People were bringing little children to Jesus in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
In today’s Gospel, Jesus continues the formation of his disciples by countering their rebuke of the parents bringing their children to Jesus. He tells them that the Kingdom of God belongs to such children and that, to enter that kingdom, one needs to accept it like a child. There are several reasons we could come up with to support this teaching. What came to my mind when I read this passage was my younger grandniece as a small child. If anyone showed her something new, her eyes would grow wider and sparkle, and her little body would quiver with excitement and joy as she exclaimed, “WOW!!!”
Such a deep sense of wonder is an important element of relationship with God as we mature in spirituality. It is as important for an older person as it is for a young one. In his later years, the Jewish Hasidic Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was deeply grateful to God, and he said to God, “I asked for wonder, and you gave it to me.”
—Fr. Joe Folzenlogen, S.J. is a pastoral minister and spiritual director in Cincinnati, OH, where he has long contributed to care for the poor and those in need.
Jesus, we too ask for the gift of wonder. The children in our lives constantly remind us of that gift. Let it be the lens through which we view your creation and each other. Let it be the foundation that we stand on as we struggle with the many challenges of being your disciples in a troubled world. We ask this in your name. Amen
—Fr. Joe Folzenlogen, S.J.Please share the Good Word with your friends!