June 16. Youth Day.  Deacon Morris had been one of the young people involved in the Soweto uprising of 1976.  He realized that much had changed in the lives of youth and different issues needed to be faced. He told them, “Now girls, no showing off any more.  You know that the boys tease the girls mostly about how they look but the girls challenge the guys on how they act.”  Deacon also reminded them, “Remember the singer Jub Jub, he was a real show-off and where did that get him; jail for killing innocent schoolchildren with his street drag racing.” Jack added, “It’s the same in church.  Some people go to show how holy they are but are they really?  Let’s take this really seriously because it also concerns an eternal reward.” 

Beware of practising your piety before men in order to be seen by them.  For then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. From Matthew 6:1-6.  Pope Francis: Those who have deep spiritual aspirations should not feel that the family detracts from their growth in the life of the Spirit, but rather see it as a path which the Lord is using to lead them.  AL 316.  Pope Francis tells youth in his letter Christus Vivit, to young people and to the entire people of God: sheer vitality and strength of personality combine in the hearts of young people to make them constantly aim higher.  This exuberance will be tempered by time and painful experiences, but it is important for this youthful and still untested yearning for the infinite to encounter unconditional friendship that Jesus offers.   CV190

June 17.  “This way of praying is becoming one of my pet hates,” Georgina declared, “empty phrases, words that have lost their meaning.  We seem to just babble on.  I think we’ve fallen into the same trap that Jesus warned us about.  It does confuse me but when some of my friends from the Pentecostal church pray they seem to talk about real things.” “I have discovered that if I slow down and think about the phrases they’re not nearly as empty as all that, and I can apply them to my situation.  But the one about forgiving others is one that catches me every time I do think about it.”

When you pray do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard for their many words.”  Say ‘Our Father……..  Matthew 6:7-15.  Pope Francis: A few minutes can be found each day to come together before the living God, to tell him our worries, to ask for the needs of our family, to pray for someone experiencing difficulties, to ask for help in showing love, to give thanks for life and its blessings and ask Our Lady to protect us beneath her maternal mantle.  AL 318  No matter how much you live the experience of these years of your youth, you will never know their deepest and fullest meaning unless you encounter each day your best friend, the friend who is Jesus CV 150

June 18.   The YCS group to which Patrick belonged had members who came from rich families as well as poor families, with most of them in between.  Their chaplain led a meditation on the topic of “treasure.”  “It’s really hard to imagine, but Jesus is using a real ubuntu concept when he is asking us not to be attached to our worldly belongings, a cellphone, xbox,  motorbike or computer.  Maybe you have had to work hard for them. Consider that it might have taken you away from going to church or to your YCS group. What in the end will be most important for you?

Jesus said, ”Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. Where your treasure is there will your heart be also. Matt 6:19-23.  Pope Francis: Christian spirituality proposes a growth marked by moderation and the capacity to be happy with little, to appreciate the small things, to be grateful for the opportunities which life affords us, to be spiritually detached from what we possess and not to succumb to sadness for what we lack.  LS 222

June 19.   What girl, or boy, for that matter, hasn’t stood in front of their cupboard before a party and said, “I’ve got nothing to wear?”  It’s funny that Jesus chose such practical examples, but maybe in an exaggerated way, to make his point. Nowadays clothes have become so much part of one’s identity it is hard to be able to detach oneself from spending all one’s money and energy on appearances and neglect the things of God’s kingdom.  These can be helping someone who really needs clothes or food or money for school books. Or remembering that parents have worked hard to be able to afford what young people take for granted. Have you ever looked at a new outfit in a shop and said “No, I won’t spend my money on that. It’s just not right.”

Do not be anxious saying, what shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or what shall we wear? The Gentiles seek all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well.  Matt 6:24–34Pope Francis: The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume.  Obsession with a consumerist lifestyle above all when few people are capable of maintaining it, can only lead to violence and mutual destruction.  LS204

June 20. Sunday 12B.   Fathers’ Day.  Lord of the storm.  Fr Brian posed a question. “What can we learn from Jesus and his ability to calm the storm?   As fathers and children we do experience real stormy times by way of natural disasters, and  sometimes we are together, and may all be afraid, but children trust an depend on their dads for security.  Sometimes children and fathers are far apart in their relationship when any kind of storm comes and they feel alone in anger and fear.  In 2020 when the first wave of Covid-19 hit the world there was great fear everywhere. Pope Francis reminded us that Jesus was in the boat with us and would not abandon us. How are we weathering that storm now, as the virus still continues to attack us in waves. We may have become complacent but those who have been directly affected know the depth of fear and anxiety.  Does God still play a role as an important father figure in whom we can trust?  What kind of father figure can St Joseph be for us and our children?  

A great storm of wind arose and the waves beat in to the boat. But Jesus was asleep in the stern on the cushion. And they woke him and said, “Teacher do you not care if we perish?” Jesus awoke up and rebuked the wind and the sea and the wind dropped.  He said to them, “why are you afraid?” Have you no faith?” Mark 4:35-41.  Pope Francis:  A father can be close to his children as they grow – when they play and when they work, are carefree or distressed, when they are daring or afraid, when they stray and when they get back on the right path. AL 177.  St Joseph saw Jesus grow daily “in wisdom and in years and in divine and human favour.” (Lk 2:52). As the Lord had done with Israel, so Joseph did with Jesus: he taught him to walk, taking him by the hand; he was for him like a father who raises an infant to his cheeks, bending down to him and feeding him (cf. Hos 11:3-4). In Joseph, Jesus saw the tender love of God: “As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him” (Ps 103:13) PC2