How often do we come across people arguing with each other and we interject with the question “what are you arguing about?” As teachers on yard duty at lunchtime, it’s way more common than we’d like! It’s a simple enough question to disarm some escalating tension, but truth be known, the canny teacher already knows the answer, but simply wants the students to own up to how silly their argument is before it escalates to something big and gets out of hand. Which parents haven’t asked the same question between two warring siblings? In the Gospel story for next Sunday, Jesus asks the same question of his disciples who are arguing about who amongst them is ‘the greatest’ or most important (as in who should lead them should something happen to Jesus).
Jesus’ question is met with an embarrassed silence. The minute the question was asked they knew they were in the wrong. They could hardly say, “Well, we were wondering which one of us would take over when you are no longer with us.” Jesus, of course, knew exactly what was going on in their minds so he gave them some guidelines if they wanted to be truly his followers. “If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.” This is quite a hard saying and most of us find it difficult to put fully into practice. It is, of course, totally in opposition to what goes on in the secular world where “success” means being on top, being in charge, being in control, calling the shots. Yet, who are really the greatest people in our society? Is it not those, especially those who are especially talented intellectually or in other ways, who use their talents totally for the wellbeing of others to the point of even sacrificing their lives? Apart from the obvious example of Jesus himself, we have many of the great saints. In our own times we have marvellous people like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Oscar Romero, Mother Teresa. Don Bosco too, always put others before himself. They all have one thing in common: they put themselves totally at the service of their brothers and sisters. Success, promotion, status, material wealth, executive power meant nothing to these people. They served and in serving was their power, a power which inspires in a way that no mere politician or business tycoon or dictator could ever do.
To serve is not to be submissive or weak; it is not putting oneself on a lower level than those being served. It is simply to be totally committed to the good of others and to find one’s own wellbeing in being so committed. Jesus then takes a little child, as a symbol of all those who are vulnerable, weak and exploitable. Children are used by Jesus as symbols of the anawim, the lowly and weak in our society. They are the ones who are most of all to be served and protected and nurtured. In so doing one is recognising the presence of Jesus and the presence of God in them.
The challenge thrown down by Jesus to all those who seek to lead others – be it within the Church, in politics, in business or even in education – is that authentic leadership requires the leader to put the needs of others before themselves, to work for the greater good of the most vulnerable, even if that sometimes works against what others see as ‘sensible’ or ‘logical’. As a Catholic community, we are called to be inclusive of all people and to welcome the weakest, the poorest and the most in need. It is a challenge for all of us, not just those who seek to lead.
For Year 12 students, their last school term break is quickly approaching. The term break is an opportunity to strike the balance between enjoying activities in their down time and working hard to consolidate the year’s work. During the break I urge Year 12’s to:
Salesian College Sunbury is a large community of students, staff and parents, both past and present.
Please keep the following in your prayers:
A PRAYER FOR PEACE
If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.
(Chinese Philospher - Lao-Tse - 6th Century BCE)
Read an update from Acting Principal, Mrs Angela Romano
An update from our Principal, Mr Mark Brockhus, as we prepare to commence the 2019 school year.
Cricket great, Darren Lehmann, visited last week as part of our Ashes Oval Redevelopment Project and our Father's Day Breakfast