The way into the kingdom

ONCE ON A FAMILY VISIT, I watched my very young nephew lying on his back, arms extended, giggling sweetly. Curious, I asked him what he was doing. He replied, "I'm giving God a hug." Ah, I thought with a smile, "Out of the mouths of babes"—that's why Jesus loved little children!

In the Bible, children were a sign of God's favor, a promise of Israel's perpetuity. They were under the absolute authority of their fathers, without rights or status, but they were desired, loved, and cared for.

The Bible often refers to children metaphorically—as in the relationship between God and Israel in the Old Testament, and as newcomers to Christ in St. Paul's New Testament letters. The metaphor can represent obedience to be emulated or immaturity to grow out of. But in the Gospels, Jesus always stressed the precious value of children. He made time for them, showed great love for them, and praised their Godlike qualities.

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Rediscovering me, childlike and free
August 16, 2010

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