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25th Sunday of Year B – 2021

To move from the written words to what they express…
To go beyond images to perceive what they describe…
To understand situations to the point of perceiving the reality they suggest…

This is the task that we are faced with in trying to understand the texts of Scripture, especially those of the gospel.
 
In simple words it means: to appropriate a text, to make it my own.
It demands of me that I try to discover what it really means in my own life.
The gospel text of this Sunday (Mark 9:30-37) can serve as an example.
The last verse mentions the words of Jesus:
 
“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me;
and whoever welcomes me
does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”   

If someone were to ask you: ‘Did you ever welcome God?’,
you would probably hesitate to say ‘Yes’, or ‘No’.
But, did you ever welcome a child… in the name of Jesus?
If so, you have indeed welcomed God!

We should NOT see this reflection as some grammatical exercise, it is so much more than that!
It leads us to read the words of Scripture no longer as simply some sacred writings that we should understand and remember.

It enables us to receive the word of God addressed to us personally.
God’s message wants to reach us in our here-and-now situation, whatever it is at any given time.

If we allowed God’s words – God’s Word Himself in Jesus – to address us in such a personal way…
what a change this would make!

You need not take my word for it but… try it!

 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/25e-dimanche-de-lannee-b-2021/

 

Source: Image: www.daily-prayers.org

25th Sunday of Year A – 2020

It happens that we witness situations that go against what we would expect; what we see is totally different from the usual way.
At such times, someone can exclaim: “It’s the world upside down!”

I suppose that the last verse of this Sunday’s gospel (Mt.20:1-16) would lead us to say the same as we hear:

“The last will be first, and the first will be last.”
 
With God, it seems to be the reality in so many ways! A world… upside down!
It is a world where:

  • the sick can touch the Master and be cured
  • the lepers are not kept at a distance
  • the sinners are not condemned without an offer of forgiveness
  • the children are not sent away by adults too serious
  • the Law is at the service of people, not the other way around.

It is a world where the lowly, the impure, the outcast, the rejected, the unworthy are accepted and saved.
A world where… we, too, would feel welcomed – if we accept to take on Jesus’ way.

This way – God’s way – the prophets had spoken about it in his name (1st reading: Is.55:6-9).
Jesus came to live it in our midst inviting us to follow him on this way.

A world upside down but… where it is so good to live!
« The kingdom of God », nothing less!

 

Note: Another reflection on a similar theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/25e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: World of Empowerment

 

World Pneumonia Day – 12 November

World Pneumonia Day is annually held on November 12 to raise awareness of pneumonia, promote prevention and treatment, and generate action to fight the illness.

Pneumonia is a form of acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs, making breathing painful and limiting oxygen intake. Pneumonia is the biggest killer of children under age 5 worldwide. Nearly one in five global child deaths result from pneumonia every year. Moreover, this is a preventable and treatable illness via vaccines, antibiotic treatment, and improved sanitation. The United Nations (UN) first celebrated the day on November 12, 2009.

Source: Text: timeanddate.com Image: Journée mondiale

 

International Literacy Day – 8 September

The United Nations’ (UN) International Literacy Day annually falls on September 8 to raise people’s awareness of and concern for literacy issues in the world.

International Literacy Day highlights the importance of literacy in areas such as health and education. International Literacy Day highlights the importance of literacy in areas such as health and education

Background
According to UNESCO, about 774 million adults lack the minimum literacy skills. One in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women. About 75 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out. However, literacy is also a cause for celebration on the day because there are nearly four billion literate people in the world.

The UN General Assembly proclaimed a 10-year period beginning on January 1, 2003, as the United Nations Literacy Decade. The assembly also welcomed the International Plan of Action for the Decade and decided for UNESCO to take a coordinating role in activities at an international level within the decade’s framework. On International Literacy Day each year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally. This day was first celebrated on September 8, 1966.

Source: Text: timeanddate.com Images: Wikipedia

 

World Population Day – 11 July

The United Nations’ (UN) World Population Day is annually observed on July 11 to reaffirm the human right to plan for a family. It encourages activities, events and information to help make this right a reality throughout the world.

Background
In 1968 world leaders proclaimed that individuals had a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and timing of their children. About 40 years later modern contraception remains out of reach for millions of women, men and young people.

World Population Day was instituted in 1989 as an outgrowth of the Day of Five Billion, marked on July 11, 1987. The UN authorized the event as a vehicle to build an awareness of population issues and the impact they have on development and the environment.

Since then, with the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) encouragement, governments, non-governmental organizations, institutions and individuals organize various educational activities to celebrate the annual event.

Source: Text: timeanddate.com Image: UNFPA

 

 

International Childhood Cancer Day – 15 February

Today is International Childhood Cancer Day which highlights the need for concerted global actions to address the growing challenge posed by this non-communicable disease. Globally, childhood and adolescent cancer is threatening to overtake infectious diseases, as one of the highest causes of disease-related mortality in children.

