GOSPEL READING: Matthew 19:13-15
13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people; 14 but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.
Do you seek to help others draw near to the Lord?
The parents who brought their children to Jesus wanted Jesus to lay his hands upon them. They knew of the healing power, both physical and spiritual, which came from Jesus’ touch. Jesus, in turn, rebuked his disciples for hindering the children from coming. The disciples may have wanted to shield Jesus from the nuisance of noisy children. But Jesus delighted in the children and demonstrated that God’s love has ample room for everyone, including children.
Pray for the young to grow strong in faith
No one is unimportant to God. He comes to each person individually and uniquely that he might touch them with his healing love and power. Do you show kindness to the youth you encounter in your neighborhood, home, and church? And do you pray for them that they may grow in the knowledge and wisdom of Jesus Christ?
Lord Jesus, may we never hinder our youth from coming to you to receive your blessing, instruction, and healing power. Make our youth strong in faith and in character that they may follow you zealously. And as we grow with age, may we never lose that child-like simplicity and humility which draws us into your loving presence.
1 Preserve me, O God, for in you take refuge.
2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”
5 The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; yes, I have a goodly heritage.
7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
11 You show me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy, in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: To such belongs the Kingdom, by Epiphanius the Latin (late 5th century)
“Why did the disciples keep the children back? Not because of the children’s wickedness but because it was not the right time. They did not want the Lord to be tired by the great crowd. To them he said, ‘Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’ For children are ignorant of wickedness. They do not know how to return evil for evil or how to do someone an injury. They do not know how to be lustful or to fornicate or to rob. What they hear, they believe. They love their parents with complete affection. Therefore, beloved, the Lord instructs us that what they are by the gift of nature, we should become by the fear of God, a holy way of life and love of the heavenly kingdom – for unless we are alien to all sin just like children, we cannot come to the Savior.” (excerpt from INTERPRETATION OF THE GOSPELS 25)