Homily: Blessing and Opening of the Community Centre at Marist College

Blessing and Opening of the Community Centre at Marist College,
Maiden Gully
Thursday 23rd March, 2017

Jesus of Nazareth was a master teacher and a great storyteller. I can easily picture him teaching and preaching to his young friends as they sat on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, on hillsides, in deserted places or in the temple precincts in Jerusalem.  He incorporated everything around him in his teaching and preaching and he models for us a tremendous artistry of the human condition and of God’s created world.  These qualities of Jesus are clearly evident in today’s Gospel.

The story Jesus used in this parable of the Sower, has lessons and insight for us here today as we bless the new Community Centre at Marist College Bendigo, which is a place where all people are welcome.   It is to be a place of inclusion and broad acceptance where we meet others.

So let’s look at the parable from our Gospel Reading, which is very straightforward. It speaks about a farmer sowing seed in his field, a typical Palestinian field of the time. It is obviously a very mixed patch of ground. There are paths going across it where people have long established a right of way. There are bits of rock sticking up above the ground with small hollows where water can gather after rain. Ploughing was done after the seed was sown so there are weeds and brambles growing wild all over the place. And then there are parts of the field which have good, fertile soil.

The Community Centre will be place of growing and thriving, sharing of gifts and talents which, when discovered and nurtured, will be taken out and shared with the rest of the world. And this is why it is so good that the Community Centre will be a shared facility between the Marist College Community and the wider Bendigo Community.

The Community Centre is the fertile ground, a rich resource that enables us to grow in faith in God, in hope for our world, and in deep respect and love for one another. It will be a place where relationships are fostered and individuals and teams flourish.

A parable in the Gospel usually makes just one point. In this case the message is that God’s plan will succeed, even though at times and with individuals, there seem to be setbacks. It was an important message for the early Christians to hear, as it is for us today. Some may take a while to see the value of learning and growing, but the Marist mantra explains ‘Learning can happen anywhere, anytime’. The Marists have contributed much to Bendigo, over a length of time so it is fitting that, the Community Centre will be a place where the Marist mission: ‘to make Christ Known and Loved’, will continue to be fulfilled.

We are talking about network of people and communities in Bendigo. The sower sows the same seeds in all four soils with equal toil, equal hope, and equal generosity. The sower does so without evaluation of the soil’s quality or potential. There is no soil left unsown. No ground is declared undeserving of the sower’s seeds. But this is not about the quality of dirt. It’s about the quality of God, the divine sower.

The different kinds of ground on which the seed falls, represent the different ways in which the word of God is received. The degree of receptivity depends on the individual person and the particular circumstances of his or her life. The parable provides hope and encouragement, in that the sower succeeds ultimately in producing a crop from the seed.

So as we bless and open this great new Community Centre, let us reflect on the sower as an image that Jesus gives, to help us understand how we are to cultivate the ground of our hearts,  in order to grow in holiness and to progressively reflect the goodness of Christ to our world.

More in this category: Homily: Palm Sunday »