We live in the greatest age the world has ever known. The Age of Information. The Age of Science and Technology. New and even more amazing marvels are created and launched everyday: smart phones, smart homes, cars and planes that operate without human drivers or pilots, virtual reality gadgets that seem more real than reality, conveniences of every sort. And yet, we live during the saddest times in the history of men.
There is no sadder indictment for our times than the way we treat children. Iraqi children, who do not even comprehend what is happening around them, are beheaded because of the religion of their fathers. Palestinian children , huddled in dark corners, waiting for the next bomb to fall that could send them into kingdom come. Afghan children, with their mouths still reeking of their mothers’ breast milk, are taught hatred and how to use guns to kill. Latino children, seeking liberation from oppressive environments, walk for miles to what they hope is a better place only to herded at the borders into detention centers. Tender Asian children, with the beauty of their innocence still resplendent in their faces, are sold into slavery or prostitution by unconscionable relatives. African children, often born out of desperation, dying like flies from hunger and malnutrition. And everywhere, defenseless babies lie helpless before the instruments of abortions even while in their mothers’ wombs.
Oh, what have these children done to earn such hatred and maltreatment! We have become so selfish and so self-seeking that we see every other life, even coming from ourselves, as threat to our well-being. What evil generation have we become that we eat our own children to feed our pride, our pleasure-seeking ways, our fears and our hatreds. We have lost our sense of the sacred and the divine. What or who is there to remind us that our future is what these children mean to us?
To come to the Kingdom of God is to become children again: innocent, trusting, awe-struck and wonderment-filled. Every day is a bright new promise of joys and laughter, singing in the sun, dancing in the rain, playing in the moonlight. To be a child – to love without ifs or buts or whys, to give without any accounting, to receive like everything is gift. That is God’s promise and somehow, in this greatest age the world has ever known, we have forgotten.
How sweet to my taste is your promise!
The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
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.”