Saturday, February 26, 2011

God’s Own

February 26, 2011
Saturday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

He forms men's tongues and eyes and ears, and imparts to them an understanding heart. With wisdom and knowledge he fills them; good and evil he shows them. He looks with favor upon their hearts, and shows them his glorious works, that they may describe the wonders of his deeds and praise his holy name. Sirach 17:5-8

When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it." Mark 10:14-15

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on the faithful. For he knows how we are formed, remembers that we are dust. Our days are like the grass; like flowers of the field we blossom. The wind sweeps over us and we are gone; our place knows us no more. But the LORD'S kindness is forever, toward the faithful from age to age. He favors the children's children of those who keep his covenant, who take care to fulfill its precepts.
(Psalm 103:13-19)

We are God’s own. Our first reading from Sirach reminds us of all the graces which God has showered upon us. After bestowing these gifts, God looks “with favor” upon us -- our hearts, our minds and our souls.

The image that illustrates that best is brought to life in the Gospel by St. Mark as he relates Jesus and the interaction with children who flocked to his side. The disciples wanted to give Jesus some time to rest. Yet He stopped them and taught that we must accept the kingdom of God “like a child” with the trust, innocence and love that children were showing toward Jesus.

Sometimes being “childlike” in our society is an insult. If we are childish, people think we are immature, not grown up, not serious. Yet Jesus was intently serious in admonishing us to be like a child.

Too often we try to make our children grow up too quickly. With grades, gifted and talented academic programs, sports competition, beauty pageants, spelling bees and more, we put our children on the competitive road to adulthood at younger and younger ages.

Jesus does not want our children to be little adults. He wants us – the adults – to be grown children, approaching him with the love, devotion and acceptance that children have for those who care for them.

How can you be child like this weekend? Consider the young boy or girl going up for First Communion with all the awe and anticipation of this rite of passage. As you approach the altar for Holy Communion, think back to when you first shared fully in the Lord’s Table. Flock to the altar in joy and anticipation and then bring the Eucharistic “Christ in you” out to the world.