Gospel Reading: Mt 19:13-15
Children were brought to Jesus that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
After he placed his hands on them, he went away.
LET THE CHILDREN COME TO ME
In the time of Jesus, children are of little significance, and their sudden intrusive appearance here while Jesus and his disciples are on the way to Jerusalem may be construed as a distraction. But Jesus stops the disciples’ close guarding. Just as is the case in regard to the divorce saying (cf 19:3-9), the statement that the Kingdom of heaven belongs to children is essentially a repetition of an earlier teaching in Matthew (cf 18:5).
The reason for this, of course, is that the command to “let the children come to me, and do not prevent them” is, in effect, a command to knock down the barriers between the Church and all the “little ones,” all who lack worth and status in the eyes of the world. Decent people are willing to be charitable, willing to reach out and make a contribution to the downtrodden.
Jesus’ word, however, is much more radical. The little children, the migrant workers, the forgotten elderly in a nursing home, the street children, etc. – these are the ones to whom the Kingdom of heaven belongs. They have nothing except the care of a merciful God. The mission of the Church is to see to it that these least ones have a place in the family feast of God.
“Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom” (cf Mt 11:25).
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