The Trócaire Lenten Campaign 2021 focuses on two families displaced by war in Sudan. This is not the only place where such atrocities are currently happening internationally. War brings violence and poverty. War infringes on the human rights of people and Trócaire describes the situation of these displaced families, ‘Years of war have nearly taken everything from their families and it’s not just.’
Awut recalls the painful trek to escape terrible violence in South Sudan. She said, ‘The experience was horrible. My children’s feet were swollen and we were weak with exhaustion. We were fleeing for our lives.’
Can anyone imagine how a mother feels when her children are subject to such suffering? However, though there is tremendous suffering, there is light at the end of the tunnel. People in their own suffering compassionately share the burdens of others, bringing hope and relief to the situation.
The reading proclaimed at Mass today from the prophet Jeremiah (Jer 18:18-20) tells how his enemies tried to ‘concoct a plot against him.’ They did not like Jeremiah because he was a prophet and when he spoke on behalf of God, they refused to listen. The people did not like what they heard. Jeremiah was faithful to God and God’s message. Jeremiah knew they wanted to destroy him and were ‘digging a pit for me.’ Jeremiah appeals to God, asking God to remember how he had pleaded on their behalf. He wanted God to save the people.
Hence, Psalm 30: 17 proclaims at Mass ‘Save me in your love, O Lord.’ This prayer reminds God’s people that salvation comes from God alone. The psalmist wants release from the ‘snares they have hidden’ and he turns to God for refuge. He knows that God will redeem him. The psalmist is afraid of the crowd who slander him and plot against him to kill him. Nevertheless, the psalmist trusts in God. He knows that God will deliver him from evil.
These readings prepare God’s people for Holy Week when we recall the passion and death of Jesus. Jesus knew he had to undergo suffering and death before God raised him to new life in the Resurrection. Jesus knew he was also facing a murderous conspiracy.
The Gospel (Mt 20: 17-28) proclaims the mother of Zebedee’s sons looking for a special place for her sons in heaven; one to sit at the right hand of Jesus in heaven and one to sit at his left hand. Jesus told her he could not do that for her or for them. He explained that anyone who wants such security in heaven must do the Father’s will while on earth, That meant they had to follow Jesus’ teaching on love and reach out in love to their neighbours. God sent Jesus to earth to lead a mission of service. His followers must do the same. Jesus served others by sharing the Good News, by forgiving sins, by feeding the hungry and by healing the sick. Eventually, he saved all the people forever by dying on the cross. Disciples today continue to serve as Jesus did and live in the hope of eternal life with God.
During the Lenten season in the light of the Word of God, we reflect on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Discipleship invites us to take up our cross each day and face suffering as Jeremiah and Jesus did. Doing that, God assures the faithful that Jesus by his passion, death, and resurrection brought life, truth and love. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus is the Light of the world.
VERITAS publications provides free online resources for the theme of Lent on the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé website including the Children’s e-book in English and Irish. The current Lenten resources are available on the Trócaire website.
Email: trial @growinlove
- Pray Hail Mary/ Sé do bheatha a Mhuire
- Lord have mercy/ A Thiarna déan trócaire
Christ have mercy/ A Chríost, déan trócaire
- A Uain Dé a thógann peacaí an domhain, déan trócaire orainn…
- Read the stories of the families of Awut and Ajax on the Trócaire box. Where did light come for the families in their suffering?
- Find out where Ethiopia is on the map of Africa. Read about the war situation in that country also. Where is the light for the people of Ethiopia? How can we bring light to suffering?
- In your Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé book you might like to read the lesson on Lent.
- Follow your Trócaire Lenten 2021 Calendar and you can choose to do as it says, ‘Phone a friend or relative and drop a coin in the Trócaire box for them.’
- Is there anyone you can help in your home today?
- Think about your Lenten promise. Is it easy to keep the promise you made? What makes it easy to keep a promise?
Sr Anne Neylon