Prayer and Reflection by Bishop Sylvester David OMI

Auxiliary Bishop Sylvester David offers his prayer and reflection for the people of the Archdiocese of Cape Town for today, Friday 30 October 2020, during this time of the coronavirus pandemic. It is also available on the Archdiocese of Cape Town’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Please also see below the text of his reflection, primarily for the deaf.

Reflection for Friday 30th October 2020. Philippians 1:1-11.

I want to refer to the first reading of today’s Mass. In the first reading we get a rare glimpse of the tenderness which the Apostle nurtured toward the community at Philippi. One could do a close reading of the text and pick out words which give this type of insight but I think it is more useful at this time to examine our own attitudes to those around us – to our loved ones, colleagues and neighbours. In this age when narcissism seems to be rewarded, we ought to measure our own love against the perfect template of love viz. the Cross of Christ. Paul has made an intercession in Philippians 1:9 that we may love with the total self sacrificial love we see on the Cross. In any case that is the word that is used. In other words that we should become imitators of Christ. Imitation of Christ is meant to be exercised in our daily lives, right where we work and live. It is not something that is reserved for the future. It has to be lived out in the eternal now.

How nice it would be if spouses could express their love for each other in these words: “I thank my God whenever I think of you; and every time I pray for you, I pray with joy…” (Philippians 1:3). How nice if siblings could share similar sentiments, at least on birthdays. How nice if grandparents could share these kinds of sentiments with their grandchildren and vice versa. We very often leave such expressions of love until it is too late. Either we are too reticent to express love verbally, or pride gets in the way. Whatever the case, we leave things until it is too late. What is the sense of placing bouquets of flowers on coffins of loved ones when we have not bothered to show signs of love when these persons were alive? 

I remember once visiting an old aged home and I was told of an elderly woman who wanted to see me but was hesitant to ask because she was not Catholic. I asked how she was and what she told me made me want to weep. She said that physically she was fine and was blessed with good health. But relationally she was lonely. Three of her four adult children were successful professional people living in the same city and of these three only one visited her on her birthday and for Christmas two of them brought her gifts but could only stay ten minutes because they were all gathering at the absent one’s home for Christmas lunch. She said that in the rather nice establishment where she lived, she was able to walk to the dining room, the games room, the TV room, and also walk in the garden, etc. without any difficulty. She was also self sufficient in that she could eat without assistance and regularly completed crosswords. And then she asked: “Why could they not have included me at their lunch table?” That poor neglected woman could certainly have benefitted from one of her children saying: “I thank my God whenever I think of you”. Let us make it our mission to find someone in such need and to make life worth living for them.

Let us pray: Almighty God, you desire that we show love to all. Help us to do this in a meaningful way starting in our homes and then spreading your love to all we meet. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Prayer and Reflection by Archbishop Stephen Brislin

Archbishop Stephen Brislin offers his prayer and reflection for the people of the Archdiocese of Cape Town for today, Wednesday 28 October 2020, during this time of the coronavirus pandemic. It is also available on the Archdiocese of Cape Town’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Please also see below the text of his reflection, primarily for the deaf.

Welcome to all joining this reflection. As the weather become warmer and we enjoy the bright sunshine, it reminds us of how much we need the warmth of God’s light in our lives, to dispel the darkness of anxiety and despair. May his light always shine on you and, through you, may it shine on others. Today we celebrate the Feast of the Apostles, Simon and Jude, who brought that light of salvation to those who did not yet know Christ.

Let us now listen to verse from Scripture, a verse from the First Reading of today’s Mass, found in the Letter of St Paul to the Ephesians (2:19-22):

Brethren, you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone….

Let us pray:

Heavenly Father, to enlighten the world you sent us your Word as the sun of truth and justice shining upon mankind. Illumine our eyes that we may discern your glory in the many works of your hand, and so inspire others to seek justice in all things. We make this prayer through Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever, amen.

We know very little about Saints Simon and Jude. Tradition has it that St Simon preached the Gospel in Egypt and then went to Persia where he met up with St Jude, and that both were martyred there. We do know that Simon was called “the zealot” (Luke 6:15). A zealot is someone who is enthusiastic , has very strong opinions and tries to get others to accept those opinions. There can be a negative connotation, too, that it is a person who is single-minded and fanatical. Those known as zealots among the Jews of the time, were a sect that vigorously opposed the Roman occupation. It is not clear whether Simon belonged to that sect, or if he was just assigned the name of zealot because of his strong opinions and energy. Whichever is true, it is clear that he was a person of great zeal and that his zeal translated into his commitment to proclaim the Gospel and the truth of Jesus Christ.

