Do not prevent the children from coming to me, for the kingdom of Heaven is for those who are like them

Posté par diaconos le 18 août 2019

Let the children come to me,

Let the children come to me,

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew

Children were brought to Jesus that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” After he placed his hands on them, he went away. (Mt 19,13-15)

Homily

People presented children to Jesus for him to lay his hand on them. Jesus welcomed and blessed them (Mt 19:13-15; Lk 18:15-17; Mk 10:13-16). The blessing that accompanies it is a habitual gesture of the rabbis. It is a gift from God. His blessing always brings life to life.

For Israel, fertility was a sign of God’s blessing : « Crown of the elders, their little children » (Prov 1, :6)  ; « Your sons, around the table, are like olive trees. « (Ps 127 k, 3) The biblical authors did not forget that the child was an unfinished being and that it was important to educate him firmly : « Madness clings to the hea rt of the young child. «  (Pr 22, 15)

From the Old Testament, because of his weakness, the child appears as a privileged of God. The Lord himself is the protector of orphans: « Father of orphans, defender of widows, such is God in his holy abode.  » (Ps 67, 6) and the children praised him: « Your splendor is sung up to the heavens through the mouths of children, of the little ones.  » (Ps 8, 2)

The psalmist used the image of the little child to show his confident abandonment to the Lord : « My soul is in me like a child, like, a little child against his mother.  » (Ps 130, 2) God did not hesitate to choose the smallest, a child, the youngest to accomplish his mission. God manifested himself to the young Samuel in the Temple of Silo (1S,  3), he became a prophet. David, the youngest of the siblings, became king of Israel. (1S 16 and following). Young Daniel was wiser than the elders and saved Suzanne from death as a result of false testimony. (Dan 13).

In Jesus’ time, children were the object of contempt and rejection by adults. On the one hand they were mouths to feed in a world where poverty reigned, on the other hand, they were still ignorant of the Law of Moses, so they were treated as outlaws.

It was through a newborn baby, Jesus, that God visited and redeemed his people. (Lk 2, 68).  God became man: it is the Incarnation. Luke, in his Gospel, gave the stages of Jesus’ growth: the newborn child of the manger (Lk 2, 4-7), the little child presented to the Temple (Lk 2, 22-40), a child submitted to his parents and yet mysteriously in dependence with his Father.

As an adult, Jesus adopted the same behaviour as God his Father towards children. By blessing the children, he revealed that they were like the poor, on the same level as they entered the Kingdom. The true disciples are those little ones to whom the Father revealed the mysteries of the Kingdom (Mt 11, 25).

« Amen, I tell you :  if you do not change to become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of Heaven. But he who makes himself small as a child, this one is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. And whoever welcomes a child like this in my name, he welcomes me.  » (Mt 18, 4-5)

« Let the children come to me, do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God is to those who are like them. « (Mk 10:14b) Faith is first and foremost a gift from God. And Christ is the only mediator, who leads to God. Made participants in this mission, parents, animators of awakening to the faith…. our task is first and foremost that of witness.

The child is a sign of abandonment, trust, wonder, spontaneity, simplicity: these are necessary conditions for entering the Kingdom and adults have often lost them. It is the people who look like the little ones who will benefit. Jesus constantly showed his disciples, who also expressed their desire for greatness (Mk 9, 34; Mt 20, 21), that it was necessary to abandon their pretense and become small, humble, in order to learn to receive everything from God and live by his love: this condition is the gateway to the Kingdom.

Through his blessing Jesus opens the Kingdom of God to children, to the little ones, they are called to enter into the closeness of God… first. Who are these little ones today? They are often the same as those of Jesus’ time: children, the sick, the handicapped, strangers, women… God opens His Kingdom to all those who are close to the little ones.

Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel tells us about his return in glory and – the judgment (Mt 25, 31-46) : « Come, the blessed of my Father, receive as your inheritance the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me food… I tell you this: every time you did it to one of these little brothers of mine, you did it to me.  » (Mt 25:34… 40).

The criteria of the Kingdom are not those of the world. The little child, in his addiction can make us see it.

