The Lord’s Prayer, the most recognized Christian prayer, should provide each of us insight regarding our relationship to the Father:
We are His children! We are His sons and daughters!
As “children of God,” we share a special and favored relationship with God. St. Paul (Rom 8:14-21; 9:8; Gal 3:26; and Phil 2:15) reminds us that it is through this “adopted” relationship that we become heirs of God’s promises. In Matthew’s Gospel (5:9), Jesus teaches us that children of God should be peacemakers. And in Luke’s Gospel (20:36), Jesus reminds us that as children of God, we are also children of the resurrection. For God’s beloved children, death is but a bridge to eternity. This is quite a father we have, don’t you think?
As a child of God and the father of five children, I am saddened to witness the change that has occurred within our culture with respect to children. Having become a society with a laser-like focus upon materialism, we have concluded that children are no longer a blessing. Given that they impede our greater comfort, wealth and personal freedom, their numbers should be minimized if not eliminated altogether. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (Can you really afford a new child?, July 20, 2014) witnesses to this outlook. The author asks: “How much is a child likely to cost you?” Quoting a supposed “expert” on this topic, he intones: “Assuming you already have a cash reserve equaling three to six months of living expenses, you have to increase the size of that emergency fund to account for all your new costs.” After reading this article (and others like it), one is lead to believe that only a kamikaze pilot would fly against such conventional wisdom.
In the Gospel of Matthew (13:54-58), we hear of Jesus going to his native place and teaching the people in their synagogue. Quickly, those present discount His wisdom: “Is he not the carpenter’s son?” In seeking to impart wisdom upon the people gathered there, Jesus found them with no belly for the truth. This scripture passage comes on the heels of the Gospel (Mt 13:44-52) that was proclaimed on the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time. If you recall, Jesus spoke of treasure and used the powerful image of a merchant searching for fine pearls. In the next to last verse, Jesus then asks a pointed question: “Do you understand all these things?”
In my own life journey, I can recall the excitement of finding out that my wife was pregnant. Each time, I was no Thurston Howell, III. And truth be told, to this very day, I continue to bear no financial resemblance. But despite not measuring up to what financial critics deem as “necessary” precautions prior to procreation, my wife and I made the decision to place the matter in God’s hands. And He has never let us down!
As Saint John Paul II once remarked: “In the newborn child is realized the common good of the family.” And if I may add my own words to those of this new saint: “Children are a gift from God, a supreme blessing. In looking into their eyes, we see love and come to understand more fully what love is.”
Years ago, Alistair Cooke recalled the plight of modern man:
In the best of times, our days our numbered anyway. So it would be a crime against nature for any generation to take the world crisis so solemnly that it put off enjoying those things for which we were designed in the first place: the opportunity to do good work, to enjoy friends, to fall in love, to hit a ball, and to bounce a baby.
To recall Jesus’ words: Do we understand all these things?
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- to fall in love or to bounce a baby