‘The Lord is a great king: come let us adore him.’ (Invitatory antiphon)
In a recent interview on RTE radio, Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Senator Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968), spoke of her father and her reaction at the time to his sudden and shocking death. She also spoke about her work as a human rights activist and writer. Continuing her father’s work for Human Rights, Kerry is President of R.F. Kennedy Human Rights, a non-profit human rights advocacy organisation.
Kerry was eight years old and woke very early on 5 June 1968 and switched on the TV. She wanted to watch cartoons but instead there was a special news broadcast, in which she heard her father was shot in Los Angeles. Robert Kennedy died at 42 years of age. May his soul rest in peace.
Kerry remembered at the time lying on her bed. She cried and prayed. She prayed to God that they wouldn’t kill the person who killed her father because she didn’t want any other family to have to endure this pain. Neither did she want a ‘mother to lose another son and, if this man had children, for them to lose their father.’ Kerry wanted an end to the violence.
Even though Kerry and her family were broken hearted at the loss of their Dad, she doesn’t carry bitterness in her heart. She loved her Dad but knew that no amount of hate or bitterness would bring him back from death. She continues the good and much loved work of her father in her work of advocacy.
The psalmist might describe Kerry as a person who goes ‘through the bitter valley and makes it a place of springs.’ (Psalm 84:6).
Today’s reading and Gospel (Mt 5:43-48), may be heard proclaimed via the webcam or read from the Old and New Testament.
In the first reading from the Book of Kings (1 Kings 21:17-29), Ahab having been part of the plot with his wife Jezebel to kill Naboth to seize his vineyard, repents before God.
In the Gospel, Jesus continues his teaching on love. He also tells the disciples to pray and to ‘be perfect as his heavenly Father is perfect.’ Jesus is trying to teach the disciples the difference between the Old Law and the New Law. Jesus enlightens the disciples’ minds to model the love of our neighbour on the love of the Father for each and every person. Jesus knows as a victim of injustice, that it is not easy to love everyone.
SEEK GOD IN THE GROW IN LOVE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAMME
The children on hearing the first reading might be drawn towards the angry words and threats used by Elijah to Ahab. Ahab himself knew what he did was wrong and as a sign of repentance ‘he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth.’ God noticed that Ahab was remorseful and repentant.
Children from their introduction to the Grow in Love programme are offered times of quiet and moments of silence to reflect on their lives. In the daily experiences of life they will learn the importance of saying ‘thank you’, ‘sorry’ and ‘I forgive you’.
In preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation they learn further about God’s love and desire to forgive. They chat with family, teacher and friends and discuss secular stories and the Parables about forgiveness. When they say ‘The Act of Sorrow’, they realise, before ever they say sorry to God, they thank God for God’s great love, ‘O my God, I thank you for loving me.’
Children explore what it means to repent, to turn away from sin and turn towards God. God is love and loves each person unconditionally. Jesus asks his disciples to love also. Children recognise the call of John the Baptist to the people, ‘Turn away from your sins, because the Kingdom of heaven is near!’
Children grow in the realisation of God’s kingdom in the reality of their lives. They identify their personal role in building up God’s kingdom in the way they live their daily lives. Each day in their Morning Prayer at school, children are invited to acknowledge God’s unique and special love for them and for every person in the whole world. The Holy Spirit is the helper.
Children chat about loving their neighbour; the neighbour means every other person in their lives. They are taught about God’s love for everyone and that God has no favourites. God’s love is inclusive. The disciples’ love is also inclusive. Jesus was inclusive in loving.
In Senior Classes the theme of social justice offers children many opportunities to explore the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Sixth Class).
Resources are available on the VERITAS Grow in Love website including the Children’s e-books to help children and families deepen their knowledge of Jesus’ inclusive for all, the need for repentance and the sacrament of Reconciliation.
SING: ‘Jesus Remember Me When You Come into Your Kingdom’, ‘O Lord hear my Prayer’, ‘The Summons’, ‘They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love’, ‘Close to you’, ‘Christ Be Our Light’, ‘Whatsoever You Do’.
READ: ‘John the Baptist ((John 1:6=9, 15), ‘The Preaching of John the Baptist’ (Matthew 3:1-2, 4-6, 11), ‘Parable of the Prodigal Son’ (Luke 15:11-32), ‘The Woman Caught in Adultery’ (John 8:1-11).
PRAY with Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
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.
‘The Lord has raised up a mighty servant for us, as he promised e through the lips of his prophets prophets.’(Benedictus antiphon)
‘My spirit exults in the Lord God, my saviour.’ (Magnificat antiphon).
‘For I acknowledge my wrongdoings and have my sins ever in mind.’ (Psalm50:3).
‘…Such evasiveness serves as a licence to carrying on with our present lifestyles and models of production and consumption. This is the way human beings contrive to feed their self-destructive vices: trying not to see them, trying not to acknowledge them, delaying the important decisions and pretending that nothing will happen.’(Laudato Si’, no. 59).
Sr Anne Neylon