Grace to you!
It’s heartening watching parents bring their children to Jesus. It’s always pleasant. So also is the sight of a child leading the grace before meals in a restaurant while you, probably forgetting to say the grace yourself, observe her from a distance.
The innocence plus purity of the child's emulation of parents in their faith-life is charming too. It's incredible.
Kids are the best copycats of their parents and teachers. If we would lead them to the Lord, it has to begin when they are little.
The Jews of the time of Jesus knew this quite well. As was their custom, they brought their children to Jesus for his blessings. The blessings of an elder upon a child goes a long way. I don’t know why, but surely it does. The Jews know how to tap the best opportunities for blessings. I applaud them.
In my native Igbo African culture, even before the advent of Christianity, it was a given that the child who receives blessings from elders receives good fortune.
Hispanic people share similar views. Little surprise that we see from many Hispanic Catholics the practice of bringing children for the priest's blessing after Mass. It's a beautiful practice, worthy of emulation.
Scripture says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverb 22:6). The best way surely is the way of the Lord.
Unfortunately, many churches' infrastructure do not seem to encourage parents to bring their children to church. For many parents, no crying room signals kids stay at home. Many times, as these children grow, they will not want to be in church because they simply weren't used to it. We know kids love a familiar environment.
Don’t let the lack of crying rooms stop parents from bringing their children to Jesus at the Eucharistic celebration. Before our churches started having crying rooms, didn’t we accommodate the “crying babies”?
It would be wonderful if we were more understanding. I believe parents who bring their children to church want those children to know the Lord. Let us encourage them. Those crying babies are a blessing of fruitfulness to and in our churches.
Let us not be like the disciples of Jesus who rebuked parents for bringing children to Jesus for blessings (See Matthew 19:13). Let us support those parents, especially the ones with large families. Little smiles to them when their children act out, gestures of kindness, and friendly attitudes could reassure them that they and their kids are welcome in the church. Whether there is a crying room or no crying room, they are appreciated.
As the Blessed Lord said, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:14).
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Saturday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time A. Jos 24:14-29; Matthew 19:13-15]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.