Hope & Future 2018
2018 has been nominated by the Australian Catholic Bishops as the Year of Youth, 10 years after Sydney hosted the 12th international World Youth Day. Within this important national context, we Marists seek to know and share God's loving presence this year in our schools and ministries. Our Marist theme for 2018 is taken from ancient text recorded in the Book of Jeremiah. Biblical scholars identify Jeremiah's profound influence on Christian thinking and understanding of God, for his concept of "the Law" was a personal, heartfelt force, connecting us in relationship with God. Jeremiah spoke of sin as breaking friendship with God. Jeremiah in many ways provides prelude to Christ, such is his insistence on the intimate nature of human contact with God. Elsewhere in the Old Testament, God can be portrayed as angry, aloof, and even jealous. Yet in this passage from Jeremiah, addressing those exiled, despondent, and hopeless in Babylon, God reveals himself through words befitting a kind and loving mother or father spoken to their most precious child. God's love for each one of us is ever sought to be described in words, albeit imperfectly. In our lived experience, Jesus draws often upon the fathomless, aching love of a parent.
"For I know the plans I have for you ... to give you hope and a future" - Jeremiah 29:11
One might imagine such words at a time in a young person's life when choice, direction, decision, or commitment, is at hand to be determined. A mother before her growing adolescent son, a firm hold upon his forearms, looking upward into his face, with eyes and lines intensely etched with singular, acute, patient, and unfailing love. Or a father sitting beside his daughter in a stolen moment of complete stillness and silence, where love and trust fills their space like fragrance.
"For I know the plans I have for you ... to give you hope and a future"
For young people as they grow, to know and feel loved by God is what inspired Saint Marcellin. We each have the privilege to make it so in 2018, the Year of Youth.
Dr Frank Malloy
Marist Schools Australia 2017