By REV. LUNA L. DINGAYAN
“…whoever welcomes in my name one such child as this, welcomes me” – Matthew 18:5
September is regarded as Children’s Month. This is probably to emphasize the importance of children in our nation’s life and future. But actually, every month should always be a children’s month. Caring for children is something that we do every day. We can say that any nation that does not care for the young does not have a future at all.
In a traditional Filipino family, children are indeed central. Hence, it is quite shocking to hear news from time to time of children being molested by their own relatives or even by their own parents or grandparents; of children who are malnourished, victims of drug addiction or deprived of basic education. Such realities are perhaps indicators of a growing malady in our national life. Certainly, something must be done before it’s too late. And it seems that we cannot simply rely on our political leaders to do this task. This is everyone’s responsibility.
A Mythical Story
This reminds me about a popular mythical story on the creation of our country. According to the story, when God was about to create the Philippines, one of the angels interceded earnestly. He pleaded humbly that God in His infinite mercies would create our country as beautiful as it can be – a nation with beautiful people, rich in natural resources. No less than a paradise on earth.
God the Creator lovingly agreed, and so He created the Philippines just like that. But then, some of the angels protested, “That’s unfair!” they said. And God said to them, “Just wait! Wait until you see what kind of politicians they have in the Philippines.” No wonder our country is so famous in terms of graft and corruption in the government bureaucracy!
Indeed, we could not depend so much on traditional politicians. We have to call on each one to help prevent the deterioration of our country’s moral fiber. I fully agree with our Former Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan when he said that we should approach the problem of illegal drugs holistically. Based on reports most of the young people arrested for their involvement in illegal drugs were products of broken families. We have to strengthen family life and restore the responsibility of the Filipino family as a character-building unit of our society.
Welcoming a Child
In the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus Christ our Lord said, “Whoever welcomes in my name one such child as this, welcomes me. If anyone should cause one of these little ones to lose his faith in me, it would be better for that person to have a large millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea”(Matt. 18:5-6).
Jesus Christ our Lord said that whoever welcomes a child in his name, welcomes him. To welcome a child is to give him the care and the love he badly needs to be a good and responsible human being. To help a child live a good and responsible life is to help Jesus Christ our Lord Himself.
Teaching unruly, disobedient, restless children can be a very tiresome job, indeed. But then there is no one in the world who helps Jesus Christ our Lord more than the teacher of the little child. Thus, Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes a child in my name welcomes me” (vs. 5). I would like to believe that one of the key roles of today’s political leaders as well as parents is to care for the little ones and to serve as good and responsible role models for the younger generation.
The great keynote of Jesus’ words is the terrible weight of responsibility they leave upon everyone of us. He said, “If anyone should cause one of these little ones to lose his faith in me, it would be better for him to have a large millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea.”(vs. 6).
Most Unforgivable Sin
The Jewish people believed that the most unforgivable of all sins is to teach another to sin, because a person’s sins can still be forgiven due to their limited consequences. But if we teach another to sin, he in his turn may also teach another to sin, and a train of sins is set in motion with no foreseeable end. There is nothing in this world more terrible than to destroy someone’s innocence. And, if a person has any conscience at all, there is nothing which will haunt him the rest of his life.
The great sages of old had recognized the importance of little children in building up a strong nation. Thus, they gave us an old proverb that says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and though he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).
And so, if we want to have a strong, peaceful, and progressive nation in the future, then let us begin building that nation with the children of today.
I’m extremely delighted to come across an interview with John Draven “Jaydee” Carag which gone viral on social media. Jaydee is a kindergarten kid who was interviewed in the September 3 TV episode of “That’s My Boy”. He was asked what he would like to be when he would grow up. He cheerfully said that he would like to be a soldier so that he could defeat China, so that China could no longer take away our seas from us. When asked where he got this news, he promptly replied that he was watching the news. Then, when asked what’s wrong with China, he said that China is taking what is ours, our seas including our marine resources, like fish and sea turtles. Jaydee claimed that he would be proud of our country when he has achieved his dream of becoming a soldier.
I really don’t know the parents of Jaydee, but I think they are doing a good job in molding the character of their child. I really don’t know how many Filipino children today are like Jaydee, who dream of loving and making our country proud. But I surely know that if we have more and more Filipino children like Jaydee, then we can have a living hope and a bright future as a nation and as a people. May God bless us all. Amen. # nordis.net