August 14, 2007
Memorial of Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, priest and martyr
Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
Be like a child. Jesus gives a command in our Gospel text that is often times misinterpreted. We live in a society that tries to not grow old and spends billions trying to stay young. And I dare say that there are times when we all act a bit childish for our age. I know I am guilty of that from time to time.
Jesus is not calling us to act childish. Jesus, I believe, is calling us to have a child like spirituality. I have three nephews who are one of the core parts of my life. The youngest is eight. Every time I see him, I am reminded of just how cynical a man I am. My youngest nephew is an amazing kid. He is honest, loving, generous and trusting. No matter how long it has been since I have seen him, as soon as I enter the room, he trusts me. Even if it has been several months since I was last home for a visit, he treats me like a beloved uncle whom he trusts. That is an amazing gift he gives to me each and every visit.
I think that is what Jesus is getting at in today's Gospel. We are not to act like a child! I dare say that if we all acted like we were eight years old again we would be in a lot of trouble! No, I believe that Jesus wants us to trust like a child, love like a child and pray like a child. It was much easier as a kid to believe and trust God. Unfortunately, as we get older, we lose some of that due to world weariness. Jesus calls us to shed that callous layer that drains the soul of joy. Jesus wants us to live boldly as God's children and trust, love and welcome one another as we give God our lives in service. As God's children, let us give God our trust, love and service.
Maybe if we greeted God each day as the beloved Father whom we trust, love and cherish we would find that the joy we experienced as a kid is still there.