A newsletter for Member Schools of Marist Schools Australia


Amid the many graced moments of last week’s Mission Assembly – and what an extraordinary time of grace it was for Marist Australia – was a gem that came from the sometimes cheeky mouth of Brother Allen Sherry.  He spoke to us of our “upside-down God”.  
Mary also knew that God’s ways were the wrong way around.  Read the Magnificat.  
The God whom Jesus reveals to us was full of apparent unreasonableness: like a vineyard owner who would pay the same to those who showed up at the end of the day as those who had worked right through; like a woman who would turn her house inside out and then throw a party when she found the single coin she had lost; like a shepherd who would drop everything to look for one dumb sheep; like someone who would forgive a hurt seventy-seven times; like a person would share table with extortionists; like an immortal God who would take on mortality and then surrender his life.  All out of proportion, really. Over the top. 
It can be awkward to preach this God to fair-minded people.  The Scriptural example that Allen used was that of the queue-jumper whose people-smuggling mates cunningly got him to Jesus by lowering him down through the roof.  And then Jesus’ not telling him to go and wait his turn behind all the other deserving people who were doing it the right way.  
Don’t get the wrong idea. The gospel is not an argument for unfairness or inequity or even lack of due process.  No, that’s not the point.  But it does reveal a God whose love is immeasurable and unconditional, and can’t be earned: a God that wants us at any price. And he’ll be the one who pays.
We Christians can be often so self-righteous about who’s in and who’s out.  We live in a society, alarmingly  fuelled by sensationalist media, that can be the same.  St Thomas Aquinas had it right when he wrote – in a line that another confrere, Robert O’Connor, often cites – that “it is when we are magnanimous that we most resemble God.”
Big-heartedness.  That’s the key to being God-like.  Unreasonably so.  Indulgently so.  But then when you are in love, that’s what you do.  And God is in love with us.
As Marists, as men and women of the Magnificat, the challenge of walking this gospel talk is something that we are called to embrace, and to witness to the young.  Not easy sometimes.  Perhaps that’s why Marcellin tells us that if we aspire to be educators, then first we must be lovers.
Brother Michael Green  fms

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