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The Little Children and Jesus

  • August 13, 2022 (readings)
  • Saturday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
  • Jennifer Ristine
  • Matthew 19:13-15

    Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

    Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, grant me a heart like your own that seeks to love above all else and helps to bring all people into the Kingdom of Heaven, no matter one’s status, age, personality, etc. 

    Encountering Christ:

    1. A Scene to Ponder: The parents of the children approached Jesus with the hope of receiving a blessing from this charismatic preacher. What attracted them? How is it that they were so bold? The Apostles were murmuring with annoyance and irritation that these families were interrupting Jesus’ preaching. Yet, the children didn’t hesitate to come forward. Imagine Our Lord’s face as the children came near. Each child must have been moved by the presence of this God/man before them as he reached out to touch each one. Was it an encounter they would remember for the rest of their lives? When was the last time we were touched by the Lord in prayer, through a sacrament, or by the kindness of another?

    2. “It Is to Such as These That the Kingdom of Heaven Belongs”: Watch Jesus’ disposition change from a simple joy and compassion as the children drew near to indignation at the inhospitable nature of his disciples. They were far from an attitude of childlike simplicity as they closed themselves off from receiving others. Jesus invites us to true simplicity. Those with a childlike disposition are invited into the Kingdom of Heaven. May we ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds and inflame our hearts with the childlike qualities he invites us to: simplicity of heart, trusting abandon, joyful gratitude, and fearless welcome of others. 

    3. “Then He Laid Hands on Them”: It was not uncommon for parents to take their children to the synagogue for a blessing. But Jesus was much more than a wise rabbi. He was the fount of blessing. Mark’s Gospel relates that Jesus took them into his arms. Jesus held nothing back. Watch the scene unfold as he embraced each one. They may have been unconscious of the blessing they were receiving, but it was given wholeheartedly and with a burning desire that not one of these children be lost. Who can we bring to Jesus for his blessing? We trust in the intercessory power of prayer as we place them in Jesus’ arms for his blessing for their salutary good. 

    Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, let me not impede anyone from coming to you. Instead help me to be an active participant in bringing many people to you. Bless those whom I offer to you today. 

    Resolution: Lord, today, by your grace, I will be vigilant and assure you that I don’t prevent people from receiving the consolation of your blessing by my attitude or words.

    For Further Reflection: Discernment of Spirits, Rule 11.

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