Saturday, May 21, 2016

Accept the Kingdom Like a Child

Saturday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Beloved: Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing a song of praise. Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the Church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up.  If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.  James 5:13-15
“Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Then he embraced the children and blessed them, placing his hands on them.  Mark 10:14B-16.
Jesus, help me to embrace your Word like a child, totally dependent upon your love.  Holy Spirit, help me to pass on that love to the lost boys and girls of any age as they seek to strengthen their faith in God's Good News.  
Children.  Childhood. We have a clear idea of what we mean by the term. Probably age 12 is the end of childhood. After age 12, you are a teenager. For other reasons, it might be age 18 or 21 if alcohol, driving, drugs or the military draft is concerned. However, chronological age is not all that defines the innocence of childhood.  

Think about the 276 girls in Nigeria kidnapped by Boko Haram. Only about. 50 have returned. One returned this week after escaping her slavery. However, her rape resulted in her bringing a child home with her.  A child raising a child. And they said it takes a village.

Think about the boy soldiers. Any army using soldiers under age 18 is operating against international norms.  However, opposition movements in many countries use child soldiers. Child soldier. Some words don't belong together. Help us keep them apart. 

Jesus was never concerned with identifying children by age alone. When he appeared at the end of John's Good News, he referred to the fishermen in the boat as Children even though they were grown men. Jesus uses the term to mean anyone who puts total dependence upon and obedience to a parent, teacher or mentor. Thus, children of God place total obedience on the Gospel. As Christians, it might be easier to do so as a child. As adults, we have so many other concerns. Jobs. Families. Community commitments. 

Our goal is to be as dependent upon the Gospel as a child would be. It is a formula laid out in the letter to James. Easier said than done. 

What do you depend upon in life?  A paycheck?  A credit card?  A person?  A social service agency?  A government program?  

"What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng" is a 2006 novel written by Dave Eggers that is based upon the life of Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese child refugee who immigrated to the United States under the Lost Boys of Sudan program. Deng's story represents only one of the millions of child soldiers around the world. He is lucky in that he was able to come to the US and start anew, totally dependent upon an international refugee resettlement program.

What if you were yanked from your peaceful village of Arlington, Culpepper, Fairfax, or Middletown, USA? What if you were separated from your family and friends? How would you get through the uncertain days and nights? Upon what would you depend?

The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation is a nonprofit organization working in South Sudan to create community-driven development projects. According to its website, it was established by Valentino Deng and Dave Eggers after the publication of What is the What. The Foundation's first major project is the construction and operation of an 18-structure educational complex in Valentino's hometown of Marial Bai, South Sudan. Marial Bai Secondary School (MBSS) has increased access to excellent secondary education, trained teachers, created equal opportunities for girls, and promoted literacy for children and adults in the region. MBSS is the highest ranking South Sudanese secondary school that is free for students to attend, a true leader in the movement to educate the new nation of South Sudan.

Learn more and change a life by visiting it's web page

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