“If we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship with one another.” 1 John 1:7
To the family and friends of St Edmund’s College,
Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, an event in our liturgical calendar that up until the last few years has always confused me. As a child it always felt quite odd to me that Palm Sunday had almost a celebratory nature to it. This discomfort was compounded by the fact that the Gospel on Palm Sunday is always the account of the Passion leading to the death of Jesus, and that the day itself falls in Holy Week, a most reflective, sombre and solemn week. I always asked myself why do we celebrate and remember Jesus’ triumphant entry to Jerusalem where the crowds greeted and lavished him with palm leaves, proclaiming him as their King, only to turn against him a short while later?
I feel that this confusion arose as I was viewing Palm Sunday as a single occasion. It was not until later, as an adult, when I grew clearer in my understanding of Holy Week did I understand the broader context of Palm Sunday, that it signifies and recognises the beginning of Holy Week and Jesus’ final agonising journey to His crucifixion.
In the simplest of terms, Palm Sunday provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon the final week of Jesus’ life. Jesus did not deny the image that the crowd expected – the fulfilment of the hopes of Israel that He would be their earthly king, destroying the Roman government. He humbly entered Jerusalem to give His life on a cross. There is such a gentle humility in this action – in Jesus riding in to triumphant shouts and proclamations, knowing that he was to give up his earthly life shortly after this. The humility is seen further in the Passion, where Jesus is aware of Judas’ betrayal and the denial of Peter. The humility is seen again with Jesus’ frustration that his friends cannot even stay awake with him to pray. And of course the humility is seen again with Jesus’ silence throughout the false declarations, false accusations and physical actions made against him.
There are two more examples of humility in the account of the Passion. Just before his last breath, Jesus says “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some theologians and scholars have interpreted this as meaning that at this point, the Holy Spirit has left Jesus and he is acutely aware of the physical pain of the crucifixion – the physical pain of taking on the sins of the world. He cannot bear this physical pain and feels as if he has been abandoned by God. This is an extremely emotional and powerful image.
The final image of humility is not of Jesus, but that of Joseph of Arimathea, who asks Pontius Pilate if he can remove the body of Jesus and treat it in a respectful way by placing it in a tomb. Joseph makes no song and dance about this. He goes about this in a very quiet manner, wanting so desperately to dignify the actions following the death of Jesus.
So the celebration of Palm Sunday as a stand-alone day does not make a great deal of sense. But it has a great significance when we view it in a wider context – Palm Sunday is the first day of the most Holy Week in the calendar of the Church; a week where so many acts of violence, betrayal and anger are countered by so many acts of humility and gentleness. This is so important for us to remember in a world which needs much more humility, gentleness and dignity.
I wish all of our students and families a blessed Easter season, and a peaceful and happy holiday. I look forward to students returning on Monday 19 April, ready to tackle Term 2 in a renewed and re-energised manner.
Congratulations to Rory Forbes (Year 9, Rice) who has been selected as one of 114 junior athletes from the ACT to represent TeamACT at the 2021 Australian Athletics Championships. The Championships is a combined junior and open national event and will be held at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre from 12 – 19 April 2021.
Rory will be representing the ACT in the 100m and 200m events and will also be running in the 100m and 200m relays. The qualifying criteria are extremely difficult for track events, with only the two fastest athletes from the ACT for each age group being selected. This is a huge personal achievement for Rory and he is honoured to be representing the ACT at the Championships. The Eddies community is proud of Rory’s achievement and offers him our very best wishes for the 2021 Australian Athletics Championships.
Consent Education – Seminar for Parents and Carers, Tuesday 4 May
A reminder that on Tuesday 4 May we have Brent Sanders presenting a free seminar to parents and carers. For the past 22 years Brent Sanders has been presenting gender-specific seminars on violence against women to male and female students in secondary schools and at universities throughout Australia. Following a distinguished career in the Police Force, he started his own business presenting seminars and lectures on workplace harassment, conflict resolution and offender psychology. Brent speaks frankly and openly to create an atmosphere where students feel comfortable exploring questions on intimate topics such as the range of definitions surrounding sexual assault. Using age-appropriate language, Brent outlines the legal parameters of consensual sex, as well as the consequences of bad choices.
Brent regularly visits St Edmund’s College to present age-specific seminars to students in Year 9 (in conjunction with students from St Clare’s College), Year 11 and Year 12. We have arranged for Brent to present a seminar to parents and carers. This will reinforce the partnership between parents and carers and the College in the education and growth of the young men who attend St Edmund’s by allowing all of us to present a strong and confident voice in sensitive and vital issues.
We have arranged for Brent Sanders to present a free seminar to our parents and carers on consent education. This is an important part of our overall program on consent education for our students, and provides an invaluable opportunity for parents and carers to join with the College in becoming powerful partners in this sensitive and important area. The seminar will be held on Tuesday 4 May. Please click on this link to register for the free seminar: https://sec.act.edu.au/brent-sanders-seminar-2021
This will be the first in a program of seminars for parents and carers.
Open Day, Saturday 1 May
Our Open Day will be held on Saturday 1 May from 11.00 – 2.00. This is a wonderful opportunity for families interested in enrolling their son to see the College first hand – to view the facilities, meet with teachers, engage in subject displays and learn more about our great College. If you are aware of any families interested in enrolling their son in any year for 2022, please let them know about this event. Further information about Open Day can be found here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/145800704833
Prayer for Holy Week
who sent your only Son Jesus Christ to save us from our sin,
show us how we can honour you and bring glory to your name, by walking in the way of Jesus.
Give us grace and mercy as we try and fail,
guidance when we are not sure which way to go,
and wisdom to trust you in all things.
For your love brings light and life to all who seek it.
May we seek you evermore as we walk with you through this Holy Week and beyond.
Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever
Christus Lux Mea