October 7, 2018 – Pastoral Impressions by Fr. Bill

“Amen I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God l like a child will not enter it” Jesus says some strange things, doesn’t he? I’m sure some of his followers were puzzled by this statement from him. And while the words “kingdom of God” would have gotten them wondering to some ex-tent, the part about a child entering the kingdom would probably have made little sense to them. As you know, Jesus talked about the “kingdom” a lot. Whatever this “kingdom” was, it clearly was pretty important to Jesus—and clearly important that his followers understand what it was all about. And there is NOT one simple, short answer as to what the “kingdom” really means. In one sense, we, the Christian community two thousand years later (especially in the light of Jesus death and resurrection), have sort of “titled” the focus of the “kingdom” toward the afterlife—that after our earthly lives have ended, we hope to live forever with God in the eternal kingdom—heaven.
And while that is certainly NOT a “wrong” way to look at it Jesus seems to use the word “kingdom” to describe something NOT in the future, but in the present. In other words, God’s kingdom is NOT something we have to wait for, it is right here in our midst. And so , Jesus seems to be telling his followers that there is this beautiful thing called the “kingdom” that he wants them to embrace and share in, a kingdom which can only be experienced when our hearts become like that of a little child.
Children have an ability to trust. Do we trust God? Do we trust in the inherent goodness of others? Children have the ability to be hopeful;. Do we do the same? Do we truly believe that tomorrow can be better, that the world can be better—that we can be better?
Children have the ability to live in the present. Do we spend our time absolutely dreading the future? Or do we try to make today the best day it can be?
Children have few boundaries. Do we keep people at a distance? Do we put up walls rather than tear them down? It just takes the heart of a child. May each of us strive to reclaim the very best of our-selves that might have gotten lost along the way!

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