Like a child in His sight: MARK 10:2–16
“Let the little children come to me”. This request of Jesus came home forcefully to me at the baptism of my twin grandnephews recently. There they were, surrounded by family and friends full of love for them, willing to do everything they needed to grow and become mature human beings. They were signed with the Cross and offered to Jesus for Him to bless them.
It was easy to become sentimental about children at these moments but when one of them began to bawl down the church and would not stop, I realised that caring for children is no easy task.
The indignation of the apostles at the children bothering Jesus becomes more understandable when we see the trouble children give when they are miserable and demanding. The call to sacrifice is a very real sacrifice made not only by loving parents but by all the supporting grandparents and extended family and helpers.
We are all well aware of children being abused by clergy and the scandal in our Church. We thank Pope Francis for his apology to the victims and we pray also for forgiveness for all those who have perpetrated these crimes.
We also feel the pain of children separated from their parents by governments or made to feel unwelcome in the countries where they have sought relief. We know of human trafficking and of refugees suffering hunger or drowning in the Mediterranean. All these fill us with anger and pain. We are grateful to all those who make it possible to help and heal in these terrible situations.
What does Jesus mean when He says that if we do not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child, we will never enter it? I had the good fortune of spending time with a family with three young children over the holidays. What I noticed was the love shown by the children not only to their parents and grandparents but to me, the stranger in their midst.
They were trusting and dependent, not afraid to ask for their needs. The mother told me that they are like little sponges soaking up all around them in creation with a sense of wonder and joy. They love to play and we adults were well beaten in a memory game. When we become like them in our relationship with God and others, we will be ready for the kingdom.
Lord, we thank you for families who bring their children to You for You to bless them. We pray that we may become like little children in our trust and dependence on You. Fill us with a sense of wonder at the beauty of Your Creation and help us to bring fun and play in our families and community so that we may be able to enter into the Kingdom. Amen.
The Gospel Meditations for October are by Sr Annette Chow of the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny.