SA Human Rights Day, on 21st March appropriately always falls during Lent. The Catholic Church’s Charter of Rights of the Family sets out that not only individuals but families too have rights: to life, to a reasonable quality of life, a place to live, employment, education etc. The Charter aims at reinforcing the awareness of the irreplaceable role and position of the family; it wishes to inspire families to unite in the defence and promotion of their rights; it encourages families to fulfil their duties in such a way that the role of the family will become more clearly appreciated and recognized in today’s world.
The duty of leaders at all levels in church and in society, in government, trade unions and every institution is to uphold those rights and do so justly. Are we doing so in our own families and are we doing so with love? Is there a need for reconciliation and healing during this season of Lent?
Society, and in a particular manner the State and International Organizations, must protect the family through measures of a political, economic, social and juridical character, which aim at consolidating the unity and stability of the family so that it can exercise its specific function. Charter of Rights of the Family.
6th 9th Sunday of the Year A. Christ, our Rock of Refuge. In the gospel Jesus speaks of the wise man who built his house on rock and the foolish man who built on sand. Jesus is our rock in whom we put our trust. At the same time belonging to the Kingdom means acting with wisdom and integrity on our part so as to receive a just reward. How strong is our commitment to the Kingdom?
9th Ash Wednesday. Using the words “if you want peace work for justice” as a focus this year resolve during the season of Lent to reflect on all aspects of life and relationships in our family, workplace, school and consider how just and fair we are being and acknowledge the need for repentance. Begin this process today.
13th 1st Sunday of Lent A. Christ, the Second Adam. The first Sunday of Lent always focuses on temptation. Adam and Eve gave in to temptation to become like gods. Jesus did not give in to his temptations for power and glory. Consider what the temptations are in each of our lives? What particular weakness needs to be addressed or where is selfishness preventing us from being just?
17th St Patrick. Because of the strong influence of the Irish missionaries in South Africa we still celebrate St Patrick’s Day as a call to being missionary and as thanksgiving for their generosity. Greet and thank any Irish people especially missionary priests, brothers or sisters.
19th St Joseph. On this day he is honoured as the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus. He is seen as a just man who tried to do the best he could for the family entrusted to him. Discuss his role as husband and father.
20th 2nd Sunday of Lent A. Our Transfigured Christ. Life is journey that is sometimes difficult but God gives us hope and courage too as in the transfiguration where the apostles were given a vision of a glorious future. The apostles said, “Lord it is good for us to be here.” Consider what transfiguration experiences you have had and when have you been able to say, “Lord it is good for us to be here” to give you courage for the journey.
21st Human Rights Day SA. Pope Paul’s words, “If you want peace work for justice” are particularly applicable on this day. Peace is not the absence of war, or of violence or an imposed suppressed calm but of true order……. Speak with one another, especially with children about the events commemorated on this day in our country. How just is our present situation and will it lead to true peace built on love of neighbour?
25th Annunciation. Mary said “yes” to God when the angel Gabriel approached her. Her “yes” was given freely but was part of God’s plan of salvation. It brought about a new order in the world. Thank her for this choice she made and pray for an increase in faith and trust in God.
27th 3rd Sunday of Lent A. The Living Water. The readings use the powerful symbol of water and the need to quench one’s thirst in a physical as well as a spiritual way. The Beatitudes read a few weeks ago also speak of a hunger and thirst for justice. How strong is our thirst right now for a just society for all not just for ourselves? Are we doing enough to fight injustice and so achieve the peace we desire and need?