Ez 18:1-10, 13b, 30-32
This summer I spent some time at a retreat house where there is a Montessori school on the grounds for kindergarten children. I heard them when they arrived at 7:30 a.m. and throughout the morning. Since it was summer time, much of their time was on the playground and their laughter and squeals were infectious.
There are three things that I love about this Gospel passage. One is the centrality of the children. You’ve seen the pictures of how they were climbing all over Jesus’ lap with the adults proudly smiling and the disciples impatiently waiting by the road. Then there’s Jesus. He’s not at all bothered by the ruckus. In fact, he rebukes the disciples and uses this as an opportunity to preach in a new way. “Let the children come to me…for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Finally, let’s consider the disciples. They’re good men. Maybe there was a dinner appointment to be kept or they simply thought children should be seen and not heard. Whatever their reasoning, Jesus wanted to give an example to all. If you have the hearts and minds of children, adults will get the message too.
This is a call to openness and a chance to remember our youth. Remember when we expected goodness, kindness, and love from strangers, adults, teachers, and family? We’ve taught children of God’s love. Each day we have the chance to prove it again and again, as well as take time and soak some it up for yourself. Be a kid again, for God’s sake.
- Fr. Michael Greene, C.P., Associate Retreat Director, “The Passionist Spiritual Center in New York City”, Bishop Molloy Retreat House, Jamaica, NY www.bishopmolloy.org