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OUR COVENANT WITH GOD AND JESUS’ LOVE OF CHILDREN

Father Francis's picture
Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Joshua 24:14-29 & Mt. 19:13-15

Just before his death Joshua gathered the people of Israel together to renew their covenant with the Lord. “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord" he said. They followed his example.

The memorial stone that Joshua erected to commemorate this solemn agreement was a silent witness. Since it had 'heard' the promises made by both the people and God, its very presence would convict the lsraelites if ever they departed from their pledge. That stone would also remind them of the faithfulness of God, who had bound Himself to continue taking care of them, as He had done for generations from the time of Abraham.

One day there will be a tombstone erected over our grave. Supposing God was to chisel an epitaph on our tombstone. What would we like Him to write? 'Here is one who tried to build his or her character on Christ – lived a life of prayerful reflection, thoughtfulness, resisted temptation and took the initiative to play his part in the building of the kingdom of God'? Let us remember that each small act of kindness and self-sacrifice on our part will be recorded by God and will have an impact on those who cross our pathway in life.

How do you relate to children? Some children are loving and affectionate and it is a pleasure to be with them. Some are noisy, disruptive, rude, selfish and show offs and you don't want to know them. The latter we prefer to be seen and not heard!

Some parents brought their children to Jesus in today's Gospel so that He could lay His hands on them and bless them. It seems the disciples thought that He had more important things to do with His time and wanted to shoo them away. But He said, "Let the children come to Me, and do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these." In saying that he was explaining how, in Jesus' eyes, children are just as important as adults. Those parents must have been very pleased that He made time for them!

How should we define the Kingdom of Heaven? The Kingdom of Heaven is that society on Earth where God's will is done as perfectly as it is in Heaven. If those children were to have died at that moment they would have gone straight to Heaven for they had done nothing wrong to incur the anger of God and the pains of Hell.

Children have very wonderful qualities like complete trust and utter dependence on their parents, a sense of wonder and speaking openly of what is in their hearts, sometimes to the embarrassment of their parents. These are the childlike traits that we adults seem to have lost although they were the ones which endeared those children to Jesus.

Let us as adults lead lives that are pleasing to God, so that we can hear from Jesus the words, "the Kingdom of God belongs to such as you” when we meet Him at our Judgement.

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