A reading from the gospel according to Mark 10:13-16:
13 People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.
14 When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
15 Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”
16 Then he embraced the children and blessed them, placing his hands on them.
Reflection: Like a child
There are two important points that need to be reflected upon:
1. Bring people to Jesus and do not send them away.
The disciples of Jesus had the tendency to send people away from the Lord. In Matthew 14:15, they wanted Jesus to send the people away because nighttime was approaching and they were in a deserted place. They were anxious about the people’s hunger and safety. Again in Matthew 15:23, these disciples tried in vain to convince Jesus to send away the Canaanite woman crying for the healing of her daughter.
In the gospel reading above, the disciples rebuke the adults who were bringing children to Jesus. What follows is an indignant response of Jesus towards His disciples. “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them.”
Many times, we are like the disciples. We become a hindrance to people who are seeking the Lord. We may have the best of intentions such as avoiding noise or mess made by children inside the church but in effect, we are also preventing them from participating in church activities. Not only children but other insignificant people must be ushered into the Kingdom of God instead of being sent away.
2. Be curious like children
More often than not, we think of children as having blind faith and trust in adults which become our reason for alluding why Jesus used them as a metaphor for those can enter His Kingdom. This quite true but we can also add the inquisitiveness of children as another reason. Children are curious and they are likely to ask the many “whys” of things. God does not force us to believe in Him. He wanted each of His children to understand Him too and to believe in Him freely. This is in line with Anselm’s “faith seeking understanding” and Saint Augustine’s “believe so that you may understand”.
It is best to start teaching people the values of Jesus when they are young. Let us train them up in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). These children are easier to teach than adults. May we be like them for as Jesus says, the kingdom of God belongs to them.
For further reflection, go here.