16th of the month, and that means I wake up pre-prayed. (Just kidding! Just kidding!) This morning at CatholicMom.com, I latch onto this bit of the Gospel:
I thank you Father that you have hidden these things from the learned and the wise, and revealed them to the childlike.
And then I ask myself, “What does childlike mean?”
Since I have both children and a teenager, I am eminently qualified to answer this question:
As a child, we learn what we’re taught.
Okay, it’s not a 100% foolproof analysis. But the idea is there: Your little kids tend to trust Mom & Dad to tell them how the world works. I continue to be stunned by the questions my children ask me with complete confidence that I’ll have the answer. Thankfully we can grab a dictionary or talk to Mr. Science if it comes to it. I say a lot of “I don’t know.”
In contrast, by the time that child reaches Bar Mitzvah age, let’s just say that the no-longer-a-child seems to thrive on experiential learning. The parents still matter very much, but in a different way. I would go so far as to hazard that teens need the experience of learning how to think through problems, question received wisdom, and ask for advice when it is wanted. (And they will ask, if you give them breathing space so they have a chance to ask.)
Our Lord, on the other hand, wants us, spiritually, to be more like that child: Trust Me. Do What I Tell You. Listen for Instructions.
Which means that our politics, our sexuality, our relationships . . . all these things and more aren’t for me to do with as I please. I get to listen to Our Lord and take it from there.
To give yourself a home check-up on whether your Christian reflexes are intact with regard to the problems of Central America seething northward, read this article here.
FYI on Reprints: I sometimes get asked about getting my online work reprinted in a parish bulletin. The answer is nearly always, “As long as I own the copyright, sure.” Here’s the link to my CatholicMom.com collection, which includes all the 16th-of-the-month Gospel reflections since the beginning of this year.