Michel Houyoux, permanent deacon

Additional information

« Children were presented to Jesus to make him touch them » (Mk 10:13a). Mark says nothing about their age and does not give the reason why we want Jesus to touch them. The frankly hostile attitude of the disciples (Mk 10:13b) offends us.

Why do his followers want to drive them away ? The reason is to be found in the mores of that time: children are the object of contempt on the part of adults. In Jesus’ time, the child is first of all, because of his smallness, poverty and ignorance of the Law of Moses, an outcast like the sick, women and slaves.

Jesus offers us the treasures of his heart. He marvels at a life that begins full of possibilities. He discovers the image of his Father in all the children he has been introduced to. How could Jesus, who asks us to hope, forget that children are also our hope ?

Let us forget our wisdom, our sufficiency and the bitterness of our past experiences, in order to receive God’s gifts and to welcome his life-giving words, in the wonder and simplicity of a child. (Mk 10, 15)

Do we have to become like children to follow Jesus ?

What interests us here in the image of the child (Mk 10, 15) are the qualities that are expected of the disciple of Jesus and that the image of the child can help us discover.

Jesus disse : « Non impedire ai bambini di venire a me. »

Jesus disse : « Non impedire ai bambini di venire a me. »

Here are three qualities of the child that invite us to be like him in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

  1. First of all, trust, a trust that makes him turn to his father or mother without fear, who sees him take refuge on their lap, sometimes begging them, falling asleep in their arms. This is the case with the acceptance of the Kingdom of God, which is above all the acceptance of a person.
  2. Then, addiction: the child needs his or her parents, those around him or her, where he or she expects everything from others (clothing, food, love, affection). Well, we are in a similar situation: « We did not love God, he loved us and sent his Son as an expiatory victim for our sins.  » (1 Jn 4:7-11).  Isn’t that what happens to the child? He depends, he receives, he welcomes the love of his parents.
  3. Wonder: the child who marvels at his father’s skill at throwing his line fishing, who learns with his mother to play an instrument, who feels touched and fulfilled because people are interested in him despite his smallness, his young age and who will express his gratitude by offering a clumsy flower picked or a naive drawing sometimes.

In front of God, we are, like the child, amazed by what He gives us, « since love comes from God » (1 Jn 4:7) and because He allows us to love one another. Amazed and grateful because this gift is free, without merit on our part. This is what made St. Theresa of the Child Jesus say: « We do not have to become children, we are ».

God’s liberating love is free. He willingly offers himself, even before he is begged. He is active and sensitive towards each person. He is attentive to our sorrows, our miseries, our anxieties.

The gratuity of God’s love springs forth in a continuous stream of forgiveness offered. He would like them to be received as a tenderness, as a kiss of friendship that gives peace to our hearts. God’s love has all the gratuitousness of maternal love.

Jesus said → « Let the children come to me. Do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God is to those who are like them.   » (Mk 10, 14)

A sweet reproach that says a lot about Jesus. His first reaction, his first reflex is to be welcomed.

For Jesus, people of any kind are important. Whether they are children, women like the Samaritan woman or less commendable people like the publicans of that time, they all have an extreme value for Jesus. He really loves them with a love that comes from God. Through him, God’s love for us is manifested because God sent his only Son into the world so that we could live through him.

External links to other sites

◊ Luke’s Gospel : click here → Little Children Come to Jesus

◊ Rich Deem  : click here → What Happens to Infants and Children Who Die ?

Let the Little Children Come to Me

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Publié dans Enseignement, homélies particulières, Méditation, Page jeunesse, Religion, Temps ordinaire | Pas de Commentaire »

We collect in baskets what is good, and we reject what is worthless (Mt 13, 47-53)

Posté par diaconos le 1 août 2019

Thursday, August 1, 2019

From the Gospel according to Matthew

Jesus said to the disciples : « The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, 160 which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away. Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. »

« Do you understand all these things ? » They answered :  « Yes. » And he replied, « Then every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old. » When Jesus finished these parables, he went away from there. (Mt 13, 47-53)

  Homily   

The parable of the treasure hidden in a field and the discovery of a precious pearl tell us about two men who discover the Kingdom of Heaven under very different circumstances. The first, probably a peasant, finds a treasure in a field that is not his. He discovered it by chance ; but now the Kingdom of God is revealing itself and offering itself to him. He did not know that such a treasure existed. He had never imagined it… His joy is therefore proportional to such a surprise: it is overflowing !

