January 23rd . It is common knowledge and experience, also in families, that success doesn’t always lead to admiration from others, but can also lead to resentment, envy and jealousy. St Paul recognised this in his reflections on love and Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia explains that envy is a form of sadness about another’s prosperity. It only shows concern for oneself and not the wellbeing of others. We should think about our attitudes and feelings. While feelings are neutral. any action resulting from a feeling can be sinful.
When David returned from slaying the Philistine the women came out singing and dancing. They sang, “Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands.” Saul was very angry and eyed David. He spoke to his son, Jonathan, that they should kill David, but Jonathan delighted in David and told him, “my father seeks to kill you.” 1 Samuel 18-19.
Pope Francis. Disregard for the duty to cultivate and maintain a proper relationship with my neighbour for whose care and custody I am responsible, ruins my relationship with my own self, with others, with God and with the earth. When these are neglected when justice no longer dwells in the land life itself is endangered. LS70
January 25th . Conversion of St Paul. I don’t know many Jews,” Anthea said, “but I suppose I know plenty of Gentiles. In fact I wonder if most of us Catholic Christians are like Gentiles. Is our faith, as a system of beliefs and way of life, a real part of our lives, or an add-on that we pick up on Sundays or when we go to sodality conferences or pilgrimages or special occasions. St Paul himself was on fire at first against the followers of Jesus and after his conversion he spent the rest of his life on fire for Jesus, preaching, writing and ultimately suffering death.
The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Just one and to hear a voice from his mouth. For you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard. Acts 22. Jesus said go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation. Mark 16:15-18. Pope Francis. Challenges exist to be overcome. Let us be realists, but without losing our joy, our boldness and our hope-filled commitment. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of missionary vigour! EG109
January 26th. Sunday 3A. The PPC decided to call a meeting to deal with some conflict between the Family and the Justice and Peace groups. They were well aware that even in our own homes and parishes there are differences of opinion about all kinds of things and that is OK. We don’t all agree on decisions about finances, education, money, friends, religion. However conflict should be addressed and resolved for the sake of the common good, so that members will learn to accept differences and live in harmony.
I appeal to you brethren that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgement. For it has been reported to me that there is quarrelling among you. 1 Cor 1:10-13. Pope Francis. Pastoral ministry in a missionary style is not obsessed with the disjointed transmission of a multitude of doctrines. When we adopt a pastoral goal and missionary style which would reach everyone the message has to concentrate on the essentials, the most beautiful, most grand, most appealing and at the same time most necessary. EG 35.
January 28th. On the feastday of St Thomas Aquinas the parish team participated in a retreat. They were given his saying for reflection, “What counts is faith working through love.” Then they were asked, “Who in our society today can be considered the wisest person? Is it the rich man or woman, the successful lawyer or teacher, one who works for others or for themselves, even just for their own family? Can those who practise solidarity with all that exists and for the greatest good be considered the wisest?”
I prayed and understanding was given me, I called upon God and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I did not liken her to any priceless gem, because all gold is but a little sand in her sight, and silver will be accounted as clay before her. I love her more than health and beauty and I chose to have her rather than light because her radiance never ceases. Wisdom 7.7 – 10 Pope Francis: If a mistaken understanding of our own principles has at times led us to justify mistreating nature, to exercise tyranny over creation, to engage in war, injustice and acts of violence, we believers should acknowledge that by so doing we were not faithful to the treasures of wisdom which we have been called to protect and preserve”. World Day of Prayer for Peace 8.