Many of us know St Jude as being the saint of “hopeless cases” – when all else fails and things seem particularly dismal, we turn to St Jude in prayer, seeking his intercession to get us out of whatever mess or difficulty we are in. We also have the short letter of St Jude in the New Testament, which encourages us to keep ourselves within the love of God (v21). It is interesting that both Saints Simon and Jude are named as being among “the brethren of the Lord” (Matthew 13:55), presumably indicating ties of kinship with the earthly Jesus.

Despite the little historical knowledge we have of these two saints, it is remarkable what we can learn from them. Firstly, we should all be zealots. Unfortunately the term does have a negative sound to it today, especially when used in the context of faith – religious zealots are considered to be fanatical and uncompromising people, seeing only truth in what they believe and dismissing any other view. On the other hand, to be known as a zealot for environmental justice, for care of the earth, is considered to be laudable and inspiring. If we are followers of Jesus, truly trying to conform our lives to his and believing with all our heart the call to love God and to love our neighbour with authentic sacrificial love, then we should certainly be zealous in this. We should embark on this journey of discipleship filled with zeal, energy and enthusiasm, filled with the joy of God’s presence in the world. In this we are meant to be like Simon.

But we can imitate St Jude as well, the saint said to be the one we turn to in a hopeless situation. Surely that very idea captures the essence of Christian salvation. When a child or an adolescent gets into a mess, does his or her parent just stand by and do nothing? I think every loving parent will do their absolute best to try and get their child out of whatever mess he got into, even if the parents are disappointed at his behaviour. Haven’t we all depended on others, at some time or another, to help us get our of situations when we have messed up? To me this is what Christ’s coming into the world means – he came to get humankind out of the mess it was in, the mess of sin, evil and even the mess resulting from the stupidity of human actions. He came to save. It is the task of the Church to help people get to resolve messy life situations they have got into as a consequence of their bad choices. It is not the task of the Church to look from a distance (like the priest and Levite passing the man wounded on the road) and from a detached distance to judge and condemn. Jesus did not come to condemn the world (John 3:17). We are meant to be there for people and to help them find their way out of whatever mistakes they may have made, so they may put things right, and find their way again. We do not abandon them. This is part of what it means to reconcile people to God – we have been given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18).

I have also mentioned that Saints Simon and Jude were counted among the “brethren of the Lord”. This is exactly the relationship we are called to – to be brethren of the Lord, not united by blood or by DNA, but united to him and to each other through faith, “members of the household of God”, no longer “strangers” or sojourners”, all of us living stones of the building that has Christ as its cornerstone. In short, we belong. We belong to God, we belong to each other, we belong in the Church – weak, human, sinful, stupid at times, but we belong. Who can forget the words of Jesus, when told that his mother and brothers wanted to see him, asked, who is my mother? Who are my brothers?… Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother (Mathew 12:58-50). The Church is our home on earth until we reach the heavenly Church, the heavenly Jerusalem. None of us should make others feel as if they do not belong. And none of us should give up in having the Church as our home simply because we fail God and each other so often. What is important is that we keep trying honestly and sincerely to do the will of the Father.

Let us now pray for God’s blessing:

The Lord be with you R./ And also with you

Loving God, we ask you to look kindly upon us and to fill us with a zeal for living and witnessing to the Gospel of love and forgiveness. May we always be willing to reach out compassionately and kindly to others who are in need of our support and solidarity so that, together, we may strengthen each other as we journey on our way towards the heavenly Jerusalem. We make this prayer through Christ Our Lord, amen.

May almighty God bless you, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.

Ongoing live-streamed Masses and devotions in the Archdiocese of Cape Town

Archbishop Stephen Brislin and Bishop Sylvester David have asked parishes, where possible, to provide live-streaming options for parish Sunday and weekday Masses, as well as other devotions. As Churches begin to open, please note that attendance at all Masses are by booking only.

This list was last updated on Wednesday 28 October 2020.

