Reflections. Extracts from THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY, SEPTEMBER

September 11thDumisani was attending a multicultural high school which had formerly been Catholic. There were Catholics and other Christians but also Jewish, Hindu and Muslim boys and girls.  They learned a lot from each other’s religious practices and feasts but Dumisani shared at home later, “what is most interesting is that when we read from our scripture and compared it to other faiths there was so much in common. Our LO teacher had us compare the list of negative qualities that Paul wrote about in Colossians 3,

Put away anger, wrath, malice, slander and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his practices.’  Of course those kind of negative things are the same for all of us, whatever our religion.”  Pope Francis: The book of nature is one and indivisible  and includes the environment, life, sexuality, the family, social relations and so forth.  It follows that the deterioration of nature is closely connected to the culture which shapes human co-existence.  LS6

September 12th. Fatimah was a Muslim classmate of Dumisani’s and they often did projects together in different subjects.  Her brother had been quite concerned about their friendship at one time but the families had also got to know each other and sometimes visited during their special holiday celebrations. The two friends enjoyed continuing the exercise from the previous day but this time with the positive qualities.   She brought along the Quran so that they could compare passages; in fact she knew her way around their holy book better than he did.

“Put on as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness and patience, forbearing one another and forgiving each other if one has a complaint. Over all these put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony.   Col 3:12-17. Pope Francis:  A correct relationship with the created world demands that we not weaken this social dimension of openness to others, much less the transcendental dimension of our openness to the “Thou” of God.” LS 119

September 14th. Triumph of the Cross.   Beauty sat in the garden meditating on the feast of the Triumph of the Cross. “I remember that we used to sing a hymn with words about a Faithful Cross and how it referred  symbolically to honouring the tree that bore our dying Saviour. In spring I seem to be much more aware of how beautiful trees are as they burst into new life again. They are part of creation, living things in themselves, but we don’t worship trees today, we worship their creator and sustainer, recognising how badly we need them at this time.”

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness so must the Son of man be lifted up that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.  For God sent the Son into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.   John 3:13-17.  Pope Francis:  Each creature reflects something of God and has a message to convey to us. We have the security that Christ has taken unto himself this material world and. now risen, is intimately present to each being, surrounding it with his affection and penetrating it with his light.   LS 221.

September 15th. Sunday 24C.  Fr Oliver told a story. “Her name was Mary. As an attractive young teenager she had always been popular with the boys. It wasn’t as if she ran after them, but she liked the attention she got. It made her feel good and not the Cinderella she found herself to be at home. She loved her father but he was often away on business and her stepmom was mean and nasty to her as she was much prettier than her own daughters.  As she was very unhappy she ran away with a young man who had befriended her when they used to travel together in a taxi for some weeks. Very soon she found out that the kind of job he had offered her was not in the fashion industry but as a prostitute with two other girls on the street in a strange town. The girls had no money and were strictly controlled with no freedom at all. Mary realised that her life was much worse than ever before and she began to feel sorry for what she had done. Her family had reported her missing but for some months they were not able to track her down. One day Brian, one of the young men who had been one of her admirers was visiting the town and thought he recognised her on the street. The story fortunately has a happy ending. Through various contacts Brian was able to free her.  He wanted to take her home but at first she felt too ashamed and afraid, especially of her stepmom.  Brian secretly got in touch with her dad who was overjoyed that Mary had been found and welcomed her home with open arms. ‘I’m really sorry dad, please forgive me’ she begged him.  ‘You’ll not just be Mary for me, but my own special Mary Magdalene,’ he whispered into her ear as he held her tight.   After attending Mass together on Sunday her dad suggested, ‘Please let us all work hard to mend the relationships in our family and I promise to be there for you whenever you need me.’ Mary’s stepmom added, ‘I would like us do something too about the issue of trafficking. This has been a frightening and hard lesson for us all.’

The father said, “rejoice with me for this child of mine was dead and is alive again. There is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents that over 99 righteous persons who need no repentance. Compare Luke 15:1-32.  Pope Francis: Our participation in the Eucharist has special importance. It is meant to be a day which heals our relationships with God, with ourselves, with others and with the world.  LS 237. 

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