Reflections. Extracts from DAILY THOUGHTS June 2020

Jun 16, 2020

June 18.     “This is becoming one of my pet hates,” Georgina declared, “empty phrases, words that have lost their meaning, when we preach or pray.   We seem to just babble on.  I think we’ve fallen into the same trap that Jesus warned us about.   It does worry me but when my friends from the Pentecostal church pray they seem to talk about real things that concern them.” “I have discovered that if I slow down and think about the phrases they’re not nearly as empty as all that, and I can apply them to my situation. But the line about forgiving others of course is one that catches me out when I do stop to think about it.”

When you pray do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do for they think they will be heard for their many words. Say ‘Our Father, who art in heaven………….’  Matthew 6:7-15  Pope Francis.   Prayer in the family, how is that done?   After all prayer is something personal.   But it is also a matter of humility, of realizing that we need God, like the tax collector. And all families need God.  We need his help, his strength, his blessing, his mercy, his forgiveness.   And we need simplicity to pray as a family.  Praying the “Our Father” together around the table is not something extraordinary.    Also praying for one another. That is what it means to pray in the family and is what makes the family strong. Homily on Family Day 2013

June 19. Sacred Heart. “I think that devotion to the Sacred Heart given by Jesus himself to a religious sister St Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 17th century is an earlier form of the Divine Mercy devotion.  It is essentially about Jesus’ great love, but also about his heart that was hurt and crowned with thorns.  I kind of relate to that. The Divine Mercy devotion has a different dimension.  It is about the love of God flowing forth as mercy.”

I thank you Father that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to infants. Matt 11:25-30    Learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light. Pope Francis:   The same Christ who by his cross saved us from our sins, today continues to save and redeem us by the power of his total self-surrender.   Look to his cross, cling to him, let him save you, for “those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness.  And if you sin and stay far from him he will come to lift you up by the power of his cross.   CV119  

June 20.  The Care of Refugees desk in the parish always used this opportunity to draw attention to a very real social problem. World Refugee Day is celebrated every year to honour the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homes under threat of persecution for religious reasons, internal conflict and violence. Very often poverty leads to desperate attempts to find a new home somewhere.  However migrants, refugees and political asylum seekers are not always welcomed in other countries where resources are stretched and poverty and homelessness exist already. Millicent and her team knew that a true sense of brotherliness was very hard to find in the community and much evangelisation around this topic was needed.

Do not be anxious saying, what shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or what shall we wear? The Gentiles seek all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well. Matt 6:24–34.  Pope Francis: Migrants remind us of a basic aspect of our faith, that we are strangers and exiles on the earth.  CV91. The Church can embrace varied perspectives on the issue of migration. I encourage young people not to view others newly arrived as a threat and not possessed of the same inalienable dignity as every other human being. CV 94

June 21. Sunday 12A. Father’s Day.  Fr Sylvester started the Mass by congratulating all fathers present. When he came to preach he began, “Today is Father’s Day.   There is no doubt that many male members of this congregation are fathers, whether they are living with their own children, or other, or no children. We know that more than half of the children in South Africa are not living with their biological father present in their lives.  Most of their fathers are alive, somewhere else. Maybe they were too young or the mother’s family turned them away.  Maybe they are mature married men with another family.  That is a sadness for the fathers as well as for the children as it is well researched that fathers can play a very positive role in their sons’ and daughters’ lives.  Of course today we do celebrate with all the many dads who do their best, who love their children and support them through thick and thin.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny and not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. You are of more value than many sparrows.  Mat 10:26-33    Pope Francis:. Dear boys and girls: Perhaps your experience of fatherhood has not been the best. Your earthly father may have been distant or absent, or harsh and domineering. Or maybe he was just not the father you needed. What I can tell you with absolute certainty is that you can find security in the embrace of your heavenly Father, of the God who first gave you life, and continues to give it to you at every moment. He will be your constant support while he fully respects your freedom. CV114.  

See Fatherhood reflections and prayer    FATHERHOOD ref and prayer

June 22.   Having organised a joint session of the confirmation group and their parents Deacon Samuel started a challenging discussion. “Does the fact that there are many protests around problems in education mean that we are judging whoever is responsible, and do we have right to do that?”  “Yes, of course” came back many answers.  “OK now take that into your families.  Young people do you “protest” about things at home?  Parents do you “protest” from your own perspective?” That could have led to some challenges but Mme Ndlovu was able to pull it together. “There is a difference between judging and constructive criticism. Addressing rights is important and how it is done is important too. However, protesting appears to have become a negative, destructive culture in our society, of judging without respect and concern for another’s view?  

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgement you pronounce you will be judged and the measure you give will be the measure you get.  From Matt 7:1-5.  Pope Francis: Young people often fail to find responses to their concerns, needs, problems and hurts in the usual structures. As adults we find it hard to listen patiently to them, to appreciate their concerns and demands and to speak to them in a language then can understand. EG105, The task of education is to make us sense that the world and society are also our home, it trains us how to live together in this greater home. AL276. 

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