This Sunday's Good News

A reflection for the Second Sunday in Advent by Rev. Prof. Thomas Scirghi SJ. Some parents and students will remember Fr Thomas from his first semester visit, as St Thomas More Chair of Jesuit Studies. This reflection is published the journal, Pastoral Liturgy, edited by Fr Russell Hardiman. We are grateful for permission to reprint here.

Artwork: ©Dorothy Woodward rsj, Emmaus Productions


It's all about the future. In the reading from Isaiah, the word "shall" appears twenty times. For example, ''The wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid." The prophet paints a picture of harmony for all creatures; all creation shall live in harmony. St. Paul echoes Isaiah when he prays that we will come "to think in harmony." Both promise a future lived in harmony.

Now, if we think we will slide smoothly into this harmony, John the Baptist appears, shouting at us to "think again!" John stands like a policeman directing traffic at the scene of an accident. He forces us down a different street and makes us go another way. We will get to where we want to go, but we will have to re-think how we will get there. But we will get there. It's all about the future having faith in the future.

That is why Isaiah's message is important today­ having faith in the future. Faith in the future gets us out of a vicious cycle and moves us into an upward spiral. Question: How do we see our lives- as a cycle or a spiral?

The Jewish people had a profound understanding of time. Before the Jews, much of the world thought of time as cyclical - moving around and around in a cycle. For some, like the Egyptians, you were born, you lived, you died, and you were reborn. They would watch the ebb and flow of the Nile River. The Nile River Valley is a fertile region. But once a year the river would rise over its banks and flood the plain, killing all the plant life around it. Then the river would sink back between its shores, leaving rich minerals behind, fertilizing the soil. Come springtime, new plant life emerged. This cycle of 'life, death, rebirth' led the Egyptians to believe in reincarnation. In this cycle you live out your life the best you can; you cannot change your destiny.

But the Jews looked at life differently. God entered their world and chose them. God called Abraham and Sarah, and promised to make them a great nation. The Jews believed that the way they lived would influence future generations and their destiny. So while the cycle of seasons turned round and round - winter warming into spring- year in and year out, they did not move simply in a cycle. It was more like a spiral - an upward spiral - circling around but moving closer to God. God stretched the circle into a spiral.

A problem for them, as well as for us, is that we can only see the present, and sometimes not all that well. We remember the past (we reminisce and we regret); we imagine the future (either with wonder or with worry). So we need a prophet to help connect the parts of our story - past, present and future. That's why we have John the Baptist today. He comes preaching, shaking things up. He challenges the complacent and the desperate. Listen to him rant: "Don't presume to say that Abraham is your father!" He means that just because you're descended from Abraham that alone won't save you. You have to bear good fruit. To the desperate he holds out the promise: "One is coming who is mightier than I. He will baptize with the Holy Spirit." For John, our lives are influenced, but not limited, by the past or the present; they are also linked to the future. Think of it: so much of our lives are linked to the future; we have an implicit hope in the future. Would it make any sense to embark on a career, be­ gin a new job, go off to college, fall in love and marry, if we weren't hopeful for the future? In a way, we are al­ ways writing notes for the next chapter of our lives. With­ out a vision, a dream, or some picture of the future, human life loses its meaning.

Satan moves within a cycle, limiting our options, closing off hope. The devil conjures up a small circle of reason, which is quite logical but lacks human experience. The writer, G.K. Chesterton, says

"Never argue with a maniac. You probably won't win. If there's one thing a maniac does not lack, it is reason." He means that the maniac operates within a small circle of reason and this world makes sense to him. The paranoid person, for instance, is convinced that people are following him and he will explain it to you. So the maniac does not lack reason.

What he does lack, though, is a sense of humour which is rooted in humility and recognizes that there is so much which we simply do not know and cannot control. And so we dream of the way the world should be, and hope that God will show us the way to make it so. In humility we can appreciate the efforts and failings of others and grow to care for them. Then we will begin to see harmony take shape, imagining a world in which a lion and lamb shall lie down together. It seems that the antidote for desperation is dreaming - not daydreaming or fantasy, but imagining the world as it should be - as we would like it to be - and living accordingly, bearing good fruit. In this way we allow the Lord to stretch the cycle of our lives into a spiral and we will be ready to meet Him.

