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Segni di un Mondo Nuovo – Signs of a New World

Sometime visions come true in unexpected and undeserved moments. You can see them, you can touch them and, in that moment, you realize that they are more real than reality.

It has happened to me one evening at Mthunzi, the home for former street children in the outskirt of Lusaka. I had put a chair and sat in the big courtyard. All around there were the dormitories, the dining room, the kitchen, the carpentry workshop and the grinding mill room. There was a great peace, the last car had passed along the dusty road at the foot of the hill more than an hour before.

The sun was setting in the west while the full moon was raising to the east. Some children were coming back from a soccer match sweaty and tired . Some other were under the shower, while some others, already bathed and dressed in clean clothes, were preparing a table in the middle of the vast courtyard, to be used as altar for Mass. Not far, under a shed in the same courtyard, mama Edina was cooking a huge nshima (traditional staple food made with maize flour), while the stew was already prepared in a large pot just aside. The children, busy with their different duties, were passing by and were looking, nodding, smiling to me, each one in a different way, each one sharing the joy of being together in a quiet and safe place, where people love each other.

There it is. Suddenly a new world is here. The misery and cruelty that caused so much pain to these children fade away. The evil is defeated, is not there any longe. The only reality are the children, with their eyes, offering and looking for love; their generous smiles; their hands, ready to shake your hand, to offer an embrace. Andrew Awuor, the Kenyan young man who challenged me in 1992 “to do something together for these children” comes to my mind. Then, during Mass I speak of him to the children and youngsters that are participating, and they listen ecstatic, as if I was speaking of an elder brother. A new world is here, in the communion among the living, and of the living with the dead.

The aspiration to love and freedom and communion that are inside these children, as inside all of us, becomes palpable, takes flesh. We open ourselves to the world when we nourish these forces, they are alive inside us, and we are able to see them first of all in the small world around us, and then in the wider world. The rebel or revolutionary who only knows the clenched fists, the cry of rage, the words and the acts of violence without recognizing the thirst for love and freedom that are in the hearts of everybody, condemn himself to failure.

We change the world both with small and big actions: by refusing to buy a product made under exploitation; by contributing to build a school; by extending a help to an immigrant; by cultivating a field; by fixing a computer; by stopping on the highway to help a person involved in an car accident; by committing ourselves to denounce injustices and to practice solidarity. Our actions, our work, our projects are worth more than their simple concreteness. When they are done consciously, they built our identity, our inner world and they change the meaning of our personal life and of the surrounding world. They become signs of love, of the ability to see beyond the material reality. As in the christian vision water, fire, bread, vine, oil and brotherly embrace talk about God’s presence.

Mthunzi is my small world where, sometimes, poetry and vision become visible, freedom and love take the power, and communion is born.

One Comment

  1. Michele says:

    Quella di Koinonia è un esperienza straordinaria perchè siete Chiesa in tutto. Qui in Italia tropo spesso si separa la Chiesa in un ente puramente Spirituale e la vita in qualcosa di più pratico. Così tutta la teologia finisce per servire i cristiani ricchi che si devono sentire anche perdonati del loro benessere. Invece Don Zeno per esempio in Italia ti assomiglia molto! Vai Kizito che il Regno è vicino!

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