• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

Thursday, 29 July 2021 18:50

Honouring our elders builds a more beautiful society

 

Fr Asaeli Raass profile pic 150This month’s celebration of the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, instituted by Pope Francis, struck a note with me and I’m sure for many others as well.

In my Pacific island culture, the elders in our families and in our villages are deeply honoured and I have beautiful memories of my grandparents and their special role in my life.

It makes me sad to see the devaluation of the elderly in some parts of our western culture. We live in a society which values productivity and busyness and which all too often sweeps aside the wisdom and experience of seniors who are no longer associated with their job or profession.

You only have to visit your local aged care centre to see many lonely older people, who may only rarely receive a visit from their ‘busy’ children or grandchildren. Of course, many older people, even with loving and attentive families, have been isolated during the COVID pandemic

But in his message for the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly, Pope Francis tackles this sense of loneliness head-on, reminding our senior citizens of Jesus’ promise to us all: “I am with you always”.

“’I am with you always’ (Mt 28:20): this is the promise the Lord made to his disciples before he ascended into heaven,” the Pope says in his message.

“They are the words that he repeats to you today, dear grandfathers and grandmothers, dear elderly friends.  ‘I am with you always’ are also the words that I, as Bishop of Rome and an elderly person like yourselves, would like to address to you on this first World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly. The whole Church is close to you – to us – and cares about you, loves you and does not want to leave you alone!

“I am well aware that this Message comes to you at a difficult time: the pandemic swept down on us like an unexpected and furious storm; it has been a time of trial for everyone, but especially for us elderly persons. Many of us fell ill, others died or experienced the death of spouses or loved ones, while others found themselves isolated and alone for long periods.

“The Lord is aware of all that we have been through in this time. He is close to those who felt isolated and alone, feelings that became more acute during the pandemic.”

The Pope also reminds our seniors that at this important time in history they have a renewed vocation, even in their old age.

“Think about it: what is our vocation today, at our age? To preserve our roots, to pass on the faith to the young and to care for the little ones. Never forget this,” he says.

“It makes no difference how old you are, whether you still work or not, whether you are alone or have a family, whether you became a grandmother or grandfather at a young age or later, whether you are still independent or need assistance. Because there is no retirement age from the work of proclaiming the Gospel and handing down traditions to your grandchildren. You just need to set out and undertake something new.”

As I remember my own grandparents and their role in developing my faith and my character, I give thanks. If you still have your grandparents, or if you know an elderly person who might be lonely or feeling under-appreciated, maybe today is a good time to give them a visit (if lockdowns permit where you live) or make a phone call and have a chat.

And if you are a grandparent or a senior citizen, never forget the importance of your renewed vocation to proclaim the Gospel and hand down traditions, remembering Jesus’ promise: “I am with you always”.

Yours in the Word,

Fr Asaeli Rass SVD,

Provincial.

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