September 27.  To reflect on the importance of intergenerational solidarity and socialisation there is a valuable insight told from nature. When the Pilanesberg nature reserve near Rustenburg was being established up to 6000 animals were imported from many different parks and wild life centres. Among them were a group of teenage elephant bulls that had been orphaned through culling in the Kruger Park.  After a while it was found that these elephants were unruly and aggressive and were attacking other animals, even rhinos. Some cars were damaged and some humans had been killed.  At first park officials were at a loss to explain this but after investigating it was established that there was no proper male adult supervision for these teenagers. Animal behaviour specialists suggested that the maturing sexual development of these young males had been affected by conditions in their environment.  There were older females in the new park but they were rejecting the young bulls. The solution that was finally found was the introduction of a number of mature adult males who were able to enforce some discipline and control over the young bulls.     

I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy.  I will save my people and they shall be my people and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness.    Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem each with staff in hand for very age.   And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.   If it is marvellous in the sight of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in my sight. Zechariah 8:1-8. Pope Francis:   25 July 2021, First World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.  This day initiated by Pope Francis sought to bring youth and their grandparents together as well as showing love and appreciation for the elderly.   Today, at our older age, he still addresses us to “go and make disciples.”  Our vocation is “to preserve our roots, pass on the faith to the young and care for the little ones.”  No matter how old, whether alone or with a family, a young or older grandparent, independent or not, there is a new vocation. Proclaim the Gospel and hand down traditions to your grandchildren. We all need to help build, in fraternity and social friendship, the world of tomorrow where we, together with our children and grandchildren, will live after the storm of Covid 19 that has been with us for 18 months. We all have to take an active part in renewing our troubled society.

Pope Francis suggests especially to the elderly three pillars to support the new edifice.   Dreams, memory and prayer.  The Lord’s closeness will grant the strength for this journey.   “Your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men will have visions. “ (Joel 3:1)  The young can take the dreams of the elderly, of justice, peace and solidarity,  for the new vision to build a future together. He reminds us of the many hardships of life that the elderly have endured and survived.    Dreams are intertwined with memory; painful memories of war that must be shared, so the young can learn to value peace. “Keeping memory alive and sharing it with others is a true mission for every elderly person.”

ECO-TIP AND PRAYER:  Check out and support cross-cultural and cross-generational dialogue for the benefit of the community.  As old or young pray for one another.  Glory be to the Father…………..