The godless say to themselves:
‘Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us
and opposes our way of life,
reproaches us for our breaches of the law
and accuses us of playing false to our upbringing.
‘Let us see if what he says is true,
let us observe what kind of end he himself will have.
If the virtuous man is God’s son, God will take his part
and rescue him from the clutches of his enemies.
Let us test him with cruelty and with torture,
and thus explore this gentleness of his
and put his endurance to the proof.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death
since he will be looked after – we have his word for it.’
Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony, and wicked things of every kind being done; whereas the wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure; it also makes for peace, and is kindly and considerate; it is full of compassion and shows itself by doing good; nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it. Peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness.
Where do these wars and battles between yourselves first start? Isn’t it precisely in the desires fighting inside your own selves? You want something and you haven’t got it; so you are prepared to kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy; so you fight to get your way by force. Why you don’t have what you want is because you don’t pray for it; when you do pray and don’t get it, it is because you have not prayed properly, you have prayed for something to indulge your own desires.
After leaving the mountain Jesus and his disciples made their way through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know, because he was instructing his disciples; he was telling them, ‘The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him.
They came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ They said nothing because they had been arguing which of them was the greatest. So he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.’ He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms round him, and said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’
He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms around him, and said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’
My wife and I had our third child earlier this year. Honestly, I couldn’t say that we planned on having a third one and so there was a fair amount of anxiety on our part during the pregnancy. It had been a number of years since our second one was born – so we were mentally beyond the diaper changes and midnight feeds (or so we thought). The physical dependence that a newborn baby requires of his or her parents (especially the mother) can be quite tremendous. In addition, neither my wife nor I are as young as when we were when we had our first two. The possibility of a complicated pregnancy was higher (there were a few scary moments after some test results came back). Also, the financial cost of raising kids doesn’t seem to be going down. Finally, a new addition to the family would obviously change the current family structure (would sibling rivalry develop?)
As depicted in today’s gospel reading, Jesus embraces a young child as He teaches us about the importance of servant leadership. He uses the child as an example of how His disciples should care for others. In those days, children were viewed as very low in the social order rather than as precious gifts from God. William Barclay, a Scottish theologian, summarizes the role children had in the reading as follows…
“Now, a child has no influence at all. A child cannot advance a man’s career, nor enhance a man’s prestige. A child cannot give us things; it’s the other way around. A child needs things. A child must have things done for him. And so Jesus is saying, “If a man welcomes the poor, ordinary people, the people who have no influence, and no wealth, and no power, the people who need things done for them, then he’s welcoming me. And more than that, he’s welcoming God.”
In time, we realized that this was God’s plan and His blessing unto us. Most importantly, we are to serve Him by trying to raise our children in a godly way. So rather than continue questioning the situation, my wife and I placed our trust in Him and thanked Him for His abundant generosity. Our daughter was born a few months ago. She was a few weeks early and a bit on the small side but thankfully, happy and healthy. She has brought an incredible amount of joy into our home. My two older boys absolutely adore her. Blessed is the Lord, for…
Every good and perfect gift is from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. (James 1:17-18)
(Today’s OXYGEN by Steven Su)
Prayer – Heavenly Father, we pray that you grant unseasoned and seasoned parents alike, the wisdom and energy to be good stewards of the children You’ve so graciously placed into our care.
Thanksgiving – Almighty God, we give thanks to You for your great blessing of creation. May our children grow in You and look to Jesus as their Lord and savior.