Advent finds us on a bridge, says Australian Provincial Fr Brian McCoy SJ, crossing to a new phase of our lives. These bridges offer us new opportunities as we walk together on them. Full transcript below.
My message to you this week is no longer in Melbourne, but now in Sydney. And as you can see I’m now really at the base of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, living as I have been and based at the Jesuit community at St Aloysius College.
This bridge has very particular memories for me, but it also reminds us of how, especially at this time of the year, we are all on bridges of crossing over into new spaces in our lives. And how bridges offer us new opportunities as we walk together on them.
Twenty years ago, on May the 28th, I crossed that Sydney Harbour Bridge with 250,000, other people. A gesture, most significant across the nation, in the hope and promise of Reconciliation with our First Nations peoples.
That bridge crossing, was probably the most significant gesture of reconciliation and hope we have seen in this country, across the nation that time in May. And it reminds us that we are always on journeys of crossing over, of bridge-building, of moving to new spaces, and sometimes uncertain what lies beyond that bridge and what we might face together.
Of course one of the most interesting bridges that some of us have crossed in recent times is to move out of Victoria, when the borders opened and we were able to move out of our isolation and lockdown into New South Wales and other places.
But we’re also aware that as the year comes to a close there is a bridge for young people finishing their Year 12, uncertain as to their futures. There’s a bridge of uncertainty as to how we come out of the COVID pandemic. There’s uncertainty as to what a new year might bring, and the hope that Christmas always offers us together, families and friends.
I think it’s helpful to remember three things as we walk across this bridge of life at this time. Firstly we we go together. We travel together, arm in arm, hand in hand, encouraging, supporting and walking together.
We also watch those who are in front of us, who show us a better way, a quicker way, an easier way to step. Those just in front of us, those who have already moved across the bridge before us.
And above all, we look to our elders, our grandparents, our older people, to guide us, advise us, encourage us. Because in every bridge journey. There’s a new opportunity, and a new beginning.
And of course, for us as Christians as the Church year has just begun with Advent, we remember Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. And he is there with us as friend, as companion, walking with us across this bridge of life at this time.
So let us not forget his companionship and friendship and love for us as we journey into a new future. Let us pray that we will work closely together, watching those in front of us, and learning from the wisdom of those who have gone before us. In the hope, in the blessing, that Christmas will enrich us this year, and together we will walk together into a new future across the bridge of uncertainty in Australia, in the year to come.
Let us walk together in hope.
Fr Brian McCoy SJ, Provincial