– A CHRISTIAN MODEL
One day, some mothers present their kids to Jesus so that he may take them in his arms and caress them (Mk 10:13). The disciples, who judge this excessive familiarity an inconvenience, drive them away with rebukes. Jesus reacts: “the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” The episode is narrated with varying shades of meaning by the three synoptic gospels. While Mark and Matthew speak of children, Luke says that newborns are presented to Jesus (Lk 18:15).
If children do something lovely, they merit the love of the parents. But the newborns have not begun to do anything at all. They are the image of one who is able to receive freely. Jesus singles out newborns as models of the attitude we should have in front of God. They are directly opposite to the Pharisee who prides himself in all the good he has done.
Jesus says that one cannot enter the kingdom of God unless s/he becomes like a newborn baby; which is not aware of owing always and all to the one who gave and continues to give it life.
When one thinks of attributing to oneself the good work, s/he could no longer be a newborn and auto-excludes himself/herself from God’s kingdom. Paul says: “What have you that you have not received? And if you received it, why are you proud, as if you did not receive it?” (1 Cor 4:7).
TO INTERNALIZE THE MESSAGE, LET US REPEAT:
“O Lord, you reserved to the small ones the gift of the Kingdom of God.”