DECEMBER – FAMILY, HOPE FOR THE FUTURE   

DAILY THOUGHTS  on www.marfam.org.za, facebook and twitter. Request for email to [email protected].     Abbreviations:  Pope Francis:LS = Laudato Si. AL = Amoris Laetitia  FT = Fratelli Tutti.  EG = Evangelii Gaudium   LD = Laudate Deum.   Synod on Synodality documents.

ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS 2023. ECO-FAMILY FRIENDLY THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY

with A CHILDREN’S PEACE PILGRIMAGE, a parable for our time, 18 – 26 December

Introduction.   December – Advent and Christmas.  “Family, Hope for the Future.” What does this mean to be a family of families and hope for the future? Each family is unique with our own special relationships, our love, hopes, joys and anxieties. We thank our Creator for the inbuilt sense of family, of belonging to one another and to our God.   Family-mindedness is a cause of our hope.  St Francis and Pope Francis speak of all the creatures, animal and plant paying homage to their Creator. We acknowledge that we humans alone can address the challenges and fulfill the hope for a future filled with peace and joy.   

Two significant societal events to commemorate at this time: COP28 the Dubai 2023 climate conference from 30 November to 12 December and 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM for no violence against women and children. from 25 November to 10 December.  

Pope Francis: What to expect from COP28 in DUBAI?  If we are confident in the capacity of human beings to transcend their personal interests and to think in bigger terms we can keep hoping that COP 28 will allow for a decisive acceleration of energy transition, with effective commitments and subject to ongoing monitoring.   We must move beyond the mentality of appearing to be concerned, but have the courage needed to produce substantial changes. LD 54-56.  The Judaeo-Christian vision of the cosmos defends the unique and central value of the human being amid the marvellous concert of all God’s creatures. Today we are forced to recognise that human life is incomprehensible and unsustainable without other creatures. As part of the universe all of us are linked by unseen bonds and together form a kind of universal family, a sublime communion which fills us with a sacred, affectionate and humble respect.   LD 67.   

Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we need to encounter the Lord ever anew in his Word and sacramental presence, in order to share the liberating message of the Gospel with others. In our troubled world, so many people await a word of hope. May all Christians take up the challenge of sharing the joy of their own encounter with the risen Lord, the new life of his Spirit, and the freedom born of trust in his promises. “An encounter with Jesus always brings you joy and, if this does not happen to you, it is not a true encounter with Jesus.”  November 15

A PRAYER FOR OUR EARTH. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Blessed Trinity, community of infinite love.  You are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures. You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.  Pour out upon us the power of your love that we may protect all life and beauty. Fill us with humility, peace and joy that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one. Encourage us in our struggle for justice, love and peace. Praise to you! Amen. Laudato Si.   

PEACE PRAYER OF ST FRANCE………………………  SEE children’s peace pilgrimage.

SETTING THE SCENE.  December is holiday season in the southern hemisphere and no doubt we all need and deserve some time out however we choose. There are many important issues to consider in our own lives, as well as the wars in parts of the world that affect people everywhere.  COP 28 and the 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM are kept in mind. As we “Put Christ back into Christmas,” may we “Arrive Alive” and not “shop till we drop.”

The THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY use the See-Judge-Act method and are based on the daily scripture readings and include extracts from Pope Francis documents. In addition to the symbols used in the parish, families are encouraged to make their own Advent wreath, spend a few moments daily to light the candles, pray and  share.                                                    See www.marfam.org.za for MARFAM ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS activities e.g. an Advent wreath.  A Jesse Tree.  A Family Reconciliation, Prayer meal, Fast day.