  1. Bellville: Our Lady of Fatima. Weekday Mass will be live-streamed at 7.00pm Fridays only via Zoom; Sunday Mass is pre-recorded and is available from 08.45am on the Bellville Catholic Church YouTube Channel. (Please contact Dominica – to have your name included on the WhatsApp group (include your cell number) or if you prefer, email).
  2. Belgravia: Regina Coeli. Mass is live-streamed Tuesday to Sunday mornings at 09.00am (no Mass on Mondays) to Regina Coeli Catholic Community Belgravia Facebook page
  3. Bergvliet: Holy Redeemer. The following will be live-streamed to the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church Bergvliet Facebook page: Mass on Sundays at 9.00am; Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help on Thursdays at 7.30pm; and Stations of the Cross on Fridays at 7.00pm. Still to come: a five minute meditation/teaching each day on the Eucharist.
  4. Bothasig: Good Shepherd. Daily Rosary at 12.00 midday, followed by Benediction; Sunday Mass at 10.00am, followed by Holy Rosary. All live-streamed on the Good Shepherd YouTube channel.
  5. Bridgetown: Our Lady of Good Counsel. Weekday and Sunday Mass will be live-streamed at 09.00am to the Bridgetown Parish YouTube Channel
  6. Brooklyn / Milnerton: Our Lady of the Assumption: Sunday Mass is pre-recorded and uploaded to the parish YouTube Channel from 4.00pm Saturday afternoon.
  7. Cape TownSt Mary’s Cathedral. Mass will be live-streamed at 07.00 on Mondays to Saturdays and at 09.00 on Sundays to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of the Flight into Egypt YouTube Channel.
  8. Constantia: Our Lady of the Visitation. Monday-Friday at 08.00am (Wednesday is also a public Mass, for which booking is required); and Sunday Mass at 09.00am, will be live-streamed to the Constantia Parish YouTube channel. (There is also a public Mass on Saturday 5.30pm (for Sunday) for which booking is required, but it is not live-streamed). Mass bookings can be made at 
  9. Durbanville: Our Lady of Perpetual Help. A pre-recorded Mass will be available on the Durbanville Parish website at 10.00am every Sunday morning, on Facebook and on the parish YouTube Channel.
    1. Fish Hoek: St John the Evangelist. Mass will be live-streamed to the Norbert’s Priory Holy Mass Online Facebook page on Sundays at 09.30am, Tuesdays at 5.30pm, Wednesdays-Fridays at 09.00am and Saturday at 5.30pm. DEVOTIONS: Angelus live-streamed at 12:00pm on Wednesday, and Rosary streamed at 5:30pm Monday, Wednesday, Friday and at 12:30 on Tuesday, Saturday & Sunday
    2. Sun Valley: St Brendan’s. Mass will be live-streamed to the St. Norbert’s Priory Holy Mass Online Facebook pageon Thursdays at 9.30am.
  11. Goodwood: St Joseph’s. The following Masses will be live-streamed to the St Joseph’s Catholic Church Goodwood Facebook page: Sunday Masses on Sat 17.30 and Sun 08.00 and Weekday Masses Mon-Fri 08.00. Evening Prayer: Mon Wed & Fri 19.00
  12. Grassy Park: Our Lady Queen of Peace. Sunday Mass will be live-streamed on Saturdays at 6.00pm and Sundays at 8.00am and weekday Mass will be live-streamed on Mondays to Saturdays at 8.30am on the Grassy Park Facebook page. You will need to join the group.Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help will be live-streamed on Thursdays at 7.00pm.
  13. Hout Bay: St Anthony’s. Sunday Mass will be live-streamed at 10.00am to the St Anthony’s Parish Hout Bay YouTube channel.
  14. Kleinvlei: St Catherine’s. Sunday Masses will be live-streamed to the Sunday Mass at St Catherine’s Kleinvlei YouTube channel every Saturday at 5.30pm and Sunday at 8.00am. A full schedule, which includes weekday Masses, can be found on the parish website
    1. Kommetjie: St Joseph’s. Mass will be live-streamed to St. Norbert’s Priory Holy Mass Online Facebook page on Sundays at 08.00am and Tuesdays to Saturdays at 5.00pm (Evening Prayer and Mass).
