Today’s Gospel offers each of us a kind of ‘wake up’ call. The ‘long form’ includes the story of Jesus calling the little children to come to Him, as He instructs the disciples not to ‘hinder’ them. Jesus was not too busy to chat with the children, to listen to them, to make space for them among the crowds. Jesus wanted to make it known that He valued the children and that no one should cause them any harm or ‘disrespect’ . That’s truly a counter-cultural message for people in Jesus’ day, and we ourselves are learning that it rings true in our time, too.
Regardless of our age or place in life, we are invited to look out for the ‘little ones’ among us. This is a challenge we all face together. The realities of abuse and of human trafficking confront us in our often comfortable lives and activities. So, our personal concern and attention to respect ‘the others’—young or old—becomes the centerpiece of our lives as Jesus’ followers!
Jesus, as surely as You made room for the children to come and enjoy Your embrace, teach us to love and respect and welcome the children and ‘little ones’ we are blessed to meet each day.