APRIL DAILY THOUGHTS: Setting the Scene. At this time, shortly before the end of March it seems as if the world has gone on hold. The focus is more on people rather than creation and yet the cause of the devastation that is affecting everyone and everything is a natural phenomenon, a tiny virus. God cannot be left out of the equation. The faith factor, churches and the variety of religions have had to suspend traditional and very precious Easter celebrations. However, God remains very much present, ideally also in each family and home.
Overview of April theme. God, as Trinity is a family and every human family, not only as individuals but as a unit, is an image of God and mirrors the relationship of the Trinity. St Francis in his Canticle to the Sun, praises God in these words: ”Most High, omnipotent good Lord, to thee be praise and glory, honour and blessing. We praise you Lord for all your creatures, for brother sun, sister moon, brother fire, sister water, mother earth and all creation. To you, O Lord, do they belong, you created them and they bear your likeness.” LS1
These inanimate creations through their existence offer their praise. Humankind is especially gifted with the additional power of understanding, to love but to hurt and to forgive because of love. Through bearing pain, in a unique way we offer honour and gratitude to the Trinity. And yet, how has the image of the Trinity been disfigured as fire, water and wind have now become such destructive forces? How have we contributed to this? Are we ready to repair the damage?
Within the family which could be called a domestic church individuals enter upon an ecclesial experience of communion among persons which reflects, through grace, the mystery of the Holy Trinity. AL86
April 1. Serving God. Members of the family faith sharing groups shared on the readings of the day. “Whether it is fiery serpents or a fiery furnace,” Mrs Kay said, “the Old Testament stories in the liturgy of this time really do talk about God’s power over the elements. Today’s story is of three brave young men condemned to death by King Nebuchadnezzar because of their faithfulness to God and their refusal to worship other local gods. Earthly kings and rulers should rule justly but some can tempt and control us even diverting us from the true God. When the corona virus first hit us most churches believed it was correct to follow the government directives but there were some pastors, almost with a different kind of faith and very strong control over their people encouraged them to disobey. People have to decide for themselves in all circumstances what serving God really means.
The three youths, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego said to the king, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace and he will deliver us out of your hand, O King. Daniel 3:17. Pope Francis. Pastoral ministry seeks to help believers to grow spiritually so that they can respond to God’s love ever more fully in their lives. EG 15.
April 4. Brendan had been studying political science and as Easter grew closer he was coming to understand how opposition had been building up against Jesus who had been challenging the injustices in the establishment by both the Romans and the Jewish leaders. Brendan explained in the group, “Political assassinations have been part of history forever, just as political conflict has. Political parties are mainly concerned about their own narrow interests, wanting to be elected or re-elected. There is often little justice or concern for the common good. It even seems that it is a good leader rather than an evil one who is murdered as he challenges the evil in society.” Prudence mused, “At this time of the global coronavirus epidemic it has been enlightening to see how political parties have been able to collaborate. Long may that attitude last!”
Caiaphas said, “It is expedient for you that one man should die for the people and that the whole nation should not perish.” John 11:50. Pope Francis: We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world and that good and decency are worth it. LS229
HOLY WEEK REFLECTIONS 5 – 13 April 2020 Holy Week and Easter 2020 are likely to be the most unusual experience ever, due to the scourge of the corona virus and the suffering that is bringing across the whole world. Many churches will be closed to the People of God but the liturgies can be followed in our missals. These reflections below, built around SIMON’S STORY, are offered as an additional resource to families.
INTRODUCTION to SIMON’S STORY. The whole story can be read before Holy Week but after the first part it can also be broken up day by day over those crucial days. The story is quite simple and is suitable for families with children too. Simon is sharing how he walked his talk. We can reflect as we walk with Simon and he walked with Jesus. Each day of Holy Week is based on a scripture passage from the Passion narrative with a few words from Pope Francis added.
For more resources for Holy Week and Easter go to.https://www.marfam.org.za/holy-week-and-easter-in-the-home-march-2020/