Heirs of heaven
August 13, 2019
19th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Dt 31:1-8
Gospel: Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
The disciples came to Jesus and asked him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Then Jesus called a little child, set the child in the midst of the disciples, and said, “I assure you that unless you change and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes lowly like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever receives such a child in my name receives me.
“See that you do not despise any of these little ones, for I tell you: their angels in heaven continually see the face of my heavenly Father.
“If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them strays, won’t he leave the ninety-nine on the hillside, and go to look for the stray one? When he finally finds it, he is more pleased about it than about the ninety-nine that did not get lost. It is the same with your Father in heaven: there they don’t want even one of these little ones to be lost.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
A teacher asks who among her pupils would like to go to heaven. All raise their hands except Pedro. “Aren’t you interested to go to heaven?” the teacher asks. Pedro replies: “I’d love to, but Mama told me to come home early today”.
If we stretch the story a little bit, we arrive at a reflection on how parents make it difficult for their children to go to heaven. More realistic examples abound. Consider the case of the children of Cordova, Cebu, who years ago were reported by media as being used by their own parents in the online pornography trade. How pathetic that the family has become a danger zone to children. It is bad enough that they are physically maltreated, neglected or abandoned; it is worse that they are also being used in the immoral trade for financial gains.
The family is now one of the most dangerous places for children. And the danger has climbed up to the womb, resulting from many young women claiming absolute right to regulate occupancy of their womb, and absolute freedom to enjoy carnal pleasures. This has made the family not only dangerous but also off limits to children, in a way. Thanks to the contraceptive mentality that has evolved lately.
Unbending to these discouraging developments, the Church tirelessly preaches that to such children belongs the kingdom of heaven (Lk. 8:16). We may have done something unfair to Pedro’s mother in the story above by stretching the story too much. But the bottom line is: heaven belongs to children and not even parents can take this privilege away from them. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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