People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
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.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it.”
Then he embraced the children and blessed them,
placing his hands on them
10:13–16. This Gospel account has an attractive freshness and vividness about it which may be connected with St Peter, from whom St Mark would have taken the story. It is one of the few occasions when the Gospels tell us that Christ became angry. What provoked his anger was the disciples’ intolerance: they felt that these people bringing children to Jesus were a nuisance: it meant a waste of his time; Christ had more serious things to do than be involved with little children. The disciples were well-intentioned; it was just that they were applying the wrong criteria. What Jesus had told them quite recently had not registered: “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me” (Mk 9:37).
Our Lord’s words express simply and graphically the key doctrine of man’s divine sonship: God is our Father and we are his sons and daughters, his children; the whole of religion is summed up in the relationship of a son with his good Father. This awareness of God as Father involves a sense of dependence on our Father in heaven and trusting abandonment to his loving providence—in the way a child trusts its father or mother; the humility of recognizing that we can do nothing by ourselves; simplicity and sincerity, which make us straightforward and honest in our dealings with God and man.
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus declares that the kingdom of God belongs to children. “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
How so? Well, children are like stars or flowers or animals, things that are what they are, unambiguously, uncomplicatedly. They are in accord with God’s deepest intentions for them. The challenge of the spiritual life is to realize what God wants us to be and thereby come to the same simplicity and directness in our existence. To find out what is in line with the deepest grain of our being.
Let me put this another way: children haven’t yet learned how to look at themselves. Why can a child immerse himself so eagerly and thoroughly in what he is doing? Because he can lose himself; because he is not looking at himself, conscious of the reactions, expectations, and approval of those around him. The best moments in life are when we lose the ego, lose ourselves in the world and just are as God wants us to be.
– Bishop Robert Barron
May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.