From the Chaplain

21st June is the shortest day and the longest night in Australia. This means the days will soon start to grow longer. Light is indeed one of the strongest symbols of our Christian faith. Last Friday, Nicholas Lawrence Tudori, son of Michael and Kerry Tudori, was baptized in John XXIII College Chapel together with family and friends. These devoted parents and seasoned godparents were presented with a candle, lit from the Easter candle. The presentation was accompanied by a beautiful prayer.

Receive the light of Christ. Parents and godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly. These children of yours have been enlightened by Christ. They are to walk always as children of the light. May they keep the flame of faith alive in their hearts. When the Lord comes, may they go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.

Jesus was a skilled user of parables to talk to people of Palestine in the first century about the kingdom. These were memorable, visual and contained a moral lesson. In the parable of the sower, we see God as the farmer scattering the seed. It might start out as an insignificant presence, but will later blossom into a glorious tree. Another way to look at this parable is that we are the farmer and Jesus sends us to scatter the seeds of the kingdom. If we respond generously to the values of truth, justice and to the protection of the most vulnerable in our society from the wills of the majority then the kingdom grows up into a generous stalk, ready for the harvest at the end of time.

In the second parable, the kingdom is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into a big tree and it gives shelter to all the birds of the air. This parable not only draws a rich metaphor from nature, but informs us that Gentiles, foreigners, refugees and asylum seekers around the world do have a home in the kingdom.

Our Christian history is littered with the tragic consequences of those who did not understand this, of those who bought faith with the sword. I think we still struggle with this, being altogether too confident when it comes to sharing our perch, of who are an unacceptable foreigner and stranger. God continues to confound us by his generosity, and to challenge our hospitality.

In a sense, and through no fault of our own, I think we adults, have become too sophisticated with too many overheads for our own good and comfort. Thank God our children, continue to rock climb, do search and rescue, orienteering, team games and listen to the stillness of the gentle breeze on the beach at Woodman Point, thus living their true gift of feeding a spiritual diet and caring for their soul as transitional Year 7 campers into secondary.

The immediate and profound message of Jesus' kingdom can be somewhat lost in the grandeur of our new Roman translation and liturgy, the argument of canon law or the disputations of theology. This is the risk the church runs when it moves too far away from the ordinary simple things of life, and ordinary people's lives.

It might be that it is time not only to tell the stories of Jesus, and the truths of our faith in him, more simply and directly as we did in the baptism of Nicolas, but also to let others tell their stories of how they have been nurtured in the most surprising ways, and how God has given them room to grow and flourish. After all, the seeds of the earth have to respond to the sun and soil, and the birds have lots of choices about in which tree they make a nest, build their roots and strengthen their wings. May we want to be sufficiently faithful to Christ that we will be seen as offering rich soil, strong welcoming branches, and a simple sustainable life style.