Tuesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time, August 11
May We Strive for That Innocence and Purity of Heart Which Can Only Lead Us into a Closer Communion and More Intimate Relationship with Jesus Christ.
“How sweet to my taste is your promise!” These are the words which we find repeated in today’s Responsorial Psalm. “How sweet to my taste…”
Who hasn’t been filled with wonder at holding a newborn baby in their arms? Life – precious and so beautiful – such a wondrous gift, all the result of the beauty of love!
Throughout my own life, having been a father and a grandfather many times over, and now a great-grandfather twice over, I have held many infants in my arms, but probably the greatest wonder I have seen is parents holding their small, innocent baby in their arms at the time of Baptism. Such an event is beyond words of description. For it is as if they are holding the infant Jesus – pure, innocent and spotless!
One can only imagine how the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph must have felt when they were holding the Beloved Son of God made flesh, caressing Him and loving Him.
Oh, if only such purity would continue throughout the child’s life into adulthood! Sadly, however, the evil of materialistic and deviant sexual pleasures is so rampant in this world, that all we sometimes hear about in the news are abducted children, child pornography, and pedophilia committed by people we would ordinarily trust.
And sadly, even the Church is not immune to this great evil, for the Church is composed of human beings, and we are what we are – mankind, imperfect and sinful, constantly struggling to be perfect as our “…heavenly Father is perfect”.
Some, however, have fallen short of this goal. And sadly, many young children suffered the consequences of sexual abuse, and those who committed the abuse caused great scandal for the Body of Christ, and the Church itself is undergoing its own form of profound suffering.
And the pain from such suffering can linger for many years, for there are still many adults today who are emotionally scarred from when they were abused as children. And, as a consequence, their form of healing, and forgiveness for the abuser, can become a very difficult task.
Today, Jesus teaches us what it takes for each one of us to attain eternal life. In His own words, our Lord says to each and every one of us, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.”
For we find that, within the hearts of small children, there is no greed, no lust, no discrimination, no sin. Within them, we find only a purity of heart which is filled with innocence and honesty, love and an unquestioning trust – a true and wondrous joy to behold!
And when we open our hearts to each other, as an innocent child reaching out to another, then our Lord’s words in today’s Gospel teach us about the mind of God Himself, “Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.”
These words become as a beacon of light, guiding each of us on our respective journeys, guiding us in our life of faith. For our Lord is teaching us, at the end of today’s Gospel Reading, that it is not God’s desire that any one of His children be lost, no matter how great the sin – “…it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”
Our faith teaches us that God’s Mercy is greater than the worst possible sin committed, if only we become as little children – humble and contrite, pure and innocent, trusting in His Goodness.
And this is God’s will – that in spite of our weak and sinful human nature, He does not desire to lose any of His children to eternal death in Hell. Rather, He takes great joy over one sinner who repents. Therefore, we find Jesus taking great care, taking great pains in teaching us what pleases our Heavenly Father, and what we must do to earn for ourselves the gift and lasting reward of eternal life.
Even Ezekiel, in our First Reading, was given the grace of knowing God’s word in a very unique and personal way, for as Scripture tells us, “Son of man, eat what is before you; eat this scroll, then go, speak to the house of Israel.” And Ezekiel says, “I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.”
And God’s words are sweet, for they become that nourishment which “feed[s] your belly and fill[s] your stomach” with words of hope and eternal life, if only we would open the eyes and the ears of our hearts and souls to His Truth, if only we would become childlike.
Even our psalmist, in today’s Responsorial, sings a song of praise with the words, “The law of your mouth is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces. How sweet to my palate are your promises, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
Each time a priest or a deacon looks upon an infant to be baptized, as the water is poured and the words are spoken during the rite of Baptism, cleansing the soul from Original Sin, we cannot help but be amazed at such innocence!
It should be our prayer, always and at all times, that each and every one of us, in whatever walk of life we may find ourselves traveling, should strive for that innocence and purity of heart which can only lead us into a closer communion, into a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
In the indescribable and infinite Love which our Lord has for both you and me, may He give us His Most Holy Spirit to teach us the way of childlike humility and simplicity and purity of heart, so that we may find that ultimate and perfect joy in Him who loves us beyond all human measure of understanding!
And in our childlike nature, may His Eternal Light shine through each of us, so that others may see in us His Truth and Love, so that others may also desire to embrace God as a Loving Father, and that each of us may become as innocent children, heirs to eternal life.
“See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.” †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “[The LORD] said to me: Son of man, eat what you find here: eat this scroll, then go, speak to the house of Israel…Son of man, he said to me, feed your stomach and fill your belly with this scroll I am giving you. I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.” (Ezekiel 3:1, 3)
- “The law of your mouth is more precious to me than heaps of silver and gold…How sweet to my tongue is your promise, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:72, 103)
- “The statutes of the LORD are true, all of them just; More desirable than gold, than a hoard of purest gold, Sweeter also than honey or drippings from the comb.” (Psalm 19:10b-11)
- “How can the young keep his way without fault? Only by observing your words…In my heart I treasure your promise, that I may not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:9, 11)
- “[Jesus] said, ‘Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.’” (Matthew 18:3)
- “Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” (Matthew 18:4-5)
- “…it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.” (Matthew 18:14)
- “Examine me, LORD, and test me; search my mind and heart. Your mercy is before my eyes; I walk guided by your faithfulness.” (Psalm 26:2-3)
- “If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.” (1 John 1:9)
- “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
- “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.” (1 John 3:1ab)
Prayer for the Day
“Most Merciful and Loving Father, Your Son suffered unbearable anguish; He willingly poured out His Most Precious Blood in fulfillment of Your will because of my transgressions.
“I was born in sin, totally dependent upon Your Love. My human nature is filled with so many faults and I am prone to so much weakness. And yet, Your Son Jesus still died on His Cross – for me.
“I know Your grace has the power to cleanse me of my many sins and to make me more like Your Son, so that I may be Your faithful child.
“Thank you for Your Goodness and Love for me. I humbly pray, Heavenly Father, in Your Mercy,Anonymous
please watch over and protect me always. Amen.”