“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike." Mt 11:25
Knowing exactly what Jesus means by childlike is not easy. In the ancient world, because children had little economic value until they could work, it was counter intuitive to imitate them. Nevertheless, Jesus holds them up for us as a model of faith life. Unless we are as vulnerable as children were in Jesus' day, we will think too highly of ourselves and the haughtiness that can accompany education, power and wealth get in the way of our witness to the Gospel.
Jesus does not want us to follow him for its social value. Otherwise, he would have told us to wear multiple tunics, carry money and wear fine sandals so that those who met us would be impressed with what following Jesus did for us. Rather, he tells us to take nothing for the journey so that all will see in us people whose only task is to announce the Good News. Like John the Baptist, we go before the Lord to prepare the way.
When we think about people who have humbled themselves for us, we are always moved. On a recent trip to Africa, I was met at the airport like a Hollywood personality, and although it was embarrassing, I knew it is not about me, but about what those welcoming me hoped I could help them do for their communities of faith. For those who are public figures announcing the Good News, this Gospel is especially important. It is not a big head that gets us into heaven, but a big heart.
Today, listen to others like a child listening to a bedtime story.
Whose childlike faith helped shape yours?