September 26. Week 6. 26th Sunday. Taking stock. Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48. “If you want to know what kind of example married couples are for those around, you have to ask their children,” Fr Peter began.  So he called up a few children to ask them, knowing full well that they might not tell the whole truth. He said that children see their parents fight but do they see them make up?  Do they see them expressing genuine love and going out of their way for one another?  This is a time for taking stock. He explained that in Mark’s gospel of the day Jesus condemns in the strongest terms those who give scandal to “these little ones.”  This could be in how they act towards one another or the example they give in caring for others and the environment and habits of consumerism that rub off on the children. Mark’s gospel paints a graphic picture, saying such a person should be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone round his neck, have limbs cut off and thrown into the fire. Fr Peter continued, “As you couples prepare now for the celebration at the end of this time of reflection you could consider how important your influence and role modelling is for your children and their future. At the same time consider that it is not the fear of punishment but the love we have that enables us to minister to one another.  This is a good time for a genuine examination of conscience, a desire for repentance and reconciliation and making a new start.  I invite you too to have a moment of repentance and reconciliation at home, whether you are both Catholic or not, and I will have a simple reconciliation service for married couples this week after which Catholics can come to confession.  Please do take this seriously.”  Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea.  Mk 9:38 – 48.  Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure: you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. James 5:1-6.   Pope Francis:  In countries which should be making the greatest changes in consumer habits, young people have a new ecological sensitivity and some are making admirable efforts to protect the environment. At the same time they have grown up in a milieu of extreme consumerism and affluence which makes it difficult to develop other habits.  We are faced with an educational challenge.  LS 209

Questions for SHARING AND ACTION  – for couples, individuals or groups:

For couples. During this week reflect on and share as spouses and with others in the family how you have failed in being the example you would have liked to be.   Ask for and grant forgiveness to each other and so allow healing to begin.   If possible participate in a parish Reconciliation service.   Consider if some special action or help is needed.

For others and the wider community. This could be a time to consider how well this important sacrament of the Church has been supported and treated with the reverence it deserves.  What action could be taken?   Conclude with a prayer.

ECO-TIP AND PRAYER:  Examine your consumer habits and decide to improve where you can, saving water, electricity, paper, time, money.  Pray, make amends and reconcile with one another.