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.