It is January 20th and a lot of things have happened since the last entry. Yesterday I had Mass at a parish where I could speak English. Not my normal Sunday fare. In the homily I recalled that I had just experienced 4 funerals. Mandela's, last month, then Nomonde's son on Jan. 4th (Lita was stabbed to death on Christmas day); Benny Ntumbane (who was raised by the Holy Cross Sisters in an orphanage since his mother died a month after he was born and his father had already died before he was born). He worked for the land affairs department and tried to see to it that those people whose land was stolen under the apartheid regime, got it back, and also to prevent profiteers from making false claims so that they could get some land that they really weren't entitled to and make some money.; The last one was last Saturday, Nothemba who succumbed to a long illness being in her early 40's. She tried to raise, single handedly, her 4 children, and struggled against all odds, moving here and there wherever she was able to find a job (she was a good chef) but wound up unemployed, like so many others,. The common denominator for all these funerals was that all those who attended these funerals witnessed to the fact that all of them were loving, caring, giving, generous people who touched the lives of all around them, in spite of their own difficulties.
At Benny's funeral, one of the young women who grew up with him (along with others who were also present) challenged the participants in the funeral with the words : What are people going to say about you when you die. Willl they say how grateful they were to have been touched my your life? Will you feel that, really, your life was worth living?
In the readings for last Sunday, the first reading was from the Prophet Isaiya, who was handpicked by God to do a specific job in his time being the spokesperson for God and reminding the Isrealites of what it was that God expected of them. The second reading was from Paul, who also had a special job, going to the pagans and reminding them and the Israelites that God doesn't pick favorites, God's love is boundless and for everyone, us too. The Gospel had John the Baptist announcing that the one they had been writing for had finally come. He had that special job. And what about us. I can't, as a priest go into a factory or an office or a school or in every family home to do what God expects of me. Each of us in unique and is given a job to do that no one else can do, in our home, work, school or wherever or whatever. If we listen to God, and respond, we will also hear ( we will be out of the body by that time and smiling at the people who will come to our funeral, probably some surprises too..) the nice words that people will say about us (hopefully), how they felt that they were better persons because we (you) had touched their lives.
I guess that's the message as we step well into 2014. The response after the first reading was " Yes, Lord, I come to do your will!" God has great expectations for each of us. Love and Peace, Fr. Cas