Principal's Blog - 3 November 2016
Dear members of the Marcellin family,
Going to Church each Sunday with my parents and brothers as a boy was not the most exciting of weekly events. I didn’t like having to put on my best clothes and often I would not connect with the readings of the day. There was one gospel reading though which always grabbed my attention and fired my imagination. Not necessarily because of the poignant message contained in the words of Jesus but because it involved climbing trees, one of my favourite pastimes at that time in my life. The story was about Jesus’ meeting with a tax collector named Zacchaeus in a village called Jericho. I related to the character of Zacchaeus, not just because he climbed trees but he was also a little vertically challenged thus the reason for his tree climbing so he could catch a better view of Jesus as he passed by through the crowd.
These are the things that capture a boys’ imagination. Today it is not so much Zacchaeus’ tree climbing exploits which attract my spiritual interest, rather it is the reaction of the crowd who witness Jesus’ interaction with the man who was loathed by all in the community as a dishonest, self-serving, immoral tax collector. When the people saw that Jesus had decided to eat with this man they…began to grumble (Lk 19:7). Jesus’ example as a person who always sought the outcast, who showed compassion to the sinner and who reached out to those in greatest need is one of the greatest challenges to us as Christian people.
I think we are all guilty of grumbling against those in our society who we have an issue with for one reason or another. Our judgmental nature and ignorance often overwhelms any possibility of showing compassion and mercy to the other. In declaring the past twelve months as the year of Mercy, Pope Francis speaks of his desire for us all to reach out to the most neglected and marginalized in our community. In doing so he believes that we will find greater meaning in our own lives. Mercy, Francis tells us, can be a path to peace and reconciliation for all people.
To achieve this peace and understanding Francis suggests that…it is necessary to go out: to go out from the Churches, and the parishes, to go outside and look for people where they live, where they suffer, and where they hope (Pope Francis, 2016).
Like that young boy sitting in Sunday mass all those years ago, the boys of Marcellin may not always connect with the readings of the day. Therefore we find opportunities for them to experience more practical expressions of the Good News of Jesus. I believe one of our great strengths here at Marcellin is the commitment and dedication of many in our community to providing our students with opportunities to go outside and look for people where they live on the margins of society and show the face of Jesus to those they encounter. In the true Marist spirit of Doing good quietly our community may not always be aware of the many outreach opportunities our students and staff are engaged in so I thought for your information I would list some of them.
- Soup Van / Toastie Project
- Winter Sleep Out
- House Social Justice Program
- EncounterMC – Junior Ministry program
- Cambodia Immersion
- Exodus Community
- Little Sisters of the Poor
- Bell Bardia Food Service
- St Pius Primary School Homework Club
- Exodus Family Home Project
- Melbourne Youth Juvenile Justice Centre
- REMAR – Three year Senior Leadership and Ministry Program
- St Ignatius Primary School Bourke NSW
In this year of Mercy, Pope Francis asks us all to…Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the traveller, comfort the sick, visit the imprisoned, bury the dead. At Marcellin we do our best to answer this call, motivated not just by a humanistic desire to support those less fortunate than ourselves, but because we are called through the example of Jesus to reach out to our brothers and sisters at the margins just as he did with the man up a tree two thousand years ago.