“Do you still not understand?” Mark 8:21
In the gospel, Jesus scolds his disciples. They are with him every day. So much has happened to them already and still they still do not understand.
We are like that. Things happen all around us that we look past. We see in the same old ways; what is closest must struggle to dislodge our wooden habits of perception and awaken our hearts. Skipping over what is truly present, we ogle the spectacle. Without understanding, our lives slip away and what matters is forgotten.
Today’s readings are an example of how much God loves us by giving us the ability to choose. There are no predetermined options, the way we live is up to us. There are no illusions. Our choices are on us.
On February 11, 2021 the General Government and the new Provincial Council of South Africa held an online meeting. The meeting dealt with the major issues of the Province. In her report Sr. Prabha Varghese, the Provincial Superior, shared the challenges of community life, formation, apostolic service and current difficulties.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” Mt 11:28.
The Central Assembly, yet another milestone of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters was organized by the General Council via Zoom from 25 – 29 January 2021. For the first time in the history due to COVID–19 Pandemic, the Provincials/Regional/Delegature Superiors were connected virtually to discuss numerous Congregational matters. The theme for the Assembly was “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” Mt 11:28. Our meeting began with a warm welcome and the reflection by the Superior General. Sr. Izabela Świerad said: we are living in a difficult time and we need to strongly place our trust in God and learn to live in the present - our now. We can’t only long for the past, neither fear for the future. The most important thing for us is to reflect here and now the present reality of the World, the Church, and our Congregation in the eyes of faith and face the challenges in order to bring new life.
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
FOR THE XXIX WORLD DAY OF THE SICK 2021
“You have but one teacher and you are all brothers” (Mt 23:8). A trust-based relationship to guide care for the sick
Dear brothers and sisters,
The celebration of the XXIX World Day of the Sick on 11 February 2021, the liturgical memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes, is an opportunity to devote special attention to the sick and to those who provide them with assistance and care both in healthcare institutions and within families and communities. We think in particular of those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, the effects of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. To all, and especially to the poor and the marginalized, I express my spiritual closeness and assure them of the Church’s loving concern.
The Pallottine Missionary Sisters opened a mission in Magogo Village, Dakawa Parish, Mororgoro, Tanzania, in 2017, at the urgent request of the Parish priest. It is in the Bush about nine km from the main Morogoro Road. The people of this area are mainly Maasai Nomadic Pastoralists, who live in the forest of Mvomero. To help the Maasai children to get an education, the Sisters opened Elisabetta Sanna, a Day and Boarding School. They began in 2018 with 21 pupils, and this year 163 have enrolled, with 53 of them living at the school and nearly 40 walking to school.
We celebrated the Feast of St. Vincent Pallotti on January 22 with gratitude for the person and work of our Founder. Right from the morning, the liturgical texts directed our minds and hearts towards heaven, where our Holy Founder honors and glorifies God's Infinite Love ... "My God and my all," St. Vincent used to say. That day we rejoiced in St. Vincent and in every word which he left us as a gift and a task. He desired the Pallottine Family to be filled with God and to bring Him to the world.
Leviticus 13:1-2,45-46; 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1; Mark 1:40-45
Leprosy – a word that struck fear in people centuries and millennia ago. No one knew what caused it until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. People deduced it was infectious, and so the societal intervention was simply to segregate the victims of the disease from the healthy population in the hopes of slowing its impact. In its advanced stages the disease is disfiguring, and so the victims were ostracized for their appearance. Since so little was known about the causes, even skin issues that we identify today as normal might have been classified as leprous. We now know that the disease is much less infectious than was once believed, and there are treatment regimens that result in complete cures. Nonetheless, in some parts of the world victims still are treated by segregation and faced with shame.
Have you ever heard someone utter the words, "God will provide"? It's a comforting sentiment, to be sure; the thought that God is watching out for us and will give us what we need. If God provides for the birds after all, how much more he will care for his people! (Mt 6:26) This is a loving, charitable God.
In today’s gospel the crowd brings to Jesus a deaf man with a speech impediment and begs Jesus to lay his hand on him. Note how Jesus deals with the man, one on one, sensitively, carefully and compassionately.
“He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned and said to him, ‘Ephphatha!’ (that is ‘Be opened!)”