The second is a businessman who was looking for fine pearls to sell them. He contacted merchants he had known for a long time. Now one of them presents him with one of rare value. This merchant was on the lookout for opportunities. He did not let such a bargain slip away and is glad to have made such a good deal.

He was the man attentive to the signs of God in his life and when he discerned them, he put all the means in place to follow them. In both cases, the one who found himself in front of the evidence of the Kingdom must sell everything he possessed in order to be able to buy this treasure or pearl. The Kingdom of Heaven has no price and that the happiness or joy it brings far exceeds all our earthly expectations !

What is this Kingdom to provide such fullness to those who find it ? Today, as two thousand years ago, this parable challenges us: Jesus is our treasure or our fine pearl. Do we still know how to be surprised and amazed by such a gift ?

The third parable particularly challenges us : the Kingdom of God is like a net that is thrown at sea ; this net is thrown on everyone, good and bad, giving everyone the opportunity to welcome it. God, who created all men, extends his net of mercy on all men. No one is excluded from his plan of salvation, which is offered to everyone, without making any difference between people.

God puts everything in place for us to know him. Whether we seek him as the pearl trader, or whether we are explicitly passed on, as the peasant who fell on a treasure without ever having dreamed of it, so God arranges to enter our lives, into every life.

To be a missionary disciple is first of all to become aware that it is always in the first place God himself who is at work in order to reveal himself to our heart. It is not our apostolic projects that will bring the Kingdom, but it is the inner voice of God who, through inner and often diverted paths, silently seduces the heart of each person.

If we understand this, says Jesus in the fourth parable, which can be summed up in one sentence : « we are disciples of the Kingdom ». A disciple of the Kingdom is no longer in search of the rare pearl, since he has found it, he is now compared to an owner, a householder or a father whose wealth is guaranteed. His treasure is Jesus whom he met and whom he loves and from whom he derives an incomparable joy.

From this treasure that is Jesus, he draws from both the new and the old. The new, for the missionary disciple, is the love of Jesus that amazes him every day. It is contained in the Gospels. The old man is all that prepared us to welcome Jesus and without which we would never have recognized him as Christ: it is the Law and the prophets. Amen

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Additional information

 The disciples asked Jesus : « Explain clearly to us the parable of the weeds in the field. « (Mt 13, 36b) This question also remains our own. The question of Evil is the greatest of all for any thinking person. Why is there evil in the world ? Why do some people choose to do evil? Respond to good with evil ?

Evil here being defined mainly by jealousy and division, the perpetrators of scandals, by the people who make others fall… This Gospel can shock us: there is an enemy and it is active; there is a furnace and we cry there. This chaff can actually cause the good grain to grow poorly or even not grow at all. Jesus did not impose an answer, he proposed three parables….

Good and evil will be mixed until the end of the world. In every person, in institutions and even in the Church, there will always be both good and evil. In our hearts and in every person I meet or live with, there are two things: good and bad.

God the sower and the enemy who plants the bad grass always respects people. He knows that temptation is often stronger than their good intentions and that people need time to find and choose the right thing.   « The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good grain in his field.  Now while the people were asleep, his enemy came and sowed weeds in the middle of the wheat and went away.  » (Mt 13, 24-25).

In these verses, the field represents the world and there are two sowers: one sowed in broad daylight and the other sowed at night. Following in the footsteps of the sower (Jesus), his enemy (the demon) slipped in at night to spread the weeds.  The weed (weeds) is the forgetting of God, of Love, as the days go by.

