"They are like children." —Luke 7:32
In the New Testament, children represent three different spiritual states. The most popular Biblical picture of children is one that stresses their utter dependence on their parents. If we become lowly like children and acknowledge our total dependence on the Lord, we will enter God's kingdom (Mt 18:3).
The Bible also sees children as a symbol of spiritual immaturity. "Everyone whose food is milk alone is ignorant of the word that sanctifies, for he is a child" (Heb 5:13). Paul said: "When I was a child I used to talk like a child, think like a child, reason like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways aside" (1 Cor 13:11). Because of their immaturity, children are easily deceived, so Paul told the Ephesians: "Be children no longer, tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine that originates in human trickery and skill in proposing error" (Eph 4:14).
Finally, the Bible uses children to represent sins of selfishness and rebellion. Jesus compared the people of His day to self-centered, spoiled, and stubborn children (Lk 7:32-34). Jesus wants us to become childlike in one sense of the word, but not childish. He wants us to have the spiritual maturity and unselfishness to be aware of our total dependence on Him. Let's become children in the right way and repent of being childish in other ways (see 1 Cor 14:20).
Prayer: Father, may we "be like children as far as evil is concerned, but in mind be mature" (1 Cor 14:20).
Promise: "Love does not rejoice in what is wrong but rejoices with the truth." —1 Cor 13:6
Praise: St. Robert, the spiritual father of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, used his giftedness to defend and teach the Catholic faith.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet Who Am I In Christ? or on audio AV 7A-1 or video V-7A.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 25, 2008
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