The Third World Day of Grandparents and Elderly Persons was celebrated on Sunday all over the world, including in Medjugorje, under the motto “His mercy is from age to age” (Lk 1, 50). This theme of the 3rd World Day of Grandparents and Elderly Persons was chosen by the Holy Father.
The program marking this day in Medjugorje began at 5 pm with a catechesis in the Hall of St. John Paul II. which was given to the gathered by Archbishop Aldo Cavalli, the Apostolic Visitor with a special role for the parish of Medjugorje.
Before the catechesis of Archbishop Cavalli, Medjugorje parish priest Fr. Zvonimir Pavičić expressed his satisfaction with the number of people gathered, greeted them and emphasized that today in Medjugorje they can receive plenary indulgence, and after the catechesis he invited them to gather for the Rosary and the sacrament of confession. Catherine Wiley, the founder of the Catholic Grandparents Association, was also in Medugorje on this occasion.
Msgr. Cavalli in his catechesis referred to the message sent by Pope Francis on the occasion of the 3rd World Day of Grandparents, Grandparents and the Elderly and interpreted it in more detail.
“Let us look forward, let us allow that God’s grace shape us, let us be shaped by the Holy Spirit who, from generation to generation, releases us from sluggishness in action and from regretting for the past! It has been like that for centuries. It was the same sixty years ago. We ask Him to give us strength, to give us grace so that we can open our doors, open our windows and proclaim the Gospel. One of the most significant sentences of the announcement is: Do not be afraid! The prophets said: Do not be afraid! Mary of Nazareth was told: Do not be afraid! The apostles were told: Do not be afraid! And the Holy Spirit tells us: Don’t be afraid, I follow you and I will follow you forever”, those are the words with which Archbishop Cavalli ended his catechesis and concluded with a prayer that Pope Benedict XVI, as he said, ”wrote for all of us old people so that we could live in grace and in faith”.
After the catechesis the program continued at the White Dome of St. James church and was followed by the prayer of the Rosary led by Fr. Antonio Petric and the volunteers of the Hands of Mary, and then the Holy Mass was celebrated by the parish priest of Međugorje, Fr. Zvonimir Pavičić, with the concelebration of 43 priests.
In his homily, Fr. Zvonimir referred to today’s Gospel passage (Mt 13, 24-43) which talks about the good seed and darnel that were sown by the enemy while people were sleeping.
“This expression “slept” does not refer so much to the evening rest and does not speak so much about it, but rather refers to disinterest, that is, indifference to what is God’s, what is good and what we should do. Every time we turn our heads away from the good we are called to do, that’s when the enemy comes and sows darnel and week in our hearts. Describing the weaknesses of many people in the Bible, we often encounter before these weaknesses their drowsiness, sleep, or lack of interest.
What does that tell us, brothers and sisters? It tells us that we must not be disinterested in the world, in the neighbor next to us. We must not sleep spiritually and think that we should rest from God and from prayer. And prayer should be such that it becomes our life, the pattern of our living, that it merges so much with everything that we are, that every blessing is then born and grows from that prayer,” said Fr. Zvonimir Pavičić and, speaking further about prayer, added “how sad those statements in confessionals sound: I don’t regularly go to Holy Mass on Sundays, I don’t pray regularly, I don’t read the Holy Scriptures!”
“And all these are the seeds of the Kingdom of God that God wants to sow in our hearts, so that wheat will sprout that will become bread – bread of life – bread that does not perish but gives eternal life!
And all this growth from seed to bread takes place slowly, day by day, and thus affects our entire life, from beginning to the end. That is why it is important that we sow in the field of our life, because in our old age we will see our fruits. This can already be experienced by the elderly among us, our grandparents, whose day we celebrate today in the Church. How important is the seed we plant in the ground. A small seed of kindness, love, peace, can bear big and juicy fruits, not only for that person, but for the whole family and community and beyond. This is the logic of the Kingdom of Heaven. A little insignificant becomes great, if it grows with God’s blessing”, said Fr. Zvonimir Pavičić, who referred to the message of Pope Francis for this 3rd World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly, and then at the end invited us to be “thankful today to the Lord for our grandparents, for all the elderly who came before us and thus cultivated the seeds of goodness so that we could enjoy the fruits”.
“We also pray for future generations, that they too can live in the shade provided by the tree grown from mustard seeds, the tree of the Church where God gathers us, feeds us and prepares us for eternal life”, concluded Međugorje parish priest Fr. Zvonimir Pavičić.