“I have many people in this city” – Read Acts 18:1-18
Series: Jesus The God Of Love
Each Christmas is an opportunity to visit or marvel at the holy places where Jesus was born, including the Bethlehem Basilica, where the Midnight Mass is celebrated. This has been done by Christians since the beginning of the Church. One such individual who had the privilege was Lady Egeria, a noble woman from Galicia, Spain, who made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land
from 381–384 A.D. She wrote a report of her journey in a long letter to a group of women at home. The letter survives in a later copy. Her firsthand account is a charming reflection and testimony of a Christian woman about the lengthy pilgrimage and, given its antiquity, a work of major significance for the fields of archaeology, Church history and comparative liturgy.
At one point in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus referred to certain characteristics of a child that should be emulated by those who aspired to enter the kingdom or reign of God. To become the “model citizens” of this kingdom, Jesus, however, did not exactly mean that His followers should be docile, meek and innocent, just as children are. In fact, Jesus was referring to the traits of a child who, devoid of any possessions or title, becomes accepting, obedient, and dependent to what is given to him/her – most especially the gift of the Kingdom of God.
There is no doubt that music is effective in communicating a message, evoking an emotion, or simply eliciting a response from a listener. That is why Church music is tailored in such a way that it encourages worship. Nowadays, however, there is an ongoing debate between traditional and contemporary liturgical composers and musicians over which kind of music can be considered appropriate in the liturgy. Without losing sight of the Church documents written specifically for this purpose, the Christian contemporary composer must now strike a balance between music which is acceptable and which can attract and sustain not only interest among mass-goers especially in this internet age, but also nurture and increase their faith.
Mapuordit Hospital has been a life-saving institution through the generous dedication of missionaries and lay people prepared to serve, to heal and to rekindle hope in the distressed hearts of many South Sudanese people. Bro. Rosario, a Comboni Missionary Brother, is the key not only in running the Hospital but also in creating human resources to meet the basic medical needs of a people still striving to build their lives after the cruel war.
The congested, foul-smelling, and disease-ridden slum communities all over the world are usually associated with violent urban poor communities. Some say it will be difficult to see Jesus there because of all the filth and transgressions. There is no doubt that squalor and criminality are pervasive, but Jesus is surely present, too. How could He not be, when the Church teaches that God is with the poor in a special preferential manner?
Throughout history, the Transcendental Force, the Supreme Being or the Divine, has been given different names, forms and images, depending on the circumstances, culture, and prevailing situation of a community, race, or people. Many of these images of God are distorted, if one were to go back to the pre-historic concept of the “spirit living in the heavens.” But all these images of God were shattered with the coming of Jesus Christ, the God of Love, “God with us.”
Children are often passed off and disregarded in society because of their immaturity and inexperience. However, many people of goodwill continue to place their hope in children and see them as the promise of the future. Regardless of their race or religion, these people see goodness in children, and, therefore, see God, the Child Jesus, in them. In turn, people who work tirelessly for the rights and welfare of children, like this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winners, Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi from India, become earthly images of God themselves.
In a truly mature family where children are given affirmation, understanding, trust, encouragement and inspiration, children grow up fulfilled and satisfied children. They will attain a sense of freedom and will be constantly challenged to stand on their own feet, find freedom through education and community involvement, and mature friendships. They will be self-reliant and independent. They will not be the rebellious, prodigal children and will not see their parents as mere sources of money for personal gratification and selfish ambition.
Most of the world’s governments are taking measures to reduce the worst and most hazardous forms of child labor, according to a major report recently released by the U.S. Labor Department.