Tuesday 9th August 2011 Forever Young

Scripture readings for today are here

Gospel : Matthew 18 : 1-5,10,12-14.

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”

He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.


Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.

And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.

 


What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?

And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. 

In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.”



 
 
 
 
Werner Bischof - Jeune joueur de flûte à Cuzco, 
Pérou, 1954 
Reflection

Children are precious repositories of all we hope for and to see a happy child at play restores our hopes that tomorrow can be better than today ! 


Who has not known a child like this,
who sinks into a deeper level of his being,
undisturbed by the swift turning
of each brimming page?

Even his own mother might wonder
if it is really he who sits there
saturated with his shadow.
And we, can we know
how much of him
disappears, as he reluctantly looks up
with eyes that yield
to the ready-made world without complaint?
 
Rilke New Poems


When you feel no commonality between yourself and other people, try to be close to Things, which will not abandon you. Nights are still there and winds that blow through the trees and over many lands. 
Amidst  the things and beings of this world so much is happening that you can take part in. 
And children are still the way you were as a child, that happy and that sad, and when you think of your childhood you live it again with them, the lonely childhood, and grown-ups count for nothing.


Rome, December 23, 1903
Letters to a Young Poet


As we age we know too that the secret of aging is to stay forever young at heart .


Yet throughout the world there is still so much child suffering at so many turns and
giving or receiving the gift of a happy childhood is for many just a far off dream.


These thoughts are not comprehensive and not ordered; just a few random thoughts. 

Forever Young



How many children are lost because of clerical child abuse ?
How could a priest guilty of such abuse stand and read this gospel and preach on it ?


Then this weekend I read about how the toxic cocktail of religion and distorted personality can destroy a child : Warren Jeffs, the leader of a polygamist Mormon sect who has been found guilty of sexually abusing girls aged 12 and 15, He had 78 "spiritual wives" 24 of them under age and he kept meticulous written and audio records of his sexual abuse because he thought it was his duty. This man in court said " I am but a mortal man seeking peace. I am not a threat to anyone.My faith is my only weapon."

Former sect members say Jeffs had a tyrannnical rule over members  and described how women were forced to give birth each year to "replenish the earth."  

When police raided the sect's 1700 acre Yearn For Zion ranch compound in Eldorado after a call to a child abuse hotline in 2008 they found under age girls who were pregnant and more than 400 children were placed in protective custody before being returned to their families.


Today's youth faces an increasingly uncertain world where climate change, rapid urbanization, the economic recession and rising unemployment pose unprecedented challenges.

I heard on the radio of a 14 year old boy in Guatemala who had been arrested for beheading 4 people - he had been caught up in a drug cartel..... One of many kids old before their time, caught up in a trap they cannot get out of......Child soldiers who are given drugs to put them on a high before they are sent out to kill in many parts of the world...

Every year at least 1.2 million youngsters under 18 years of age are sold into some form of slave labour.

There are 246 million child-labourers, between the ages of 5 and 14. 
Fides, the News Agency for the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

There are 1.2 billion adolescents across the world. 
Nine out of ten of these young people live in developing countries. 

Millions are denied their basic rights to quality education, health care, protection and exposed to abuse and exploitation. 

 This song in the video laments the woes of a parent for his wayward child :How the child grew up forgetting and forsaking his filial duties. These kids in this video may not even have an iota of a chance to grow up and know what filial duties are.



Recognizing the need to turn this vulnerable age into an age of opportunity, UNICEF has dedicated it flagship publication State of the World's Children 2011 to adolescents. This video highlights the importance of investing in adolescents for breaking the cycles of poverty and inequity.




Oh sweet God, I pray to you for all children and those working to help children in need in our world.

Protect, guide them and watch over them. Give them your strength, courage, hope  and peace of mind in the terrible situations they face. 


May all of us recognise and have faith in the light and hope that the gift of new life can bring and may our words and actions never be a cause of extinguishing that light.


May the God of dreams and visions,
enable you to dream creatively
and to hear the dreaming of others –
young and old – in your community.
May you be open to new ideas,
dare to share visions,
be encouraged to hope.

Jan Sutch Pickard
Iona Publications


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2 comments:

Black Pete said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ys1jCPX9iSo&feature=related/

Philomena Ewing said...

Hi Pete- Children of the Sun reaching out for water : thanks for this one; it fits well too.
(I have always liked Gerry Rafferty.)
Blessings