Jesus blesses little children and lays the foundation for infant baptism. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by pursuing the Virtue of Humility so he can more consistently reject pride and strive to be humble like a child and by building the Virtue of Fortitude so he can be a spiritual father who brings many souls to the Sacrament of Baptism.
7th Week in Ordinary Time – Saturday – Mk 10:13-16
Having confirmed God’s plan for marriage and condemning divorce, Jesus blesses the fruit of physical union (children) and demonstrates the importance of spiritual fatherhood. Fathers and mothers are overwhelmingly drawn to bring their children to Jesus to receive His blessing and prayers; it was a Jewish practice for children to be blessed by a rabbi and for fathers to lay their hands on and bless their children (Gen 27:30; 48:14-16).
The disciples rebuke the parents, attempting to stop them from bringing the children to Jesus. The disciples may have had honorable intentions: the Master was tired; the crowds were too large; others were in more desperate need. More likely, the disciples were being pridefully thick-hearted, thinking that children were below the Master’s dignity. They had forgotten that Jesus had recently taught them that to receive a child is to receive Him (Mk 9:36-37) and were pridefully acting like gatekeepers instead of humble gate-openers.
The disciples’ actions anger Jesus and He rebukes them, commanding the little children to be brought to Him. Recalling His life with the Father in Heaven, Jesus sees in children the spiritual qualities of those in Heaven: joy, poverty, simplicity, humility, obedience, dependency, vulnerability. In addition to the children being blessed by the very hand of God, Jesus demonstrates the spiritual fatherhood to which He calls all priests and men; men are to protect, provide and bring children to Jesus. Like Jesus blesses marriages, He blesses the fruit of marriages, laying His holy hands on the children, supernaturally blessing them; He confirms even the youngest are welcome into the Kingdom and lays the foundation for the Baptism of infants.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel at how Jesus demonstrates two powerful aspects of His Personality: Divine King and Protector, Jesus becomes justly Indignant (angry, severely displeased), rebuking the disciples for attempting to prevent the children from being brought to Him; Encouraging, Jesus welcomes the children to come to Him, embracing, blessing and putting His hands on them. Imagine, with holy fear, the Divine Wrath of Jesus for those who abort or abuse children.
Reject pride and strive to be humble like a child
Realize: In stark contrast to the modern world that reveres and promotes self-esteem, attention-seeking, and self-pride, Jesus reveals men must have the humility of a child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven; every Catholic man is called to battle against the deadly sin of pride and grow in the heavenly virtue of humility.
Believe: Reflect upon God the Father (CCC 2777-2802).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Humility (a part of Temperance) so I reject pride and my desire for self-esteem and attention, better recognize my own sinfulness, helplessness and spiritual poverty, and humbly seek Your Mercy, forgiveness, and help to become holy.
Be a spiritual father who brings many souls to Baptism
Realize: As Jesus demonstrates, while some men are biological fathers, every Catholic man is called to be a spiritual father who brings many souls to become adopted children of God and have the potential for eternal life in Heaven; it is every Catholic man’s sacred duty to bring his family to receive the infinite blessing of the Sacrament of Baptism and it is a grievous sin to deny his children the life-saving gift of Baptism.
Believe: Reflect upon Infant and Adult Baptism (CCC 1246-1255).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Priest, help me build the Virtue of Fortitude so I courageously work and persevere to bring my wife, children, and many souls to become Your adopted children in the beautiful and life-saving gift of the Sacrament of Baptism.