With half of Australia in lockdown, we have many within our Marist Canberra community who have family and friends in need of our prayers and compassion.

The crisis is a stark reminder of how unnatural life becomes when banned from daily interactions. COVID has been a devastating tormentor but also a great teacher of the importance of everyday human friendship and affection to human wellbeing.

In the background of the COVID crisis, we have witnessed a celebration of humanity at the Tokyo Olympics. It has been a timely reminder where people from differing cultures and political regimes compete fiercely on the playing field, while respecting the differences between them. Pope Francis called the games ‘a message of hope, a sign of universal brotherhood under the banner of healthy competition.’ It is a message for a world in need of something to celebrate. One of the Tokyo images defining the Olympic spirit was a photograph of the Italian and Qatari high jumpers embracing after they decided to share the gold medal rather than having a jump off. The photograph captured a moment of sportsmanship and unity.

Another image was witnessing our own Patty Mills in his fourth Olympic competition, score 42 points to lead the Australian Men’s Basketball side to the Bronze medal. The footage of Patty hugging his coach, and his joy in success after suffering defeat in previous campaigns, teaches us a lot about life.

The Games remind us there is much to celebrate amongst humanity and that goodwill continues to exist between nations. While COVID is a time of stoppage, it is also a time for shifting, for remembering with gratitude who we are, a time of hope and a time to celebrate humanity.