REFLECTIONS extracts from DAILY THOUGHTS JULY – AUGUST 2020

Jul 28, 2020

July 30.  Blanche loved to allow her grandchildren to come to her pottery studio and create “beautiful things” as she used to say.   She would tell them to feel the clay in their hands and to shape all kinds of things.  Gradually they did come to make some quite beautiful pots, vases and statues too. David especially, said he felt a little bit like God, creating, looking, feeling, even tasting and touching his creation lovingly. 

The Lord said, Behold like the clay in the potters’ hand so are you in my hand.”  Jere 18:1-6. Pope Francis:   Rigidity can hinder the development of an individual’s abilities to the point of leading him or her to think for example that it is not really masculine to cultivate art or dance or not feminine to  leadership. AL286. By learning to see and appreciate beauty we learn to rejected self-interested pragmatism.  If someone has not learned to stop and admire something beautiful we should not be surprised if he treats everything as an object to be used and abused without scruple.  LS215

INTRODUCTION TO AUGUST REFLECTIONS ON THEME “SEXUALITY A FAMILY GIFT.

OVERVIEW. God looked on his creation and was pleased.  Particularly good was the ability for creation to develop and evolve through its reproductive abilities. Because of the special human attributes, including free will, human sexuality is a special gift and blessing. In its most profound expression within marriage it has the potential to mirror the unity of God-love as well as God’s creative power. That may be the ideal, but it is often poorly presented and understood as sex and sexuality can still be a taboo subject. At the same time the consequences of sin such as disobedience, i.e. the Fall of our first parents (Genesis and other creation accounts) have resulted in situations that are less than ideal and sex and sexuality are too often abused.  Gender-based violence is an extreme form of abuse of the gift.

Faith sharing and sexuality education

In every aspect of creation too apart from its amazing reproductive and regeneration ability there can be some sexual violence and coercion as well as anomalies that allow mutation, change and breakdown in systems. Can one say that the changing gender differences could be a related to this? Should such differences be recognized and accepted or rejected? Different opinions exist on this difficult question.

An appreciation of our body as male or female is also necessary for our own self-awareness in an encounter with others different from ourselves.  In this way we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator and find mutual enrichment.   Only by losing the fear of being different can we be freed of self-centredness and self-absorption. Al285. LS155

Setting the scene.  The daily reflections as usual use the SEE – JUDGE – ACT approach.  They are built around the theme for the month of the year, linked with scripture readings of the day and quotations from relevant writings of Pope Francis mostly from Amoris Laetitia on the family and Laudato Si’ on creation and the environment. The Covid-19 pandemic is reaching its peak in the country and parish life is not able to return to normal for health reasons. As church attendance numbers and gatherings are restricted families are encouraged to practise their faith at home often through digital means. Masses are broadcast and whatsapp messages and faith sharing opportunities are offered. The faith sharing can be considered as family catechesis too and should be more strongly encouraged. Social media is the format used by Andrew and a parish family facilitating team for these reflections for all family members at home and in their groups. 

August 1.  Andrew posted the first facebook message on the theme “Sexuality a Family Gift” as a rather unusually challenging invitation. “How do you all, men and women, young and old, feel about women using their feminine wiles to manipulate men to get their way, even colluding with other women for this?  Share your thoughts and feelings and note  carefully one another’s responses without getting into debates.”  Almost everyone agreed that manipulation is not the way to achieve any kind of balance in gender relationships.  It is not fair and not helpful.”                                                   

When Herod’s birthday came the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask.   Prompted by her mother she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”  Matt 14:1-12.  Pope Francis: Certain forms of feminism have arisen which we must consider inadequate we must nonetheless see in the women’s movement the working of the Spirit for a clearer recognition of the dignity and rights of women.   AL 54

August 2.  Sunday 18A.  Fr Joseph was also a member of the group and posted his homily for the Sunday.   “I don’t know whether to focus on the rally that they all went to, these 5000 men, besides women and children, that the gospel writes about, or about the fact that they just went without taking any provisions with them.  That seems a very unwomanly thing to do.  Were there only a few sensible women, or could it have been some men, who had brought the five loaves and two fish? The story illustrates God’s concern for us, for our human needs and spiritual needs too because they hadn’t spent the day with him expecting to be fed – unlike the government or the women sodality leaders who are always expected to cater.  The story does show the prevailing world-view of the time, mentioning 5000 men and adding women and children as an extra. Women at the time were not on the same plane with men and even today there are some tasks allocated to, or maybe taken on by the different sexes.”                                                                                                                                      When it was evening the disciples came to Jesus and said, “This is a lonely place and the day is over.   Send the crowds away to go into the villages to buy food for themselves.”  Jesus said, “They need not go away, you give them something to eat.”   Those who ate were about 5000 men, besides women and children.  Matthew 14:13-21.  Pope Francis: The equal dignity of men and women makes us rejoice to see old forms of discrimination disappear and within families there is a growing reciprocity.”   AL54.

For results from the SACBC Pastoral Plan and Family survey go to https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1pBllyoHjbvl9PbW4l0J30xY-9EP4RO2VR_-6uXtfskU/viewanalytics

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