Judging Others (Luke 6:39-45)
A reflection on the Gospel from the 8th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C)
Written by Mr Casimir Douglas
On the surface, Jesus’s teachings in this passage from the Gospel of Luke serve as a condemnation of judgmentalism and a stern warning against ignorance and hypocrisy:
“Why do you seek the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?”
The message seems simple: we should not judge others if we are not perfect. As we know, none of us are perfect. Hold your tongue and your judgement. But actually, Jesus is not advocating that we should stay still and silent in the face of transgression and wrongdoing. In fact, his message is the opposite. Our understanding of his words must be informed by the context of the Sermon on the Plain. The passage immediately preceding this in Luke’s Gospel is quite literally titled, Love for Enemies, and extols the virtues of mercy and forgiveness. Christ’s intention is to teach us that in exercising our discernment we do not suspend our civic and moral responsibility. That is, our judgement against a person must not preclude reconciliation and restoration. Jesus is proposing a framework for discernment.
Like many obsessed Star Wars fans, I have found Disney’s The Mandalorian to be the most effective and entertaining piece of storytelling to be produced by the giant entertainment conglomerate since acquiring the franchise from Lucasflim in 2012. Particularly endearing is the relationship formed and fostered between ‘Mando’ and ‘the Child’, a foundling of the same species as the ever quoteable, Yoda. After fulfilling his mission to bring ‘the Child’, named Grogu, to the eponymous hero of the Skywalker Saga, and this week’s Gospel, Luke, the beloved duo are separated. Grogu instead takes the Jedi as his teacher, and ‘Mando’ continues his adventures across the galaxy. However, after Grogu’s many months of training and learning under Luke’s tutelage, Mando visits to deliver a present to ‘the Child’, a protective vest made of the indestructible metal, beskar. Luke presents the gift to Grogu in the form of an ultimatum. Choose the beskar vest, and be returned to your friend, the Mandalorian. Or choose Luke’s gift, the light sabre (which formerly belonged to Yoda), and stay with him to be the first pupil of his Jedi Academy and become a great Jedi Master.
“A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher.”
Whilst, I won’t spoil the decision that Grogu makes about whom he will embrace as his teacher, and commit to as a disciple, the message from Christ in the statement above, is as critical to us in our frameworks of judgement and discernment as it is to Grogu: choose your instructor wisely, for you become your influences and your interests. The seeds of information, values, beliefs and behaviours that you accept and grow within you, will determine the person you become: “No good tree bears bad fruit, and no bad tree bears good fruit”.
This is captured in the writings of the great Christian author, Fr Richard Rohr, in his book: The Divine Dance:
“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one of a kind glory. Like Father, like Son. Generous inside and out. True from start to finish. Just show me what you love and I’ll show you what you’re going to be like five years from now. Show me what you give time to, what your treasure is, and what you give energy to, and I’ll show you what you become.”
We are created in God’s image, though many have ruefully tried to repay the favour. Instead we must allow God to continually remake and renew us in His grace, mercy and love. Personally, I would have chosen the light sabre. But only because I value that trinket more than the other. But our framework for discernment must be based on more than just trinkets, superficiality, and facsimile. A simple societal example is that we must base our behaviours and self-worth on more than is presented on social media. Christ’s message, that I pray we all heed, is that we must choose our influences wisely, exercising discernment that does not condemn, but simply holds true to the Gospel message of hope, charity, faith, welcome, inclusion, compassion and love. After all, we reap what we sow.
Friday 25th February, 2022
Grogu and the Mandalorian
The Mandalorian, Disney, 2021
Dear Parents and Carers,
Grace to you and peace.
This Tuesday (22nd February), we celebrated our Welcome Mass in the Kitchen Garden area. The purpose of the Mass is to provide a formal liturgical welcome to the 2022 school year, to immerse our students in the rich Catholic identity and tradition of our school, and to acknowledge our Grade 6 leaders and present our School & House Captains for 2022 with their leadership badges. The names of these students are listed below, and I wish them all the best, and pledge my utmost support to our student leaders in the exercise of their responsibility, leadership and learning in 2022:
Asher Curtis, Charlie Hilliard, Milla Johnston & Reuben Phillips
Chisholm - Sara Adams & Floyd Luttrell
Tenison - Olive Saxton & Alex Smart
MacKillop - Zoe Limbrick & Ronan Rae
In our Monday Prayer Assembly in the Piazza, myself and students spent some time learning the school song together, so that we could raise our voices and let them echo all across the land at the Welcome Mass on Tuesday. I am pleased and proud to report that not only did the students sing beautifully, but they also participated in the Mass with reverence and respect. Thank you very much to Fr Chathura and Fr Jesse for leading us in our Welcome Mass.
I must also express my sincere gratitude for the deep faith and committed leadership of Mrs Belinda Taylor (Religious Education Coordinator) in her organisation of the Welcome Mass.
PRINCIPAL’S MORNING TEA
At our Friday afternoon Assembly last week, there were fourteen students who received a Gospel Value Award for demonstrating the value of RESPECT last week.
These students attended a special Principal’s Morning Tea in Josephite Hall this Tuesday (22nd February) with myself, Fr Chathura Silva, and Fr Jesse Banez.
The students, as anticipated, conducted themselves with respect, and we thoroughly enjoyed the delicious morning tea and the company. I very much look forward to spending time with the students in this forum and gaining further insight into their learning, their lives, and their morning tea food preferences!
GRADE 6 CAMP
This week a group of intrepid travellers, our Grade 6 students and teaching staff, braved the wilderness of Myrtle Park as they headed off on Camp from Wednesday (23rd February) to Friday (25th February). The camp program is designed to strengthen peer relationships, form teacher-student relationships, promote independence and teamwork, and build resilience. Resilience is a core psychological outcome targeted by outdoor learning programs, and research indicates that the development of coping strategies (which is the primary goal of outdoor learning experiences) increases the growth in social and emotional skills.
There were many engaging, enjoyable and challenging learning experiences that the Grade 6 students participated in on camp, which included rafting, team challenges, sleeping two nights in a tent, and travelling to Hollybank Tree Top Adventures to attempt the High Ropes Course and Zipline Tour. By completing these activities in teams, students learned to assess risks, manage their anxiety in a safe and supervised environment, and develop their perseverance, frustration tolerance, problem solving and interpersonal skills. It also provided an opportunity for students to develop their knowledge of environmental issues.
Thank you to the Grade 5/6 teaching team for their thorough and detailed organisation of the camp.
May the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Mr Casimir Douglas
The NIJSSA Swimming Carnival has been cancelled for 2022 due to COVID-19. The local Independent and Catholic Primary Schools have been significantly effected by the presence of COVID-19 in their school communities, and in particular, their student cohorts. The high numbers of COVID-19 cases in some school communities, and the sheer volume of students, staff and parents in isolation, means that participation in such an event is not advisable, but also not plausible. To conduct an event which brings together students, staff and parents from different school communities exposes our children, and the broader community, to significant risk of spreading the virus. Thank you for your understanding in this matter, and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the school.
On Tuesday 22nd February we celebrated our 2022 Welcome Mass with Fr Chatty and Fr Jessie. Gathering together as a school to celebrate the beginning of the year is a special moment and something even more special for our STM Leaders. We commission our School and House Captains with their badges and commission our Year 6 cohort with their STM badges. The Year 6 students also received their Year 6 T-shirts.