The demon does not show himself, he acts out of despair, out of doubt in the evening. That’s how he does it.   Jesus suggests to us that evil, in us and in others, is not our true face, that it slips in, without our knowledge, during moments of unconsciousness or inattention. This is the devil’s ordinary way of mixing lies with truth, so that under the mask of plausibility, error passes for the truth itself, and deceives those who are easy to seduce.

It is for this reason that Jesus did not mark any other bad grain in this enemy seed than the chaff, which is very similar to wheat. Jesus teaches us how the devil goes about surprising souls. Yes, the chaff is part of the wheat field and the field of our hearts. We must learn to live with it, in us and around us, and not lose heart. For the tiny seed will become a tree (second parable), and the pinch of yeast will swell the dough of the world (third parable).

« When the stem grew and produced the ear, then the weeds appeared too.  The master’s servants came and said to him : « Lord, isn’t this the good grain you have sown in your field ? So where does it come from that there is weeds ?’ He said to them,’An enemy did this.’ The servants said to him,’So, do you want us to take him away ?’

He replied : « No, lest by removing the chaff, you pull out the wheat at the same time.  «  (Mt 13, 26-29) In these verses, Jesus’ words invite us to patience and hope. We still want to harvest. Everything, right now! And before we do, we want to remove the weeds. But Jesus said, « Wait. Do not cut weeds right away; we do not know : it is possible to confuse good grain with weeds. «   Let them grow together until the harvest » Jesus warned his listeners against the haste of people who would like to tackle it. He accepts in his Church the mixture of good and bad.

Jesus went so far as to cause scandal by giving his preferences to sinners. He is in favour of the method of small steps. He is patient and cautious. He loves the heart of each person where the good grain and chaff are engaged in a merciless struggle. In the heart of the world in the midst of its struggles and tears, the Son of God was buried, crushed like grain.

God knows the contrast between the smallness of this buried grain and the magnitude of the final harvest. He looks forward to seeing the Kingdom reach its full maturity. But his delicacy towards the world weakened by sin makes him radically patient: « While you, Lord, who has strength, judge with indulgence, you govern us with great care » (Wis 12, 18)

But at the time of harvest, Jesus will say to the reapers : « First remove the weeds, bind them in a bundle to burn them ; as for the wheat, bring it into my attic » (Mt 13, 30b) We are well informed: we will not see until the end, at harvest (on the day of judgment), the real fruits of what we have tried to do in the Father’s field. Yes, there is a judge and there will be a judgment; there is a deadline and there will be a reward. From this Jesus does not doubt.

In summary In the parable of the tares, Jesus invites us to a realistic optimism towards ourselves and others. With patience, he transforms us, with him the chaff can become good grain.  Amen

Deacon Michel Houyoux

External links to other sites

◊  THE WEBSITE OF THE CARMELITE : click here  to see → Lectio Divina : Matthew 13, 47-53

PARABLE OF THE WHEAT AND WEEDS EXPLAINED

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Publié dans Catéchèse, Disciples de Jésus, Homélies, Méditation, Page jeunesse, Religion, Temps ordinaire | Pas de Commentaire »

Je suis doux et humble de cœur

Posté par diaconos le 18 juillet 2019

Jeudi 18 juillet 2019

Je suis doux et humble de cœur

Je suis doux et humble de cœur. 150Évangile de Jésus-Christ selon saint Matthieu

En ce temps-là, Jésus prit la parole et dit :  » Venez à moi, vous tous qui peinez sous le poids du fardeau, et moi, je vous procurerai le repos.    Prenez sur vous mon joug, devenez mes disciples, car je suis doux et humble de cœur, et vous trouverez le repos pour votre âme.     Oui, mon joug est facile à porter, et mon fardeau, léger.  » (Mt 11, 28-30)

Homélie

  »Venez à moi vous tous qui peinez sous le poids du fardeau. » Merci Seigneur pour cette douce et pré­cieuse in­vi­ta­tion. Ce que Jé­sus offre (et moi, par op­po­si­tion à tout autre), c’est le soulagement ou le repos.

Jésus nous invite à nous approcher de lui qui s’est rendu proche. Entrons dans la sphère de son intimité et écoutons le souffle de la plus tendre consolation. Pourquoi m’est-il si difficile de m’approcher, d’entrer et d’écouter ?

