1 December World AIDS Day. Shame and guilt.  Johnson sat thinking back over the last 25 years or so. Although the incidence and infection rate has declined since the  greater use of anti-retroviral drugs HIV/AIDS is still a major health issue. All sectors of the population, men, women and children continue to be affected and have to remain on treatment. “When AIDS was first diagnosed there was so much fear, shame and stigma. Few people would say, “My son is infected,” or “My daughter died of AIDS.” Families closed ranks and AIDS was the reason why we ended up looking after 6 grandchildren at one time and our daughter and son came home very sick. She died in those early days but he is well and 2 of the grandchildren are on ARV treatment.” Johnson turned to Josephine and asked, “Should there still be shame attached?  We say it is a disease and not a sin and it can be, but so often there was a sinful act committed somewhere that caused the infection and had such an impact on many others in families.  It is wrong that the rate is still too high, maybe that should make us feel guilt and shame. Right from the time of Adam and Eve there has been sin and shame. They were created to live in harmony with God and one another. After their sin of disobedience when God came looking for them he found them wearing fig leaves because they had become ashamed of their nakedness.  Do we feel shame and guilt about the way we have sinned by abusing God’s creation? “ Josephine responded. “But there is hope. AIDS is hardly the curse it was before.”   SEE MARFAM BOOKLET “AIDS STRIKES AT THE HEART” available email [email protected]

Scripture: Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they come out in leaf know the summer is near.  So also when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.  Luke 21:29-33     Pope Francis: Human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships : with God, with our neighbour and with the earth.   These three have been broken, outwardly and within us.  This rupture is sin.  LS 66  Attacks on nature have consequences for people’s lives. The African bishops state that climate change makes manifest a tragic and striking example of structural sin. LD 3. The God who created the universe out of nothing can also intervene in this world and overcome every form of evil.  Injustice is not invincible. LS 74.  Reflect, share, and pray:  People are very sensitive to being blamed and shamed. In times of corruption, other wrongdoing and damaging the environment could blaming and shaming be a deterrent? We can examine our lives and pray for conversion.