Saturday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)
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.”
Why in the world would the disciples push the children away from Jesus? I’ve read that in ancient times children were considered “second class citizens” and a nuisance to family members since they were unproductive – receivers and consumers rather than givers and producers.
I don’t buy it. I think children have always been considered a blessing and a source of happiness by all families and all cultures at all times. So why did the disciples push them away?
I see potential here. Like so many of us today, people back then didn’t have a lot of time to spend with their kids. Like us, they were just too busy working on giving them everything but the basics, like attention, affection and affirmation.
Like so many modern day evangelists, the disciples disregarded the serious business of raising boys into Christian men for the immediate satisfaction of turning adult sinners into saints.
Sharing the faith with children may be easier than sharing it with adults – this is debatable – but it is clear that working with adults is more rewarding than working with children. For example, adults can immediately begin contributing their time, talents and treasure to the Church. They can also easily help grow the Church by sharing their faith with friends and family. Children are not prepared to do these things. But there is potential. This is what Jesus saw in them: POTENTIAL. Potential for good or for bad.
It’s so much easier to bring a child to the faith than to bring them back to the faith. We should know this by now. Jesus understood this long ago. Many parents have learned it recently. Those who wait for their children to decide who and what they want to be and believe are begging for a big surprise, maybe even the biggest surprise of their entire life! If you don’t help them to search and decide, then definitely someone else will.
Parents and religious have an important role in forming the hearts and minds of children. Let’s not forget the children, for they are the future of our Church and of our society.
Scary, but nothing new.
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