    2. Ocean View: St Andrew’s. Mass will be celebrated (not live-streamed) on Sundays at 09.30, and live-streamed to St. Norbert’s Priory Holy Mass Online Facebook page on Thursdays at 7.00pm and Saturdays at 6.15pm.
    3. Masiphumelele: Bl. Isidore’s. Mass will be live-streamed to St. Norbert’s Priory Holy Mass Online Facebook page on Sundays at 11.00am.
  16. Kraaifontein: St Anthony’s. Mass will be live-streamed at the following times: Monday 8:00; Tuesday 19:00; Wednesday 8:00; Thursday 19:00; Friday 8:00; Saturday 9:00; and Sunday 10:00 to St Anthony of Padua Parish – Kraaifontein YouTube channel. 
  17. Lansdowne: Our Lady Help of Christians. Mass will be pre-recorded and posted on the parish YouTube channel every Sunday at 09.00am.
  18. Lavistown: St Martin de Porres. Sunday Mass will be pre-recorded and uploaded to the St Martin de Porres YouTube channel every Saturday.
  19. Maitland: St John’s. Sunday Mass will be live-streamed at 8.00am on the St John’s Maitland Facebook page and uploaded to the parish YouTube channel every Sunday at 11.30am.
  20. Mowbray: St Patrick’s. Mass is pre-recorded and uploaded to the St Patrick’s Mowbray YouTube channel by 09.00am every Sunday morning.
  21. Newlands: St Bernard’s. Mass will be pre-recorded and will be available at 09.00am every Sunday on the parish YouTube channel.
  22. Paarl: St Augustine’s, Our Lady of Divine Love and St Charles Lwanga. Sunday Mass will be pre-recorded and will be available at 10.00am every Sunday on the Paarl Catholic Church FaceBook page and the Paarl Catholic Church YouTube channel.
  23. Parow: Immaculate Conception. Mass will be live-streamed on Sundays at 9.00am and Wednedays at 7.00pm to the Immaculate Conception Facebook page.
  24. Plumstead: St Pius X. Sunday Masses will be live streamed on the SPX Facebook page and may be accessed from 8:55am at and on you YouTube thereafter at
  25. RondeboschRedemptoris Mater Seminary. Holy Week services will be live-streamed to the Redemptoris Mater Seminary Cape Town YouTube channel: Mon-Wed 6-8 April at 8.00am – Morning Prayers and Eucharistic Celebration.
  26. RondeboschSt Michael’s. Sunday Mass at 09.00am will be streamed on Facebook Live, on the parish YouTubechannel.
  27. Simon’s Town: Ss Simon & Jude. The following events will be live-streamed to the Simon’s Town Parish Facebook page. 1. Sunday Mass 9.00am; 2. Weekday Mass Tuesday – Friday 9.00am; 3. Stations of the Cross (every Friday) 6.00pm; 4. Daily reflection.
  28. Somerset West: St Paul (incorporating St Stephen’s, Macassar; St Barnabas, Villiersdorp; Our Lady of Grabouw, Grabouw; and Greyton, Sir Lowry’s Pass & Caledon Catholic Communities). Daily Mass will be live-streamed to the Life Teen – St Paul’s Facebook page at 8.30am.
  29. Steenberg: St Anne’s. Sunday Mass will be live-streamed to the St. Anne’s Steenberg Facebook page at 09.00. You will need to join the group.
  30. Stellenbosch: St Nicholas. Mass will be live-streamed to the Stellenbosch Catholic Church’s Facebook page every Sunday at 10.00am.
  31. Strand: St Peter’s. Mass is live-streamed EVERY MORNING at 9.00am to the parish Facebook page. Devotions on Tuesday to Friday at 4.00pm.
  32. Table View: Church of the Resurrection. Mass will be live-streamed on Sundays at 9.00am and Tuesday to Friday at 8.30am, on the Table View Facebook page.
  33. WynbergCorpus Christi. Monday to Friday at 9.00am plus at 7.00pm with Evening Prayer; and Saturday evening Mass (for Sunday) at 5.30pm, Sunday Mass at 10.00am will be live-streamed to the parish YouTube Channel.
  34. Welcome EstateSt Theresa’s. Sunday Mass is pre-recorded and uploaded to the St Theresa’s Catholic Church Welcome Estate YouTube channel every Sunday by 10.00am.

