REFLECTIONS – extracts from THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY, May – June
May 31st. Feast of the Visitation. Patricia told her mom, “I’ve been wondering why Mary didn’t talk to her mom about her pregnancy. Why go to her aunt? Or, maybe her mother, the St Anne who we venerate as the patroness of the Women of St Anne, had the kind of difficulty many mothers would have when they discover their daughter is pregnant. Many mothers would send the girl away to a relative. An angel visited Mary’s betrothed, Joseph, in a dream and explained the situation but we know nothing about Mary’s parents while Elizabeth and her child John the Baptist had a special role to play. When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the child leaped in her womb and Elizbeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she cried, “Blessed are you among women and blessed I the fruit of your womb. Luke 1:39-56 Pope Francis: Mary’s action is an example of three particular qualities of a dedicated Christian; she is a courageous woman in the church and her own life, she is filled with joy that gives meaning to her life and she is willing to reach out and be of service to others. Homily. Mary, mother most generous, pray for us.
OVERVIEW JUNE: YOUTH MATTER. The greatest sector of our population is young people, children and youth. Their wellbeing is a matter of great importance. Their needs for love, care, support, education and meaningful employment as they set out to form their own future families demand commitment and skill. Families and the young themselves must strive to overcome the stresses, conflict and lack of understanding and acceptance of one another. Children obey your parents in everything for this pleases the Lord. Parents do not provoke your children lest they become discouraged. Col 3:20-21.4:5. What is most important is the ability lovingly to help the young people grow in freedom, maturity, overall discipline and real autonomy. They will come to possess what is needed to fend for themselves and to act prudently when they meet with difficulties. AL 261
SETTING THE SCENE. With this month’s focus on youth, groups and families are encouraged to read and reflect on life situations, scripture and short extracts from Pope Francis from his letter after the 2018 Youth Synod, CHRISTUS VIVIT – CHRIST IS ALIVE, addressed TO YOUNG PEOPLE AND THE ENTIRE PEOPLE OF GOD.
June 1st. When the parish youth group were told that this day is Global Parents Day, another UN commemoration, only weeks after International Day of Families, they felt irritated. “What about us?” they wanted to know. “Just for now, we don’t always want “to belong,” we want to be ourselves. We’re unique human beings, on the way to adulthood, but not quite there yet. That is kind of scary really. Adults have a lot more responsibilities. We want to enjoy life.” Apollos only knew the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in theIr synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him they took him and expounded to him the way of God more accurately Acts 18:23-28. Pope Francis: Dear young people, make the most of these years of your youth. Don’t observe life from a balcony. Don’t confuse happiness with an armchair or live your life behind a screen. Whatever you do, do not become the sad sight of an abandoned vehicle! Don’t be parked cars but dream freely and make good decisions.! Please, don’t opt for early retirement. CV 143.
The week between the Ascension and Pentecost is commemorated as a Week of Prayer for Christian unity in some parts of the world, including ours. Each year a church in a different country, including the Catholic Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity chooses a theme for all the Christian churches of the world. “Justice and only justice you shall pursue.” (Deuteronomy16:18‐20) was chosen by churches in Indonesia, the largest country in the region of south-east Asia. Christians of different traditions form only 10% of 265 million people while 86% are Muslim. Although unity, justice, mercy and collaboration are guiding principles of the country corruption is experienced in many forms. It infects politics and business, often with devastating consequences for the environment. Corruption undermines justice and the implementation of law. Moved by these concerns, the theme chosen is found in the words of Deuteronomy, “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue …” (see Deut. 16:18-20) as it spoke powerfully to their situation and needs. Before the people of God could enter the land God has promised them they renewed their commitment to the Covenant God established with them. Various resources are available for this time. The ecumenical worship service includes prayers of repentance and of commitment to justice, mercy and unity. This and Scripture reflections for the 8 days can be downloaded from www.oikoumene.org/
June 2nd. Sunday Ascension. Fr Oliver preached from his interest in science as a fascinating subject for old and young alike. “Many people these days try to read the signs of the times wanting to predict when the world will end. Is it only youth who are interested TV fantasy series and science fiction movies or not,” he asked. “Even the disciples of Jesus asked about the end of the world. Considering the need not only for Christian unity but also for interreligious unity we should be preparing for the end to come at any time by considering what we can do to bring about justice and unity.” Jesus told them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. Acts 1-11. Pope Francis: Room should also be made for all those who have other visions of life, who belong to other religions or who distance themselves from religion altogether. All the young, without exception, are in God’s heart and thus in the Church’s heart. We recognize that this statement does not always find real expression in our pastoral actions: often we remain closed in our comfort zones. CV235.
June 3rd. Uganda Martyrs. The Ugandan youth at St Kizito’s parish had invited all their fellow Ugandan youth to pay special honour to the 22 young boy martyrs, some Catholic and some Anglican, as true witnesses of the Christian faith. Charles Lwanga was a catechist and leader but Kizito at age 14 was the youngest in the group. In 1886 King Mwanga, who despised Christianity gave orders for the pages in his service who, it is believed, refused to do sinful homosexual acts, to be tied up in a grass mat, put on a pyre and burnt to death. The story is told that Kizito, who was baptised just before his death, was dancing and singing for joy to be allowed to die for Jesus. Obed told the group, “is it not like the story of the 7 brothers and their mother in the Old Testament book of Maccabees, ‘when the young man had been tortured and was near death he said, “One cannot but choose to die at the hands of men and cherish the hope that God gives of being raised by him.” 2 Maccabees 7:9-14 Pope Francis: The heart of the Church is full of young saints who devoted their lives to Christ, many of them dying a martyr’s death. Their radiant witness encourages us and awakens us from our lethargy. Their example shows what young people are capable of, when you open yourselves up to encounter Christ”. They showed us that there is another way to spend our youth. CV49
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