Another day, another outstanding homily from the Pope. Today’s homily is based on the gospel passage in which people are bringing their children to Jesus for a blessing, but the disciples are trying to send them away. Jesus is not having it. He embraces and blesses the children, then rebukes the disciples, saying, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”
The Pope cautions us to not repeat the mistakes and mentality of the disciples who would keep the children away from Christ. He notes that we often have this tendency, even among devout Christians, to forget to embrace and welcome others, especially if they fall short of legalistic standards.
The Pope provides an example:
“Think about a single mother who goes to church, in the parish and to the secretary she says: ‘I want my child baptized’. And then this Christian, this Christian says: ‘No, you cannot because you’re not married!’. But look, this girl who had the courage to carry her pregnancy and not to return her son to the sender, what is it? A closed door! This is not zeal! It is far from the Lord! It does not open doors! And so when we are on this street, have this attitude, we do not do good to people, the people, the People of God, but Jesus instituted the seven sacraments with this attitude and we are establishing the eighth: the sacrament of pastoral customs! “
Pope Francis said, “Jesus is indignant when he sees these things,” as these people are “his faithful people, the people that he loves so much.” The Holy Father reminds us that legalism is no substitute for love and that welcoming others rather than judging them is the proper response of the Christian.