The Gospel according to Matthew (18:1-5,10,12-14)
The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever becomes humble like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.
What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.”
As many of you may know, I’m a grandpa! I have two grandchildren – a girl named Elaine, who is almost 3 and a boy named Rohan, who is just six weeks old. I had a chance to visit with them and their parents this past Saturday. As any of you who read or listen to these reflections will probably agree, being a grandparent is the best job ever. The joy on Elaine’s face when her dad opened the front door and she saw us was something I will reflect on in my heart forever!
I had, of course, heard of how great it would be to be a grandparent, from friends and others who had grandchildren before Linda and I were blessed that way. But, I don’t think I really thought a lot about how *I* would feel. I can attest that those “veteran” grandparents were absolutely right. To me, it also reminded me (or maybe taught me) something that relates to today’s Gospel – there is nothing like the innocence of little children.
Little ones (those up to pre-school age, I would say) have an earnestness about them, a complete lack of duplicity or fakery, an ability to love with abandon – all of these are qualities that are in far too short a supply in our world today. If adults could be totally honest, seek to say exactly how they feel, and consider everyone worthy of love, what kind of world might we have?
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells His followers that all should be like a little child. He means it in the ways I just described. We should see ourselves before God as fully known, fully loved children of the Creator. There is no getting anything past God. And, even more, blessed are we when we don’t try to get anything “past” God – when we love Him with abandon, when we have the biggest smiles on our faces when we are in His presence (when He opens the door of your heart and we see Him). Today, can we try to become more childlike, and allow God to reach us with that kind of joy? What a wonderful day it will be if we can!
Action for the Day:
No surprise here – take time today to pause and see God at the door of your heart, and have that childlike joy at Him being there with you!
If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below!