Homily: Blessing of the La Valla Building MARIST COLLEGE

Blessing of the La Valla Building
15th May, 2019

Matthew 7:24-29

Each of us has to remember that the primary task of every Catholic school is to teach the Catholic faith, so that it may be lived and may enrich the society of our time. I am indeed grateful for the contribution, which Marist Brothers have made in the Diocese of Sandhurst, to this major objective.

I am proud also of the spirit of your College and at the achievement you have made in educating many young people to have fulfilling and happy, productive lives. Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to be with you today to bless yet another extension of educational provision here at La Valla. As every year goes by we have to remember as a school community that the future of this College and our community, is entrusted to us as a precious gift by which we are formed and in which we carry our College forward.

Resulting from that, we will see that each of us, young or old, has a mission to perform. For our teachers and leaders, it is obvious that they will need to provide their knowledge and skills in a way that engages our young people and provides them with a truly Catholic vision of life, loyal to Christ and his Church, which shows in addition, what they can contribute to a society.

To our young students who are to be educated in La Valla, in these beautiful new learning spaces, I would say that your education will certainly include an exciting discovery of your talents and gifts. We have much evidence that Marist College Bendigo is a learning community where the student is at the centre of all learning experiences.

Under the supervision of the Principal and Board and in collaboration with skilled architects, it has been possible to design this specific learning environment in this new building so aptly named La Valla. The teaching and learning spaces are planned to suit the exciting new challenges, which education faces now and in the future, in this 21st Century. This will allow a focus on developing the skills of our young people who need to learn to work collaboratively, inquire critically and become independent learners.

The Marist school community has attracted educators who are excited about these new ways of learning and I am sure that each of the teachers working in La Valla has been drawn to the opportunity of working at the cutting edge of learning.

In our Gospel reading today, we have the final reading from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus spells out the essential quality of the true disciple. He or she is not to be measured merely by external activities. The true disciple is someone who is totally united to God in heart, soul and mind. Such a person is one who listens to Jesus’ words and carries them out. Listening here means a number of things: It means to pay attention to what Jesus is saying to us; to listen with attentiveness. It means to understand what is being said, because it is possible to listen without understanding. It also means to accept fully and to assimilate into one’s being what one understands.

When we have fully assimilated as part of our own thinking what we have heard and understood, we will naturally act accordingly. It is only when all this becomes a reality in our lives that we can say we are truly disciples of Jesus and, as he says, that is the only sure foundation on which to build our lives.

To live a Christian life only on the surface, that is, only with words and externally conforming behaviour, is like building a house on sand. And we all know about safe buildings here – so we know that building on sand just would not work! Such a building would collapse at the slightest wind, just as once we came under attack, we would collapse if we have no deep foundation inside.

So let us be like that sensible man who builds his house on rock, the firm foundation that is Christ, with the vision of Christ also the vision of our own life, a life built on truth and love. With this we come to the end of the Sermon on the Mount. St Matthew clearly indicates the end by saying, "Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say. " He adds that Jesus’ teaching made a deep impression on the people, mainly because he spoke with authority.

The Sermon on the Mount deals mainly with the qualities that are to be found in the individual follower of Christ. Let us pray that those qualities may be found increasingly in each one of us, and in particular that those who work in La Valla will come to know Christ as their rock and use His Vision to build their lives on strong foundations.

I congratulate all who have planned this building – a great asset to the Marist school community. I also express my gratitude to the architects and building teams for their eye for detail and the quality of their work. In particular I pray for God’s blessing now not only on the building, but on the Principal of Marist College, Mr Mc Gregor, and all the staff of La Valla who continue “to strive to help young people, whatever their faith tradition and wherever they are in their spiritual search, to grow to become people of hope and personal integrity, with a deep sense of social responsibility to transform the world around them. With Mary as a model for, to nurture in students a passion for social justice and a commitment to bringing hope to those on the margins of society”.
(quote from College Mission Statement)