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 humbles himself 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.” (Matthew 18: 1-5, 10)
There is not one of us who does not know children. As sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, neighbors’ children, as students and on and on. Regardless of our perspective, there should be a question asked: “What have you learned about children and what is its relevance to your life and faith?”
From the perspective of Jesus Christ, there is everything to be learned from a child.
So, let’s start at the end rather than the beginning. In this case, “the end” is our adult life.
As adults, we are the sum of all of our experiences. We have likely had periods of great joy, contentment, sadness, uncertainty, pain, anger maybe even depression. Over the span of our lives, we sometimes develop, in the language of Ignatian spirituality, “disordered attachments.” These attachments might be rooted in our insecurities, our striving for money or status, or any number of things that can become a barrier to our openness to the full love and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus.
Children likewise experience joy and sadness, happiness and pain. In general, however, in their innocence they have not had the chance to develop attachments of the kind that prevent them from fully receiving the love and grace of our Lord. To know Jesus requires our asking Him to become indifferent and free from the kinds of attachments in our adult lives so that we can fully accept the love of our God.
And that brings us back to the beginning – to be like a small child. To be a child is no longer a description of what you are but of who you are.
To be childlike means to return to a time in your life when learning was more important than accusing; integrity more important than looking good and being good outweighed all other things…including being “right.”
To be childlike means to accept the One who is always marching before you.
To be a child means to simply live in the present moment and accept things as they are. This is an especially beautiful thing they do with people too. Children accept certain kinds of people that society rejects sometimes, (the homeless, mentally ill, alcoholics, drug addicts, etc.). Children see the inner beauty of a person, instead of noticing the flaws and shortcomings that most adults notice first in a person.
We could learn a great deal from children, about the dignity and value of every human person. There is a reason that Jesus said we must become like children, or we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Children often love other people without judgement or reserve.
And our faith life?
The Kingdom of Heaven is reserved for the humble only if we accept the fact that we cannot ascend to heaven by our own effort. And we cannot ascend heaven without the mercy of the good Lord. Again, children are not only perfect models of humility they are also perfect examples for their reliance on their parents. Could children exist by themselves? No, they can’t exist by themselves they need their parents to be with them to survive.
To do so requires us to humble ourselves and acknowledge that I need a Savior and I need to change. Let’s newly decide today to humble ourselves and submit to the gospel of Jesus, be humble, and experience the joy of life living and loving as the Lord’s little ones.
Prayer of The Day
Dear God, I humbly ask for your guidance to grant us serenity and peace to all the things that we will do. We ask you, to forgive us to the things that we have been through that we cannot change as we live in our life; replenish our faith through accepting values; virtue in everyday living. We now lift up our hearts and souls to You O Lord, in order to share closeness and fulfillment as a part of Your children. Amen.
Jesus and His kingdom is not about the ranking of people from greatest to least; His kingdom is not like the governments and political administrations of men – – where power, money and numbers enjoy more influence than character and virtue. No! This King and this Kingdom is about changing our life and serving the Lord “unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”