It is a day when we come together to continue the work to “Advance Cures and Transform Care” and to make childhood cancer a national and global child health priority.

Much work remains to be done. According to IARC (2015), the reported worldwide incidence of childhood cancer is increasing, from 165,000 new cases annually to 215,000 cases for children 14 years and younger and 85,000 new cases for 15-19 year-olds. Many more remain uncounted and unreported due to a lack of childhood cancer registries in a large number of countries.

While the number of children with cancer is much less compared to global incidence of adult cancers, the number of lives saved is significantly higher; survival rates in high-income countries reach an average of 84% and are steadily improving even in less-resourced areas of the world where there is local and international support.

The ICCD campaign’s ultimate goal and unified message is “Advance Cures and Transform Care”. This message spotlights the inequities and glaring disparity of access to care in most low- and middle-income countries where 80% of children with cancer live. Children and adolescents in Africa, Asia and Latin America and in parts of Eastern and Southern Europe do not yet have access to appropriate treatment including essential medicines and specialized care. Currently, where one lives often determines one’s ability to survive childhood cancer.

Source: Text & Image: ICCD International Childhood Cancer Day

 

 

International Day against the Use of Child soldiers – 12 February

Thousands of children are serving as soldiers in armed conflicts around the world. These boys and girls, some as young as 8 years old, serve in government forces and armed opposition groups. They may fight on the front lines, participate in suicide missions, and act as spies, messengers, or lookouts. Girls may be forced into sexual slavery. Many are abducted or recruited by force, while others join out of desperation, believing that armed groups offer their best chance for survival. We are working to prevent the use of child soldiers and to hold accountable the people who send children to fight.

Source: Text: www.hrw.org

About child soldiers
In many countries around the world – from Democratic Republic of Congo to Myanmar to Syria – children are being recruited by adults to fight their wars for them. Some child soldiers are used for fighting – they’re forced to take part in wars and conflicts, forced to kill, and commit other acts of violence. Some join ‘voluntarily’, driven by poverty, sense of duty, or circumstance. Children are also used as cooks, porters, messengers, informants or spies.

The law is meant to protect children from this abuse. There is even an international treaty devoted to ending the use of child soldiers. But not all countries in the world have signed on to it – and even those that have don’t always follow its rules. In February 2018, it will have been 18 years since this treaty was adopted. We are going to be marking this 18th anniversary with a big event in New York. In the lead-up to this event, we are asking for students all around the world to show that they stand with us in saying ‘children should be children, not soldiers’.

Source: Text Child-soldiers.org  Image: 123RF Stock Photos
 

World Holocaust Remembrance Day – 27 January

The theme of the Holocaust memorial ceremony will be The theme highlights the universal dimension of the Holocaust and encourages education on this tragedy so that future generations will firmly reject all forms of racism, violence and anti-Semitism. The Holocaust was a defining point in history and its lessons have much to teach about the danger of extremism and the prevention of genocide today.

New Educational Product: Poster set “The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust”

The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme has partnered with the Houston Holocaust Museum to produce a set of 14 posters based on the Museum’s exhibition The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust for display by the global network of United Nations information centres. The exhibition outlines the impact of the Holocaust on children, and showcases an educational initiative called The Butterfly Project developed by Holocaust Museum Houston to teach this history to young people, encourage them to remember the 1.5 million children who perished and to stand up against hatred and prejudice.

Source: Text: UN Images: Newcastle City Council  UN

International Literacy Day – 8 September

According to UNESCO, about 774 million adults lack the minimum literacy skills. One in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women. About 75 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out. However, literacy is also a cause for celebration on the day because there are nearly four billion literate people in the world.

The UN General Assembly proclaimed a 10-year period beginning on January 1, 2003, as the United Nations Literacy Decade. The assembly also welcomed the International Plan of Action for the Decade and decided for UNESCO to take a coordinating role in activities at an international level within the decade’s framework. On International Literacy Day each year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally. This day was first celebrated on September 8, 1966.

Source: Text: timeanddate.com   Image: unesco.org

World AIDS Orphans Day – 7 May

Children orphaned by AIDS are just a fraction of the problem, as millions more have been made vulnerable. Behind the statistics are millions of stories of human suffering. The AIDS crisis has a catastrophic impact on households and communities – deepening poverty and exacerbating hardships. More than 95 percent of children affected by AIDS, including orphans, continue to live with their extended families. However, these families are increasingly overwhelmed by poverty and struggle to protect and raise the children in their care.

Despite progress in funding, preventing and treating AIDS, the world is ignoring the basic needs of millions of vulnerable children. Few resources are reaching the families and communities that provide the front-line response, even though they provide the vast majority of care and support to orphaned and vulnerable children. A generation will be lost if we do not take urgent measures to support the basic rights of children and the families and communities that care for them. We can fight AIDS if we organize a long-term response supported by a strong political will.

Source: Text: FXB  Image: USAID