Mt 19:13-15 Why the Kids?
Jesus said to his disciples: “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
God calls the children closer to Him because children have a stronger sense of wonder than most adults do. Here are four wonders of the Lord that continue to shock me to this day.
God is love. Conservative Christians often complain that God is love. They think it is too lenient. Too many of them prefer the God of judgment and condemnation. Liberal Christians rely way too much on the God of unconditional love. They consider His love to be what they love and therefore abuse His love. Regardless of all this, we cannot blame St. John who wrote “God is love” (1Jn 4:8). After all, he was inspired by the God of love, Jesus Christ.
We think that all religions define God as love. They do not. It is quite unique. It is not commonsense. Our relationship with God could be something very much different. God loves man means God gives man equal footing. This is extraordinary. It is something that we would never have known if it were not for the Son of God.
God is Father. Again, this is shocking. After all, God could easily be the Master and we his pets. Or God could easily be the Scientist and we his experiment. Instead, God is our Creator who would love to be known as our Father.
Teenagers often complain to me about the amount of quality time they have with their mom and dad. They would prefer a smaller home and fewer clothes if it meant spending more time with their father and mother. How shocking! How amazing! In other words, our kids today are just like the kids from yesterday. They don’t just want to live and breathe and have more things. They want a sense of belonging; they want family. They want their parents who attend their recitals, games, award ceremonies, etc… They want to be able to snuggle up to their mom or dad in the evening and have someone to talk to during the day. They want guidance. They want discipline. They may not ask for it, but are scared if they don’t have it.
Some scientists conclude that if there is a God, then he doesn’t do much of anything. After all, the world spins by itself, the seasons come and go like clockwork, and the cycle of life continues to roll. If God exists, then what does He do?
Like so many of us, scientists search for God in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways. With a very limited understanding of science, the Jews had no problem understanding that God was more a Creator than He was an Administrator. Then the Lord came and shocked His disciples when He called God His Father and our Father! In an era of scientific ignorance, the Jews and Christians never looked for God as a Manager; rather, they understood God as personable being.
Kids may brag about their dad for being the better dad, the strongest dad and the smartest dad. But they are most proud of their dad when he is the most loving dad; when he gets up close and personal with them. God does not want to be known for his power, his knowledge, or his ‘presence’. He wants to be known for his love; for being up close and personal. He wants to be known for being a Father.
God became man. The Incarnation is a Christian doctrine we take way too much for granted. We celebrate Christmas as if it were to be expected. It should not be. God becoming man is shocking, if not scandalous. What can we compare it to? Nothing. It is a mystery. Why on earth would God ever want to live on earth? Especially after we messed things up so bad, and not just once or twice but all the time! The answer is love. Love does crazy things to a person, even to God… who is love. Love makes people go bonkers. The love that God has for us is the only imaginable explanation for the Incarnation.
But not only did God become a man, he became a poor child. The Almighty-One became the little one. The Unlimited One became the limited one. The heavenly king became an earthly thing.
In God becoming man, the Lord taught us that no matter what position you hold in life, no matter what titles you have on earth, you are nothing if you do not give and forgive. God becoming man reminds us of how important one’s heart, one’s mind, one’s soul is in the grand scheme of things.
Eating God. Take this all of you and eat it. This is my body which will be given up for you. Is this not shocking? Do you understand what this means? That Christ’s words were not enough to love us; He needed to die for us. That His death was not enough to save us; He needed to transform us. And to do so required that He give us His body, blood, soul and divinity. “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you” (cf. Jn 6:53). Is this not shocking?
When we receive the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, we do not receive Him in order to change Him; we receive Him to let God change us! The Lord wants us to become more like Him; that is, to be created in the image and likeness of God.
If this is not shocking, then I don’t know what is!