“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 (Mt 18:3-5).
The above response Jesus gave was to the disciples question regarding who is the greatest in heaven. Jesus offers an unexpected response, as children had no esteem, honor, or greatness in his society. Jesus was not pointing out so much the innocence of children, but emphasizing that children were completely dependent on others for the very survival.
If we are to embark or stay on the journey that will lead us to the Kingdom of heaven, we need to do the same. We need to give our control and apparent, self sufficiency over to God and place our dependence on him alone. We need to depend on God as would an infant or young child does on their parent.
Very young children have also not developed a defensive filter and they say what is on their mind, often with precise insights! How often do we do the opposite by automatically responding in a defensive manner or fearing an ulterior motive from the question? Jesus has taught us that our yes is to be yes, and our no is to be no, and anything more is from the evil one (cf. Mt 5:37). As his disciples, Jesus calls us to be humble, to admit to our sins, our mistakes, to confess, correct and learn from them.
May we turn away from that which we place before God, those biases and idols that can lead us down the path of prejudice; the allures of material, apparent goods and our own self-centered postures, that so often lead to the imprisonment of addiction. Instead, may we “become like children”. May we depend more on God, surrender our control, and place our trust in him. By doing so, we can build a firmer foundation of truth and humility. We will begin to find that we will be more satisfied, fulfilled, and begin to be less defensive and more present to those in need.
We are all wounded, a bit beaten up, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, and in need of God’s healing. Yet, instead of reacting defensively or taking offense, by aligning ourselves with God and asking him to love others through us, we can be more understanding, loving and empowering. We could all use a little more support, empathy, and kindness. May we begin to be a little more present, a healing balm for one another today, for whoever receives one child such as this in Jesus’ name receives him (cf. Mt 18:5).
Photo: Me and my nephew Nicholas about 18-19 years ago. He is now 22. Please join me in prayer that in the name and power of Jesus, Nick may be freed and healed from the battering cycle of addiction. If you know of anyone struggling with addiction, add their name here and we can join in praying together for the healing of so many who are shackled and needing to be set free! Thank you.
Link for the Mass reading for Tuesday, August 14, 2018: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/081418.cfm