7, 8, 9, 12
On reading today’s Gospel, one might question why Jesus wants
us to be like “little children?” Couldn’t the Lord have found a better
analogy with which to challenge his apostle and us? Perhaps it was
because of the qualities commonly found in “little Children” before they
reach the age of reason.
“Little children” are innocent. The baptized baby is made a member
of Christ’s Mystical Body, an heir to the Kingdom of Heaven and loved unconditionally
by God. The “little child” remains such before the age of the use of
reason and is impossible of being separated from Almighty God. This
same innocence for our entire life is the type of relationship the Lord would
love to have with each of us.
“Little children” are trusting. During this same time the child is
completely dependent on the parents or caregiver. They receive love,
nurture and protection without any obligation to reciprocate. In God’s
providence this trusting relationship gives praise and glory to God.
Don’t we believe he created us for our well-being and happiness? But
we are helpless to share this relationship with him unless we totally trust
him and really allow God to be God.
“Little children” are content. A “little child” is not aware of the
thousands of wants his nature could desire or demand. For “little children”
the only source of help and sustenance is what the parents provide.
Children really have no other choice. This is true even when they hurt
or are weary. For us, this childlike condition of contentment would
involve our willing acceptance of whatever happens to us beyond our control.
As Job says: “We accept good things from God; and should we not accept evil?”
After all, God is in control and we believe his creative wish is unequivocally
for the well-being and happiness of each of us.
Finally, when Jesus suggested that we be like “little children” he was really
asking a lot of us. It takes so much faith and courage. It means
we truly have to let God be God. However, what follows is also clear.
The more we become like “little children” the more joy, peace and security
we experience in this life and even more so in life everlasting.