Acts 8:26-40
John 6:44-51


I do not think I am an overly emotional person. If anything, I am sometimes accused of not taking life seriously enough. However, people and their stories are something I always take seriously. And there are some events which I find break my heart, and others’ hearts, so much that I am filled with a pain that is too much to bear.

The Port Arthur massacre.


The rescue of the Wild Boars Soccer team by an international team effort was something that moved my soul. I remember at the time watching the boys as they were rescued, myself not going to bed each night until the last one had been extracted from the cave that day. On the third night, I was watching an English-speaking Asian news service as the last soccer lad was rescued. As the reporter went through the events of the day, he crossed back to the studio, where the news anchor, an Asian man, simply said, in humble gratitude, “The world is indeed one.”

I claim no special insight or connection to the events of last Saturday at Bondi Junction.

But I found myself overwhelmed by grief and sadness as I watched the news unfold. And, no doubt, an entire nation felt the same.

The victims.

Good people. Beautiful people. People who shared their talents, and love, and hope, and goodness, and life. No more to be shared on this planet.

They had names.

Yixuan Cheng.

Pikria Darchia.

Faraz Tahir.

Ashlee Good.

Dawn Singleton.

Jade Young.

Yet in this darkness, there were stories of immeasurable courage and love. Courage and love that displayed the indomitability of the human spirit, even in times of crisis.

An incredibly courageous female police officer. A young man, a Frenchman, “Bollard Man.” A dying mother handing her baby to a complete stranger, trusting in the goodness of people despite the violence she had endured. And the guy, when asked for an interview, just pointed to the real heroes, saying, “He saved the baby. He saved the baby.”

No doubt you witnessed other moments of grace.

Life is sometimes brutal. There are no answers on this beautiful but crazy planet on which we live. Believing in the love and goodness of life and love; believing in a God who cares for each and every one of us, no matter how broken we are. A God who believes in the wonder and beauty of this world despite evidence to the contrary.

Today, please be kinder than you need to everyone you see.

Including yourself.

Peter Gardiner is a Passionist priest, living in Sydney. He is mostly involved in Outreach work, and teaching English.