Become Like Children


(White) Cycle A, Year I (Jan. 15, 2016)
Is 9:1-6/Eph 1:3-6, 15-18/Mt 18:1-5, 10

There is a story about Todd, a little boy just two years old, who recently went with his mother to an art museum that was showing a special exhibit of beautiful paintings of the Savior. As they walked past these sacred images, she heard her little boy reverently saying the name “Jesus.” She looked down to see him folding his arms and bowing his head as he viewed the paintings. This attitude of the little boy is certainly one of the reasons why Jesus took a child and said: “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3). There is a tradition which says that this child was St. Ignatius of Antioch who was also called Theophoros which means God-carried because it is believed that he was carried by Jesus on His lap.

William Barclay, in his commentary to the gospel, says that there are characteristics in a child such as the power to wonder, before he has become deadeningly used to the wonder of the world; the power to forgive and to forget, even when adults and parents treat him unjustly as they so often do; the innocence, which, as Richard Glover beautifully says, brings it about that the child has only to learn, not to unlearn; only to do, not to undo. But then the reasons why Jesus made the children models for all Christians are the following great qualities of children: humility, dependence and trust.

The children are by nature humble. They do not usually wish to become the center of the attraction; they shy away from the attention of the crowd. Moreover, they only follow the guidance of the adults; they do not assert themselves especially regarding serious things since they know that they know little. The children are also totally dependent on their parents. They do not worry about what to wear and what to eat for they know that all their needs are provided for by their parents. And lastly, there is the trust of children. Children easily trust people even when they do not know them. They trust them to be good people; they trust the adults to care for them and they trust their parents to never abandon them.

The feast of Santo Niño reminds us that we are all children of God like Jesus. And as children, we must be humble in our dealings with one another. God’s way is humility as shown in the child in the manger. If we want to encounter God, there is no other way except the way of humility. As children, we must also be totally dependent on God. We are mere creatures of God and our lives are totally at His mercy. Without Him we can do nothing but with Him all things are possible for us. Lastly, as children, we must trust in God. God is a father who loves us deeply and who will never abandon us especially amidst our trials, pains and sufferings.

As we celebrate the feast of Santo Niño, we must remember that God has become a child like us in Jesus Christ. Because of this, God can identify with our tears and fears; He understands our weakness and strength; and He knows our capabilities and understanding. We must have faith in Him and entrust our lives to Him and God will always be by our side to help us in our needs all the days of our lives.