Bishops’ Statement on Civil Unions

The media was abuzz this week about a new documentary by Evgeny Afineevsky entitled ‘Francesco’. It premiered in Rome on Wednesday, and it has been reported that the Pope said in the film: “Homosexual people have a right to be in a family,” … “They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or made miserable over it.” … “What we have to create is a ‘civil union’ law. That way they are legally covered.” To provide some clarity the SACBC have published the following statement:

Prayer and Reflection by Bishop Sylvester David OMI

Auxiliary Bishop Sylvester David offers his prayer and reflection for the people of the Archdiocese of Cape Town for today, Friday 23 October 2020, during this time of the coronavirus pandemic. It is also available on the Archdiocese of Cape Town’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Please also see below the text of his reflection, primarily for the deaf.

Reflection for Friday 23 October 2020. “All things hold together.”

My episcopal motto is unus Deus et Pater omniumThis is an excerpt from Ephesians 4:6 and is translated as “one God and Father of all”. It concludes the first reading of today’s Mass. Omnium literally means everything – including the ecology. This expression was chosen as an encouragement to us to embrace to a greater extent the high calling to live as God’s children by caring for each other and for the ecology. 

The social context in which I was informed of my appointment was one of disunity and disintegration. It was shortly after a Muslim place of worship was attacked in New Zealand. In Sri Lanka a Catholic Church was bombed and in California a Jewish synagogue was attacked. Religion which was supposed to bring people together had been turned into a cause of hatred and division. Sadly some power brokers show themselves willing to trade human life and worth for ideological gain. In such a situation there can be no winners. The whole world becomes a place occupied by losers as we trade neighbourliness for hostility. This goes against every moral value and must be strongly condemned in the name of everything that is holy. Yes! There was joy at being called to Cape Town but the wider global context brought about sadness.

In that situation, during long hours of meditation the motto was chosen. For me it became a prophetic utterance showing that divine intention was to hold all in unison. Colossians 1:17 expresses this quite plainly as it says: “In him, all things hold together”. Luke 11:23 also makes clear that those who do not gather with Christ, scatter. The word for gather in the original text means “holding together”. If we have to be true to this text then we have to learn to embrace otherness – irrespective of whether it is based on race, creed, economic status, and everything else that we use to separate ourselves from the neighbour.

On the global stage some have generated conspiracy theories and have even incited violence simply to make political mileage. In Europe, soccer matches which are meant to give joy have been turned into disgraceful spectacles of racial abuse. In other places a simple common sense measure such as the wearing of a face mask in public during a pandemic in order to protect others, has been turned into an ideological tool which separates people according to the lines of political affiliation, thereby creating a new form of tribalism with its narrowness of vision. Against all this, the word of God still stands firm: “In him, all things hold together”. This notion is nicely expressed in the motto of the official seal of the USA – “E pluribus unum”, meaning “out of many, one”. The Gospel of Luke is clear that those who are not for Christ are against him and those who do not gather (or hold together) with him scatter (cf. Luke 11:23).

Let us pray: Father, we pray for our world so torn apart by hatred and division. Our humanity becomes increasingly more scarred as even a pandemic cannot humble us. Send your Holy Spirit into the hearts of all – especially leaders, whether civil or religious, so that they may lead according to your plan to hold all people together. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Prayer and Reflection by Archbishop Stephen Brislin

Archbishop Stephen Brislin offers his prayer and reflection for the people of the Archdiocese of Cape Town for today, Wednesday 21 October 2020, during this time of the coronavirus pandemic. It is also available on the Archdiocese of Cape Town’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Please also see below the text of his reflection, primarily for the deaf.

Thank you for joining me for this reflection, as we continue to struggle with the Corona Virus. We have done well in South Africa so far, but we cannot become complacent especially as we hear how a second wave is seriously affecting other countries.  It is true that a certain “corona virus fatigue” is setting in, but we must stand together in order to beat it.

In the Gospel of today’s Mass, from St Luke (12:39-48), we hear these words of Jesus:

Jesus said to his disciples, “Know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would have been awake and would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect”.

Let us pray:

Merciful Father, all life comes from you and it is your precious gift to us. Help us always to respect and protect life, from womb to tomb, even as we struggle to understand the mysteries of suffering and death. May we be faithful in bringing the light of life to all those we meet and to abandon all that belongs to death and destruction.  We make this prayer through Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever, amen.

In the Gospel Reading of today Jesus warns us to be vigilant, to always be prepared, for we do not know when the Lord will come. We are to be like the good steward who, when his master is away, continues to do what he is supposed to do and is faithful in fulfilling the tasks entrusted to him. The bad steward takes advantage of his master’s delay by beating the manservants and maidservants, eating and getting drunk. Vigilance is defined in the dictionary as always being careful to notice things,  especially possible danger. A related concept to vigilance is “vigil”. A vigil is described as a period of keeping awake during the time usually spent asleep, especially to keep watch or pray. As Catholics we are accustomed to keeping vigil, knowing that the understanding of vigil is deeply rooted in Scripture. Thus we hear in the Book of Exodus (12:42) that the Lord himself kept vigil over the house of Israel: the night when the Lord kept vigil to bring them out of Egypt must be  kept as a vigil in honour of the Lord by all Israelites, for all generations. And to this day the Jews keep the Passover. On different occasions Jesus warned his disciples to “watch and wait”. We are to gird our loins and light our lamps and be like servants waiting for their master’s return (Luke 12:35-37). In the Garden of Gethsemane, at a time of most intense suffering for Jesus, he invited his disciple to keep vigil with him, saying My soul is sorrowful to the point of death. wait here and stay awake with me (Mt 26:38). Jesus himself, at times, prayed through the night.

Vigilance is not inactivity. Quite the opposite: it is about meticulously being faithful to doing what is expected of us and maintaining a heightened awareness of why we are doing it, as well as an awareness of what is happening around us. Keeping vigil is a little different, as we dedicate a special time of watching and praying with the Lord as we are accustomed to do, for example, at the Easter Vigil, when we listen to the Scriptures relating God’s acts of creation and salvation of the world, or on Christmas eve when we unite ourselves with Mary and Joseph as they await the birth of the Saviour in order to join with the shepherds in their joy as the angels sing “Glory to God in the highest”.

Being vigilant implies fidelity in our actions and what is expected of us. But it is not only about our actions – it is a bit like the “Martha and Mary” experience – both action and communion with Jesus are necessary. Thus, even those who can no longer be active can, nonetheless keep vigil. I’m thinking especially about the elderly and infirm – they may no longer be able to be active as in the past, but their prayers, their “watching and waiting”, is invaluable. Any priest who has a community of retired Religious Sisters praying for him knows that it is like having a spiritual army watching his back. It is so sad that often the elderly are not valued – for some, they are perceived to have lost their functionality and so are considered unimportant. This is far far from the truth. We do not value a human being only because of their functionality – their value lies in the image of God that shines in them. Recall the words of the poet John Milton in his poem “On his blindness” – they also serve who stand and wait.

Never should an elderly person feels useless; we need them, we need their prayer and we need them to keep vigil as they, together with all of us, await our Lord and God. Importantly, we who are younger and more healthy need to be vigilant in our care for the elderly – to love them, care for them and protect them. Even when it becomes necessary for an elderly loved one to go into a home for specialized care, we cannot and must not abandon them. Frequent telephone calls, visits and outings are ways of showing our love for them. In such a way we will keep the commandment “to honour thy father and mother”. In Ephesians 6:2 St Paul points out that it is this commandment which is the first to have a promise attached to it By caring and being present we keep vigil with the ones we love as they face the loneliness and struggles of life, and ultimately at the time when it comes for them to pass from this life.

 Both vigilance an keeping vigil are part of Christian life and are to be applied to many – in fact, to every – aspect of human life. Let us not lose our awareness of what life is about.

Let us pray now for God’s blessing:

The Lord be with you                                                              R./ And with your spirit

Fill your people, Lord, with your gifts of faith, hope and love, that they may always rejoice in your presence and may be messengers of the Gospel of Life, sharing their hope of resurrection and eternal life with all who live in doubt. We make this prayer through Christ Our Lord, amen.

May Almighty God bless you the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.

