I was offline for about two weeks just now after lightning destroyed my computer, printer, phoneline and affected even the cellular network. I am slowly recovering and trying to catch up. It will take some time.
Just a brief update about last week, if you like.
We cedlebrated on Wednesday Chrism Mass in Burgersdorp. It is in the meantime a tradition that I give a short reflection/recollection for the priests before they renew their commitment. It was very much to reconfirm the wide area of commitment coming from our special participation in teh threee offices of Christ, bein Prophet, Priest and King and leading the faithful who got exactly these tasks as well, as expressed very clearly at the baptism of children.
Thursday began with a celebration in the huge prison of Godemoed. More than 40 prisoners were in the group. I addressed them with the theme of the Holy Year of Mercy and the Pope’s Letter, Misericordiae Vultus, teh Face of Mercy. Would it be possible that they could show their faces to people, in prison and perhaps after many years only, then outside, and let people read their faces and understand that they talk about “mercy”? We put a huge canvas with the picture of Christ on the floor. All came to have their feet washed, after they knelt down on the picture looking into the face of Jesus in silence; some of them for quite some while. What was going on in their minds, nobody knows. But maybe there was some spark of a better perspective in life.
I celebrated Good Friday with the community of Mokhesi in Sterkspruit in my former parish. The youth performed a passion play. The impressive performance ended with them carrying the dead Jesus into the sacristy. “That’s all?”, I asked them. No Happy end? Not even a trace? It was a bad ending from a certain perspective. But I asked them further whether it could be that they would be the happy end, or rather the happy new beginning.
The readings at Easter Vigil tell a story of this powerful new beginning: Fundamental equality of humans, not sacrificing the future of our children, the commitment to freedom, and the liberty to get things for free, especially those that are essential (some vision of Isaiah). Just let imagination play and feel the challenge of the Gospel to fulfil what was said. The societal issues that I filled in may not be relevant for all of you. You may know your own challenges.
Best wishes and blessings before I leave to visit a priest who is on a renewal course