Etymologically, the term “child” comes from the Latin word infans which means ” the little one who does not speak “.
For the Romans, this term designates the child from its birth, up to the age of 7 years. During this stage, the child lives a total life of dependence.
It is during this stage that the child learns some virtues that will lead him or her later in life. The child is dependent and always looks up to the parents for guidance, provisions and instructions.
Therefore, to become a child before God means to live a life of total relationship with God. At an early age, the child stays closely with the parents. You rarely see them alone. They are always in the company and protected by the safe hands of their parents.
Therefore, to be a child before God is a life of total dependence and a relationship with God. And in today’s gospel, Jesus says that the kingdom is for those who are like them.
Therefore, if we become like them, the kingdom of God is already assured. In essence, to be like a child is the way to encounter the kingdom of God. If we become a child before God, we will love to cling to Him all the days of our lives. We would not like to lose Him or fall from His hands. We would love God with our whole hearts. For, no child hates his parents.
In the gospel, Some people were bringing little children to Jesus, So that Jesus would touch them. The disciples turned them away from Jesus, but when Jesus saw this he was indignant.
Jesus said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them. He says to them that it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.
Then, Jesus warns that anyone who does not welcome His teachings or welcome the Kingdom of God such as these little children will never enter into the kingdom. He then blesses them.
In the Jewish culture, children are often brought to rabbis and elders to be blessed, customarily by placing hands on them (cf. Gen 48:14; Matt 9:18, 20; Mark 10:16).
The first point of observation that we can observe in this gospel is that those little children are eager to encounter Jesus and receive His blessings, otherwise, when they were turned away by the disciples of Jesus, they would have decided not to come back to Jesus again.
Imagine how you would feel if you received such embarrassment. Therefore, today’s gospel is a pointer that one specific characteristic of true children of God is the eagerness and hunger for His divine presence.
We have to develop that serious hunger for the Lord and also to receive His blessings all the time. To be in God’s presence and receive the blessings of God should always give us sleepless times. And Jesus promises those who seek Him, the satisfaction and blessings that come from Him.
In Matthew 5:6, Jesus says “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
In John 6:35, Jesus says “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. Therefore, if we become a child before God, He will surely satisfy our hunger and thirst.
To be A Child before God.
We can then ask what does it mean to a child before God? Or what characteristics show that we have become a child before God. To do these, let us check the characteristics of Children and then do a possible application to our lives. Among the characteristics of children are:
1. Children have so much confidence once they are with their parents or guardians. Children are always so confident when they are with their guardians and parents.
Therefore, if we become a child before God, we develop a sense of trust and confidence in God. We would not see the promises of God as lies or a waste of time.
Then, we would always believe that His words are true. We would not doubt His words. That is why He says that unless we accept His teachings just like little children, we would not enter the Kingdom of God.
2. Children easily trust their parents or people who are related to them. They trust with their whole heart and do not fear when they are with their parents.
When you pursue them, they run to their parents. Therefore, if we become a child before God, we will have deep trust in God even in times of challenges.
We would trust God even when life is not treating us well. If we become a child before God, we would run to God rather than running away from Him in times of challenges.
3. Children are always humble. They may cry but when you console them and talk to them silently, they nod their heads and believe you. Children are always known with humility.
Therefore, if we become a child before God, we will always humble ourselves before God. We would not be proud when it comes to being in God’s presence.
4. When you promise to give children some provisions, they will trust and continue to wait on you, and even remind you of the promise until you fulfil it. Therefore, if we become a child before God, we have to always trust in God’s provision.
We will trust in God’s graces and ever abiding presence if we become a child before God. They do not worry about lack, what they know is their parents must provide whenever they cry and ask for something.
They do not also rely so much on themselves but the protective power of their guardians. Therefore, if we become a child before God, we do not have to worry about lack and kill ourselves when things do not get well for us. We have to trust God whether good or bad.
5. Children do not bear grudges or quarrel with anyone. They may quarrel with you today and reconcile with you tomorrow. They are always innocent, without guilt.
Their hearts are very pure. Therefore, if we become a child before God, we will live without grudges with anyone.
We will not go around living in bitterness for anybody. We would like to live our lives freely, without any form of dissension or trouble. Therefore, we have to avoid sin, bitterness, guilt, and grudges and then long towards purity of heart always.
Let us Seek This
In the gospel, Jesus says to the disciples “
I tell you solemnly, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ In this statement, we will see His eagerness to see us live like little children.
Therefore, if we also decide to obey Jesus and live like little children, we have to seek this with all our hearts. As the children came to Him today seeking His blessing, let us always come to Him seeking that He will bless us.
May God bless us and give us the grace to be close to Him. May all our efforts in this life, never be in vain. Amen.