Thomas Scirghi SJ

Source: Pastoral Liturgy, Volume 44, No. 1, December 12013 - March 2014, edited by Fr Russell Hardiman.

Community Mass

Community Mass resumes Friday 7th February 2014. No Community Mass next Friday. However you are warmly invited to attend a Mass to end the school year for combined Primary and Secondary students.

Day: Friday 13th December

Time: 9:00

Venue: St Louis Sports Centre

Parish Life


We were once again able to offer Reconciliation to our Primary Students, thanks to the generosity of local parish priests: Fr Andrew Albis from Floreat/Wembley parish and Fr James D'Souza from Cottesloe/Mosman Park parish. Thank you also to our chaplain, Fr Wilson Donizzetti. This week students in Years 4 and 5 celebrated the sacrament in the form of the 'Second Rite'.

Do you have a child in Years 2, 3 or 5?

Parishes are currently enrolling for 2014.

For those living in the following parishes, please note dates:

- City Beach: enrol immediately

- Floreat/Wembley: enrolments close 9th February

For families in other parishes please refer to parish information or check the information on the College website.


  1. 1. Does my child need to enrol in the parish catechetical program for sacramental preparation?

Children at John XXIII College are prepared for Sacraments in their Religious Education Program. (This is the 'School Support' aspect of the program). The parish classes are held for children who attend non-Catholic schools.

  1. 2. What if my regular parish is not my closest?

'Parish-based' implies the parish where families gather most frequently or have a sense of belonging.

  1. 3. What does Family-focused, Parish-based, Catholic School-supported mean?


Children complete the classroom component of the sacramental programs for Reconciliation (Year3), Communion (Year 4) or Confirmation (Year 6) at the College.


Children celebrate their First Reconciliation, First Communion or Confirmation within their parish community.


Parents, as first educators in the Faith, enrol their children in the sacramental program in their home parish sacramental program.

What should I do?

  • Check your home parish. Many parishes have begun publishing their sacramental programs for 2014, and are currently enrolling.
  • Alternatively, go to your parish webpage via the PerthCatholic website:

  • Details of sacramental program from parishes close to John XXIII College are on the College website, and are updated regularly.

Any further queries please contact Mary-Anne Lumley:


Christmas and Advent is the time that many families (including many who do not regularly attend church) are drawn to church liturgies. For families in local parishes, see information below, although we recognise that as we are a regional school, many families live outside these boundaries. For Christmas liturgies and events not listed here, enquire at your local parish or find the information on the archdiocesan website: Perthcatholic.

For assistance in locating your nearest parish, contact Mary-Anne Lumley (as above).

St Thomas the Apostle, Claremont


5.30pm Children's Mass

7.15pm Christmas Carols

8.00pm Family Mass


7.30am Family Mass

9.30am Family Mass

St Mary Star of the Sea, Cottesloe - Corpus Christi, Mosman Park

TUESDAY 24th DECEMBER Christmas Eve Masses


Mosman Park - Corpus Christi Church



Cottesloe - Star of the Sea Church



Mosman Park - Corpus Christi Church



Cottesloe - Star of the Sea Church -Carols &Mass




Mosman Park - Corpus Christi Church


10:00 am

Cottesloe - Star of the Sea Church


St Cecilia's, Floreat - Our Lady of Victories, Wembley


6.00pm Family Mass with children's nativity St Cecilia's

8.00pm Our Lady of Victories


7.30am Our Lady of Victories

9.30am St Cecilia's


Tuesday 10 December 7.00pm St Cecilia's

Holy Rosary Nedlands - St Thomas More Collegiate Chapel, Crawley


6:30pm Family Mass with Fr Jamie Calder SJ - Holy Rosary

10:00pm Mass St Thomas More (Carols at 9:30)

Midnight Mass Holy Rosary


Wednesday 11 December 7:30-8:30 St Thomas More

St Joseph's, Subiaco


Carols on the Piazza 7:00pm. Bring a rug and your Christmas cheer.


Tuesday Dec 24

6pm Children's Vigil Mass

9pm Vigil Mass

11.15pm Carol Service

12.00pm Midnight Mass


Christmas Morning Mass