9 August 2022
Tuesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Recently, a young father described to me the tenderness of holding his new son in the middle of the night. He feels most alive when he embraces his flesh and blood. He listens more attentively to the cooing, the crying, and the laughter from the young child in the silent night. His dreams for his son become so visible to his imagination and heart when in the dark they are comforting each other.
In MT 18: 1-5, 10, 12-14, we listen to Jesus describe how the child teaches us to live. The vulnerability of a child reveals our dependence on the very heart and mercy of God. We know that Jesus invites us into a relationship of sheer beauty, of relying solely on love, tenderness and kindness. We are our Father’s child. In our baptism, we are special heirs of the Kingdom. God sees our potential and will not let us be separated from him.
I believe Jesus chases us because we are also comfort to him. He wants us to know we belong to him and to the flock. He wants us to be open to the sound of God’s voice when we think we know the best path for us. Jesus desires us to strip away our wealth, our egos, our sense of certainty, to live more fully in the mystery of God. This mystery is revealed to us most especially when we are lost.
I listened with great delight to the young father. The look on his face was sheer joy. The youthful dad had been through many rough moments in life. He is now on a path of inner integrity and joy. His life is worth more as he captures a moment in the nighttime to comfort his son. He belongs to his son and his son belongs to him.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.