Thursday – September 25, 2014; Matthew 18:1-5
18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls upon us to become like little children…when I first read this I thought of when my daughter was younger and she would get sick and wake me up I the morning to tell me she did not feel well, and I knew that I would be spending the day taking care of her, helping her to feel better.
She trusted me to help her, and make sure she got to the doctor (if needed) and to get her juice and to sit with her until she started to feel better. At that age she looked to me for her support, with a strong sense of trust that I could take care of any problem…if took a lot of faith for her to do that…and love, and I did the best I could to take care of her.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls upon us to come to him like that trusting, sick child…who needs the love and care of our Heavenly Father to ensure that we find the healing we need; instead, when overwhelmed with life and our responsibilities we can come to God more like a surly teenager, unhappy with everything in our lives, complaining and frustrated, demanding that we get what we want and get it now!!!
For many of us with teenagers, or who have gone through these years with our children, we know that when teens become demanding, obstinate or just plain obnoxious they can be less than ‘loveable’! Yet we still do love them, and worry over them all the more.
Like a teenager we too can become demanding and frustrating…angry with the way things have worked out for us in our lives, when we feel we have no time for ourselves as we have had to put aside our own ambitions and hopes aside so that we could take care of our children…only to watch them go off in a direction that we know is bad for them (maybe because we have gone in the same direction when we were younger); when we feel as if God is not paying enough attention to us…in short when we are feeling sorry for ourselves, and want God to make everything all better for us and our children right away, because our problems are just that much more important than those of any one else…And I think you get the point.
The good news is that just as we love our children, even when they are less than loveable, so too does God love us, when we become a challenge! In spite of our attitudes and even angry disappointment, God still loves us and forgives us for being human, and will give us the help we need to see us through our tough times. God reaches out to help us through the promise of Christ, who is alive and active in our world, both through the Spirit and through the spirit that lives in each of us, as we gather to share our faith, and to celebrate the joy of living, one day at a time…together, in spite of all the troubles life throws at us, and those we make for ourselves.
Working with others can help us to find new solutions to old problems as we vent our frustrations and ask for help. The support and compassion shown to us by those around us (family, friends, professionals and strangers) and the help that we show to others who are going through similar problems, can lead us to healing and to comfort. Gifts we can also share with our children, as through the help of others we can be on better ground to share our faith in all we do, including reaching out to help our children as they face the many challenges of growing up!
And now we come back to what Jesus said about coming to him as children…maybe I was wrong, and he did not really mean to come as a poor, meek child, but as an angry but hurting teenager, in need of humility (not humiliation), direction, and the healing power of love that can shine the light of God’s grace into a troubled heart!
For as followers of Jesus, called to act as Christ to the world, we know that it is not our troubles, or our fears that are the greatest and most powerful forces in our lives, but instead it is love and hope that has the power to transform our lives and the world, and that this power grows stronger the more we share it with each other.
Let us Pray:
Lord, let us remember that it is your love that is the greatest of all, and that Christ is your love given to us, so that the light of your grace can shine brightly in our lives and in our world. Please help us to come to you as children…if not as meek and mild ‘little ones’ then let us come as unhappy and frustrated teens, seeking meaning, direction and love in the midst of our sometimes tumultuous lives as single parents. Let us remember that our faith and hope grows stronger the more we share it with each other, and with our children, and that to follow you is the best direction we can give to our children.