Choosing your Lenten Acts of Love and Sacrifice

It seems that our news media, certainly in the last few weeks, is full to the brim with matters of sexual abuse, harassment, violence, murder and mayhem in general.  Just in the last few days, a young actor was murdered outside a cinema where a movie in which he acted was showing.   For what?

A whole series of tweets reacted with absolute outrage to a video clip showing a popular musician beating his partner, demanding that action should be taken. Like what and by whom other than being arrested?

A group of young people on a school camp are alleged to have raped a fellow learner. Was there no supervision or should these youth not be able to take personal responsibility?

Reports of the clerical abuse summit were followed by the conviction of a top cardinal on child abuse charges, and other areas of neglect of their duty by church leaders to deal with abuse cases was raised.

A celebrated actor, now old but still an icon of the South African theatre, is reported to have harassed a young female reporter.

Is it a case of sex makes the news, as it does when celebrities are involved, but are such things not happening in ordinary families in our day too? Those are part of our considerations as we enter the season of Lent.

The media might go overboard on matters related to sexuality but it plays an important role too in creating awareness and reminding us of our rights and responsibilities.  “Family Rights Matter” is MARFAM’s family theme for the month of March and so will be underpinning the Lenten reflections.   With February reflections on “Loving Families Matter” and the scripture readings from Genesis, the 15 February quotation from Pope Francis was already particularly relevant.  “We must never forget that our human equilibrium is fragile; there is a part of us that resists real human growth and any moment it can unleash the most primitive and selfish tendencies.” AL 157.

The recent news items rather challenged me to review the Lenten Family Calendar I had already published. It seemed almost too bland and simplistic, so a revised version has now been created.  It is not just for families with small children to “be good and kind and do nice things.”  “Every Family Matters” is our overall theme and we all have to address our baser instincts, our weaknesses and at the same time aim not to resist the growth Pope Francis noted.  There are many acts of love and sacrifice from which you can decide to choose what is appropriate.

Although Ash Wednesday is late this year it may still feel as if it has sprung on us unexpectedly.  Now is the time to choose but each day is a new opportunity to take on board the events of the day and as the saying goes, “live each day as if it is your last.”  Or another one, the opening verse of a Lenten hymn based on Isaiah 58:5-9 “Attend and keep this happy fast I preach to you this day. Is this the fast that pleases me that takes your joy away? Do I delight in sorrow’s dress says God who reigns above, the hanging head, the dismal look, will they attract my love?” Read on in Isaiah.   May your Lent be blessed with the love of God and of one another and may your acts of love and sacrifice bring you joy.   TR FAMILY WEEKLY 6 MARCH 2019

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