Thursday, January 25, 2018

Sto. Nino: Let the children come to me

JANUARY 21, 2018

Jesus, I trust in you!

People were bringing children to Jesus so that he may bless them. But the disciples rebuked them. After all, Jesus has become a celebrity of sorts. His healing power made him very popular. And so, a celebrity like him should not be bothered by trivial matters like children. Is this not what we do when we receive important visitors at home? Do we not order our children to go and play outside so as not to bother important guests? Do we not dismiss children in the presence of celebrities? Apparently, we are no different from the disciples of the Lord.

However, when the Lord saw this, he became indignant and said to them: “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them.” The Lord challenges the worldly paradigm that great people, celebrities, must be inaccessible and so remain mysterious. He associates greatness to accessibility. A great person must be accessible to others. In other words, “dapat madali siyang lapitan.” And who is the truly accessible/approachable one? He is the one who easily accommodates the little children. If little children can approach that person, anyone can approach him. And this is what the Lord reveals to us today: God is an approachable God. The Lord tells us: “Let the little children come to me. Do not prevent them.” No one is to be prevented from approaching him…not even the little children. In fact, in order to encourage children to approach him, he himself became a little child. Is it not true that children are not intimidated by other children like themselves? While they may shy away from adults, children will never be afraid of approaching other children like themselves. And so God became a little child. And never will he forget that he was once a little child. Adults like us can become very cranky towards little children. And when we do so, others reprimand us by saying: “Have you never been a child before?” Unlike our cranky selves, the Lord Jesus has never forgotten that he was once a child. Thus, he tells us that we should never prevent children from approaching him. He understands children because he was once a child.

And so, we must never prevent children from approaching the Lord. At a very early age, we should accustom them to go to Church so that they may be familiar with the Lord. Sometimes, we encounter priests who get upset with the crying of a baby in Church. They easily dismiss parents by telling them not to bring their noisy children to church. But when will you bring your children to church? When they are teenagers? Do you seriously think that if you do not bring your children to church while they are young and impressionable, you can successfully bring them to church as independent-minded teenagers? I don’t think so. If you are unable to bring them to church while they are young, you may never be able to successfully bring them when they get older. This is why we must start them young. Their relationship with the Lord must begin at an early stage. At a very young age, they must learn to develop a friendship with the Lord because a relationship is not created overnight. By bringing our children to church, we provide for them the opportunity to know and befriend the Lord. This is the kind of friendship that will benefit them for a lifetime.

The Santo NiÑo invites us all to draw close to him. Do not hesitate. If little children should not be prevented from approaching him, no one should be prevented from drawing close to him. To God who made himself little for us, we should hasten without hesitation. After all, he said, “Let the children come to me. Do not prevent them for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!   

1 comment:

  1. Father Joe:

    Namessage ko na po ito sa Office of Communication two weeks ago and they said that nirelay nila sa Liturgy Office pero wala pa rin pong sagot. Alam ko pong hindi kayo under ng Archdiocese of Manila pero di po nila sinasagot ang tanong ko. Ito po yung minessage ko sa kanila pati sa Liturgy Office na nangseen lang sa akin nang ilang beses.

    Good morning!

    I just want to ask bakit hindi ang local ordinary (archbishop) ang naglead ng midnight mass sa traslacion and he attended just as a homilist and "in choro"? I have ssen this practice was started last year. The Ceremonial of Bishops discourage this practice stating nonverbatim that:

    1. When the bishop is present, he shpuld preside the mass;
    2. Some situations where #1 may not be observed is when for example a priest is celebrating his ordination anniversary or thanksgiving mass, but the case with Traslacion is it is a public Church event with the people. The mass being presided by the bishop is a good opportunity to see the hoerarchy of the Church, not for greater external solemnity.
    3. If a priest is the main celebrant and a bishop is present, the bishop should be the one introducing and concluding the prayers of the faithful and the one to impart the final blessing.

    Okay lang sana kung ibang bishop yung maglelead and nandun si Cardinal Tagle as a concelebrant, but having a priest as main celebrant and the Archbishop and the Apostolic Nuncio just there attending in choro, I think, is a lost opportunity for the bishop to shepherd his flock.

    I hope for answers po sa question ko. Thank you