“ The right temperature at home is more surely maintained…
… by the warm hearts and cool heads of those who live there…
… than by electric thermostats”
This quote very rightly corresponds to the other popular quote:
“ A house is built with bricks and beams…
… A home is built with love and dreams!”
Family Life is an important component of every society.
The Gospel of the Day presents to us an occasion to dwell on a reflection on our families…
… and some of the basic essentials that needs to be part of every family (community included as well!)
The Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 19, has an interesting structure or a progression with respect to the topics discussed and the persons involved.
The chapter begins with a discussion on the institution of ‘Marriage’. (Mt 19: 2-10)
>> Jesus explains the importance of this sacred bond and a strong exhortation is given on the need to do away with divorce.
The chapter proceeds, as we see in today’s reading, with a discussion on ‘little children’. (Mt 19: 13-15)
This discussion is followed by an incident in which a ‘young man’ encounters Jesus ( Mt 19: 16-22)
The Chapter will finally end with an exhortation by Jesus to have maturity as an ‘adult’ is making choices for the Kingdom of God! ( Mt 19: 23-30)
>> Thus, the Chapter 19 of Matthew is a travel through a FAMILY context…
… starting from MARRIAGE…and the need to avoid DIVORCE…
… to little CHILDREN
… to the problems of a YOUTH
… and finally ending with the choices as an ADULT.
In today’s Gospel, we have the discussion on Little Children. (Mt 19: 13-15)
Though its a short passage, the Gospel gives us enough food for thought…
… especially in the context of a family or a community life.
We see four different groups or sets of people in today’s Gospel Passage, and we can learn some aspects from each of those sets…
>> Three of them give us a positive quality which is to be inculcated
>> One gives a negative quality which is to be avoided in life.
1. Firstly, the Gospel begins with the statement, ” Little children were brought to Jesus…” (Mt 19: 13a)
Probably the parents, the elder brothers/sisters or the guardians of the children would have brought them to Jesus.
>> So we see here, the First set of people… Parents, Guardians, Elders etc…. and they teach us the First Positive Quality – the Spirit of Responsibility!
They were Responsible in caring for the good and future of the children.
It was an ancient practice that children would be brought to Rabbis to be blessed and prayed over.
>> This first set of people teach us to be responsible for the growth of others in our family and in our communities.
2. The Second set of people are obviously the Little Children.
These little ones teach us the Second Positive Quality, needed in a family or a community – the Spirit of Receptivity!
Children display a great sense of receptivity and openness.
>> They are able to accept the affection, the care, the love and the blessings that are given to them.
>> They do not close themselves to the good things in life.
We too need to cultivate this Spirit of Receptivity, to be open to the actions, thoughts, views and feelings of others in our family and our community.
3. The Third Set of people display a negative attitude which we need to avoid.
>> When the children were brought to Jesus, the Disciples refuse to accept them and want to keep them away (Mt 19: 13b)
They show a Spirit of Rejection!
They perhaps felt that these children would be a nuisance to Jesus and His ministry.
>> They felt it as a waste of time and energy to entertain the children.
Little things in life were considered to be a useless and futile activity.
We need to avoid this Spirit of Rejection…
>> In our families or communities, we can have this attitude towards those who don’t do any work or fail to contribute anything.
We often fail to understand the importance…
… of little tokens of love
… tiny expressions of care by our family and community members
>> And we, instead, tend to reject and avoid them.
4. The fourth Set is represented by Jesus Himself…
… and he presents the Spirit of Restoration and Redemption.
He does not reject…
… rather, He accepts and seeks to redeem the little children.
He seeks to restore the little ones who are rejected…
… who are avoided and who are not given the due importance.
In our lives, we too need to be having a Spirit of Redemption and Restoration…
>> To redeem the ones who are at the periphery and who fail to get any attention
>> To Restore the ones who are broken and abused and are shunned!
Thus, the this powerful Gospel passage teaches us…
>> To avoid the Negative Quality of the Spirit of Rejection…
>> To adopt the positive qualities of…
… The Spirit of Responsibility,
… The Spirit of Receptivity
… The Spirit of Redemption and Restoration!
Let us seek the Intercession of our Blessed Mother that we may avoid the tendency to Reject People…
>> And instead, we may be…
… Responsible towards others
… Receptive to others
… and Redeem and Restore the lives of others!
>> And thus build happy and loving homes!
Yes, let us always remember:
“It takes hands to build a house…
… But it takes hearts to build a home!”
God Bless! Live Jesus!