Daily Gospel Reflection for August 16, 2014

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Today’s Gospel: Matthew 19:13-15

Today’s Gospel is familiar almost to the point of cliché.  People bring their children to Jesus, the disciples try to send them away, Jesus says, “Let the children come to me.”

Is there something new to be found in this reading?

No.  There is something very old.  

We have a temptation in the spiritual life to make it all about success. All about arriving.  Having it together. Christians are the people who know how to behave.  Sacraments are for the people who are holy enough to deserve them.

Our Lord says the opposite: If you were that holy, why would I have to suffer for you?  Save yourselves, then.

We are child-like when we recognize our dependence on the Lord.  Our need for Him.  Not in some woozy feel-good way, but in a genuinely stricken, “Wow! I’m really not going to be able to do this without You, Lord.”

We can make this passage trite by pretending it’s all about goofy songs instead of serious worship at Mass, or some other trendy way to substitute amateurism for sincerity.  But watch children: They are serious creatures.  A child’s drawing might be immature, but it is never a false-humility, a fake babyishness.  Children are as grown-up as they are able.  The difference is they know how small they happen to be.

Ponder:

In what parts of your life do you have to give up your pretenses and rely entirely on God for help?  Shouldn’t those be the parts of your life for which you are most grateful?

Pray:

Lord, we’re surrounded by childishness.  Help us to be grateful for the immature, irresponsible, incompetent friends you’ve given us.  Help us to be willing grown-ups and grateful children.  Amen.

Copyright 2014 Jennifer Fitz

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