Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 10:13-16 – 7th ORDINARY WEEK: Saturday, 2 March 2019
Jesus loved children. He became indignant when the disciples scolded the parents for bringing them to Him. He made sure the children were not kept away. He embraced them, blessed them, placing His hand on them. This is exactly what the parents wanted, they wanted Jesus to at least touch their children.
Was Jesus a mere politician, getting at the heartstrings of the parents through their children? Politicians like to have their picture, holding or kissing a child, spread in the news media. Of course, this was not Jesus’ intention. He was rather using the occasion to teach His disciples and us a lesson. There was, of course, a simple matter of love and kindness Christ would show anyone that was brought to Him. But beyond this He was using these children as a symbol for the poor in spirit, for the lowly, within the Christian community. This is another instance of Jesus emphasizing that God loves the lowly, the poor and the afflicted, in contrast to the religious thought of the time which regarded poverty and human affliction as a punishment for personal sins.
Jesus seems to be saying that it is easier for the lowly to understand and accept the reign of God. It is certainly easier for a child to say, “Abba, Father” that “Pa or Daddy”. So if we are to have child’s attitude to God, Our Father, Christ says we should be like children. “I assure you that whoever does not accept the reign of God like a little child shall not take part in it.”
We are not to remain children in the sense of remaining childish, immature. We are to have the openness, the humility, the unpretentiousness of most children. Children can be trained. Their characters are pliable, can still be shaped. So we, too should try to be like wax in the hands of God so that He can shape us ever more perfectly into images of Christ. This is what is meant when we are asked to be like children if we wish to share in the Kingdom of God.
Jakarta, 2 March 2019
A Christian Pilgrim