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 26 November 2021, 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.

Archbishop Brislin posted his last reflection for this year on 24 November and will restart on 12 January 2022, while Bishop Sylvester will restart on 14 January 2022.

We wish you a blessed Advent season and a meaningful celebration of the birth of the Lord.

26 November 2021

Again, we honour this time of the Synod by praying the Adsumus prayer:

We stand before You, Holy Spirit,
as we gather together in Your name. 

With You alone to guide us,
make Yourself at home in our hearts; 

Teach us the way we must go
and how we are to pursue it. 

We are weak and sinful;
do not let us promote disorder.

Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path nor partiality influence our actions. 

Let us find in You our unity
so that we may journey together to eternal life and not stray from the way of truth
and what is right. 

All this we ask of You, who are at work in every place and time, in the communion of the Father and the Son, forever and ever. Amen. 

The enduring Word of God (Luke 21:29-33) 

For this reflection I want to focus on the last verse of the Gospel passage for today’s Mass: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Lk 21:33). As we near the end of the liturgical year, we are confronted with rapidly changing value systems, philosophies and ideas. Fashions come and go. Present accomplishments soon will be a part of history. A few decades ago the world was shocked by the onset of the AIDS pandemic (now reduced in status by the WHO as a global epidemic), but gradually we learned to cope with the situation and also to be on the alert when dealing with people bearing open wounds, etc. Many who were infected have learned to live with AIDS. Our hope is to eliminate the Covid-19 pandemic, or at the very least learn to live with it so that it does not place so many restrictions on us. 

Whatever the case, we live in an ever changing environment. Those who cannot cope with change will find this very difficult. We yearn for something that is constant and consistent. And this is where the saying of Jesus comes into play. All will change and know decay but his Word will still be there. It is this Word that helps us to remain constant and to cope with so much change. Perhaps it will be useful to recall the essence of his Word. He summed up the commandments as love of God and love of neighbour (Mt 22:40). The first letter of John states further that no one can love God who has not been seen without loving the neighbour who can be seen (1 Jn 4:20). So, it all boils down to the love of neighbour. When Jesus gave the example of service as he washed the feet of his disciples, he pointed out that love is the hallmark of discipleship (Jn 13:34-35). In all these references the word for love is the total self sacrificial love which we see on the Cross. To be Christian means to make sacrifices for others.

As so as we anticipate the new liturgical year on the first Sunday of Advent, let us make resolutions which will show this kind of love in action in our homes, our families and in our dealings with others. As the current liturgical year rushes to its closure, let us thank God for the many blessings the liturgical cycle has brought us. First and foremost is the encounter with God through our liturgical practices. The opportunities for the celebration of God’s mercy and for the renewal of our lives have been given to us in our liturgical year. I wish you well as we transition into our new liturgical cycle.

To conclude – this will be my last reflection for this year. Archbishop Brislin posted his last for this year on 24 November and will restart on 12 January 2022. I will restart on 14 January 2022. We wish you a blessed Advent season and a meaningful celebration of the birth of the Lord.

Let us pray: God our Father, you are Lord of all times and seasons. Give us the graces we need to meaningfully participate in the new liturgical year which we are about to commence. Help us not only to celebrate your love and mercy, but to meaningfully share these gifts with others. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Bishop S. David OMI 

Vicar General/Auxiliary Bishop: Cape Town.

Posted in Prayer and Reflection.