June 24. Birth of John the Baptist. “JB is one of favourite saints,” Alan said, “He was a specially chosen person but he also made the choice himself to do what he believed he was called to do.  Why are so many of our young people so wishy-washy with little sense of direction? Do they need strong parental guidance from a father and mother, from teachers or mentors to inspire them or where does a sense of direction and hope for the future come from?  JB was a prophet like the Old Testament prophets preaching repentance and right behaviour. I do wish God would speak clearly to me and give me a sense of direction for my future.” 

He will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. Luke 1:16-17. Pope Francis:  The web and social networks have created a new way to communicate and bond.  They are a public square where the young spend much of their time and meet one another easily.   They provide an extraordinary opportunity for dialogue as well as access to information and knowledge. The digital world is also one of social and political engagement and active citizenship. It can facilitate the circulation of independent information, provide effective protection for the vulnerable and publicise violation of their rights.  CV87

June 25.   Janet shared with her class-mates, “Although disease is common at any time and many people die each year, even from flu, since the beginning of 2020 the focus all over the world has been on COVID-19.  It really is a dangerous new virus that had spread so fast that within one and a half years it had affected more than 180 million across the world and caused nearly four million deaths.  Greater numbers proportionally have died in earlier pandemics over the centuries in the world but scientific knowledge in our era is more advanced and was able to contain the fatality rate to a certain extent.  In earlier times, I’m sure, there had been greater resort to prayer and God’s intercession while in our age we rely much more on medical science than before. But in a way don’t you think that medical science is still God’s gift and an answer to our prayers?  We really should not forget God especially as now we are coming to rely on vaccines. “  

When Jesus came down from the mountain great crowds followed him and behold a leper came to him and said, Lord if you will, you can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him saying, “I will, be clean.”  Matt 8:1-4.  Pope Francis: Ecology studies the relationship between living organisms and the environment in which they develop.  This necessarily entails reflection and debate about the conditions required for the life and survival of society and the honesty needed to question certain models of development, production and consumption.  LS138 

June 26.  Family catechesis was taking up the issue of suffering and punishment.  The Old Testament readings speak a lot about punishment of those who abandoned God’s ways and at one time they were taken into captivity in Babylon for many years.  Was God being merciful at that time?  Some say no. Others argue that it was the punishment they deserved. Punishment is not to make the punisher feel good but to teach both a lesson, the one who punishes, as well as the one being punished.  In all our current COVID-19 crises people everywhere are suffering.  Is this also a punishment for our sins of abuse of the environment?  Apart from health matters and many deaths the economy has suffered very badly and some people can no longer see a future for themselves.  What has this done for our faith in God’s plan to build his kingdom? 

Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord. Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint for hunger at the head of every street. Lamentations 2:18- 19. But all was and is not negative.  When Jesus heard the request from the centurion to heal his servant he marvelled and said to his followers. “Truly I say to you not even in Israel have I found such faith. Matt  8:5-17.   Pope Francis: Being church means being God’s people, in accordance with the great plan of fatherly love.  We are to be God’s leaven in humanity.  It means proclaiming and bringing God’s salvation into our world, which often goes astray and needs to be encouraged, given hope and strength on the way.  The Church must be a place of mercy freely given where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel. EG 114.

June 27. Sunday 13B.    Fr Brian had prepared a special Mass focusing on youth and families at the end of this special month.   He wanted to know what the different talks, reflections and discussion had done for them.   Did they feel criticised or energised, encouraged or frustrated with their church and their faith?   “I know this is very serious question I have to ask.   In the theme of the Mass today we learn that God is the God of life, on the side of life and not death.   God wants us to have a full life, not just having lots of fun, but also to grow and develop as persons with goals and hopes and dreams that become a reality.  Are you growing closer to God and to those around you?  Are you becoming more environmentally aware?   So is your faith enhancing your life?  Please think about that and please share on that with your families too as a special gift to one another. 

God did not make death and he does not delight in the death of the living.  For he created all things that they might exist and the creatures of the world are wholesome. Wisdom 1:13-15.  Pope Francis: The pain, uncertainty and fear and the realization of our own limitations, brought on by the pandemic have only made it all the more urgent that we rethink our styles of life and our relationships, the organisation of our society and above all the meaning of our existence.FT33.

June 28.  Deacon Morris was in regular contact with family groups and invited them to reflect on the readings of the day but also to discuss their thoughts and feelings with one another. He said to them, “You should read the whole passage to see how the Genesis stories about Abraham, his family and their relationship with God and the world show how he felt close to God and could even negotiate and bargain with God.  I love that element of openness and listening and wish that we all had that kind of relationship with God and also too as parents and children.”     

The Lord said, “shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation and all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by him? No, for I have chosen him that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing right and justice.”  Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave I will go to see.” Abraham stood before the Lord, and said, “ If there are only ten righteous people will you indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked?”   from Genesis 18: 16-33.    Pope Francis:  Disregard for the duty to cultivate and maintain a proper relationship with my neighbour for whose care and custody I am responsible ruins my relationship with my own self, with others, with God and with the earth.  When all these relationships are neglected, when justice no longer dwells in the land the Bible tells us that life itself is endangered.LS70.