It was celebrated on Friday the 4th of March at Lux Mundi Torre del Mar and at the Anglican Chapel of St Andrew in Los Boliches, Fuengirola. The 2016 celebration has been prepared by the Christian women of Cuba who have chosen the motto
“When you receive then children, you receive me”
Maybe that’s what Jesus wanted to hear from the disciples when the children were brought to him to bless them! By contrast, the disciples spoke sharply to them. Jesus challenged the disciples so they could see God’s love in the faces of those children and take this into consideration. Let them come and learn how to receive the Kingdom of God! When you receive then children, you receive me.
REFLECTIONS ON THE GOSPEL. MARK (10,13-16) Toñi Garcia Molina
People were bringing little children to him, for him to touch them. The disciples turned them away but when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to those such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. I tell you solemnly anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. Then he put his arms round them, laid his hands on them and gave them his blessing. Mark (10,13-16)
This passage is told in all the synoptic gospels and is treated in the same way by all three. Matthew (19, 13-15) Luke (18, 15-17)
WHY IS JESUS SHOWING A SPECIAL INTEREST IN CHILDREN?
One day, the twelve apostles were arguing as to who was the greatest (Mark 9.33 to 37). Jesus knew what they were thinking, he said disconcerting words that moved and shook them, “Whoever wants to be first will be the last of all and the servant of all.”
In addition, he accompanied his words with the gesture of seeking out a child. Perhaps a child found abandoned on a street in Capernaum? He took the child in and placed him in the middle of a meeting of those who would be the future leaders of the Church and says to them,
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me.” Jesus identifies with the child that he just takes it in his arms. He says it is “a child like this one” that represents the best, so that welcoming such a child is the same as welcoming Him.
They will be his representatives on earth until the end of time. As you did to them you did to me (Matthew 25:40). The “least of his brothers” those who are not taken into account , the disinherited and those who are treated as any old thing because they have no power nor prestige, they are the road, the forced step, to live in communion with God.
If Jesus placed a child in the midst of his assembled disciples it is also so that they and the rest of humanity agree to be like a child and took them to be our model.
WHAT HE WANTS TO SAY “LIKE A CHILD”?
Jesus contrasts the attitude of the Pharisees, who always come to Him with twisted intentions and arrogant gestures, with the attitude of children who do not even have the ability to reach Jesus and must be presented by others, arguing even with the disciples. Children have nothing to hide or to offer, so they are the role model for those who wish to belong to the Kingdom of God.
What does it mean then “welcome the kingdom of God like a child”? A child trusts without reflecting. You cannot live without trusting those around you. Their confidence is not a virtue, it is a vital reality. To find God, what is best is to have a heart like a child, that is spontaneously open, daring to ask simply, wanting to be loved.
Jesus sees in children a set of values that adults have forgotten throughout our lives and we have been moving away from union with God so for this he repeatedly stresses to us:
– That we maintain the INNOCENCE that we had when we were little without thinking whether it suits us or not, without prejudging in advance of anything or anyone, without discrimination on many grounds.
– That we maintain the TRUST we put in God, like a child full of confidence in the care and protection of their parents, knowing that they will never fail them, feeling so small and trusting in the Father that we are not to be afraid because God always wants the best for us, feeling the love with which we were created.
– That we maintain a GRATEFUL HEART for all the good things that we receive every day, becoming more aware of it.
– That we keep our JOY, despite all the setbacks and difficulties that we encounter on the road, to be able to enjoy life, the world, freedom and all that is good with what God has given us .
– That we keep HOPING to one day meet him after a lifetime of falls, wanderings, meetings, at the end … searching.
– That we maintain the VITALITY of a child to cooperate with God in building a more humane and more just world.
– For us to stay AVAILABLE for the service and assistance for those who need us, seeing in others the face of God that looks at us, smiles at us and asks us for help.
– That we keep the HUMILITY that makes us see how small and insignificant we are compared to our Creator, but also with the GREATNESS of feeling within us the divine spark that makes us know that we are children of God.
TO WHAT DO WE REFER WHEN WE SPEAK OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD?
The Kingdom of God refers to the situation of those who have transformed their heart, understanding this as the depth and direction of every human being and have God as the absolute value of their lives and relationships with others. The Kingdom of God is the goal of the whole community.
We remember what Jesus said to these same disciples: “The secret of the kingdom of God is given to you” (Mark 4:11). Because of the kingdom of God, the disciples have left everything to follow Jesus. They seek God’s presence, they want to be part of his kingdom. But behold, Jesus warns them that by rejecting the children, they are closing the only door that leads to the Kingdom of God so desired.
“We welcome the Kingdom of God as we welcome a child.” Welcoming a child, is hosting a promise. A child grows and develops. Thus the kingdom of God will never be something completed on earth, but a promise that will grow but as something unfinished. And children are unpredictable. In the Gospel story, they come when they come, and evidently is not the right time according to the disciples. But Jesus insists that we must welcome them because they are there. We also welcome the presence of God when present, in the good or bad moment. You have to follow suit. To accept the kingdom of God like we receive a child, is to watch and pray that He is welcome when He comes, always unexpectedly, timely or untimely.
The Kingdom of God is where the man will get his definitive fulfillment. It is a kingdom of love and of a simple life in the innocence of the heart. It is not a physical or material realm, but is a realm which we enter when we are baptized and remain in the faith of Christ, but who lives within each of us. The Kingdom of God is already among us, in those who believe that it is made gradually, in their hearts and conscience, their customs are adapting more and more to the new love of God and they are transforming bad relationships, selfishness, discrimination, exploitation in more supportive relationships, just and peaceful.
Therefore, let us not tire of giving thanks to our God, for He continues to intervene shaping the history of mankind in our little lives. Lighting up with hope, pain and injustice! He is with us and guides our steps in the daily struggle and in sharing with the brothers.
For more information: www.wwdp-natcomm.org