Old Testamenst Readings
Sunday after Penticost Catholic Readings
Exodus 15: 22 - 27
Acts 28: 23 - 30
Job 42 7 - 17
Romans 10:5 – 21
St.Mathew 18:1 - 14
Psalms 112: 1 -10 Please click on the references to view the passages
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them and He said “I will tell you the truth, unless you change and become like these little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if any one causes one of these little ones believe in me to cause sin, it would be better for him to have a large milestone hung around his neck to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Mathew 18:1-2)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, The holy lent in commemoration of St. Mary is just on its commencement. Let the holy observation of the 15 day lent empower all of us in Holy Spirit for our spiritual journey. Before I elucidate let me ask you a simple question? Tell me who amongst us is the happiest of all? To find an answer to this question observe any small child. Watch him in any activitywhether he is flying a kite, or climbing a tree, whether he is in a temple or in the middle of a puddle he is totally involved. He gives his hundred percent to the moment and experiences joy. Watch a child is looking at a rainbow. He is filled with complete wonder. Is he concerned about the heavy rain that preceded it or the scorching sunlight which might follow? No, he is just soaking in the glory of the moment. When you take your four year old to the temple and tell him, "Now close your eyes and pray, Lord Hanuman will come and bless you." What does he do? Does he question you, does he doubt? No, he accepts your word one hundred percent. When he is playing with friends - does he pick and choose that he will play with only those friends whose fathers own a car, or who are Hindus or those who speak a particular language? No, he goes by the language of his heart not by his mind or consciousness.
We all were childlike once. We all possessed these wondrous qualities like unconditional love, trust, playfulness and simplicity. Somewhere on the road to adulthood we have shed these childlike virtues and adopted fear, mistrust, prejudice, doubt and selfishness. Not only have we forsaken childlike virtues, we have also started looking down upon them as being immature. Being and behaving like a child is a blessing. If we observe children carefully we find that basically they are childlike. Their Natural Child and Little Professor is very high. Only when they come into conflict with Parental authority or Adult admonishments does the Rebellious Child - the childish streak surface. Instead of encouraging their childlike qualities what we do is suppress them, put them in binds, thereby encouraging childish behaviour. In our confusion between childlike and childish behaviour we end up winning the battle but loosing war. Not only should we encourage and nurture the Little Professor and Natural Child in every child we adults should reactivate these qualities which are lying dormant in all of us. In our quest for attaining mature, responsible adulthood, we tend to stifle the child in each of us. We spend our lives in pursuit of happiness and peace of mind. We look for happiness in extrinsic things, little realizing that happiness is very much an intrinsic quality. Christ says that whoever humbles himself as a child, will inherit the kingdom of heaven. Humility comes from pure hearts, the hearts of children. The Holy Mother humbled herself as a child who possessed humility. Let our souls be tantamount to this by the observation of the holy lent in her holy name.
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Prayers, Fr. John Samuel St. Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church, London.