At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes!
Our ‘little ones’ certainly face many stumbling blocks while on the road to adulthood and their search for meaning in their lives! For that matter, so do we, as parents, come up against many stumbling blocks as we move forward in our lives as well.
The world is filled with temptations and confusing messages that can send our children (and ourselves) off track, and cause us to lose focus on what really matters…such as our faith and desire to seek and do the will of God which is to make Christ’s message of love known in the world through worshipping together and treating each other with decency and compassion, while living the best lives we can. To put it simply, as Christians, we are called to follow Christ in all we do; however, while this sounds simple it is not always easy to do!
Even for us, as adults, we can get distracted by temptations…mostly to due to our busy-ness, which gives us an excuse not to reach out to help those in need because we just don’t have the time between work and home and kids, or we justify being selfish when asked for help, because we already do sooo much as single parents! Then even when we want to do what’s called of us, it can often be hard to know how to follow Christ, to discern the voice of God from the noise of our world!
If there are so many stumbling blocks for us as adults, imagine how hard it must be for our children to stay on the path of faith! They do not have the life experience we’ve had and are living in a culture that often glamorizes over-indulgence in everything from food, to drugs & alcohol, and where religion and faith in God are sometimes mocked! Part of our call as Christian parents is to guide our ‘little ones’ over these stumbling blocks just as we too have been guided over the stumbling blocks in ours by those who care about us.
As parents we are called to do the best we can to give our children love and support; and one way that we give this guidance to our children is through providing them with an example of faith in action…by following what we have learned from the scriptures, from Christ, and from each other. We can use our experience strength and hope to help our kids avoid as many stumbling blocks as possible, as well as teaching them how to get back up when they do fall.
Through our example, we can not only teach, but show our children that the risen Christ is always walking with us through life, giving us the support of God’s great love for us, as well as the gift of forgiveness for when we do fall; for here is where our hope can be found: as through the sacrifice of Christ stumbling is no longer something to be feared, but a part of life, and that as Christ is with us we can never fall so far that God’s grace cannot reach us.
Let us Pray:
God, thank you for watching over ourselves and our children, and helping us to avoid the stumbling blocks in our lives. Help us to be able to reach out with our experience, strength and hope to keep our children on a good path in life, and not to fall too far down when they do stumble. We praise you for the gift of forgiveness, a sure sign of your grace, which gives us ALL the opportunity to rise even when we do stumble…and the hope of knowing that no matter how badly we stumble you will always be there to catch us.