December normally goes by the sobriquet, festive season for Christians.
This is the month people indulge in merrymaking; eating and drinking. But first thing first: this column would like to offer condolences to the family of Nelson Mandela and the people of South Africa. You fought the good fight, you have finished the race, and you (have) kept the faith
Some Christians usually forget one thing: that this is a period we should be compassionate by helping the less fortunate. There are a number of people whose legacy have been immortalised because of their kindness towards the so-called wretched of the earth; those who are unfortunate to live in inhabitable conditions, with little to eat and drink.
And not forgetting those afflicted by various diseases and are either in hospitals or are suffering at home with their diseases because they cannot afford to pay for medical treatment.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta runs into my mind when talking about compassion and love. One of the literatures written about her reads like this: “Small of stature, rocklike in faith, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was entrusted with the mission of proclaiming God’s thirsting love for humanity, especially for the poorest of the poor.”
This is a woman who dedicated her entire life in serving humanity with kindness, going to the slums, visiting families, washing the festering sores of a number of children, caring for an old, sick man she found lying on the road, and nursing a woman who was dying of both TB and hunger.
“She started each day in communion with Jesus in the Eucharist and then went out, rosary in her hand, to find and serve Him in “the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for.” After some months, she was joined, one by one, by her former students,” reads her autobiography.
We should also live according to the life of Jesus Christ, that’s why we are called Christians. We shouldn’t hate the poor while at the same time profess to love Jesus.
Deuteronomy 15:11 says: “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘you shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.”
On the hand, Matthew records Jesus instructing his disciples: “For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.”
Rwanda, like many other third world countries, is teeming with the poor and the sick. There are also a number of people who are floating in abundance. The latter have more than they can consume while the former sometimes sleep on hungry stomach.
As Christians, what should we do? Simple. We should visit the sick and feed the poor. That a number of people are doing that cannot be gainsaid. But it needs a concerted effort by everybody so that the less fortunate can also feel part of humanity, part of Christian family.
We as Christians should borrow a leaf from our brothers and sisters of Muslim religion. One of the five pillars of Islamic faith is giving to charity. Thus wealthy Muslims, after providing for their basic needs, are obligated to offer a percentage of their wealth to help the less fortunate in the forms of almsgiving, called Zakat and Sadaqah, a voluntary giving in charity all the times.
And of course during month of Ramadan, apart from observing strict fasting, they participate in devout activities like charitable giving, which we as Christians show borrow from during this month.