Pastor’s Corner for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, by Fr. Nobert Munekani SJ
In 2021, Pope Francis declared World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, to take place annually on the fourth Sunday of July, neighboring the memorial of Sts. Joachim and Anne, the grandparent of Jesus. The theme for the day selected by the Pope, for this year is “His Mercy is from age to age”. which he recalled, takes us back to the joyful meeting between the young Mary and her elderly relative Elizabeth (Lk 1:39-56). The Holy Spirit had descended upon Elizabeth, and had earlier, descended upon Mary, prompting her to respond with the Magnificat, in which she proclaimed that the Lord’s mercy is from generation to generation.
The Pope wanted to highlight that those in their older years are a great gift to our world and that every generation has something to give. This year will mark the third anniversary of this day set aside to remember our grandparents and those who are elderly. The Pope, therefore, urges young people to bring joy to the elderly’s hearts. “God wants young people to bring joy to the hearts of the elderly, as Mary did to Elizabeth, and gain wisdom from their experiences. Yet, above all, the Lord wants us not to abandon the elderly…” he says.
He also lamented how often the elderly are tragically are pushed aside and emphasized on how maintaining quality connections with the older generations has priceless value for the young. He suggested, “trusts that young people, through their relationships with the elderly, will realize that they are called to cultivate memory and recognize the beauty of being part of a much larger history.”
He highlighted that Friendship with an older person, can help the young “to see life not only in terms of the present and realize that not everything depends on them and their abilities.” For the elderly, on the other hand, he noted, “the presence of a young person in their lives “can give them hope that their experience will not be lost and that their dreams can find fulfilment.” God’s loving plan, the Pope expressed, spans past, present, and future. “It embraces and connects the generations.” “It is greater than we are yet includes each of us and calls us at every moment to keep pressing forward.”
“Let us not abandon them.”
“Their presence in families and communities,” the Pope highlighted, “is a precious one, for it reminds us that we share the same heritage and are part of a people committed to preserving its roots.” “From the elderly we received the gift of belonging to God’s holy people. The Church, as well as society, needs them, for they entrust to the present the past that is needed to build the future.
The World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly is meant “to be a precious sign of hope for them and for the whole Church. And to acknowledge how important grandparents are for family life, for passing on the human and religious heritage which is so essential for every society! How important it is to have intergenerational exchanges and dialogues, especially within the context of the family. Let us take a moment to thank God for the gift of grandparents and the elderly in our parish and in our homes.
For the sick
Let us continue to pray for the sick members of our parish especially Benedicta Ngwebelele, Tebogo Mavuso, Magola Legoale, Phoebe Ngwenya and Andrew Ledwaba.
Rev. Fr. Nobert Munekani SJ