“Let the Children Come to Me…For unto Them, the Kingdom of God Belongs” Mk 10:13-16: The Pastoral Challenges of this Invitation in African Church Today
James Ekanem, SDB
Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Nairobi – Kenya Salesian Theology College, Nairobi – Kenya Veritas University, Abuja

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Africa is blessed with an overwhelming population of young people, who in the words of the African Synod Fathers, constitute its “numerical strength” but unfortunately, these have been kept in the cold, marginalized, exploited for selfish aims, manipulated and misled by political demagogues (Mbuy, 2001). Against this kind of backdrop the Gospel of Mark 10: 13-16 offer us a concrete, practical and pastoral way of welcoming the young people as Jesus did and giving them a sense of belonging. When I look back at some experiences I am touched by the attitude of Jesus when he said, ‘let the children come to me’… and then I ask, how can the Church be available and say the same, ‘let the young people come to me’? Many young people want to encounter the Lord through different forms of apostolate but maybe there are no serious youth apostolates or they are lazy to things of God or they had dreadful experiences of not being allowed to get near Jesus. Why? Perhaps, it is the attitudes of Jesus’ disciples. In most of our Churches is this not the common attitude of some of our pastors? But Jesus irrespective of what and who they are said “Bring the children to me.”


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