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Listening to the Gospel; Listening to the World

{ Tags: None \ Oct11 }

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Last Sunday (October 9, 2011) our BEC Animators made a step forward in the ministry. For the first time, they organized a session that allowed them to focus on a situation that they noticed is significant in the place where they worked: that of young people who are practically left to fend for themselves. These are often teenagers coming from families of unmarried couples whose father or mother or both are absent.

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The session they organized was simple but enriching. Resource persons with experience in youth ministry and guidance counselling were invited. Reports and presentations were prepared, including a personal testimony made by a teenager about his struggles in the situation described above. These was followed by a discussion about families and of the youth. The resource persons were in agreement as they pointed out that:

(a)teenagers like the one who gave his testimony need a listening ear more than anything else;
(b)the presence of people who care is important;
(c)collaboration with authorities may be called for.

Our BEC cell groups are the presence of the Church in those situations were young people and their families are often the victims of society’s neglect. It was through cell meetings that our members’ attention was called to the situation described above. We also realize that by ourselves, we cannot do much for that situation. We would need to collaborate with government agencies and other non-government organizations specializing in such problems to be of help.

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We also realized how important is the presence of the BEC. One of those present during the discussions said that we should strengthen the presence of cell groups, i.e. more cell groups in a particular area. Cell meetings actually heighten the consciousness of those attending to the situation of their environment. Teen-age prostitution, for example, may be known to exist in an area but those who know about it do not talk about it. There is a conspiracy of silence that favors those who perpetrate the situation and prevents interventions from outside. Our BEC cell groups whose members come from those areas soon learn that silence is not a solution to the problem. They open up the problem to their group and thereby become instrumental in raising the consciousness of others. Their meditation on the Word of God then allows them to see the situation in the light of the Lord’s Gospel which in turn spurs them to action. This last step resulted in the activity we had on Sunday. It was a small step forward, but it was significant. It means that our BEC Animators are beginning to mature as they mix Scriptures with life.

Listening to Scriptures allows one to listen to the world and get its pulse. Those who attended last Sunday’s activity are beginning to look at their world with the eyes of the Good Shepherd. We listened to the struggles of a young teenager as he helps his mother and himself rise up from the limitations they experience. We listened to the report of one of our animators about the way teenage girls become the objects of sexual predators because of an environment that somehow encourages it. There are other activities that will come out from the knowledge we gained that day. The important thing is to continue what we have been doing: to be Church in our areas of responsibility. To continue listening to the invitations of the Word of God as it addresses itself to us from historical events, and to respond to it with generous hearts.

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