June 24. Birth of John the Baptist “JB is one of favourite saints,” Alan said, “He was a specially chosen person but he also made the choice himself to do what he believed he was called to do. Why are so many of our young people so wishy-washy with little sense of direction? Do they need strong parental guidance, teachers or mentors to inspire them? Where does a sense of direction and hope for the future come from? JB was a prophet like the Old Testament prophets preaching repentance and right behaviour. I do wish God would speak clearly to me and give me a sense of direction for my future.”
He will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. Luke 1:16-17. Pope Francis: The web and social networks have created a new way to communicate and bond. They are a public square where the young spend much of their time and meet one another easily. They provide an extraordinary opportunity for dialogue as well as access to information and knowledge. The digital world is also one of social and political engagement and active citizenship. It can facilitate the circulation of independent information, provide effective protection for the vulnerable and publicise violation of their rights. CV87
June 26. Janet shared with her class-mates, “Although disease is common at any time and many people die each year, even from flu, during the first half of 2020 the focus all over the world has been on COVID-19. It really is a dangerous new virus that had spread so fast that within 6 months it had affected more than 5 million people across the world and caused half a million deaths. Greater numbers had died in earlier pandemics in the world but scientific knowledge in our era is more advanced and was able to contain the fatality rate to a certain extent. In earlier times I’m sure that there had been greater resort to prayer and God’s intercession while in our age we rely much more on medical science than before. But in a way don’t you think that this is still God’s gift and an answer to our prayers and we should not forget God.
When Jesus came down from the mountain great crowds followed him and behold a leper came to him and said, Lord if you will, you can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him saying, “I will, be clean.” Matt 8:1-4. Pope Francis: Ecology studies the relationship between living organisms and the environment in which they develop. This necessarily entails reflection and debate about the conditions required for the life and survival of society and the honesty needed to question certain models of development, production and consumption. LS138
June 28. Sunday 13A. On this last Sunday of Youth month Fr Sylvester in his virtual celebration spoke directly to the youth and their families. “When young people are discerning about their future and many people come to explain the different career options there will be some who may be considering a calling to the priesthood or religious life. Do you as parents welcome this, show interest and discuss it openly with your youth. Are we making excuses? Parents might think, “Who will support us in our old age?” Youth might worry about this too as this is expected in some cultures. They might worry about not having money or be able to marry. What exactly does Jesus expect of his followers whatever the level or type of their commitment?
At that time Jesus said to his apostles, “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me, and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it. Matt10:37-4. Pope Francis: When we discover that God is calling us to something, that this or that is what we were made for – whether it be nursing, carpentry, communication, engineering, teaching, art or any other kind of work – then we will be able to summon up our best capacities for sacrifice, generosity and dedication. We don’t do things just for the sake of doing them, but rather we give them meaning, as a response to a call that resounds in the depth of our being to offer something to others. That is what makes any occupation bring us a sense of deep fulfilment. CV273.
June 30. The Covid-19 virus has dominated our lives almost since the beginning of 2020. So much so that for the whole of the Holy Week and Easter season and months thereafter churches were closed and none of the special services were held there. But our faith had to sustain us in our lockdown. Italy had its worst days around Easter with thousands of people being infected and many deaths, especially of the elderly and most vulnerable. On 27 March Pope Francis conducted a special prayer service for the whole world. He preached and prayed alone in an empty St Peter’s Square. He used the gospel account of the disciples with him in a boat when a violent storm came up. The disciples were terrified while Jesus slept. “Lord, do you not care?” they asked after waking him up. Jesus calmed the storm and criticised them for their lack of faith. At this time, while the disease still remains with us, there is also a lot of fear in everyone. We can identify with the words “We’re all in the same boat, all together, all at risk.” What we need, young and old, is solidarity, unity and faith in God who does not abandon us.
There arose a great storm on the sea and the boat was being swamped, but he was asleep. They went and woke him, saying, “Save us Lord, we are perishing,” and he said, “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith.” And he rebuked the wind and the sea. Pope Francis: The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. LS13
Pope Francis: to conclude this message to youth and encouragement for the entire people of God for their support:
A wish! Dear young people, my joyful hope is to see you keep running the race before you, outstripping all those who are slow or fearful. Keep running, “attracted by the face of Christ, whom we love so much, whom we adore in the Holy Eucharist and recognize in the flesh of our suffering brothers and sisters. May the Holy Spirit urge you on as you run this race. The Church needs your energy, your intuitions, your faith. We need them! And when you arrive where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us. Amen CV299.