Heed the Call

Dear Brothers and Sisters ,

John the Baptist starts his sermon to the people by calling them a “bunch of snakes,” and that they better watch out, "the ax is falling at the root of the tree.” All rather threatening language. When the people say well then, "what are we to do?” John tells them if they have extra, to share their food and clothing. (Luke 3:7-14)

The year was 2000. The place was Sierra Leone. At the time there were approximately 3000 children there who knew nothing about homework and soccer practice but instead were bearing arms from rebel forces, learning to hunt and kill the enemy. Xaverian priest, Guiseppe Berton, opened St Michael's Lodge to be a center for baby soldiers who escaped the rebels. At the center, these victims of the war received counseling, medical assistance, schooling and skills training. Some eventually found their families; most were placed in foster families.

According to Human Rights Watch, about 300,000 kids at that time served as soldiers around the world. (Today that number may be as high as double that, according to my research). Lightweight weapons made in places like the United States made it possible to arm an 8 year old child. Moreover, children are more efficient. They are cheaper to feed and more likely to follow orders.

After a war, these children face a bleak future. Most of them have no skills except killing. There’s no quick fix. It will take time to create a world in which children are not fodder for the battlefield.

This Christmas, heed the call of John the Baptist. John is trying to raise the sense of urgency among us. Jesus is calling us to see him being born in unexpected places. Learn more about a need like the child soldier. Pray for Jesus to help you take inventory of what you have that you might follow John's advice to share. In our sharing, we gain, and the world is blessed by God never to be the same again.

Check out these YouTube’s to learn more about child soldiers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlJPxMLqqa4

 Or

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qbcwmxi-ZU

(data for this devotional came from an article by Heidi Schlumpf in U. S. Catholic Magazine)

See you on Sunday.

Still in one peace,

David J. Jensen

Check out Day 9 of our 24 Days of Books - today's book recommendation is Things Hidden: Scripture As Spirituality by Richard Rohr. Read more about it and see all the other books recommended so far by clicking here!

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