Archive for the ‘Africa’ category
As I was reading the October newsletter of Renewal Ministries, I lingered for a while over this photo that appeared on page seven within Tom Edwards’ account of their team’s recent missionary/evangelization efforts in Tanga, Tanzania. No chairs. No air conditioning. I don’t even see any bottles of water. Probably 2,000 or more people, counting those not captured in the photo. A significant number of young folk. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,…”
Amid America’s greed-induced economic collapse and expansion of the culture of death, we may tend to focus on our own sufferings, real as they may be for some of us. Then one reads an article like this one, and our sufferings, though still very real, don’t loom as large. As a husband and father, reading about suffering like this, my heart breaks for these people. Seeing pictures like these makes it even worse, though they are not really very graphic at all. Imagine the anguish, the frustration, the fear. I can’t even begin to imagine my children having to endure something like this. These people epitomize the “blessed” of the first Beatitude – “the poor in spirit.” They are absolutely helpless, and must depend entirely on the Lord and on others for assistance.
In his Message for Lent this year, our Holy Father points to something we can do to show our unity with these suffering people:
At the same time, fasting is an aid to open our eyes to the situation in which so many of our brothers and sisters live……Voluntary fasting enables us to grow in the spirit of the Good Samaritan, who bends low and goes to the help of his suffering brother. By freely embracing an act of self-denial for the sake of another, we make a statement that our brother or sister in need is not a stranger. It is precisely to keep alive this welcoming and attentive attitude towards our brothers and sisters that I encourage the parishes and every other community to intensify in Lent the custom of private and communal fasts, joined to the reading of the Word of God, prayer and almsgiving.
Unfortunately, we may have no concrete way of helping these Zimbabweans. The people to whom they fled, the ones most able to help them, are refusing to render any assistance at all. May the Lord inspire the hearts of the South Africans with compassion and self-giving love.