TUESDAYS WITH TERESA: The Gift of Grandparents

On this cold weekend, we continue to listen to Chapter 13 of the Gospel of Matthew, and his parables about the kingdom of heaven being compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, and how, during the night, his enemy came and sowed darnel among the wheat.

It is followed by the kingdom of heaven being likened to a mustard seed, and then another about the kingdom of heaven being likened to the yeast which a woman took and mixed with flour until it was leavened all through. This follows last week’s parable about the sower and the seed and the soil.

Like last week the invitation is to listen anyone who has ears.

On Saturday 22 July, the feast of Saint Mary Magdalene, reminds us of Mary Magdalene going to the tomb and then being instructed, by the risen Lord, to go and tell the other disciples that he had risen. She was given the title ‘the apostle to the apostles.’ She not only had ears to listen but a heart to follow.

On this Third World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, 23 July, we are reminded of the importance of dialogue between generations. This intergenerational connection is important for the sharing of stories across all generations. God desires joy and blessings between grandparents and their grandchildren and between the elderly and the young. Wisdom is mutually shared and hopefully cherished.

My mum and dad came to live with us when we moved to Tweed Heads, and our five children were all still at school. When the children arrived home from school, they were first greeted by my parents who took an interest in their lives and the children were provided with stories of my parents’ younger lives. I believe that it made my parents younger in spirit and it gave our children a deeper appreciation of growing older and the history of the lives of those who had lived through the depression and the Second World War, and had also seen many societal changes. I think it made my parents more understanding and tolerant of the younger generations. This enabled them to create strong relationships with their own children and their forty grandchildren.

Allen and I are now grandparenting, and I know this is an important role for us, our children and our grandchildren. In this complex world of competing priorities, our connection with our grandchildren is significant in forming their young minds and souls. They are aware that our faith is important to us and so is our passing on this gift of faith, given to us. They also know they are deeply loved not only by their parents, but by their aunts and uncles, their cousins and by us. It is in this family unit that they experience God’s infinite love, even if they yet don’t have words to express this.

And so that brings me to our second reading for the weekend from the letter of St Paul to the Romans (8:26-27)

The Spirit comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our hearts knows perfectly well what he means, and that the pleas of the saints expressed by the Spirit are according to the mind of God.

Like most of you reading this message, I want, and pray for, my children and grandchildren, for young people and their parents, to experience a life of faith. The passage above reminds us that the Spirit knows our pleas and will respond at a time not known to or controlled by us.

Good seed has been sewn and will continue to grow till harvest time, even when the weed is growing alongside of it. Let’s not lose hope in the message of the kingdom of heaven.

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Teresa Brierley Image
Teresa Brierley

Teresa Brierley is Director Pastoral Ministries of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.