A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 19:13-15)
Children were brought to Jesus
that he might lay his hands on them and pray.
The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said,
“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them;
for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
After he placed his hands on them, he went away.
Good News Reflection:
Introductory Prayer: Father, open my heart to trust, to have faith, and to hope in you so that I too may enter your kingdom.
Petition: Lord, give me a simple and profound faith and an unbreakable confidence in your love and power, so that I may trust in you more each day.
1. Days of the Child. Today we are accustomed to paying a lot of attention to the needs of children, almost to the point of obsession. Enormous sums are spent on efforts to educate and socialize children properly to bring about desired results. Yet at the time of Christ, children were considered insignificant and without great value. No one would have found them worthy of the Kingdom, except in virtue of their relationship to their families and parents. But to Jesus each one was a soul, a child of God the Father, for whom he had come to bring love and redemption. Each one was a bearer of the grace of God and needed to be valued and cherished. Jesus could see in them some of the most important qualities for anyone who would be a member of God’s family.
2. Qualities Needed for the Kingdom. The Kingdom of heaven belongs to those who can call God “Father”, to those who put all their hope and confidence in his love and protection rather than in their own talent, knowledge, security, virtue, or experience. As time goes on, it is more and more difficult for us to keep this child-like hope in our Father in heaven. Yet this is the challenge he gives us: Continue to grow in humility and trust as we go through life.
3. The Christ Child. We should from time to time meditate on the familiar fact of Jesus’ childhood. It is something easy to overlook as we look for spiritual growth because it can seem to be the stuff of overly pious and sentimental spirituality. But on a deeper level, the fact that he chose to come as a child — to become helpless and vulnerable and to trust in the guidance and leadership of Joseph and Mary, is highly significant for us. Christ deliberately chose to spend years in a condition of dependence and trust in order to teach us how we ought to turn to the Father as the source of all our hope.
Dialogue with Christ: Jesus, teach us again the lessons of your childhood: dependence, hope, trust, docility, obedience and love. Take away from our hearts any vestiges of self-reliance and pride that come between us and the Kingdom of heaven.
Resolution: I will read for spiritual reading the Gospel accounts of the infancy of Jesus.
Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC