Sunday Gospel Reflection

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“But in those days, after that time of distress, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light… Sky and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

Based on the gospel for Sunday 18 November – Mark 13:24-32

This reflection and prayer were written by Joy Wanless, from Our Lady of Grace parish, Prestwich near Manchester. It is taken from CAFOD’s Weekly Reflections, to which you can subscribe. Joy has been contributing to the national weekly reflections for the last few weeks and is a CAFOD volunteer.

Haylay in northern Ethiopia is no stranger to distress. Years of drought have left many communities here without enough food or drink. Disease has broken out, people have been displaced in a country still recovering from war. The security of Nature’s seasons has deserted the land. It might easily appear that the end is fast approaching.

Still God is good. CAFOD works alongside Haylay, providing chickens and training on how to raise poultry. Despite hardship, Haylay can say, “Life is great. I am happy now and I am grateful to those who helped me.”

Can we say life is great? Are we suffering from the stresses of everyday life, unable to notice the glory of autumn leaves as the season changes and the glory of the Lord shines around us? Do we open our eyes to see Jesus in our brothers and sisters?

Do we listen to the words of Jesus that will never pass away, which encourage us to act now for justice, like offering support for Haylay? Lord, you have promised you are with us to the end of time. We thank you for the confidence of knowing your love, and pray we may share it with others.

Provider God,

May we never grow complacent in times of plenty. May we remember the seasons of life. May we watch for signs of distress in our fellow brothers and sisters and respond, daily remaining alert to the word of God which encourages and guides us in your way of love.

Amen.

For more prayer resources visit the prayer page of the CAFOD website.

“But she in her poverty has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.” Sunday Gospel Reflection

Based on the gospel for Sunday 11 November – Mark 12:38-44

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This reflection and prayer were written by Joy Wanless, from Our Lady of Grace parish, Prestwich near Manchester. It is taken from CAFOD’s Weekly Reflections, to which you can subscribe. Joy will be contributing to the national weekly reflections for the next week or two and is a CAFOD volunteer.

It’s easy to judge by our own standards, to sometimes forget that all good gifts come from God. Some have gifts to offer to food banks. Some are dependent on food banks for the basics to feed their families. There are those who are permanently hungry who Jesus watches just as closely.

Margaret in Batiama, Sierra Leone, experiences the “hungry season”, while they wait for the harvest. Margaret is a widow who was struggling to keep her family.

Her life was changed with a small loan from CAFOD which enabled her to buy supplies and set up a shop in her home. She received training on how to make her business a success. Margaret now earns enough to support her children. She can pass on the gift of the loan and another family’s lives have been changed.

She says, “I want to thank CAFOD for appreciating women – especially widowed women fending for themselves.”

What loan can we offer to others?  Prayer, friendship, time, money, comforts? What do we have to put in the offering?

What can we give which, like the widow’s mite, isn’t just in excess of our needs but is a genuine gift from the heart?

Dear Lord, we thank you for your abundant provisions for our lives. We thank you that you show us the way. You don’t judge. You love.  Let’s put our wealth, a gift from you, in the offering and share your love. Amen.

For more prayer resources visit the prayer page of the CAFOD website.

From vows to volunteering

Leo and Jane Conley have been married for 38 years and 5 years ago they retired. They wanted to find a purposeful activity they could share which utilised their skills. After meeting with a CAFOD representative by chance, Leo and Jane decided that volunteering in schools running workshops and assemblies would be perfect.

Since 2016, the duo have been on more than 130 visits to schools in and around Bolton, inspiring numerous young minds!! But the benefits go two ways – Leo and Jane feel that they learn from the children and young people they meet.

Jane said: “We love going into schools. Children in primary schools have a natural inclination for good; to be kind and to help. In secondary schools, students like the fact that they can hear a positive message. They are so overwhelmed by negative news that somebody coming in and giving them a way to act positively shows them that they can make a change and that progress is being made.

“Once you go into retirement, it’s lovely to find something that you can do together that’s worthwhile and different, setting new challenges for you as a couple. For a lot of people, retirement can mean that you find yourself thrown together so it’s useful if you can find something that you can do together… something that’s new to you both.”

Leo added: “We have every admiration for everyone who volunteers by themselves… We couldn’t do it without the other, even though I do get in trouble for stepping on Jane’s lines!”

This is a beautiful and emotional story. It is so inspiring, Leo and Jane’s contribution to CAFOD is fantastic – what a fulfilling way to spend your retirement! We have a brilliant team of solo volunteers and married couples in the area who visit schools and offer such a valuable input to local young people on how their efforts can help communities overseas, if you are interested in being part of this big family follow the link.