‘Let us come before the Lord, giving thanks.’ (Invitatory antiphon).
Blessed Frederic Ozanam (1813-53), founder of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (1833), in defining charity and justice said, ‘Charity is the Samaritan who pours oil on the wounds of the traveller who has been attacked. But, it is justice’s role to prevent the attacks.’
Trócaire, the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland provides, among many other initiatives, educational resources annually to enlighten people of situations of poverty in long-term developing countries.
This year, the plight of a family living in northern Honduras was highlighted. The mother Angela and two of her children, Jocsan and Helen feature on the 2020 Trócaire box. Angela is a farmer with a small plot of land. The story goes that, ‘She and her husband built their home on ancestral land that has been in their family and their community for generations. They were living a quiet life working hard to put their children through school. Then a few years ago a logging company and a big mining company moved into the area. These companies are moving in on Angela’s community and they want the families to leave. She has been beaten and tear gassed and told she will be killed.’
Today’s first reading from the first Book of Kings and the Gospel (Mt 5:38-42) are proclaimed via the webcam or read from the Old and New Testament.
In the first reading from the Book of Kings (1 Kings 21:1-16), the story of Ahab’s efforts to desire and seize Naboth’s vineyard, mirrors the story of Angela’s family in Honduras. Just as Angela’s home was going to be seized from her by the big company, so also Jezebel, in Ahab’s name undermined Naboth to take his ancestral heritage. Jezebel, wife of Ahab went to the point of having Naboth murdered, in order to seize the heritage from Naboth’s ancestors. The central point of both these situations is about ancestral heritage.
In the Gospel today, God’s people hear Jesus teaching the highest standards of love. It is a hard teaching, which is counter cultural. Jesus himself knew what it was to stand up for just causes. He gave his life which was the ultimate sacrifice.
SEEK GOD’S LOVE IN THE GROW IN LOVE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAMME
The theme of justice is prominent throughout the Grow in Love programme. Based on the readings at Mass today, the children are familiar with the work of The Society of St Vincent de Paul. They are also familiar with the work of Trócaire.
It may be timely to return to the stories from the 2020 Trócaire Lenten programme available on the Trócaire website and read about the work of Trócaire among people who are living in poverty. A discussion might be prompted on the relationship between charity and justice.
Appeals are made locally at present for people to return their Trócaire 2020 Lenten boxes to the Church. Families might like to read about Angela and her two children in Honduras from the Trócaire box. Families might chat about the work of Trócaire and justice for all.
Also incorporated in this theme is the letter of Pope Francis’ Encyclical letter to the people of Ireland telling them what is happening to our common home. He names out the challenges of pollution, destructive human lifestyles, contaminated water, global warming, climate change and loss of biodiversity. These issues are addressed throughout the programme and supporting resources are available on the VERITAS website.
Children also explore the plight of the migrants and homelessness. In the Children’s Grow in Love e-books at various class levels, children can engage in various journal activities. Human Rights are an important facet in all lives. Children are introduced to some of the articles of the Declaration of Human Rights. They are also introduced to the lives of the saints and Christian heroes/heroines who worked and still work for justice today.
Children continue to read the Scripture internalising the gospel values and Jesus’ teaching on love. They take time to pray collectively and personally for prayer intentions for themselves and the world. They are guided to reflect on Scripture and to examine their daily lives through praying the Examen.
Children pray in thanksgiving to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They also pray for guidance to make good choices for their lives. They ask the Holy Spirit to help them to listen to God’s voice to help them live in a just way so to build the Kingdom of God. They explore what it means to respect human dignity in daily life circumstances and treat themselves, every person and all God’s creation with justice and respect
Resources are accessible, through all the Grow in Love Programme to support the theme of justice including the Children’s Grow in Love e-book. Online videos and interactive activities may be helpful. The Trócaire website will give the full story of Angela and her family, with accompanying slides and activities and links to the appropriate lessons in the Grow in Love programme.
READ from Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
‘The New Commandment’ (Jn 13:34), ‘The Beatitudes’ (Mt 5:3-13), ‘The Woman Caught in Adultery’ (Jn 8:1-11), ‘Jesus and the Woman at the Well’ (Jn 4:7-15), ‘The Spirit of the Lord’ (Matthew 3:13-17), ‘The Story of Creation’ ( Gen 1:1-31).
SING: ‘The Beatitudes’, ‘God has Given Us the Earth’, ‘Where Your Treasure Is’, ‘Make A Good Choice’, ‘Christ Be Our Light’, ‘Dayenu’, ‘Christ Be Beside Me’, ‘Spirit-Filled Day’.
PRAY with Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
May all the children
In the world
Share friendship and live
In the peace
Of God’s love
Now and forever.
ÁR BPAIDIR MHISIN
Gach páiste ar domhan
Grá agus cairdeas,
Agus go maire siad
I síocháin ghrá Dé
Anois agus choíche.
ACT OF FAITH
O my God, I believe in you
and in all that your holy Church teaches
because you have said it
and your Word is true.
You are the Christ,
the Son of the living God.
Lord, I believe; increase my faith. Amen.
ACT OF HOPE
O my God, I put my hope in you
because I am sure of your promises.
Deliver us, Lord, from every evil and
grant us peace in our day,
as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour,
Jesus Christ, Amen.
ACT OF LOVE
O my God,
I love you with all my heart,
with all my soul, and with all my strength.
Lord, increase our love.
Help us to love one another. Amen.
‘Blessed be the Lord our God.’ (Benedictus antiphon).
‘My soul magnifies the Lord, since God has had regard for my humble state.’ (Magnificat antiphon).
‘Give heed to my groaning, O Lord.’ (Psalm 5:2).
‘Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home.’ (LS no.13).
‘O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.’
Sr Anne Neylon