April 27. Freedom Day. The speaker began, ”What does freedom mean to you as an individual and a member of a family and community? It can even mean different things in these different contexts. On this holiday celebrating and commemorating the day in 1994 when the first fully democratic election was held in South Africa we do celebrate freedom and commemorate the new constitution. Freedom is precious. It was and always is hard-bought and should be greatly appreciated. But it is not for free. It was bought at a price and still costs for many people. We, as families, can consider the cost of freedom and it is necessary and important to discuss the history of the day with those too young to remember the past.” The packed hall applauded his speech. Would they go and do more?
It is truly right and just that we should give you thanks and praise O God, almighty Father for all you do in this world, through our Lord Jesus Christ. For though the human race is divided by dissension and discord, yet we know that by testing us you change our hearts to prepare them for reconciliation. Even more, by your Spirit you move human hearts, that enemies may speak to each other again, adversaries may join hands and peoples seek to meet together. By the working of your power it comes about, O Lord, that hatred is overcome by love, revenge gives way to forgiveness and discord is changed to mutual respect. From the Preface for Reconciliation. Reflect, share and act, pray.
A PRAYER FOR SOUTH AFRICA.
O God of justice and love bless us the people of Southern Africa and help us to live in your peace. Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, Where there is hatred let me sow love; where there is injury let me sow pardon. Where there is discord let me sow harmony.
Divine master grant that I may not so much seek to be understood as to understand,To be loved as to love, To receive sympathy as to give it. For it is in giving that we receive, in pardoning that we are pardoned, in forgetting ourselves that we shall find unending peace with others. Amen. Your servants in Christ, The Bishops of Southern Africa. 19
Pope Francis: There is a general feeling of powerlessness in the face of sociocultural realities that often times end up crushing families. Families often feel abandoned due to a lack of interest and attention on the part of institutions. AL 43. What is most needed today: God’s saving love which precedes any moral and religious obligation on our part; it should not impose the truth but appeal to freedom and be marked by joy, encouragement and balance. EG 165.