The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
No one likes to be taken advantage of. No one likes to be used. The same holds true for the Lord. Today, during a talk to the youth, I gave this advice repeatedly. “Say your prayers! Say your prayers!” And then I asked, “Why?” Most could not give me a valid reason for it. Some said, “So that your needs can be known.” The answer I guess is not so obvious. We pray so that we can be more like the Lord. And it is worth it! Do you know anyone who was braver than Christ? Do you know anyone that was stronger than the Lord or more loving than Him? Do you know someone more giving and forgiving? I want to be like Him! I want a piece of His heart, His peace, His strength!
These are some of things that are hidden from the wise. They don’t see the power of prayer or the power of Jesus Christ. What makes a wise man strong? Knowledge or love? The answer is both. Knowledge is taught. Love is experienced. The wise get stuck in knowledge. The young get absorbed by love. These are the two extremes. But love is more appreciated than knowledge.
Yesterday I went to a Public School as an invited “friend.” It was an awesome experience. I had high expectations and I was not disappointed. As soon as I entered the classroom, I could see the eyes of the children light up or turn curious. Some knew me from Church. Others did not know what to make out of this strangely dressed man. One child thought I was a police officer. My young host was quick to point out that I was a priest. Actually, he said, “I was his priest.” I am glad to say I stole the show that day. I don’t know how it happened, but almost all the kids from his class wanted to say hello to me. It was probably the collar. They asked, “Does that hurt.” I told them, “Only spiritually, not physically.” Years from now they will understand what that means.
After a bit of chit-chatting, the time came for the kids to get down to business. They needed to complete their homework assignment by interviewing their guest. The questions were interesting. But in a child’s mind, they are not so obvious. The second question on their questionnaire was, I thought, pretty straight forward: “What’s your relationship to your guest?” My little friend hesitated. I told him, “Write down ‘friend’”. He looked at me with puzzled eyes. I looked at him with puzzled eyes too and said, “Well, I’m not your mommy or your daddy. I’m not your sister or your brother?” He immediately shot back, “Well, you’re my brother in Christ.” I couldn’t believe it. I told him, “You know what son, you got that right! Right it down and tell all your friends that!”
When it came down to writing things that I like to do he didn’t even wait for me to answer the questions, he said, “I know what you like to do…you like to help others, to pray for others and to laugh.”
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.”
When it comes to knowledge and love I think children learn fast because they love quickly! Let us seize this moment in their lives to help them grow strong, brave, giving and forgiving like Jesus Christ!