September 10. Adam wrote to the group, “I‘ve been wondering what is behind some of the statements of Jesus in the beatitudes like ‘Love your enemies and do good, and lend expecting nothing in return. Be merciful even as your Father is merciful.’ Luke 6: Why should we do something so unnatural and countercultural? What was Jesus expecting of us? Spiritual writers through the ages have reflected on this too. I found an answer in the book JESUS BEFORE CHRISTIANITY by Albert Nolan OP. He describes the catastrophe facing the country in Jesus’ time, in the form of war and destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. Jesus’ response to this impending catastrophe was that the only way to ward it off was to go beyond the accepted minimum, beyond what is fair and right and can be justified, to sacrifice for the common good. Instead of protesting and becoming violent is this not something like what is facing the whole world now?” Pope Francis: The vision of “might is right” has engendered immense inequality, injustice and acts of violence against the majority of humanity since resources end up in the hands of the first comer or the most powerful. Completely at odds with this model are the ideals of harmony, justice, fraternity and peace as proposed by Jesus. LS 82
September 11. Melissa wrote, “There are some biblical truisms or sayings that we have always taken for granted. Like “the blind leading the blind.” Surely that is impossible. It would have been true for most of history but nowadays with scientific developments like braille, and ongoing development of new sensory devices it has become possible for blind people to manage their own lives to some extent and even support one another. Development happens, but is it always for the common good?” Jesus told his disciples,” can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?” Luke 6:39-42. Pope Francis: Humanity has entered a new era in which our technical prowess has brought us to a crossroads. We are the beneficiaries of two centuries of enormous waves of change. Science and technology are wonderful products of a God-given human creativity. Technology has given us tremendous power, more precisely they have given those with the knowledge and the economic resources to use them an impressive dominance over the whole of humanity. We have certain superficial mechanisms, but we cannot claim to have a sound ethics, culture and spirituality genuinely capable of setting limits and teaching clear-minded self-restraint. LS 101-5
September 12. Is it because the media highlights it more these days but one hears constantly about extreme weather, hurricanes, typhoons, storms, floods, wash-aways. Such events are not new, just think of Noah and the great flood, but they are certainly more frequent and severe. There is also growing awareness amongst most people of the reasons behind this phenomenon but there are also some who deny the reality of climate change and global warming. This is also having a dramatic affect on nature, drought kills plants and animals and they are becoming extinct at a growing rate. “Jesus said, “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit.” From Luke 6:43-49. Pope Francis. Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost for ever. The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity. Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right. LS. 33.
September 13. Sunday 24A. Fr Joseph reminded the congregation in his facebook message, that there are lots of opinions about reconciliation and forgiveness. Why should one or shouldn’t one? “What are the most famous s family feuds in history, or should we also say clan or tribal feuds? Isn’t that how wars have been started? In Biblical times King David’s family were constantly at war with each other. When I was at school we only learned “white” history so I am still studying up on the history of my own people. I do know that family feuds happened here too and still do. Our famous King Shaka was assassinated by some of his half-brothers. At any level making peace is very difficult, but it is important to learn about forgiveness and making peace at home. If there is constant war and fighting at home how can family members learn about reconciliation, forgiveness and peace. They are all parts of one process and we are expected to go further than what is required.” Peter came up and said to Jesus, “Lord how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times but seventy times seven.” From Matthew 18: 21- 35. Pope Francis. When people become self-centred and self-enclosed, their greed increases. The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume. It becomes almost impossible to accept the limits imposed by reality. A genuine sense of the common good also disappears. Yet all is not lost. Human beings while capable of the worst are also capable of rising above themselves. AL 205
September 15. Our Lady of Sorrows. Mary-Anne had joined the sharing group because she felt a great need for support. She was a single mother abandoned by her husband who brought her from Nigeria and then more or less made her into a slave for himself and his new South African wife. He lorded it over everyone and was harsh too with the children. After some time she, with her two small daughters, decided to leave him and fend for herself. She shared that her favourite image was Mary, Mother of Sorrows. The group acknowledged her reality and supported her and also helped her to see the bigger picture and consider the sufferings of all the migrants and the homeless. The Mother of Sorrows could be their source of support too. Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, “Behold this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel and for a sign that is spoken against, and a sword will pierce through your own soul too that the thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed. Luke 2:33-35 Pope Francis. Mary the Mother who cared for Jesus, now cares with maternal affection and pain for this wounded world. Just as her pierced heart mourned the death of Jesus, so now she grieves for the sufferings of the crucified poor and creatures of this world laid waste by human power. LS 241