December 3, 2020
by Director of Mission, Mr Geoff Brodie
So we come to the end of the 2020 school year as we start another year in the Church’s liturgical calendar. Last Sunday was the first Sunday in Advent, the Church’s New Year’s Day, and in Advent we prepare our hearts to recognise, in the coming of Jesus, our fulfilment in God’s love. Pope Francis offers this encouragement:
Advent is a continuous call to hope: it reminds us that God is present in history to lead humanity to its ultimate goal and fullness, which is the Lord Jesus Christ. God is with us, present throughout history, beside us and supporting us. He never abandons us and, amid life’s storms, extend His hand and free us.
2020 has been one of life’s storms for many families. And it is not over yet, as the uncertainty and hardship continue. Advent is a time to ponder the nature and depth of the challenges we have faced, and to clearly discern the criteria by which we make our decisions and take our stand in the face of challenges. St Paul has been a constant reminder of the Christian stance:
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (Rom 5:1-5)
‘Advent Is a Call to Hope; Faith Is a Love Story.’ This is how Pope Francis has summarised the Christian stance at the start of Advent in 2020. Through all the unexpected changes and unique challenges of 2020, Jesus remains constant. Our faith in Jesus is the invitation to a new beginning for each of us, though the end of the story never changes. That end is ultimate fullness of abiding in God’s eternal love: fullness because it is the perfection of the deepest desires of our human nature. We were created in love, through love, for love. Our greatest joy is to know God loves us, and to respond to the gift of our very being in faith, hope and love. Faith, hope and love are not the addition of something extra in this life but have been always been the plot and narrative of our story, even in the strangeness of 2020.
This week lockers will be cleaned out, assessments completed, uniforms put away and the school bell turned off. As we bring this school year to a close, we are invited to know anew the hope and love that dwells in us all because God dwells among us. May your Christmas overflow with faith, hope and love, and may we all rejoice in the gift of our unity as children of God’s family.