REFLECTIONS – Extracts from Thoughts for the Day August 2018

August 9th.  Women’s Day.  “Does the Catholic Church have a problem with gender matters?” Mayson asked, “They seem very patriarchal.  “Well here is what Pope Francis said recently,” Joyce replied. ”We have not yet understood in depth what things the feminine genius can give us, what woman can give to society and also to us. Perhaps we need to see with different eyes that complement the thoughts of men.” The Pope also touched upon questions of gender in modern society, saying that “gender theory aims to erase sexual difference” and that the removal of the difference is “the problem, not the solution.  Instead men and women are meant to be complementary and I encourage you to treat each other with respect and cooperate with friendship.”  Weekly audience April 15 2015.

Behold the days are coming when  I will put my law within them and I will write it upon their hearts and I will be their God and they shall be my people.  Jeremiah 31:31-34

August 10th.  Rayhab, the facilitator, took up a new topic. “Today we look at the fact that all religions from the most primitive until today have certain laws, rules, norms and standards, in other words a moral code. To live a good life as an individual man or woman or also as a couple demands sacrifices.  The group members were given time to think and share.  “I think I have carried my cross with dignity.”  “My cross is still very hard.”   “My cross was taken away from me after we joined AA and Alanon to deal with the alcohol abuse in our home.”  “I thank God that our marriage is good, but pray to him to give me strength.”

 If any man or woman would come after me, let them deny themselves and take up his cross and follow me.  Matt 16:24 (using inclusive language) 

Pope Francis: Families often experience problems when one of their members is emotionally immature because he or she still bears the scars of earlier experiences.  An unhappy childhood or adolescence can breed personal crises that affect one’s marriage. AL 239 

August 11th.  Addictions..  Life was hard for Petru as a single mom and she had never had a stable relationship since her teen years when she had become addicted to alcohol and her daughter had been born with foetal alcohol syndrome.  Rayhab shared her concern about a number of such cases she had to deal with because they were rejected by their families.

My son is an epileptic and suffers terribly. I brought him to your disciples but they could not heal him. Jesus rebuked the demon and the boy was cured instantly.  Jesus said to the disciples, “O you of little faith.”  From Mat 17:14-20.  Pope Francis: Drug use was mentioned as one of the scourges of our time, causing immense suffering and even breakup for many families.  The same is true of alcoholism, gambling and other addictions. Society and politics fail to see that families at risk “lose the ability to help their members.” AL51.

August 12th   19th Sunday Year B.   On the Sunday after Women’s Day Fr Joseph said it shouldn’t be just one day as there were so many issues that needed attention.  It’s not just about marching, toyi-toying, making demands or remembering past grievances or successes.  “I wonder what Jesus would have said or done. We know that Jesus did have women friends.

Pope Francis speaking about women had said, “The qualities of gentleness, of particular sensitivity and tenderness, which is abundant in the female soul, represent not only a genuine force for the life of families, for the irradiation of a climate of peace and harmony, but also a reality without which the human vocation would be unfeasible.”

Fr Joseph encouraged the participation of women working at all levels, out in the fields as well as in positions where important decisions are made, saying all these roles should uphold women’s special presence and attention in and for their families. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you with all malice and be kind to one another, tenderhearted forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. Eph 4:31- 32. 

August 13t .  Taxes. On a very practical level the groups were discussing taxes.   There is income tax, sales tax, e-tolls as road tax but there are also different grants.  “We give, but it is mostly others who get.  Is that fair?”  “I think the principle of the common good is a “good” one.  For me it puts a positive spin on the fact that life isn’t fair.”  “Don’t women on the whole carry heavier financial burdens as so many of our families are headed by single mothers?” “But what about young girls who they say get pregnant just so that they can get a child grant, which they don’t always use for the baby?”  “Shouldn’t all that be balanced out for the common good?”  “I think we need to look more holistically at family units rather than separately at men’s or women’s perspectives.  What about family income tax and family grants?”   “The collectors of the half-shekel tax went up to Peter and said, “Does not your teacher pay the tax?”   Matthew 17:22-27.   Pope Francis: Families have the right to be able to count on an adequate family policy on the part of public authorities in the juridical, economic, social and fiscal domains.  Families and homes go together.  This makes us see how important it is to insist on the rights of the family and not only those of individuals.   AL 44.

August 14th.   Child rape. A serious topic needing an urgent response was abuse and rape of children.  “Are our children precious to us, are they a fruit of our love to be guarded and protected?”  “But should we not consider all children in the same light?” “How?” “Child rape can of course never ever be justified but how can it be explained?  What could be going through a child rapist’s mind?  Surely that is an unnatural act? Is there some substance-induced behaviour underlying this?”  Rayhab agreed to organise professional input on this subject.

Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of My Father who is in heaven.  Matthew 18: 1-5.  

Pope Francis. Societies experiencing violence due to war, terrorism, organised crime are witnessing the deterioration of the family, above all in large cities where the phenomenon of street children is on the rise.  Sexual abuse of children is scandalous when it occurs where they ought to be most safe, e.g. in families, schools, communities and Christian institutions. AL 45

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