Apr 14, 2008, 5:19 AM
Fr. Peter Stephen Lopez on Sunday gave children the chance at the Blessed Sacrament Church, Kanifing allowing them to take care of the Mass. Little children regarded by Jesus as samples of the way to God, are the future of a lot of things in the world and this is acknowledged by many people with foresight that can be seen around by the many people who care for the development of children. Fr. Peter Lopez has just shown one aspect by allowing children to take care of the Mass at his church. Children many believe can do a lot the elders can do if given the chance to do so. Children were seen as unique by Jesus who made them examples before the Apostles and onlookers. This gave the option to those who were living a different life to see how their transformed lives like those of children would get them into Heaven. The opportunity and the openness to these children would enhance their growth into holiness and responsible citizenship. Read on and see what Jesus said about children and what prompted Fr. Peter Lopez to give children the chance to be seen at Mass.
The Blessed Sacrament Church went silent as children took charge of the Mass this past Sunday. It was not a Feast Day but the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A, according to the Catholic rites. Children ran from all parts of Kanifing to be part of the occasion. Children sang songs during the Mass did the readings and above all did the collection bringing the offertory to the foot of the altar. They were seen happily taking the place of the ushers who always gather to usher in church members. Parents saw the good in their children and some saw their children rising to the rank of priests and Sisters in the future as they portrayed how they have gathered a lot from the elders' example in the church or at their parents' homes.
Jesus and Little Children:
One Day, Jesus was instructing the people and mothers began bringing their little children to Him. They wanted Him to place His holy hands on them and to pray for them.
When the disciples saw the mothers coming with the children, they were upset. They did not think Jesus should be disturbed in this way. So they began to turn the mothers and children aside.
The mothers and children were disappointed. They had come with such great hopes. Now they could not even speak to the master.
At this point, Jesus caught sight of the mothers and children, and of the disciples turning them away. He became indignant and rebuked the disciples for their actions.
Jesus then put His arms about the children and began to bless them.
From this we learn many important lessons. No matter how old we may be, we should have clean hearts full so simple trust and faith in God, like the children that Jesus told us to imitate. We should also have special care for children and love them as Jesus loved them.
In the real life situation, we have seen how children are given the back bench to sit and are put behind everything. In many instances, the elderly leave children behind because they are children. Children crying in church are frowned at and even insulted to be taken out of the church. The love of children should make a lot of people embrace them and help them because Jesus had said if we should go to heaven then we should be like little children. That means they are meek, humble and innocent. This is not a distant thing from Christian faith because believers in those days actually showed surprise but later understood it well. UNICEFF was created so as to get the concerns of children under control and then there come the children's rights and many other protocols. The Gambia government too joined hands to embrace the rights of the child and made it known to school authorities what was expected from them. This brought about lots of questions and oppositions from teachers who were always bent on training with the rod, not to spoil the child.
In Fr. Lopez's sermon, he praised children as Jesus would do. He said they were like seeds, if parents and the community water them and nurture them well, they shall reap the best out of them. "Children are close to our hearts, they need us and we should be seen as examples that they can copy from. We have seen what they can do in our church. I encourage all parents to release their children to come to the church, to get the instructions they need." Fr. Lopez further said that Jesus loves children and as elders we should love them without pretence. The children were praised by the congregation and their parents were delighted with their action in the Mass they so adore.