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Christmas for Children


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12/11/2008: Mozambique


IrmãosChildren at the very heart of a Marist today. Our constitutions say we go to them. Make a tent among them to become leaven. I like the word Leaven as metaphor in the Scriptures. When the Word becomes flesh, it becomes among us and dwells with us. The Words becomes leaven in our midst and transforms us from within and not from without. At Christmas we need to welcome the Word and allow it to dwell with us even in our mansions or slums. This gives me an idea of hospitality, of welcoming. In the past l have been thinking of welcoming in the sense of space or accommodation we offer to strangers, the homeless of our days. In other words, all the weak members of our society. One vulnerable group in our midst are children, especially the children of the poor. When we build our tents of hearts that love among them, we can transform them from within.

Yeast must be within the wheat flour to do its job of transformation. If we do not mix with it, bread will not form. Children are like wheat flour waiting for leaven to be transformed. If Jesus is not welcomed at Christmas our being human beings will not be transformed into being more humane. The results of not being human is what we see in King Herod. When a human being does not allow Yeast who in our case is Jesus, he can not be transformed in attitude. An attitude that has not been transformed will be killing enemies. The Magi upon experiencing Jesus in the manger, they were transformed. They took a different way. They were not the same as before. They took Jesus the Way. The Angel whispered to them in a dream that children are not meant to be killed as Herod had intended. Children are to be appreciated, to be adored because they are a precious and visible symbol of Christmas, the Child Born to us and whose names becomes Emmanuel, which means God is with us. In the future theologians will have to provoke us with the theology of ‘Being With Us.’ DRC these days is victimizing the weak, the gunless and l am more than certain that the majority are children and women suffering there.

The well do are enjoying in their INN or MANSIONS well guard by explosive machines that can kill millions at a goal. Guns in the past were for killing animals for meat but today they are made to kill people for power.. If Jesus the Leaven par excellence does not dwell in the hearts of the young victims, they will be missing yeast to transform them in their mentality and their hearts. How can they sing ‘ Glory to God in the highest and peace among men of God will who dwell among them if their daily and only experience is the sound of the gun. The coming Christmas should be a leaven of transformation. We need New Hearts for a New world. New hearts that believes that when we allow Jesus to be born in us, we will never be the same and we will change the way. The young people need a different version of the world. When they grow in the war zone, they feel that war is the normal pattern of life. They need new precursors like John the Baptist to challenge them and transform them into agents of peace. Is Jesus not the King of peace? Is Mary not the Queen of peace? Why should the children only know the kings of war and queens of war who dwell within their sight and encourage them to kill one another.

To my surprise Children identify themselves with war films and laugh loudly when the Rambo kill many with a pistol. Why do we hear around us here in Africa about Child Soldier, is it not one way of preparing kings of war in Africa. We the new precursors should make an effort, even at the loss of our blood to help the young ones to be instruments of peace. Let each one of us take the Prayer of Saint Francis literally, especially us whose apostolate make us work closely with the youth. In this way we shall avert many Goma experiences into small Egypts welcoming numerous homeless refugees from war zones will be a reality. Wars never helped to build anywhere and they only retard our fragile developments.

Peace offers security, sense of belonging and can bring untold development in any nation when it is given space to be born there. For this to come about we need leaven, we need yeast. That Yeast is coming and already we see in many big shops Father Christmas dancing statues. I said businessmen steal from us our images to make money. Moneywise we lose ourselves as promoters of peace but we win in promoting peace that make us have brothers and sisters. Once we become many leavens, our world will truly be different from what we see around Southenr Africa is becoming a place of political impasses which promote hatred and revenge as the only solutions to peace. Peace will tell us that there are no oppositions but brothers who can work together and be peace leavens among children. Have a happy Christmas.

Simeon Banda, fms, Matola

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