Reflections. Extracts from Daily Thoughts June 2020

Jun 9, 2020

June 11th. Basil, Zola and Mary had never really known their father.  When their mother became ill and died when little Mary was just 8 years old and Basil just 17 the children felt very lost. Their aunt who lived nearby took over some of the parenting but much of the time Basil found himself being the head of their little family. At first they were close but as time went by he found it was more and more difficult to control Zola. His brother had been a good student but had got mixed up with bad friends and often missed school. They drank and smoked and walked the streets until late at night.  Like a real father Basil became very angry with his brother and there were times when the boys fought. Basil knew this was not right but felt helpless so he decided to ask their priest for help.

If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something  against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go, first be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:20-26. Pope Francis: “Put on Christ, in your life and you will find a friend in whom you can always trust. “Put on faith” and life will take on a new flavour. “Put on hope” and every one of your days will be enlightened and your horizon will no longer be dark but bright.  “Put on Love” and your life will be like a house built on rock. WYD 2013.

June 12th    Mary and her son Patrick considered the Church’s laws, this time on divorce and remarriage but they spoke of adultery too. She shared, “I know this is a painful subject for both of us but I believe you are old enough to understand. I divorced your father because of his adultery, not once but many times. I felt very betrayed and chose never to remarry.  Many others do, some that were innocent and others not.  I have often wondered, if divorced and remarried people should be excluded from the sacraments forever?  That was one of the topics of the bishops at the Family Synod spoke about and Pope Francis wrote about too.

I say to you that whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.  Mat 5:27-32.  Pope Francis:  I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion.  But I sincerely believe that Jesus wants a Church attentive to the goodness which the Holy Spirit sows in the midst of human weakness, a Mother who while clearly expressing her objective teaching, always does what good she can, even if her shoes get soiled by the mud of the street. AL 308

June 13. St Anthony  At baptism the Church expects babies to have a saint’s name. Over the years children might explore who their name saint is.  That was what Sibusiso Anthony did and he became fascinated by the story of St Anthony of Padua. “St. Anthony, please look around; something is lost and must be found.”  That little prayer was his first thought. He heard that it had come from a time when St Anthony himself prayed intensely about an important book that was missing. Now he is the patron saint of “finding lost items.” Already as a young boy Anthony had been drawn to the religious life and wanted to be a missionary. That wasn’t to be because of his health. He was shipwrecked, ended up in Italy and worked as a humble brother doing manual work until by chance he was asked to preach when the regular priest was not available.  His wonderful gift for preaching and his knowledge as a teacher were discovered and that became his way of life as Franciscan. Many people converted, turned from their sins and were reconciled with one another through him.  He had an intense love for the baby Jesus and was once discovered miraculously holding the baby Jesus.  That is why is most often portrayed like that, being a real model for all those called Anthony and others too.

Jesus said, “I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.  Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals and salute no one on the road.  When you enter a house, first say,’ Peace be to this house.’ If a son of peace is there your peace shall rest upon him.” Luke 10:1-9.   Pope Francis: See Jesus as happy, overflowing with joy.  Rejoice with him as with a friend who has triumphed. They killed him, the holy one, the just, one, the innocent one, but he triumphed in the end. Evil does not have the last word.  CV126

June 14. Sunday. Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.   Granddad was delighted to be invited to the 1st Communion Mass.  “It’s my 29th, he told Patricia. “5 children, 15 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.   I’ve seen how each little one feels so excited and so close to Jesus.  But what happens down the line, when they get to their teens?   Do they all forget his love, forget the food for our souls, or do the children not all experience the sense of communion and the life he brings them?  But do many of them forget?  I know that some do remember their commitment.  I do pray for each of them every night that Jesus will be close to them, and that the Father will be merciful to them in their time of need.

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread he will live forever. My flesh is food indeed and my blood is drink indeed.”  John 6:51-58.  Pope Francis: Various other opportunities for evangelizing the young should not make us forget that, despite the changing times and sensibilities of young people, there are gifts of God that never grow old, for they contain a power transcending all times and places. There is the word of the Lord, ever living and effective, the nourishing presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Reconciliation, which brings us freedom and strength. CV229

June 15. “A guy was transferred to our school who had been a member of a gang, but he managed to get out of that way of life. He told us a bit about it.  “’An eye for an eye’ was the way we lived and revenge was always uppermost in our minds. Jesus made some really difficult statements when he said, ‘turn the other cheek’ as the blueprint for his kingdom. On a mission in our church I learned to change my behaviour.  It is difficult at times, but he is proposing an ideal society that even I can buy into.“   

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.  I say, “do not resist one who is evil. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek turn to him the other also.  Matthew 5:38-42. Pope Francis. If you are young in years, but feel weak, weary or disillusioned, ask Jesus to renew you. With him, hope never fails. You can do the same if you feel overwhelmed by vices, bad habits, selfishness or unhealthy pastimes. Jesus, overflowing with life, wants to help you make your youth worthwhile. In this way, you will not deprive the world of the contribution that you alone can make, in all your uniqueness and originality. CV 109

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