Prayer and Reflection by Bishop Sylvester David OMI

Auxiliary Bishop Sylvester David offers his prayer and reflection for the people of the Archdiocese of Cape Town for today, Friday 16 October 2020, during this time of the coronavirus pandemic. It is also available on the Archdiocese of Cape Town’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Please also see below the text of his reflection, primarily for the deaf.

Reflection for Friday 16 October 2020. Luke 12:1-7.

In this reflection I want to look only at one verse – and even there only at two words. It is a biblical catechesis of sorts which hopefully can help our understanding of what Jesus teaches us.

The previous chapter describes the hostility which the Scribes and Pharisees showed towards Jesus. It ended with them provoking him and waiting to catch him out on something he might say. Undeterred by this hostility Jesus continued to speak his truth. Today’s passage starts with him warning his disciples to “guard against the yeast of the Pharisees – that is their hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1). In order to understand clearly what Jesus is saying we need to explore two words viz. “yeast” and “hypocrisy”. The word for yeast was a common term in the time of Jesus simply because, unlike in our time when we rely on supermarkets and spaza shops for bread, almost every home made bread. Yeast was thus an important facet in their daily lives. This was not like our store bought yeast but was a piece of old sour dough which was left to ferment and was used in a new batch as a rising agent. The fermenting process involved a distinct element of corruption. This is what the disciples are cautioned against. A small amount of fermented yeast could influence the entire loaf. 

This was the danger associated with the Pharisees. Perhaps a modern example would be when one buys a pocket of potatoes and one potato in the middle of the sack is rotten. What happens? All the potatoes around it become spoilt and it starts to smell bad. This is how corruption can influence a community. According to Jesus, the corruption of the Pharisees was seen in their hypocrisy. The word hypocrisy literally means “to reply” and came from the Greek theatre. In the early days values and morals were passed on through educational plays held in public squares. The actors were so good that when looking at their masks, one could not tell whether they were male or female, old or young, child or adult. Without un-masking them one could not know. This word is used only once in the Hebrew scriptures where it connotes ungodliness (Isaiah 32:6). The Pharisees were considered to be deceptive because they rendered false explanations of the Torah, i.e. the first five books of the Bible. They were ungodly.

It is good to know all this but what does it means for us living in the middle of a pandemic? It is true that every crisis, apart from the danger, also presents us with an opportunity. The opportunity during Covid-19 is that we could become more reflective. In fact there is no escape. I am forced to face myself. Reflection is not always a pleasant experience. Sometimes it can cause us great un-ease as some aspects of our lives can disappoint us. 

How has corruption influenced me? Do I make money out of the misfortune of others – perhaps by paying unjust wages? What is my deepest yearning for? Is it for the things of God and the values of God or do I seek self glorification? When speaking of hypocrisy – one immediately thinks of politicians who make false promises. But are they the only ones? What are my masks and why do I wear them? In our passage for today Jesus continues to say that the time will come when we will all be unmasked. How nice if there were no surprises when the unmasking happens.

Let us pray: Lord we recall that when your Son saw Nathaniel, he referred to him as a person in whom there was no deceit. Send us your Spirit of Truth so that we too can be counted among the pure in heart. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen. [Blessing].

Fratelli Tutti

Fraternity and social friendship are the ways the Pontiff indicates to build a better, more just and peaceful world, with the contribution of all: people and institutions. With an emphatic confirmation of a ‘no’ to war and to globalized indifference. 

What are the great ideals but also the tangible ways to advance for those who wish to build a more just and fraternal world in their ordinary relationships, in social life, politics and institutions?

This is mainly the question that Fratelli Tutti is intended to answer: the Pope describes it as a “Social Encyclical” (6) which borrows the title of the “Admonitions” of Saint Francis of Assisi, who used these words to “address his brothers and sisters and proposed to them a way of life marked by the flavour of the Gospel” (Par 1). The Encyclical aims to promote a universal aspiration toward fraternity and social friendship. In the background of the Encyclical is the Covid-19 pandemic which, Francis reveals, “unexpectedly erupted” as he “was writing this letter”. But the global health emergency has helped demonstrate that “no one can face life in isolation” and that the time has truly come to “dream, then, as a single human family” in which we are “brothers and sisters all” (Par 8).

