. The Archbishop reminded us of Jesus’ invitation to us at the Last Supper, “Do this in memory of me”.