The WORD in other words (2021) by Fr. Antonio Pegon, SVD (DWSTagaytay City)
As a young seminarian, I was exposed to several parishes in my home province and other places during summer apostolates. In such places, parents come to Sunday mass with their kids. There were times when kids would become a little bit unruly and noisy. Of course, some priests would be annoyed when this happens during the Eucharistic celebration. But most of the priests knew how to handle the situation. I admired how they, for example, would kind of ‘integrate’ the crying of the child into the celebration.
I have seen how Popes John Paul II and Francis would not mind parents bringing their children close to them for a blessing. People believe that to be blessed by the pope is to be blessed by Jesus.
It was unfortunate that the disciples would not allow the parents to bring their kids to Jesus for his blessing. They were acting as Jesus’ ‘cordon sanitaire.’ But we know that Jesus allowed the parents to bring their kids to him. The disciples didn’t yet understand the mission of Jesus fully. But Jesus used the opportunity to teach the disciples: “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Yes, the children are to teach us to be simple, authentic, and vulnerable to the will of God.
Certainly, St. Maximilian Kolbe manifested a childlike attitude of simplicity, authenticity, and vulnerability as expressed in his words: “Hatred is not a creative force. Only love is a creative power.”