INTRODUCTION TO DAILY THOUGHTS 2021.   The theme for the year allows family life and creation to be foundational topics as they are used month by month on the Year Planner and it opens possibilities for formation and catechesis, reflection and sharing also including Franciscan spirituality.  Pope Francis offers many resources for the Church on current and relevant topics especially giving special prominence to Laudato Si and Amoris Laetitia on their 5th anniversaries and also instituting a Year of St Joseph. These are used within the DAILY THOUGHTS.  The small booklet gives more detailed explanations for each month.     

JANUARY.   “In the beginning……” are the first words of our Bible. In the beginning before the world, the sun, moon, stars, animals, plants and humankind were created there was only God. But God had a passion to create, to share, to love and so every created thing came into being.  The desire for creation, co-creation and re-creation exists in every creature and so our world has evolved. Humankind was given the task of being stewards of creation. That includes responsibility for our own families.  But has humankind gone too far, and overridden the role of creator out of love and begun to create for our own selfish ends? How can we discern our impact on creation in the coronavirus and climate change era and begin once more in every area of our lives?

The creation accounts in the book of Genesis contain in their own symbols and narrative language profound teachings about human existence and its historical reality. They suggest that human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbor and with the earth. These three vital relationships have been broken both outwardly and within us. This rupture is sin. LS 66.  As never before in history common destiny begs us to seek a new beginning.  Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace and the joyful celebration of life. LS207 Earth Charter.

SETTING THE SCENE. These DAILY THOUGHTS are set in an imaginary parish where the parish priest Fr Brian is promoting a family programme of faith sharing at home. This is the format. 1. Each day could have a story of a different family, 2. linked with the passage from the scripture of the day, 3. a quotation from Pope Francis’ documents. 4. Lastly the family or other group is invited to share their thoughts with one another and make any decisions about a plan of action.  Chosen scripture readings this month are mainly from the first letter of John and gospel of Mark

 January 3. Sunday, Epiphany. In his homilyFr Brian related the incident of the Wise Men, King Herod and the Holy Family, Joseph, Mary and Jesus, to the ongoing troubled history of Israel. There always seem to have been political conflicts and power struggles. He commented, “I wonder how Israel sees the biblical passages now about their return from exile in Babylon and how the glory of the Lord would be with them.   Do they still today consider themselves as the chosen people and Israel as their homeland forever? Modern history makes that very complicated. I agree that all religions need to dialogue about issues that concern us all. That is something we could learn to do from this feast of the Epiphany, like Pope Francis has tried to do, in making peace between Israel and Palestine and other religions of the world.”  

The Lord will arise upon you and his glory will be seen upon you. Nations shall walk by your light and kings in the brightness of your rising. They come to you; your sons come from far and your daughters shall be carried in the arms. Isaiah 60:1-6.  Pope Francis: Dialogue and friendship with the children of Israel are part of the life of Jesus’ disciples. God continues to work among the people of the Old Covenant. The Church is also enriched when she receives the values of Judaism. EG 248-9. Reflect and share.  

January 4.  Percy was a law student and had been following the procedures of the State Capture Commission for the last two years. In a family discussion on good and evil he commented that some of the witnesses were involved in fraud, theft and illegal tender practices, others were giving evidence about what they knew.  “What is frightening, however, is how many people refuse to acknowledge any guilt and  deny what others have disclosed about them. I pity the Commissioner and the team who have to sort it all out, and I hope that in time it will come out in a court of law.”

It may be seen who are the children of God and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not do right is not of God, nor he who does not love his brother. 1 John 3:7-10.   Pope Francis:  I feel bound to reiterate that we have had enough of immorality and the mockery of ethics, goodness, faith and honesty.  It is time to acknowledge that light-hearted superficiality has done us no good.  Once the foundations of social life are corroded, what ensues are battles over conflicting interests.FT 113. Reflect and share.  

January 5.   The Women’s Sodality always held their annual conference at this time of the year.  They gathered from around the country to debate and discuss the serious issues that affected all aspects of their lives.  Climate change and gender-based violence were on the agenda at their virtual meeting of 2021, the same issues that were raised by many other interest groups, political, social, men’s and women’s groups. Mrs Seutloadi, the president, introduced the scripture passage to start the meeting and stressed how important action should be, and not just talk.

Little children , let us not love in word or speech, but in deed and in truth.  1 John 3:11-21. Pope Francis: Approaching, speaking, listening, looking at, coming to know and understand one another and to find common ground all these things are summed up in the one word, “dialogue.” Lack of dialogue means that in individual sectors people are concerned not for the common good, but for the benefits of power or, at best, for ways to impose their own ideas. The heroes of the future will be those who can break with this unhealthy mindset and determine respectfully to promote truthfulness.  FT 198-202.  Reflect and share.

January 6.  Mrs Alexander was concerned that there had been so little parish catechesis during the last year due to Covid-19 but from early on she had done her best to share with her teenage grandchildren. They discussed their faith and life experience which also included her own concern with caring for the environment. Patricia had even said that she was feeling almost ready to be confirmed after a number of these sessions together. “You made religion come to life, and I’ll choose St Francis for my patron saint,” she told her gran.

Beloved:  Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:5-13. Pope Francis: Jesus, the Lord was able to invite others to be attentive to the beauty that there is in the world because he himself was in constant touch with nature, lending it an attention full of fondness and wonder. LS 97.   Reflect and share.     

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