You can read or download the encyclical here:

Prayer and Reflection by Archbishop Stephen Brislin

Archbishop Stephen Brislin offers his prayer and reflection for the people of the Archdiocese of Cape Town for today, Wednesday 14 October 2020, during this time of the coronavirus pandemic. It is also available on the Archdiocese of Cape Town’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Please also see below the text of his reflection, primarily for the deaf.

Welcome to this reflection in the month of October, when we continue to remember Mary our Mother, and to request her intercession – she who always shows her love and care for us.

In the First Reading of today’s Mass, from the letter of St Paul to the Galatians (5:18-25), we hear of the gifts of the Holy Spirit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

Let us pray:

Heavenly Father, after the Ascension of your Son Jesus, you sent your gift of the Holy Spirit on your people, the Spirit that is not of timidity but is the Spirit of power, love and self-control. Touch our hearts, we pray O Lord, with your loving tenderness, that we may open them to the power of your Holy Spirit and so may surrender ourselves completely to you, and so be your faithful instruments of goodness, grace and unity to all those we encounter. We make this prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever, amen.

St Paul contrasts the fruit of the Holy Spirit with the “works of the flesh”, such as immorality, impurity, strife, jealousy, anger, dissension and selfishness. The root of the “works of the flesh” is self-indulgence characterised by disregard for the needs of others. Because the “self” has become the centre of attention and gratification, it can only lead to disunity, conflict, jealousy and anger, as each individual “self” seeks to gratify itself with no concern for the other. On the other hand, if we are living by the Spirit and walking by the Spirit, it is God who is the centre of our attention and activity. We therefore live for him, as St Paul once put it, For in him we live and move and have our being (Act 17:28). Centering our lives on God, who we always approach through Jesus Christ, means that our relationship with others changes. We remember the very well known words of St John (1Jn 4:20), If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen, and again in his Gospel (Jn 13:35) he relates the words of Jesus, By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. Through faith the Spirit frees us from slavery of the law, through which we cannot be saved, to faith-filled liberating love. So we are all faced with this fundamental choice in our lives – what is the focus of my existence, what do I centre my life on? Is it on self, in which case I just want to take for myself, or is it on God in which case I want to give to him and others? Am I a giver or a taker? For most of us, it is not purely one or the other, it is a mixture of both We are often willing to focus on God and be a generous giver, but in reality we fail by taking in order to satisfy our need for self-gratification.

We are all gifted people and God has bestowed on us many different gifts. Perhaps we become too conscious of the gifts we don’t have and would like to have, rather than the wonderful and powerful gifts the Holy Spirit has shared with us. It is in allowing those gifts to grow and to use them for the benefit of others that enables us to bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit that St Paul enumerates in the First Reading. And we are able to put those gifts to good use when we allow the Spirit to take possession of us, and allow his fire to light up our lives into an enthusiastic and passionate desire to do the will of God. In the routine of life, and in the routine of the practice of our faith, it is so easy to allow our Christianity to become mundane, lukewarm and without any spark to it. Much more is expected of us in our relationship with God who has created us, who has given life to the world and allows us to share in the fruits of the earth and who, indeed, sent his only Son into the world for our redemption. When we recognize the extent of God’s love for us we cannot be left indifferent or untouched – we must allow his love to liberate our hearts to respond to his love and it is the Spirit that enable us to do that. As St Paul says in his letter to the Romans (5:5), the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Through the gifts of the Holy Spirit and motivated by our love for God, we are meant to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God. It is not beyond our capacity to do so, it requires simply the will and the decision to keep on trying and, where we fail, to try even harder in the future. The fact of the matter is that we do bear fruit in our lives – it may not be evident to us and we may not always recognize it. Ultimately, we are but the sowers of the seed and the harvest of fruit belongs to the Lord. So, in faith we continue, knowing that it is the fruits of the Spirit – the fruits that we are asked to bear – that bring about change among those around us and contribute to the growth of God’s Kingdom even as we continue to live in the reality of the earthly realm. We should never tire of doing what is good (cf. 2 Thes 3:13).

Let us now pray for God’s blessing:

The Lord be with you R./ And with your spirit

May God, the Father of all light, who sent his wondrous flame upon his disciples, powerfully cleanse your hearts so that, in unity in the profession of one faith and through your perseverance, he may enlighten you, grant you gladness by his blessing and make you abound with the gifts of the same Spirit, through Christ our Lord, amen.

May Almighty God bless you, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.