Reflecting on a season of justice
|In the Salesian community at St Marys are (from left): Sr Sarah Hanley FMA, Sr Louise McKeogh FMA and Sr Matalena Leota FMA. Photography: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu.|
Sr Louise McKeogh FMA, May 2012
It seems that much of our conversation lately has been about the seasons, especially the unusual weather patterns and lack of ‘summer’, the way that the weather affects us, physically, emotionally and in many practical ways as we go about our daily life.
As we celebrate Palm Sunday and prepare for Holy Week it is also a time when we can stop and reflect upon the season of justice that we have experienced this Lent.
Thinking about the journey we have travelled so that we too can walk the Emmaus Road transformed by the Risen Christ. What strikes me about this Lent is just how much it has been a season of justice.
Starting with the scriptures of the season, Jesus being tempted in the wilderness, The Transfiguration, and the Gospel of John 12: 20-33, Unless a grain of wheat falls; are all scriptures that speak of the key elements of justice and Catholic social teaching – working for the common good, preferential options for the poor and most marginalised, and transformative action for the good of our world.
Then we can think of the activities of the Diocese of Parramatta over these 40 days of Lent. Personally, we think of those daily encounters and deeper conversations that we have had, and which have transformed our lives or the lives of the other.
Peace and justice is at the heart of what Lent has been about; transforming our lives and our relationships through prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
Schools, families and parishes have supported Project Compassion, the annual Lenten appeal campaign by Caritas Australia, as a means of almsgiving and in the process transformed the lives of some of those in the world’s most poor and vulnerable communities.
We have reflected on stories from the communities of Timor Leste, the Thai-Burma border, Zimbabwe, Peru and Indigenous Australia.
Our young people have gathered with Bishop Anthony and the NSW Attorney General, Greg Smith, talking about justice. Our media and government have discussed and advocated for just leadership.
Many of us have participated in Lenten discussion groups in our parishes as a way of deepening our relationship with God and with each other.
Some of our parish communities have had the significant opportunity to evaluate our life together and plan for the future in the diocesan pastoral planning process of Faith in Our Future.
Our actions have also worked for justice and peace, whether as a parent educating our children and ‘peace keeping’ in our own family, or activities in the wider community as a Vinnies’ volunteer, working for CatholicCare Social Services and many other organisations that are working at the grassroots.
I also think of the deeply committed people I have met recently who are involved in their local parish social justice groups.
In many ways our Lent has been a time of transformation.
It seems to me that along the way we have in very real ways lived Pope Benedict’s message for World Day of Peace, given at the very start of this year.
“Where does true education in peace and justice take place? First of all in the family since parents are the first educators. It is in the family that children learn the human and Christian values which enable them to have a constructive and peaceful coexistence.
“It is in the family that young people learn solidarity between the generations, forgiveness and how to welcome others. The family is the first school in which we are trained in justice and peace. “May parents encourage children, by the example of their lives to put their hope before all else in God, the one source of authentic justice and peace.” (Pope Benedict XVI, Rome 1.1.2012)
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