“Let the children come t0 me,”says theLordin today’s gospel. The disciples were trying to prevent the children from “bothering” Jesus, since children in their culture were not seen in a positive light. They were not embraced and cherished as we do in our own culture and times. Jesus was overturning a deeply entrenched mindset, certainly causing many to raise their eyebrows.
It seems that Jesus relishes in challenging prevailing customs and norms. He certainly pushed the envelope in his relationship with women. By embracing and blessing the children in the gospel, that envelope was pushed again.
The church of our own day must not hinder the children but must follow Jesus’ example and welcome children at Mass, not frown when they fidget in the pews, be examples to them, not only in church, but in the home, the neighborhood, and on the ball field. Our children NEED us to pass on the faith, which is what the word “tradition ” means and to create a healthy religious culture. Our children need families and parents to lead them and guide them in a gospel way of life. Our children need to be protected from all people and situations that would cause them harm.
In every child, from the unborn to those about to leave for college, may we see a bright future and the face of Christ.
Peace. Fr. Frank