Saturday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time
“Like this little child”
The Lord said to the apostles, who were already adult and mature: “Unless you turn and become like this little child, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 18:3&4)… He urges them to rediscover their childhood… in order that they might be born again to innocence of heart: “No one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and spirit” (Jn 3:5).
“Unless you turn and become like this little child”: he does not say “these children” but “this child”, he only chooses one, only suggests one. And who is this child whom he puts forward as an example to his disciples? I don’t think it was a child of one of the people, one of the crowd, who offers an example of holiness to the apostles on behalf of the whole world. No, I don’t think this child comes from the people but from heaven. This is a question of that child from heaven of whom the prophet Isaiah speaks: “A child is born to us, a son is given us” (9:5). This is the innocent child, incapable of meeting insult with insult or blows with blows and who – better still – prays for his enemies even during his agony: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34)., The Lord overflows in this way, in his unfathomable grace, out of the innocence of heart that nature gives to children. He is that child who asks little ones to imitate and follow him.