19th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Ezk 18:1-10, 13b, 30-32
The word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, what is the meaning of this proverb that you recite in the land of Israel: “Fathers have eaten green grapes, thus their children’s teeth are on edge”? As I live, says the Lord GOD: I swear that there shall no longer be anyone among you who will repeat this proverb in Israel. For all lives are mine; the life of the father is like the life of the son, both are mine; only the one who sins shall die. If a man is virtuous—if he does what is right and just, if he does not eat on the mountains, nor raise his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel; if he does not defile his neighbor’s wife, nor have relations with a woman in her menstrual period; if he oppresses no one, gives back the pledge received for a debt, commits no robbery; if he gives food to the hungry and clothes the naked; if he does not lend at interest nor exact usury; if he holds off from evildoing, judges fairly between a man and his opponent; if he lives by my statutes and is careful to observe my ordinances, that man is virtuous—he shall surely live, says the Lord GOD. But if he begets a son who is a thief, a murderer, or lends at interest and exacts usury– this son certainly shall not live. Because he practiced all these abominations, he shall surely die; his death shall be his own fault. Therefore, I will judge you, house of Israel, each one according to his ways, says the Lord GOD. Turn and be converted from all your crimes, that they may be no cause of guilt for you. Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies, says the Lord GOD. Return and live!
Gospel: Mt 19:13-15
Children were brought to Jesus that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” After he placed his hands on them, he went away.
LET THE CHILDREN COME TO ME: He says “for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” In another place Jesus said that one must be like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven (Mt 18:3). Jesus manifested a great interest in children. We see children being brought to him so that he may bless and pray for them (Mt 19:13; Mk 10:13; Lk 18:15). Jesus also uses children as models in his preaching to explain some important spiritual truths (see Mt 18:2-6, 10). The disciples were indignant and rebuked the children but Jesus instruct the disciples to allow the children to come to him. (Mt 19:13; Mk 10:13; Lk 18:15). The Israelites also had a tradition of taking all children up to twelve years to the temple on the day of attornment for blessing. What is our attitude towards the children? Are we ready to imitate them to inherit the kingdom of God?
Prayer: Lord help me to be humble to inherit your kingdom.
AS ONE FAMILY WORSHIP THE LORD: It is not uncommon today to find family members who belong to different creeds. It is important for a family to be united in faith. Family leadership is critical here. A good family leader ensures that the members are united with their true origin, namely God. As parents it is our obligation to ensure that our children are brought to God. During infant baptism we are reminded of this obligation and to do so through our lives. Each parent must emulate the leadership and example of Joshua when he says as for me and my house I will serve the Lord. Let us consolidate our houses to the Lord. This is what it means to be Childlike following the humility of our Mother Mary.
ENGAGE WITH CHILDREN: In a world dangerous to children, loving parents wanted to bring their children to Jesus. If he would bless them, pray for them, place his hands on them, then surely those children would be protected, healed, and blessed. They had seen the amazing things Jesus had done for others. They loved their children. Jesus himself had talked about letting children come to him. Why would the disciples stop them? Maybe it’s the same reason we do. We get distracted by other things and let them take us, and our children, away from the Lord. We let problems with our spouse destroy our home and crush our children’s hearts. We get involved in important religious things and forget to involve our children in our spiritual journey. Let’s acknowledge that so many children are kept from Jesus because of the sin, and the refusal of the parents to honor their marriage covenant because of their selfishness.