First Reading: Ezk 18:1-10b. 13b. 30-32;Psalm: 51. R. v. 12a; Gospel: Mt 19:13-15
PROTECT THE CHILD
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
The children who came to Jesus for blessings were apparently brought by their parents. The resistance of the disciples to this move may be interpreted as harsh by the parents of these children or the crowd at large. But the disciples only meant good for their master. Children can be very unsettling to be with and the disciples wanted to spare Jesus this hassle because of his exhaustion from work. But surprisingly, Jesus lightly rebuked them and asked that the children be allowed to come to him for to them belongs the kingdom of heaven.
What a sigh of joy their parents must have felt to hear this. Jesus did not only welcome these children and but laid his hands on them. This welcoming gesture of Jesus to children and his blessings on them through the laying on of hands is a loud message that they are divinely and specially cherished and protected by God. And as such, we who are their guardians, both parents and other adults must be very careful on how we treat and train them. So, it is divine injunction to pay close attention to children and protect them from any harm.
Obviously, many children have been exposed to several abuses by either their parents or the society meant to protect them. Many are facing physical, emotional and sexual abuse and are in dire need of rescue. What then can we do to protect these abused children since many of them have been cowed to silence by those who abuse them? There are overt signs in abused children that we need to look out for. Signs like jittery voice, apprehensive look or reaction when approached, lack of confidence, excessive fear, constant weakness or tiredness, bodily scars, seclusion, to mention but a few. When we observe these signs, we shouldn’t overlook them but make some investigations and report. We could be saving the child, and this is what Jesus wants from us.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, help us to be good guardians to the children in our society. Amen.