May 8th. Election Day SA. In the run-up to our May 8 election all the political parties are promising the earth. But what will they deliver? Our bishops have written a Pastoral Letter to us which families too should discuss at home, especially with first time voters. “The General Election of May 8th presents all South Africans with the opportunity to renew our vision for South Africa. It is imperative that we choose wisely and courageously and not be distracted by false promises. Our primary concern as your spiritual leaders is that we choose leaders who will promote the good of all by living the values of the Constitution in the light of the Gospel. We ask you: who do you think would –
- Eradicate corruption more effectively?
- Provide realistic programmes to overcome unemployment and poverty?
- Appoint selfless public servants as leaders at national and provincial level?
- Effectively reduce the level of violence tyrannizing our people?
- Transform those attitudes and practices which underlie the violence against women and children?
- Respond effectively to the aspirations of our youth?
- Fulfill the promises they make rather than disappoint us?
- Protect our democracy and its institutions?
SACBC Election prayer. We invite you to recite this prayer in your families and parishes as we prepare for the elections and during the elections: Let us pray for peaceful elections that produce leaders who will always act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with their God (Micah 6:8). Almighty Father, as we approach the elections, grant us the wisdom and courage we need in order to make the right choices. Help us to carry out our duties as responsible citizens with respect for the rights of others. By voting in a spirit of humility and service, may we bring hope to the poor, unity to all our people and a more secure and peaceful future for our children. Father, do not allow us to become discouraged, Inspire us to contribute to the rebuilding of our country with vigour and generosity. Amen.
On that day a great persecution arose against the Church in Jerusalem. Saul laid waste to the Church dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Acts 8:1-8. Pope Francis: It is only in unity, through conversion of hearts and reconciliation that we will be able to help our country to develop on all levels. EG 230 Mary, Mother of God, mother of Jesus, God and man, pray for us.
May 9th. The voting day has come and gone and now South Africans of every political party are eagerly awaiting the results. What will change and what will remain the same? The Zimbabwean and other foreign African communities were particularly concerned what the eventual outcome would be for them. They were studying the signs of the times seeking to understand, as they were much more vulnerable than the locals with regard to job security for themselves and their families back home.
The eunuch was reading from Isaiah, the prophet. Philip asked “do you understand what you are reading?” Acts 8:26-40. Pope Francis: When conflict arises some people look at it and go their way as if nothing happened. Others embrace it in a way that they become its prisoners. The third way is the best way to deal with conflict. It is the willingness to face conflict head on, resolve it and make it a link in the chain of a new process. “Blessed are the peacemakers.” EG 228. Mary, Mother of peacemakers, pray for us.
May 12th. Sunday. Easter 4C. Mothers’ Day. The 4th Sunday of Easter is also celebrated as Good Shepherd or Vocations Sunday. There doesn’t seem to be such a strong focus on religious vocations as there used to be. Nowadays we also recognise that marriage is a vocation and surely parenting too can be a vocation, a calling from God. Today we celebrate Mothers’ Day. Motherhood can take many forms. Biological must still be the most powerful form, but there are adopting, foster, stepmothers and surrogate mothers too. Many grandmothers play that role and in a child-headed family a young girl may be mom to her siblings. The touching words of Jesus about his sheep can surely be applied to mothers and certainly give us food for thought.
My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me, and I give them eternal life and they shall never perish. John 10:27-30. Pope Francis: Children once born begin to receive along with nourishment and care, the spiritual gift of knowing with certain that they are loved. They learn that the beauty of human relationships touches our soul, seeks our freedom, accepts differences and recognises them as a partner in dialogue. Such is love and it contains a spark of God’s love. AL172.
Mary, model of commitment and love for all mothers. Pray for us,
May 13th. Our Lady of Fatima. Even before they got married Paolo and Teresa had decided they wanted a large family. They each had four siblings and although there certainly had been all kinds of problems, financial, medical and at times relationship problems they had enjoyed the richness and fun of family togetherness. “You can’t be selfish when there are so many of you.” Teresa shared.
Paolo added, “Our favourite Bible verse will still be, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10. Pope Francis: A few minutes can be found each day to come together before the living God, to tell him our worries, to ask for the needs of our family, pray for someone having difficulties, ask for help in show love, give thanks for life and for its blessings and to ask Our Lady to protect us beneath her maternal mantle. AL318. Mary, Mother of peace, pray for us.