First Reading: Jo 24:14-29; Psalm: 16. R. v. 5a; Gospel: Mt 19:13-15
THE SACRED DUTY OF PARENTS TO CHILDREN
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
“Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 19:14).
Children are lovely gifts from God. But to be realistic, their incessant disturbance and interruptive attitude can wear us out and snatch our peace and quiet. This could be the reason the disciples rebuked the parents who brought their children to Jesus that he might lay his hands on them and bless them. It could be that the disciples observed that Jesus must have been exhausted from work and needed some peace and quiet; so they decided to fend off these parents from bringing their children to Jesus to avoid any further disturbance. This obviously did not go well with Jesus.
Although the disciples meant well for Jesus, but Jesus rebuked their attitude because they obviously neglected what was more important for some personal concerns. Jesus then openly declared, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” These words of Jesus are sacrosanct and must be treated as such. The saintly innocence of children must be cherished and protected. And it is the responsibility of all to ensure that this is done.
We need to honestly quiz ourselves today as to whether we are doing our best to protect the innocence and safety of children. Just like the disciples, many parents and guardians inadvertently hinder their children and wards from the things of God. Some parents hardly take their children to church or pray with them as a family. Instead of Bible stories, parents have exposed their children to filthy movies and social media by letting them have access to smart phones that give them the leeway to explore further. Porn stars, secular music artists and wrestlers have become models for children. Jesus wants us today to reorder our ways and pay keen attention to the upbringing of children; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, help us to be good parents/guardians to the children in our society. Amen.