Lent is already behind us for this year.  But I’d like to go back to Pope Francis’ Lenten Message, and share some thoughts that it brought forth for me.

At the transfiguration of Jesus, the disciples were commanded by God on Mount Tabor to ‘Listen to Him’.  The Holy Father encourages us to listen to Jesus through the Scripture and by other means like the sacraments.

The act of listening brought you to mind with special gratitude.  Your willingness and your kindness in always ‘listening’ to what’s happening on the Zulu Missions is a true gift.

In addition to the Scriptures, Pope Francis reminds us that the Lord speaks to us through our brothers and sisters, especially in the faces and the stories of those who are in need.  And there is so much need in our world.

Again, I thought of you and your generous responses to the faces and stories of your brothers and sisters on the Missions who are in need.  We’re so blessed by your compassion and open heartedness.

Another of the Pope’s suggestions for Lent was that we confront the difficulties of ordinary life, its daily struggles, its hardships and contradictions.  This we do here in Africa with your loving support.  But again I was reminded of how Mission friends confide in us by sharing their own struggles, hardships and contradictions, giving us the privilege to pray for them.  And this we do with great love.

Whether it’s Lent or any other time of year, through Scripture and the sacraments we have many opportunities to listen to Jesus, as well as extending to listening to one another.  Listening makes us all one with Him.

Pope Francis has also asked all of us – clergy and lay people – to contribute to the ongoing Synod on Synodality, and in so doing we listen to one another for the greater growth of the Church

Thank you, and God bless you, for your gift of listening.


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