A Child of God’s Kingdom

Mark 10: 13-16
Sir 17:1-15 / Psa 103

Those who will not receive God’s kingdom like a child will never enter it.
(Mark 10:15)

How does one become like a child?
By greeting others with a smile . . .
With a mind pure and undefiled,
And a heart free of any guile.

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10: 13-16)

Reflection

We have much to learn from children if we want to be assured of entry into heaven. Jesus said the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. So what are the qualities of children that we need to “re-learn” to merit God’s kingdom? The first is to have a trusting heart. Children have no anxieties or fears when their parents are near. When our second grandson learned to walk, one of the fun games he discovered was diving from their bed to a pile of pillows he laid on the floor. We found his antics so funny that he kept doing it over and over again. He must have seen divers doing it on tv, and in the presence of his Mommy, he set out to do a show for her fearlessly. As children of a loving God, why should we entertain any fear in our life when we trust that He is always in our midst to protect us and provide for all our needs? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.” (Prov.3:5-6)

Another endearing quality of most children that we need to follow is their desire to please their parents. My grandson kept diving off the bed because he saw how his mother was enjoying his creativity and boldness. The sweetest thing for a child to hear are the words: “I’m so proud of you.” In order to be pleasing to our Father in heaven, it is not enough that we avoid wrongdoing; we must also show our sincere love for others, most especially the poor and underprivileged by works of charity and mercy. Only then can we also hear those cherished words, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” (Mt.25:21)

Finally, from our “apo”, we also learned the importance of a creative spirit, or the desire to discover the wonders of creation. Children have an innate craving to learn new things every day, the reason why they are perpetually asking questions about many things. Parents who are wise and loving never tire to explain things and patiently answer the questions of their children. They know their quest for knowledge is the way to develop their intelligence. God, our Father also wants us to attain wisdom in order to deepen our understanding of our faith. He doesn’t want us to be like zombies, blindly following Church doctrines without grasping their significance.

Jesus reminds us in today’s Gospel that we must regard the kingdom of God in the same way that a child regards his surroundings: with trust, peace of mind, obedience, and spontaneous responsiveness. If we have forgotten because we have become too guarded, too cynical, too practical and mature, it’s never too late to learn from Jesus that to enjoy the peace of God’s kingdom, we must simply receive it like a little child.

Take my hand, sweet Jesus, and lead me to the Father, for there is nothing more that I desire than to be His child. Amen.

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