Je dois décider de déposer mon fardeau pour passer par la porte étroite. Pourquoi est-ce que je ne lâche pas ? C’est comme si je prenais mon fardeau comme ma véritable identité et sa Parole comme une utopie. Est-ce que je me méfie de son amour gratuit comme s’il était intéressé ?

Un joug est l’i­mage de la sou­mis­sion, de l’o­béis­sance. Jé­sus après nous avoir promis le  sou­la­ge­ment, le re­pos, il rap­pelle la condi­tion de cette dé­li­vrance : Ce charger de ce joug, c’est apprendre de Jésus d’être ins­truit par sa pa­role et d’imi­ter son exemple, vivre de sa vie. Il faut en­trer dans cette voie sans hé­si­ter, dit le Jésus, parce que je suis doux, et humble de cœur.

Ne crai­gnez pas de vous mettre à son école, il est plein de sup­port, de pa­tience. Le  seul moyen de se char­ger de son joug, c’est d’ap­prendre de Jé­sus la dou­ceur et l’­hu­mi­lité qu’il avait lui-même. Pour les or­gueilleux qui cherchent leur propre jus­tice, ce joug sera in­to­lé­rable, il ne sera aisé que pour les personnes qui se­ront doux et humbles de cœur.

«  Devenez mes disciples. » Jésus nous propose son joug en échange de nos fardeaux. Est-ce que je le veux vraiment ? Prendre le joug avec Jésus entraîne de nous détacher de quelques aspects de notre vie, mais de renoncer à tout pour le suivre. C’est une décision de laisser notre volonté propre et de nous laisser instruire par Lui.

Ceci nous concerne tous :  » Celui que veut sauver sa vie la perdra, mais qui perd sa vie à cause de moi la trouvera. » (Mt 16, 25) Pour les or­gueilleux qui cherchent leur propre jus­tice, ce joug sera in­to­lé­rable, il ne sera aisé (grec bon, bienfaisant) que pour ceux qui se­ront doux et humbles de cœur.

Qu’est-ce qui est prioritaire pour toi ? Ton échelle des valeurs ? L’essentiel  d’abord ?

 Suivre Jésus, c’est se laisser conduire par lui là où il veut nous mener et où ne serions pas allés de nous-mêmes. Rencontrer Jésus est une expérience personnelle. Jésus ouvre ses bras et attend que tu viennes à Lui. Il est à ton écoute et attend ton  appel. Pour suivre Jésus, nous devons accepter le mystère de la croix :  » Si quelqu’un veut être mon disciple, qu’il prenne sa croix chaque jour et qu’il me suive. « 

 Notre cheminement sera normalement fait d’un mélange de réussites et d’échecs, de satisfactions personnelles et de déceptions.  Nous grandirons vers la plénitude de la vie à travers ce cheminement dans la mesure où, comme Jésus, notre regard et notre visage seront décidément et irrévocablement tournés vers le but, advienne que pourra.

Amen

Michel Houyoux, diacre permanent

Compléments

◊  Marchons dans la paix et la tranquillité avec Jésus → Venez à moi, vous qui peinez sous le fardeau (Mt 11, 28a)

◊ Page des jeunes : cliquez ici pour lire l’article → Ne craignez pas, ne vous découragez pas !

Liens externes

◊ Veronique Belen : histoire d’une foi : cliquez ici pour lire l’article → Je suis doux et humble de coeur, et vous trouverez le repos

Apprenez que je suis doux et humble de cœur …

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Publié dans Catéchèse, Homélies, Méditation, Page jeunesse, Religion, Temps ordinaire | 1 Commentaire »

Ce n’est pas vous qui parlerez, c’est l’Esprit de votre Père.

