For suggestions for GRANDPARENTS and commemorating the SPECIAL DAY ON 25 JULY go to http://www.marfam.org.za/grandparents.
OVERVIEW. Having reflected around Youth in June, in July we reflect on the opposite extreme, old age. In a forest the eldest tree, in an animal troupe the oldest and wisest members, are respected and guarded by their offspring and the community. Humanly speaking grandparents belong in families and are its historical memory. Not all grandparents are elderly, many are active in their own lives, many others play a great role in the lives of their children and grandchildren. A potential joy to each one. In the great circle of life there is a time for everything, for birth and death, for coming and going, for remaining and leaving. All should be done with patience, consideration and acceptance. Violence and neglect of the elderly does happen in human families but also in other realms of nature.
Pope Francis: Very often it is grandparents who ensure that the most important values are passed down to their grandchildren and many people testify that they owe their initiation into the Christian life to their grandparents. AL 192. Our contemporary experience of being orphans as a result of cultural discontinuity, uprootedness and the collapse of the certainties that shape our lives, challenges us to make our families places where children can sink roots in the rich soil of a collective history. AL 193. Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years. Yet we are called to be instruments of God our Father, so that our planted might be what he desired when he created it. LS53
JULY. THE SETTING. The setting for the reflections is a group of elderly members of the community who have learned to manage a whatsapp group, athough they call themselves the BBT (Born Before Technology) club. Sharing and commenting on a daily thought has become a source of joy and community supporting their faith and alleviating the loneliness experienced by many during these COVID times. Each daily reflection consists of a short life situation, a short passage from the daily scripture reading and a quotation from one of the documents of Pope Francis. Reading the scripture passages in full, especially those from the Old Testament, is recommended. After reading, reflecting and sharing, spending a moment praying for grandchildren can end the session.
July 4. Sunday 14B. Fr Brian was concerned that quite a few of the youth but even some older parishioners seemed to be drifting between different churches. He used the reading to highlight that reality. “There seem to be a lot of so-called prophets around these days, in our own towns or in other countries. What about that Nigerian prophet that so many of our people went to listen to? We really only heard about this when the building collapsed and many died, but how many of those people were Catholics and following a different prophet as well? Doesn’t that happen here too? People go to Mass in the morning and then to another “reborn” church later on? I have to ask myself, ‘Are people searching all the time and for what? Are they not satisfied with our own religion?”
A prophet is not without honour except in his own country and among his own kind and in his own house. From Mark 6:1-6.
Pope Francis: The weakening of faith and religious practice in some societies has an effect on families, leaving them more isolated amid their difficulties. AL43. We believers need to find occasions to speak with one another and to act together for the common good and the promotion of the poor. The deeper, strong and richer our own identity is, the more we will be capable of enriching others with our own proper contribution. FT 282