Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time

(Zechariah 8:1-8; Luke 9:46-50)

What is it about children that makes Jesus say to accept them is to accept him? It is hard to tell because childhood keeps on changing. No doubt, being a child in Jesus’ time was very different than it is today. Nevertheless, there is at least one constant in childhood that was existent in the first century, became prominent between 1850 and 1950 when -- according to social commentator Neil Postman -- childhood reached its epitome, and still is perceptible today. It is that children follow the directives of their parents confident that obedience will lead to their welfare. In the gospels Jesus trusts his Father so implicitly, but many adults balk at doing what God’s commands.

It is true that we adults have the considerable task of discerning what God wants. But more problematic is our ego’s fantasy that God’s will conforms to our every desire. One sage has called “the dark night of the soul” precisely letting go of “our ego’s hold on the psyche.” We are to open our minds to the word of God and change our lives in accord with His directives. It is often a painful process of fidelity, but it has a satisfying ending. We come to know ourselves as God’s children and can rejoice in His love.