“The sins of the fathers.” In the chaos that is reigning in our society this very day, it is surely relevant in the current context to reflect on the concept “the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children,” well-known, controversial and multi-faceted. The following passage in Exodus is first placed in the context of God’s covenant with his people and giving them the second set of tablets of the ten commandments. He had thrown down and broken the first tablets in anger when he saw that the people were worshipping their golden calf. But he went back to the Lord, asking for his mercy. We read in Exodus 34:6-7: “The Lord passed before Moses and proclaimed. “The Lord, the Lord a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will be no means clear the guilty visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation. “
According to the website https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Sins-Of-The-Fathers there are at least 24 quotations and references in the Bible on this issue, mostly in the Old Testament. Jesus himself responded to a question asked about a blind man. In John 9:2 we read, “And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, ”it was not that this man sinned, or his parents but that the works of God might be made manifest in him. We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day. As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world. “ Jesus was not necessarily denying the reality of effects of sin on later generations but stating that he has the power to heal this evil.
That is the aspect we as Christian grandparents can reflect on in the build-up to the WORLD DAY FOR GRANDPARENTS AND THE ELDERLY on 25 July initiated by Pope Francis. Our prayer for our children and grandchildren can influence their lives and equally important is their own conversion gradually recognizing that family evils, habits or conflicts can be healed by faith and maintaining our relationship with God.
There are many applications of this concept. What would be relevant for us grandparents today in the midst of the chaos, looting and violence, that is still unfolding in our country. There are political implications which do have relevance for us. We are the children of the past, of 1976, of 1994 and the many ways of unfolding of the political struggles of our time. Our generation had aspirations for a brighter future which have often not been realized and maybe our anger is still being passed on to our grandchildren. Maybe we misused the opportunities that were given to us, enriching ourselves, engaging in corruption.
The biblical phrase is essentially linked to the keeping of the commandments and the consequences of sin passing through the generations. But the phrase is also a concept that is easily observable; sin does have consequences. The children of those who sin do in fact inherit the seed of sin and even its nature. Certain sins carry intergenerational consequences. One thinks of abuse, alcoholism, and other sins of personal assault, violations of the image of God in the human being. Therefore, on a more personal and family level we consider, “Have I been a positive role model for our children and grandchildren?”
Another very relevant aspect is the issue of climate change and all its associated issues of lack of care for the environment, pollution, loss of biodiversity. So much harm has been done, on our watch in the last 50 years, to God’s creation in which we are called to share. Check out the goals of the Laudato Si Action Plan. https://laudatosiactionplatform.org/
As we reflect and examine our conscience in preparation for the WORLD DAY how genuine is our faith? Do we go to church or our prayer groups and, even as we sing and praise God, do we take time to say “mea culpa, mea maxima culpa” or do we blame others? Is doing that not the ultimate lesson we can teach our young ones? The theme Pope Francis has chosen for the Grandparents day is ‘I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS.” He emphasizes the elements of dreams, memories and prayer. Yes, God will be with us and them. At the same time our lives and the memories we leave will be with them always. Are they our graces or our sins? TR FAMILY WEEKLY 14 JULY 2021 Check http://www.laityfamilylife.va/content/laityfamilylife/en/amoris-laetitia/iniziative-e-risorse/giornata-mondiale-e-anziani.html
A movement of prayer of grandparents for grandchildren. https://marfam.org.za/2021/07/11/grandparent-prayers
“Those who stole and loot (sic) from Shoprite in the reprisal attacks of xenophobia in South Africa left the bookshelf untouched. Readers don’t steal and thieves don’t read.” LET US HOPE THEY LISTEN TO THE RADIO!!!!!!!