At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them,and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
When you think of a little child, what descriptors come to mind? Perhaps “cute,” “funny,” “honest.” However there is another child-like descriptor which Jesus asks us to consider: “dependency.” This word often causes those of us in first world America to recoil: “Dependency is a bad thing…why should I be dependent on anyone or anything?” Yet Jesus’ entire life and the essence of his message is about dependency on our relationship with God.
We are invited to humbly acknowledge our own failings, our own inadequacies, our own mental and emotional blocks. Jesus asks us to surrender the strong sense of self we possess in order to enter into union with a God who does not admonish us for our shortcomings. Rather, this God, this all-loving parent, simply wants to be in relationship with us. This can be liberating, much like a child’s honesty and vulnerability.
—Matt Kemper is the Director of Community Service at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati.
Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom God’s love commits me here,
ever this day be at my side,
to light and guard, to rule and guide.
—Traditional Guardian Angel prayer