Posté par diaconos le 12 juillet 2019

Vendredi 11 juillet 2019

Ce n’est pas vous qui parlerez, c’est l’Esprit de votre Père

Ce n’est pas vous qui parlerez, c’est l’Esprit de votre Père. 150Évangile de Jésus-Christ selon saint Matthieu

En ce temps-là, Jésus disait à ses Apôtres :  » Voici que moi, je vous envoie comme des brebis au milieu des loups. Soyez donc prudents comme les serpents, et candides comme les colombes. Méfiez-vous des hommes : ils vous livreront aux tribunaux et vous flagelleront dans leurs synagogues.

Vous serez conduits devant des gouverneurs et des rois à cause de moi : il y aura là un témoignage pour eux et pour les païens. Quand on vous livrera, ne vous inquiétez pas de savoir ce que vous direz ni comment vous le direz : ce que vous aurez à dire vous sera donné à cette heure-là.

Car ce n’est pas vous qui parlerez, c’est l’Esprit de votre Père qui parlera en vous. Le frère livrera son frère à la mort, et le père, son enfant ; les enfants se dresseront contre leurs parents et les feront mettre à mort. Vous serez détestés de tous à cause de mon nom ; mais celui qui aura persévéré jusqu’à la fin, celui-là sera sauvé.

Quand on vous persécutera dans une ville, fuyez dans une autre. Amen, je vous le dis : vous n’aurez pas fini de passer dans toutes les villes d’Israël quand le Fils de l’homme viendra. » (Mt 10, 16-23)

Homélie

Lorsque Jésus annonça à ses disciples qu’ils seront livrés aux tribunaux à cause de lui, il leur recommanda de ne pas s’inquiéter car, dit-il, “ce n’est pas vous qui parlerez, c’est l’Esprit de votre Père qui parlera en vous” (Mt 10, 20). Et dans une autre situation : “L’Esprit qui provient du Père me rendra témoignage” (Jn 15, 26).

En rassemblant ces paroles de Jésus à propos de l’Esprit Saint, le Credo de l’Église nous fait dire, chaque dimanche, qu’“il procède du Père et du Fils” — c’est-à-dire qu’il est le  souffle éter­nel, et du Père, et du Fils, qui donne vie à toutes choses.

Quand nous n’avons plus la force et le courage d’avancer, quand les plaintes montent dans nos cœurs, c’est un signe que nous avons besoin d’une force qui nous surpasse, d’un plus grand amour. Cet amour ne peut venir que de Dieu.  Cet amour nous aidera à faire le bien, là où nous vivons et à aimer même dans les difficultés.

Cet amour de Dieu nous aidera à aimer et à pardonner aux personnes qui nous ont offensé. La rancune ne vient pas de Dieu et elle ne fait que nous détruire spirituellement : nous sommes les premières victimes de nos rancunes. Elle fait de nous des vrais prisonniers. Toute personne qui pardonne devient réellement, heureuse  et en paix.

 N’avons-nous pas tous peur ! Si nous laissons entrer le Christ totalement en nous, si nous nous ouvrons totalement à lui – peur qu’il puisse nous déposséder d’une part de notre vie? Non! Celui qui fait entrer le Christ ne perd rien, rien – absolument rien de ce qui rend la vie libre, belle et grande. Non ! Dans cette amitié seulement s’ouvrent tout grand les portes de la vie. Ainsi, aujourd’hui, je voudrais, avec une grande force et une grande conviction, à partir d’une longue expérience de vie personnelle, vous dire : n’ayez pas peur du Christ ! Il n’enlève rien et il donne tout. Celui qui se donne à lui reçoit le centuple. Oui, ouvrez, ouvrez tout grand les portes au Christ – et vous trouverez la vraie vie

Pape Benoît XVI

 

Compléments

◊ C’est l’Esprit de votre Père qui parlera en vous → Ils vous livreront aux tribunaux et vous flagelleront dans leurs synagogues.

◊ Jésus est là avec nous, avec son Église → N’ayons pas peur ! (Mc 4, 35-41)

Liens externes

◊ Les méditations : cliquez ici pour lire l’article →  C’est l’Esprit qui parlera en vous. 

Jean Chrysostome – L’envoi des disciples

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Publié dans Catéchèse, L'Église, Méditation, Religion, Temps ordinaire | 2 Commentaires »

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