The prospect of several more weeks in lockdown challenges our sense of hope, personal security, even our identity, especially when faced with extended periods on our own. On the positive side, this may be a time for reflection on our life experience, on how God has been and continues to be active in our lives – perhaps a time to write about our personal story.
This week’s reflection is prompted by last Sunday’s blessing in response to Pope Francis’ initiative in establishing the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly celebrated on the 4th Sunday of July - a significant statement about the people in our lives whom we need to bless and whom we blessed at Mass last Sunday.
The life of each of us is important and celebration of grandparents and the elderly brings us back to basics, respect for all human life actually, to quote Pope Francis, ‘Grandparents and the elderly are not leftovers from life, scraps to be discarded. They are a precious source of nourishment… They protected us as we grew, and now it is up to us to protect their lives, to alleviate their difficulties, to attend to their needs and to ensure that they are helped in daily life and not feel alone.’
In affirming our elders and their lives and dreams, the Holy Father affirms in each of us our personal vocation – our call to be who we are, our identity, family, nationality, religious faith – before any choice of a lifestyle vocation in the single, married or committed religious state.
Affirmation and respect for each other form the foundation for us to live lives of commitment, love and grace in the vocation of our choice. Grace touches each of us through all in our extended family, parish and wider community – young, old, married, single, widowed, separated, divorced, religious or priest – who make such a difference through their generous love and outreach to their family, community and Church. In this time of lockdown where would we be without those who look out for us in such diverse ways?
Each year in August, the Church invites us to reflect on our personal call as baptized Christians during National Vocations Awareness Week (4-11 August 2021). Most of us go that extra step to make a difference, to live in response to Christ’s call. While we need priests and religious, the Church is about much more than that. Vocation is about all of us – our faithfulness to family life, passion for justice, our need to make a difference, our idealism, commitment and love – qualities I see in people of all ages in this Parish Community. Fr Dave
Vocation is about living expectantly and being prepared for the unexpected, giving of ourselves in the service of others when needed. Parents know this so well in their ministry within the family – vocation is already built into parenting and family life. Christ is like that - he comes into our lives unexpectedly and quietly. Could that be why we sometimes miss him? As we look forward in hope to our children receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation later this year, perhaps that sheds light on why the Holy Spirit is so important - awakening Grace in each!
As we pray for Marriage and Family Life, the Single Life, and the call to Ecclesial Ministry in the Church, we remember the Spirit’s gifts and fruits which are about hospitality - extending the hospitality of Jesus to everyone who seeks it - foundation of a Christian vocation.