OVERVIEW:  God is Family.  God, as Trinity is 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.  Pope Francis: Within the family which could be called a domestic church (Lumen Gentium 11) individuals enter upon an ecclesial experience of communion among persons which reflects, through grace, the mystery of the Holy Trinity. AL86. 

Pope Francis: The Father is the ultimate source of everything, the loving and self-communicating foundation of all that exists. The Son, his reflection, through whom all things were created united himself to this earth when he was formed in the womb of Mary. The Spirit infinite bond of love is intimately at the very heart of the universe, inspiring and bringing new pathways. The world was created by the three persons, acting as a single divine principle. The Trinity has left its mark on all creation. LS 238-239 

April 8.Thursday in Easter week.   Most of the members of the parish families were either all Catholic or belonged to different Christian churches.  Beauty had married a Jewish boy and they did practice some of the Catholic and some Jewish traditions at home.  When Passover and Easter were on different weekends it got confusing but they explained the reason for the dating of these events and also got talking about Islam and their different days of remembrance, recognizing that the message of God, YHWH or Allah was what mattered.    

You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God gave to your fathers, saying to Abraham, and in your posterity shall all the families of the earth be blessed.  God having raised up his servant, sent him to you first,to bless you in turning every one of you from your wickedness.  Acts 3: 11-26. Pope Francis:  There is an aspect of mercy that goes beyond the confines of the Church.  It relates us to Judaism and Islam, both of which consider mercy to be one of God’s most important attributes. Israel was the first to receive this revelation which continues in history as the source of an inexhaustible richness meant to be shared with all mankind. FM23    Reflect, share, pray. At this time are we more accepting of other faiths than we were in the past?

April 10.  Saturday of Easter week. Paul reminded his family group, “Do you remember the incident when our Chief Justice who is also a very committed member of his church said something deemed to be pro-Israel that offended other people.  They judged his statement to be against official foreign policy which is more pro-Palestinian.  They charged him and told him to apologise, but he refused and stood by his beliefs. It caused quite some drama in legal circles.     

The rulers charged them not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.   Peter and John answered the rulers,  “whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”  Acts 4:13-21. Pope Francis:  I ask God to prepare our hearts to encounter our brothers and sisters, so that we may overcome our differences rooted in political thinking, language, culture and religion. Let us ask him to anoint our whole being with the balm of his mercy, which heals the injuries caused by mistakes, misunderstanding and disputes. Let us ask him for the grace to send us forth, in humility and meekness along the demanding but enriching path of seeking peace. FT254.   Reflect, share, pray.  Would I have the courage of my convictions in a debate? 

April 11.   Sunday Easter 2.  Divine Mercy Sunday.  Fr Bryan decided to share some of his thoughts on this day. “How did the early Church grow?” he asked.  “Were the disciples all fired up immediately or did they need extra help, like we all do all the time. This Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrating God’s mercy as an extra something also available to us as a special devotion emphasizing the need to put our trust in God’s mercy.  We also invite the Holy Spirit to help us examine our lives and, in justice, acknowledge ourselves to be sinners and in need of mercy and forgiveness.  We, priests, have been given special sacramental powers to forgive sins in the name of God and in all humility. I do wish that more people would appreciate what that can mean for them. It can even be a way of ‘touching” Jesus who is the Face of God’s mercy, as we reflected on during the Year of Mercy in 2016. 

Jesus said, Peace be with you.   As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.   And he breathed on them and said,   “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any they are forgiven. If you retain the sins of any they are retained.” John 20:19-31.  Pope Francis:   Justice is properly sought solely out of love of justice itself, out of respect for the victims, as a means of preventing new crimes and protecting the common good, not as an alleged outlet for personal anger. Forgiveness is precisely what enables us to pursue justice without falling into a spiral of revenge or the injustice of forgetting.   FT252   Reflect, share, pray.   The Sacrament of Reconciliation has been quite widely forgotten this last year with churches closed but its value should be reemphasized.   

April 13.   Portia shared in their faith sharing group, “Do you know that for us Africans the word “moya” is used in different ways.  It can mean wind, or spirit or the Holy Spirit.  But I don’t think that is what Jesus was saying to Nicodemus. He was talking about a natural phenomenon of wind, and St Francis too, speaks of the wind as an element of creation, but it seems that the word has many meanings in many different countries so that points to the need to be aware of culture and understanding of one another’s world view.  We have a lovely hymn  “Tshollela moya wa hao Jesu,” which means “Lord send us your Holy Spirit,” Let me teach those of you who don’t know it.”      

Jesus said to Nicodemus, ”You must be born anew.  The wind blows where it wills and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.   John 3:7-15. Pope Francis: The Holy Spirit can be said to possess an infinite creativity, proper to the divine mind, which knows how to loosen the knots of human affairs, including the most complex and inscrutable.  LS 80  Reflect, share, pray.   How well do we understand one another’s religious ways, even in the same Church?