May 13, 2021
by Director of Mission, Mr Geoff Brodie
A Catholic school is a custodian of both the universal message of Jesus and the specific heritage of a community. The claim that we are a Catholic school in the Edmund Rice tradition is the responsibility to live the saving message of Jesus in the unique circumstances of Ballarat. Therefore, the full range of opportunities offered by the College are an invitation to our students to live in friendship with Jesus, where that friendship reveals the better way of choosing the good in the concrete circumstances of their life.
Last Sunday’s Gospel had something important to say about all this. Jesus says to his disciples,
I shall not call you servants any more,
because a servant does not know
his master’s business;
I call you friends,
because I have made known to you
everything I have learnt from my Father.
The invitation to students to share in the life of Jesus is an invitation into friendship. This is an entirely new way to understand the relationships of authority of the College. It can never be merely a matter of “do as I say because I am the teacher.” Friendship appeals to the freedom of the other person: what about coming along with me and walking this better way? However, this is not the abandonment of College expectations, for Jesus has more to say:
You are my friends,
if you do what I command you,
It is for the sake of friendship that the College still retains all the expectations about respect, uniform, behaviour, and academic effort. Friendship is always expressed in a context. For a school, a student wearing the uniform correctly and being punctual to class are concrete ways the universal nature of friendship is lived. It may change at some time in the future, but for the moment, a student communicates to everybody their relationship with St Patrick’s College in the way they wear the uniform or participate in the fund-raising activities of Eddie Rice month. But what will not change is Jesus’ universal message:
I have told you this
so that my own joy may be in you
and your joy be complete.
This is my commandment:
love one another,
as I have loved you.
For in the end, true friendship is just another world for love, and love is the perfection of all joy.